Antenna (OTA) issues and my experiences

Recently there have been different post regarding OTA channels having issues. Almost two years ago when I made the jump to Channels DVR, I struggled with OTA channels for about 6 months. I hesitate to offer help because, honestly, I have no idea, I am not an expert. Also, it’s not always clear how things are setup by folks. I do know what I did to solve my problems. I thought I would share both problems and how I solved each in the event it can help someone else. BTW - I spent freaking hours Googling the Internet.

Issues #1: Pixelization, dropouts and choppy playback made a handful of channels unwatchable. This did not happen until I installed an attic antenna. Moving from the “leaf” type antenna introduced this problem. Solution: LTE filter placed at the antenna connector that feeds the coax to the HDHRs. For a few weeks, I used the feed directly from the antenna directly into my HDHRs. I received ~110 channels (up from ~70 with the leaf) and the quality of the signal was great on every channel (quality of the programming is a different issue ;).

I then decided to connect the antenna feed into the coax splitter I had installed to get MoCA in most rooms. So, I combined the ISP “internet” feed and the antenna feed to the splitter’s input and this allowed me to place my cable modem and switch anywhere I wanted and locate the HDHRs anywhere as well. After getting this setup, Issue #2: all the sudden I was down to ~80 OTA channels and many of those had video freezing, stuttering plus audio issues, different from the first issue, but “freezing” is the best description. No matter where I connected the HDHRs, I would have problems with a “bad signal”. It wasn’t chronic but occurred enough that the experience was very poor.

Again, I Googled the hell out of the Internet and found an obscure post (cable people hung out on the site) and the bottom line from what I could pick up is that limiting the signals (frequencies) on the coax line is a good thing to do. I don’t subscribe to cable TV, but apparently that doesn’t stop my cable company from sending those signals/frequencies into my home anyway. I saw this as being like the LTE interference I was getting on the attic antenna.

The post suggested placing a filter on the incoming coax line from the cable company to block everything except the internet (PPC Data Only Wide Band Reject Filter - “cable trap” is the colloquial name used). Once I added that filter to the coax line coming from the cable company, I was back to ~110 channels and they were perfect. No more issues have occurred since. Also, after adding the cable filter my MoCA speed went from ~600mb to ~930mb.

I decided to write this post this morning. After work this evening, I removed the filters from the system just to see. Ugh! I was right back to the problems I had fixed. Put the filters back on, awesome OTA is back. Again, I don’t know if this will help anyone, but this is my experience with bad OTA.

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Thanks for sharing. Yeah, OTA reception seems to be an art and a science! At 35 miles from most of the towers, I had a BIG traditional-style antenna for years and required a preamp to pull in some channels with a "usually good" signal. Last Fall, I replaced that antenna with a smaller Yagi-style that included VHF-low elements; no more preamp and the signals are solid...except when there's interference from cheap LED lights or something. :slight_smile:

Amen man. It was quite an effort to figure out "what" was going wrong in both cases. It seems like no matter the root cause the symptom is pixelation or freezing video.

I feel your pain. My OTA reception is probably different than most. Mostly VHF stations not far away. One UHF station VERY close. At first I thought the stations were too weak, so I added a Kitz pre-amp. Silicondust said the HDHomerun was being overpowered. So I disconnected that. The nearby UHF station still seemed to be overpowering things. So I decided on the nuclear option - an Avant X. Surely THAT would level out the signals. It does - sort of. I thought I was golden until I noticed another UHF station was exhibiting the same problem as the other station. The signal strength and quality would show 100%, but the symbol quality would randomly whipsaw from 100% all the way to 0%. So I got a couple of 6 dB attenuators from Amazon. I figured if I reduced the signal strength below 100% my problems would go away. Well, no, that didn't work. I thought I could try a second antenna just for that one problem station. Nope. I fiddled with where I placed the attenuators. They did reduce the signal strength, but didn't fix the symbol quality problem.

After emailing the station, I noticed last night at 1:20am, the station was rock solid.

Thats what happens when there is some sort of interference happening.
Some sort of electrical device, most likely something with a motor in on near your antenna, or area.

I am am able to trigger this same scenario when ever i turn on a certain plug in fan, or use a wand massager, or other devices like it.
I posted all about it in my own thread while back.

Maybe you have something automated to come on in your hose, or a neighbor does, like a garage door opener, or even certain LEd bulb or other appliances. Could literally be anything.

I don't think it's appliance interference in my case. I have at least one that does that (dishwasher), but that affects ALL channels. It shouldn't be LTE interference since the Avant X supposedly filters that. One thing it MIGHT be is air traffic. I'm quite close to a busy small airport.

Probably more likely it's a recent change at the transmitter - since this hasn't always happened. Maybe they will get back to me this week.

I honestly had never thought about combining them together. Seems like this should be the design for all modern homes being built now. MoCa capable outlets with ota signal + rj45 in every room.

With ATSC 3.0 and who knows what else, it's hard to tell what direction to go with modern homes (but Ethernet is a given). I just worked with what I had. I would really like Ethernet everywhere, but design elements in the house, made that difficult and very expensive. First house I didn't build myself, won't be doing that again.

So, a wall plate, how much does the coupler degrade the signal? Enough to think about just passing the cable through instead?

Depends on frequency, but for OTA TV signals you can figure a max of -0.5dB loss for a F-F barrel connector and two F-type male connectors on the coax. https://www.otadtv.com/cables/index.html

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