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Boston area TV stations changed their antennas... weaker signal


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  #1  
Old 09-14-2019, 09:58:15 PM
len k len k is offline
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Default Boston area TV stations changed their antennas... weaker signal

Not HAM , but I suspect you'll know something about this.

Few months ago TV said they changed the Boston TV station transmitter antennas in the rt 128/mass pike area ( Newton, MA area).

~ month ago ....When I drove thru that area ....instead of the TWO old ~ 1000 ft towers ~ 5 miles apart that were there ~ 10 years ago .....I now see ~ 4 shorter towers in a ~ square pattern, maybe 1/2 ?? mile spacing.

My TV signal in past was PERFECT, now I had some low signal problems on my TVs (blank screen..... signal drop outs of several minutes) Anyone know if they reduced the transmitter power?? or anything else about this change.

What ever changed happened in last 1-2 months, and coincided with timeframe of their antenna changes..

----------------------------------------------------

MY ANTENNA system/TVs have not changed.....
I have a deep fringe UHF directional ...8 ft parabolic reflector antenna, .....about same design as top-of-the-line Channel master 4251 , but larger ...8ft dia....it's 40 ft off ground on my hilltop, I'm aimed dead magnetic south to where TV fool.com said to point antenna ( had very good results previously with this aiming)

my antenna looks similar to this 7 ft parabolic reflector http://kvhf.com/

But is 8 ft dia , nor 6 or7 ft

AND.....one in link has TWO ~ 8 inch bow tie elements to collect the signal.....
MINE instead has ONE rectangular loop (very roughly ABOUT 2x8 inch) to collect the signal, 300 ohm twin lead is attached to open ends of that loop.

( this means mine is picking up the magnetic component of RF signal, suspect the bowtie design pickups up the electrical field component.....I have no idea what that means for reception ....except the loop design might be more insensitive to static electricity.)



In past I think between those 2 tower they carried old Boston TV ch 2,4,5,7, maybe 25, 38, 44, 56.... Signal still was good after digital transition few years ago and some of these stations changed from VHF to UHF.

Last edited by len k; 09-14-2019 at 10:25:50 PM.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:27:45 PM
Birken Vogt Birken Vogt is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas....weaker signal

I'm about as far away from you as you can get. But I talked to one of the TV station engineers on the ham radio one day about this.

He said to pick up these UHF signals these days the best type of antenna is the kind that is like a big flyswatter with 6 or 8 smaller antennas in one big array.

This way if the signal fades out of one it may still be present in one of the other ones.

Although at 8 feet, it may not get you anything.

The TV stations are trying to cover their core market with rabbit ears. They don't really care about people on the fringes. That is why they all use UHF today, penetrates buildings better. VHF was from the old days before cable came along to get all the outlying areas.
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Old 09-14-2019, 10:40:48 PM
Power Power is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas....weaker signal

Quote:
Originally Posted by len k View Post
Not HAM , but I suspect you'll know something about this.

Few months ago TV said they changed the Boston TV station transmitter antennas in the rt 128/mass pike area ( Newton, MA area).

~ month ago ....When I drove thru that area ....instead of the TWO old ~ 1000 ft towers ~ 5 miles apart that were there ~ 10 years ago .....I now see ~ 4 shorter towers in a ~ square pattern, maybe 1/2 ?? mile spacing.

My TV signal in past was PERFECT, now I had some low signal problems on my TVs (blank screen..... signal drop outs of several minutes) Anyone know if they reduced the transmitter power?? or anything else about this change.

What ever changed happened in last 1-2 months, and coincided with timeframe of their antenna changes..
Len, it is nationwide. FCC auctioned off more of the broadcast spectrum to the continually expanding wireless services.

Changes are being implemented area by area nationwide over the next few years. Broadcast has to go to less efficient frequencies and reduce power so they do not transmit as far, so other stations nearby can use the same frequencies.

The rationale is few use over the air, and wireless spectrum is overcrowded. To continue to grow, wireless needs more "space".

Wireless carriers are lobbying hard for a big chunk of the Amateur Radio bands too.


Campus + Science & Technology
Published: April 23, 2018
Changes ahead for antenna TV viewers
Contact(s): Julie Sochay

Viewers in the 15 percent of households that receive free, over-the-air television via antenna will have to rescan their TV tuner periodically over the next two years, according to WKAR-TV.

WKAR will be the first area station to move to new frequencies assigned by the FCC on or before May 9, followed by other local stations, including WSYM and WLAJ.

The frequency reassignments are part of a project by the FCC to make room in the broadcast spectrum for wireless broadband services and new digital TV technologies. By law, nearly 1,000 TV stations nationwide must change broadcast frequencies by the spring of 2020.

