Baltimore Maryland Reception Issue

Does anyone live in the Baltimore Maryland area? I’m having a reception issue.

I don’t live anywhere near Baltimore, but if you describe it to the group, I bet we could help.

All of the local channels out if Baltimore are good except CBS channels 13-1 and 13-2 which pixelates to the point of being unwatchable. I’m only 19 miles from the tower and have a strong signal from a 12’ rooftop antenna. Also when I connect the coax directly to the TV, bypassing the Tablo, the picture is perfect. Tablo tech support said he feels the problem is with the broadcast tower or associated equiptment but
I would think allot more people would be having the same issue

We lived on Ft Meade until 2 years ago. During our time there, the Baltimore CBS outlet (WJZ) was our favorite channel, but was also the channel that was most difficult to receive. I passed it off as being due to my use of an indoor antenna, and the over-saturation of the wifi channels in our high-density housing. Knowing that my retirement was quickly approaching, (and we would be moving away,) I didn’t put too much effort in coming up with a permanent solution.

With an large, outdoor VHF/UHF antenna like yours, I would suspect either oversaturation of the Tablo tuner or a faulty connector on your coax from the antenna. Not all tuners are created equal – some are more sensitive than others, and are more susceptible to signal overload. (WJZ is an incredibly powerful signal, sent out from high on Television Hill.) Sometimes connectors are mated in such a way that “cat whiskers” are contained in the body of the connector, which, in the presence of a very strong signal, can be a “sympathetic” antenna. This can create a multipath condition which digitally “confuses” the tuner.

If you are using any antenna amplifiers, you may want to remove these from the feed. Also, based on it’s size, your antenna sounds like it is somewhat directional.
Sometimes, adjusting your antenna a few degrees may help reduce some external multipathing.

Thanks for the information and congratulations on your retirement. I too thought it could be a over saturation issue but since I have an antenna rotor, I adjusted the direction from the optimal 112 degrees incrementally toward the Washington direction of 190 degrees with no luck. As for the coax connectors, I’ll replace all of them this weekend to see if it helps. Thanks for the information, I’ll post my results.

I live in the Baltimore area. You might want to try one if the LTE filters. It seems to have helped me a lot.

Thanks for the advice, I ordered one and it should be here in a few days.

I don’t think an lte filter will help with a powerful signal like that. You may need to figure out a way to reduce the signal for that particular channel.

Have you taken a look at If you plug in your exact address, it can give you a pretty good approximation of both signal strength AND obstructions. In many areas surrounding B’more, WJZ is listed as having “2-edge diffraction”, which means the signal is being partially blocked by terrain. This makes reception more difficult, as some of the signal “bounces around” and arrives at your location a bit later than the main signal, causing the image to break up. You may need to play with the antenna rotator and find where you’re getting the strongest, most stable signal from. Don’t be too surprised if it is actually somewhat off from the predicted value.

Other articles talk about finding an ideal location for the antenna on the house (a process called “walking the antenna.”) Hopefully with some adjustment of the inside rotator, and other suggestions you’ve received, you’ll get it nailed down this weekend.

Well, no luck on the LTE filter or the coax connector replacement. With a three day weekend approaching I’ll try another antenna type or relocating the existing antenna. According to TV Fool I’m at an elevation of 526 feet and 14.6 miles to the tower.

Since channel 13 (WJZ) is VHF, is your antenna VHF capable?

In the repack WJZ will be moving to VHF channel 11 by the year 2020.

LTE filtering applies to higher UHF frequencies.

Yes, It is UHF/VHF capable. It’s one of the big [almost 12’ boom] rooftop antennas that can pick up stations over 50 miles away depending which direction it is pointing. The Baltimore ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX antennas are 14.6 miles away according to the “TV Fool” website. I’m going to try a smaller, different type of antenna this weekend.

You can try attenuating the signal by simply sticking an inexpensive splitter before the Tablo to see whether the antenna is overdriving the Tablo’s tuner. I’ve noticed that in my situation the Tablo will suffer before the TV does when a signal is too powerful.

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Well, I actually did do just that, with the same idea. One leg of the splitter out going to the Tablo and the other leg going to the coax input of the TV so that I can still watch CBS by merely changing the input on the TV. Channel 13 CBS is only distorted when it passes through the Tablo, not when it is connected directly to the TV. I’ve also tried using the remote controlled antenna rotor incrementally turning the antenna away from the Baltimore tower 112 degrees east to a more southern and even a western direction with no noticeable difference. ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX are all 112 degrees east but CBS is the only problem channel. The reason I was looking for someone else in my area was to rule out a Tower/Broadcast problem. Thanks for taking an interest in the issue I’m having, It’s nice to know that the community is so willing to offer their assistance.

If it’s the reverse case, that you need more signal on just that one channel for the Tablo (and not the others), Jenca sells a “selective preamp” (between $30 and $40) - to boost up the signal strength for just one channel while leaving the others alone. I’ve had to do that in the past.

I’ve taken a look at the AVS Baltimore OTA forum thread and no one there seems to have a problem with channel 13. But then they are not dealing with the Tablo. I’ve also had the situation in which all my TVs and other DVRs work OK with a channel but not the Tablo. For a few years my Tablo would not get a specific channel but my Homeworx DVR did - so I had to use the Homeworx to record that one channel!

Would that be a defect in that specific Tablo tuner? I’ve been working to resolve the issue for almost a month now [when I have any time] but if it is a Tablo tuner problem I will attempt to return the Tablo as defective and order another one.

The Tablo has an internal splitter that weakens reception. It also has an internal amplifier to make up for the splitter loss. However amplifiers also ADD noise so the split plus the additional noise may be affecting that specific frequency. A TV has a better tuner than any DVR (even cheap TVs like the Insignia have better tuners than most DVRs). So this may be a general Tablo problem in your situation.

Since this is a VHF channel and VHF is more susceptible to noise, the Tablo’s amp adding noise to this signal may be what is causing the pixelation. Can there be something in the vicinity of the Tablo that is causing electrical interference given that VHF is the most open to this type of noise?

As a test, try surrounding the Tablo with aluminum foil taped to cardboard to shield it from any other device or appliance interference.

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Interesting, the rooftop antenna is roughly eight feet above the aerial electric lines to the house. From there the coax runs along the ridge vent on the roof for twenty feet where it passes through the vent to the attic, down a chase to the basement and across the ceiling to just over the Electric panel where it connects via a barrel connector to the cable that runs to the family room where the Tablo has been sitting just below the wall mounted TV on top of a sound bar. I’ll start in the morning by relocating the Tablo to where the coax exits the chase to see if that makes a difference. If not, I’ll try relocating the antenna. Regardless of the results, I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for the help.

Were you ever able to determine a solution for your problem? I just purchased an HDHomerun Quatro and I am having the same issue. Would love to know what your ultimate solution was.


I don’t actually have tablo but stumbled upon this discussion because I am having similar issues with the Amazon Recast. Here is the support forum thread:

AND guess what, some users of SiliconDust’s HDHomeRun have the SAME issues

CBS 13.1 is going to move from channel 13 to channel 11 (supposedly early in 2020).

Channel 11 that is now broadcasting on physical channel 11 is going to move to physical channel 12. It’s possible that this might help resolve the issue, as it seems the high VHF signals are not being handled properly by many devices. It might also not make any difference at all, but I thought it was interesting that the very same issue is appearing on so many devices doing the same thing.