Why no digital TV signal

sniffdogMarch 23, 2008

I just purchased my first HDTV and hooked it up to my satellite receiver  everything looks great  love the HD.

I then decided to hook up my over air antenna designed for digital signals to see if I could get local news channels without having to use the satellite service (would be nice just in case the satv goes out  which it does when it rains hard).

I installed the antenna during the construction of the house  it is in the attic facing in the proper orientation. I used this web site


to make sure I bought the right equipment and pointed it properly. I live in the 20135 zip code and am trying to received signals from Washington DC Â where the transmitters about 43 miles east of my house according to the web site above.

Oddly enough  I get the analog TV signals for channels 2,4,7,9 (as well as many others) out of Washington - and the picture looks quite good for standard def  very clear signals for the major networks. I also receive 4 digital channels (60.1  60.4) out of Martinsburg WV which is about 27 miles west of my house, but on the other side of the mountain I live on (there is quite a bit of blockage in that direction).

Is this simply a distance issue  am I too far away from DC to receive the digital signals?

Why do I receive very clear analog signals from DC but not the digital signals?

Could this be a station transmitter power issue that might be resolved in 2009 when analog TV goes away?


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43 miles is a long shot requiring a higher gain antenna and higher antenna mounting. The fact that you can receive analog broadcast tells me that the antenna is working and should also be able to receive digital broadcasts in the same band. Are you certain that the digital channels you are trying to receive are in the VHF band? Some stations are in UHF now and will only move to VHF following the Feb 09 analog sunset.

Are you sure that the antenna is working for UHF signals? My antenna had other little elements that needed to be folded out to allow the UHF part of the antenna to work.

Another thing to check is that the TV was set to scan for ATSC (digital over-the-air) and NTSC (traditional analog) over the air signals when you first had it learn the channels. When a TV is used with cable TV, it set set to scan for QAM (digtal over cable tv) and NTSC.

You may want to have the TV rescan for digital channels and make sure that you tell the TV that you are NOT on a cable tv system.

This problem is not likely to resolve itself in February 2009. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 12:35AM
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I am trying another test that was suggested on the electronics forum. I just removed the antenna from inside the attic (easier said than done) and am going to hook it up outside. The suggestion was that the attic attenuates the digital signals by 40 to 60% and that if I put the antenna outside I might have better luck.

My TV is set up properly to do the channel scan - and it did find 4 digital stations. I have a high gain antenna that should work.

Once I do the test, I will post the results. Hopefully that will fix my problem. If not, then I am stuck with satellite for local channels forever.

Thanks for the post.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 7:58AM
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I am using DirecTV's service and the signal's perfect. I had problems with the previous TV service providers while setting up NDTV 24x7 but with DirecTV everything is perfect.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 8:08AM
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I have Dish and currently get the local channels that way.

What I want is over air digital so that when the Satv goes out I can watch local stations.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 8:12AM
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Winegard makes an amplified non-directional antenna that looks like a "flying saucer". Their model MS-2000. I am trying it in my attic.

Here is a link that might be useful: Antenna

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 7:15PM
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in my area the 2 local stations and the PBS station have their digital on lower power than their analog broadcasts. they won't swap to full power until closer to the deadline.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 1:31PM
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thanks - that is what i was thinking. it makes sense to not crank up to full power until the transition.

i finally removed the antenna from inside the attic - no easy feat. i need to hook up a cable and test for signal with the antenna outside. i hope to see an improvement in the over air reception. if I see improvement, i will mount the antenna outside.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2008 at 9:46AM
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