No new devices, equipment or services will be needed to continue receiving the local stations. Antenna TV viewers must simply go into their tuner channel settings and rescan to locate stations after each makes their assigned change.

To make the move, WKAR is replacing the main broadcast antenna that sits atop the station’s 1000-foot tower, the 20-year-old transmitter, the transmission line to the antenna and an auxiliary antenna.

It will be a $2 million project for WKAR, paid for almost entirely by the proceeds of the recent FCC spectrum auction.
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Old 09-15-2019, 10:35:29 AM
Ronald E. McClellan Ronald E. McClellan is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas....weaker signal

Same thing here. I have been able to receive Channel 3 Philadelphia on antenna for several years. I am about 20 miles from the antenna. When they made the change , they said to rescan the TV to get the new location. It doesn't work! I have never able to get any answers. Ron
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Old 09-15-2019, 02:14:12 PM
len k len k is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas....weaker signal

Figured effective radiated power was lower since towers were much shorter.

Good thing I've got a deep fringe antenna.... 8ft dia parabolic 40 ft off ground , on a hilltop (pic in link). I'm aiming thru some tall pine trees I've got. So I started to cut some of their branches to have a clear shot thru my trees.
pic of my antenna--> https://www.smokstak.com/forum/attac...5&d=1568573249

Luckily for me ALL the Boston transmitters I want are dead magnetic south of me, no rotor required.

I've got about optimum conditions and still have occasional dropouts once a week or so. Started ~ 1-2 months ago. I feel sorry for the rest of the people, having to buy overpriced $$$$$$$$ comcast cable. Bet comcast paid lobbyists to support the change.

Kinda saw problem coming years ago when my engineering magazines said there was big push to provide/sell movies on cell phones, figured that would make a BIG RF bottleneck.
.

Last edited by len k; 09-15-2019 at 07:27:42 PM.
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Old 09-15-2019, 02:20:40 PM
len k len k is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas....weaker signal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Birken Vogt View Post
...to pick up these UHF signals these days the best type of antenna is the kind that is like a big flyswatter with 6 or 8 smaller antennas in one big array.
Do you mean a design basically similar to this UHF antenna?

https://www.bing.com/images/search?v...vt=0&eim=1,2,6

I've got a very similar old version of it , but I believe the back reflector is a flat screen, not a corner reflector as in link's pic.
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Old 09-15-2019, 09:17:49 PM
Power Power is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas....weaker signal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald E. McClellan View Post
Same thing here. I have been able to receive Channel 3 Philadelphia on antenna for several years. I am about 20 miles from the antenna. When they made the change , they said to rescan the TV to get the new location. It doesn't work! I have never able to get any answers. Ron
I made this- works.

Click image for larger version

Name:	54cac0d178c83_-_digital_antenna_0311-de.jpg
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ID:	344102
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Old 09-15-2019, 10:19:24 PM
Birken Vogt Birken Vogt is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas....weaker signal

No, it was kind of like a single backplane made out of mesh material that mounts to the mast, with at least 6 bow tie elements protruding forward out of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by len k View Post
Do you mean a design basically similar to this UHF antenna?

https://www.bing.com/images/search?v...vt=0&eim=1,2,6

I've got a very similar old version of it , but I believe the back reflector is a flat screen, not a corner reflector as in link's pic.
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:16:23 AM
len k len k is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas....weaker signal

I think I know what you mean now. Is this it ?
https://www.bing.com/images/search?v...vt=0&eim=1,2,6

I put up very similar one ~45 years ago as a kid....... It's ~ 36x36 x6 inch.
It's almost as good as the 8ft parabolic one, but it's a LOT less fussy about aiming at transmitter, (wide front lobe). I read it supposedly also gets some VHF TV channels, guessing the high 1/2 of VHF band (~ch 7-13) .
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Old 09-16-2019, 10:03:51 AM
Birken Vogt Birken Vogt is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas....weaker signal

Yes, that looks more like it.

I don't know if being on the fringes if a sharper lobe is necessary than that thing produces.

The engineer fellow just recommended that so if the UHF signal fades out of one particular element, another might still be getting it. Vertical capture area and all that.

Although, a single parabolic element that is 8 feet high might have the same effect, with better gain, I don't know.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:50:49 AM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas....weaker signal

They did it here too. I can't get shit anymore inside with rabbit years. But then I live in a tin box. The aluminum siding acts like a faraday cage.

The antenna made out of wood and coat hangars does indeed work. I built and used one when they first went digital with the OTA signals before I moved.

