Error: Weak Signal (Among other strange things)

I was running channels tonight, and I tuned to PBS, which in the Philadelphia market is WHYY, VHF channel 12. The Tablo reported “Error: Weak Signal”. I switched over to my TV’s tuner to view channel 12, and I have a very, very clear 1080 picture. So I had the Tablo re-scan channels in the hopes that it would find things. All three channel 12 digital channels came up as a single red-dot. All three channel 12 channels on my TV’s tuner are as clear and crisp as day.

But the more I played with the Tablo the more flaky things became. I’ve seen “Weak Signal”, “Unknown Error”, “No Tuner Available” (Even though I wasn’t recording anything), and “Connecting to Tablo”. After seeing the odd messages, I couldn’t receive anything on any channel, they all reported “Weak Signal”.

I rebooted the Table using a cold-boot, and everything is back to normal, EXCEPT channel 12 is still dead.

So what’s up with one channel being dead? Could this be a zip-code database issue? (This is a +35 db s/n ratio signal according to TVFool. And it receives perfectly on a much smaller patch antenna.)

Just curious how to troubleshoot something like this.

Doubt this is related to guide issue, what kind of antenna do you use and do you use any amplifiers? VHF channels can be tricky, I have an issue with one channel that’s vhf when it’s freezing outside I tend to lose it now and then.

Also have you tried to watch this channel for an extended period of time, without passing by the Tablo? I’m asking cause the image might be clear when you tune in but if you watch for an extended period of time, you might notice some stutter in the image, this would likely mean your antenna doesn’t perform very well for VHF channels.

Hi @jayeffgee — The Tablo is connected to an attic yagi antenna, and an RCA amplifier. When I originally set it up, I had all 5 green balls on all channels. (Including the channels that are getting no signal now.)

I just went back to the channel setup screen, and my other PBS station (23.1 WNJS) now also shows a single red-dot. So both of my PBS channels are showing no signal at all. (BTW, in my area channel 23-1 is the second strongest station in my lineup, at +50 db s/n ratio. That one is UHF channel 22, so it’s not even restricted to VHF channels.)

It’s like my Tablo quad-tuner has gone crazy, and won’t tune to certain channels…

As for passing near the Tablo, I never do that. It’s upstairs in a storage room directly below the antenna. I only go in there to reset it when it gets crazy, which is not very often. But it is freezing outside tonight. I still don’t understand how it can go from full signal strength to absolutely nothing… It’s a puzzle…

There is something different about the Tablo tuner lately. I use multiple antennas with amplifiers and combiners and normally show 5 dots on the channels I use with the Tablo tuner. With the cold weather here in suburban Seattle (low 20’s) I am showing 1 dot on KCTS PBS channel 9 on VHF. In my situation there is no problem because the channel records and views with no dropouts, despite the 1 dot signal level. Another VHF channel did drop out and showed no signal for 2 days but today is back fine. I have my Tablos in the garage where the temperature runs in the low 30’s so maybe that’s the problem, but otherwise it works fine.

@Vorlon — (I like the name.) My wife says that she has seen the “Weak Signal” message sometimes when she’s tuning to watch a live program, but that if she tries a second time it usually comes in clearly.

I wonder if it’s just the signal strength measurement that’s doing bad things…

My Tablo is in a room that’s cool, but probably never below about 65 degrees F. I suspect that’s not cold enough to cause any temperature related reliability problems.

I wouldn’t recommend having the Tablo out in the garage.

If the RCA amplifier is dying / dead, you’ll have signal issues.

Does your TVs tuner tell you the signal strength? If you have a signal that is right on the edge, between good and bad, the picture may be good only temporarily. When checking my signal strength I usually shoot for about 80% or better.

If you’re still having this issue, send the details to our support team and we can take a look.

@TabloSupport — A couple of other things I want to try first… I only started noticing this when it got cold outside, and I have my antenna amplifier in the attic. If the amplifier is unstable or overloads when it gets cold, that could cause something like this. We will have a warm day here on Thursday, I’d like to check it again then. Also I want to put a patch antenna in the attic to see if it’s related to my antenna setup, or if the Tablo is having this problem on its own… I’ll be sure to post my results here when I find them.

@TabloTv — One more thing I forgot to ask… When I go to the channel edit screen, are the signal strength bargraphs “live”, or do I have to re-scan channels to update the strengths? (I remember that on older firmware that we needed to re-scan, but that was a while ago and I don’t know if anything has changed.)


@jberting Good question! They are not live, they show you the results of the previous scan. To get up-to-date results, run a new scan!

@TabloSupport — This is beginning to look more like a problem with my antenna amplifier. Two days ago it was 14 degrees and I had zero signal (one red ball) on channels 12 and 23. Today it is 36 degrees and I have three-balls of signal on channels 12 and 23, but I now have no signal (one red-ball ) on channel 65.

Thursday it’s supposed to be 60 degrees. That should be warm enough to identify whether this is really a temperature issue. (The Tablo is not in my attic, so its temperature has been pretty stable.)

@jberting - Wonder if someone sells antenna amplifier earmuffs? :wink:

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