The type of antenna needed now is like the old Grey Hoverman designs. https://mikeyancey.com/files/hoverma...structions.pdf They can be built from PVC pipe and rust resistant wire.

Our local TV station's Brian Shrader made a Grey Hoverman Antenna that was impressive. But his website seems to be long gone now sadly.

My dad had a big old fly swatter type antenna when I was younger. I'm still looking for a good quality one like it. It was the channel master 4228 model http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/cm4228.html Sadly they don't make this version anymore.

Another legendary TV antenna was the channel master 4251 http://www.rocketroberts.com/cm4251/cm4251.htm I've not come across one of these yet. Rare and quite valuable nowadays.

Another look at the old vintage antenna's. https://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=13236

Robert
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:10:54 PM
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas....weaker signal

Click image for larger version

Name:	CM5646_medlrg TV.jpg
Views:	1
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ID:	344150Mom's house had an old channel-master like this on a rotator. Did not work well after change over. I clipped the shorter VHF elements in pairs down to 7 inches on each side gradually going up to 8 1/2 inches on the longest ones. Worked quite well.
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Old 09-16-2019, 02:27:32 PM
len k len k is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas....weaker signal

As a kid we put a pair of UHF 4228 antennas and a 20 element VHF channel master on the roof. Worked great till a branch fell on guywire and knocked them down in wet snow winter storm ~ 5 years ago ...... didn't want to go on icy 2nd story roof. So "temporarily" I put up a 25 ft steam pipe (~2 inch dia) on side of house from ground to roof line, then added a 20 ft telescoping mast with the 8ft parabolic antenna on top. Worked so well I never got around to untangling the fallen antennas, they are still up there, ( my back said no)


I think they still sell those 8 bowtie flyswatter antennas (channel master 4228 STYLE). I've seen similar ones on web. Ones I see now look to be in 2 parts, top/bottom..... I guess for easier shipping. https://www.bing.com/images/search?v...vt=0&eim=1,2,6
https://www.bing.com/search?q=4228hd...ZI&form=MOZSBR

I'm busy now .....but I've got several OLD antennas of that 4228 style. If you want I can take a pic of them with a yardstick for a dimensional reference so you can scale dimensions from the pic to make your own. I can even make up a engineering drawing of the shape and dimensions of the V elements and spacing...... It looks pretty simple.


Don't have to be fussy to home make a good antenna.

As a kid, Years ago with parents on vacation we were at a motel near Miami. Tv only had rabbit ears for antenna, didn't get much. I found some scrap A/C metal screen, broom stick, and pieces of old 300 ohm twinlead in a trash pile in the woods..... with some masking tape , scrap plastic , and aluminum foil I made a corner reflector UHF bowtie antenna.... so I could watch the TV shows I wanted to, 3 stoogers, With my antenna tied to back of TV cart the video came in strong, without it about nothing. I was ~ 14.

Looked similar to this https://www.bing.com/images/search?v...vt=0&eim=1,2,6
.

Last edited by len k; 09-16-2019 at 03:37:58 PM.
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Old 09-16-2019, 03:44:49 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas... weaker signal

Soon broadcast TV is going by the wayside. The TV stations want you to go cable or satellite, where they can charge you to view the stations. When the trade center buildings were up, I had no trouble receiving 11 channels. After the fall, that went down to 8. When the stations went digital, It went to 3 weak stations at ground level. Where I am now, even with a boosted antenna, i can omly receive 4 channels -channel 2 CBS (local)intermittantly and 3 asian (korean). Nothing else comes in due to a mountain range between me and NYC. never had that problem with analog. yeah digital gives a better picture, but it is line of sight. Worthless if you cannot receive it. i am not paying $100 a month just to watch reruns!
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Old 09-16-2019, 03:46:34 PM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas... weaker signal

Len, That is some impressive engineering talent for a 14 year old. The 4228 I'm pretty sure I have an engineering drawing for. I just don't know which storage drive I put it on. I just never got back to antenna tinkering. There really isn't much on anymore worth watching. Except for the local news, I don't watch the local channels much. Not since they took off THIS with all the movies. Spend most of my time watching cable on Friday nights. Ancient Aliens is on at 9pm. New season is coming back shortly.

Robert
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:40:49 PM
len k len k is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas... weaker signal

Thank you , but back then I didn't really know the RF math, I just could see the basic design of the UHF corner reflector, trial and errorred the distances. I had seen them before in catalogs and when I put two 4228 on our roof.

When I was a kid ~ early 7-th grade getting a haircut at the barbershop. Guy wanted to throw out bunch of popular science and electronics magazines from cellar, he offered them to us, only I took them.......that got me interested in science and electronics. After I read those magazines I wanted more..... every Saturday I would go to store and get a new electronics/science magazine, ..... scientific American even.

That accidental event likely was what pushed me into being a techie. I strongly recommend it for anyone with kids, but it has to appear accidental , not parents pushing it. It also helped that I was good in math. By time 7-th grade started I was put in an advanced math class.....algerbra.

In early grade school I didn't get good grades in math. So ma/dad MADE me learn the multiplication tables over summer. Tables were taped on kitchen cabinets and she made me recite them every time I passed them... it worked.


I was reading electronics magazines while other guys at school were still reading comic books.....made this tesla coil for 8-th grade science fair from plans in an minor electronics magazine. I'm MSME now.

Pic of my Tesla coil (front page of newspaper).... https://www.smokstak.com/forum/attac...4&d=1433271248

Helped that I grew up at dad's car repair garage. I could see how to make things, we did a lot of engine and sheet metal body work.


I don't watch much TV either except for comedian shows at 11:30PM Steaven Cobar and such...........I don't think much of $$$$$$ cable either.....even years ago when economy was good they ran a LOT of reruns......then economy worsened and was nothing but reruns of reruns, of reruns, wife canceled her cable.
.

Last edited by len k; 09-16-2019 at 07:39:09 PM.
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:20:12 PM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas... weaker signal

Len, You remind me of the way kids used to be. Some of them actually cared and learned something valuable. Me, I'd have been messing with Lionel or American Flyer most likely back then. Although I still prefer HO/OO scale. HO was not very common though until the late 50's early 60's. I'm no rocket scientist though and Algebra was damn hard for me. I ended up having to do it a couple time till I got through it.

Cable, Err Ain't a damn thing worth watching most of the time. I've been pretty close to cutting the cord several times. I just like Ancient Aliens and one other show and want to be able to watch them.

Robert
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:26:39 PM
len k len k is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas... weaker signal

Back then as a kid dad had me working on cars, I'ld take whole car metal dashboard out ( door to door) on 1967 Chevy Malibu's just to fix a bad gas gauge, speedometer, or other electrical problems in dash. Took 3 hours to take out dash and replace. To see stuff under dash I'ld be upside down.... have my head under dash and my feet hanging over back of the seat. Was very comfortable, dad said he couldn't do that, so I did all that dashboard work.

When we recently went on vacation the hotel had cable......was nice to watch the stock market news again MSNBC??? around channel 47 ,also saw a nice science channnel, NASA. Wife liked watching the weather channel for the beach. But I just don't think those couple of channels are worth $75/month.....hummm got to talk with my neighbors about sharing ......


I'm thinking of getting netflicks.


In jr high school I wasn't doing that great ...so dad said concentrate on math and science....forget English, French and history.. ..... so i did.......

History teacher wasn't too happy when kid next to me ratted me out that I was doing last period's math homework in his class instead of listening to him........

But it worked ...... I continuously ACED my math and science courses....although I got maybe C's ?? in history and F's and D's in english ( had to talk him into giving me a D- so I could pass the course, I was worried that class may make me stay back a year ..... Successful mechanical engineer now, wife's an english major, so that helps when I write legal paperwork.

.

Last edited by len k; 09-17-2019 at 02:51:15 PM.
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:46:11 PM
Railroads Railroads is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas... weaker signal

Len, At 6 I used to do that on the couch and would pretty much back flip off the darn couch. Mom used to freak out for some reason. Nowadays I think I would pass out. Being upside down makes me sick to my stomach anymore too.

Working under the dash is admittingly one of those things that brings out the cuss words pretty fast. Glad I don't have to do that sort of thing very often.

Yeah, cable is ridiculously expensive for what it is. I got the package deal for phone, internet, cable tv. Keep the phone and internet, but stuff the TV I am thinking.

My AM/FM radio is 30 years old but still works fine. Yet I believe they are getting ready to stuff up the radio now too. I guess they are considering going digital with the AM/FM too.

Robert
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:53:19 PM
len k len k is offline
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Default Re: Boston area TV stations changed their antennas... weaker signal

Think only way to win with TV service is to keep switching back and forth between cable and satellite so you stay in each's promotional pricing. Cancel the service and switch providers when promo pricing ends in ~ 1 year.


When we got Comcast internet only it was ~ $25/mo. Then after a year jumped to maybe $45-50/mo.....now I'm at $75........I gota call for DSL internet they have a $43/mo promo deal

That or have wife call for internet installation here in her old name to get promo pricing, claim she's moving from friends house into ( theoretical) apt here ....then I'll cancel my service. Swap back to my name in a year.
.

Last edited by len k; 09-16-2019 at 08:45:51 PM.
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