Lost ABC 7 Chicago signal

OK, not really Tablo’s fault. The signal just dropped as far as I can tell.

I am 29 miles (SW) from the Chicago broadcast antenna. Historically (I’ve had SimpleTV and Tablo for years) the ABC 7 Chicago signal has been the strongest. However a little more than a month ago we realized the recordings of that channel stopped happening. So I checked and when I tried to tune to that channel all I got was the weak signal message. So I tried my SimpleTV (STV1…very weak tuner so I didn’t expect much) and it complained about a weak signal too.

I bought a new amplifier for my antenna (in case the other one went bad)…nothing. I went up into my attic and checked my antenna and the direction it was pointing (had to adjust it slightly to point exactly 31 degrees)…nothing. Well…nothing for the ABC 7 Chicago channel. I did pick up new channels that use to not be there (not that I care about them).

I cannot necessarily blame my Tablo as my SimpleTV cannot pick up that channel either (though it was always bad at picking up signals).

Anyone in the Chicago area experience a problem with that channel since early Sept?

No problem up in the north burbs around 40 miles away. Just tried it and it tuned in just fine.

@Eves - Have you tried running a new channel scan?

Yes, I’ve rescanned many times. In fact, I just tried changing my zip code to the same as the Sears Tower (I will never call it Willis Tower) where the broadcast signal is and still not ABC channel or it’s subchannel (lost that one too…never watched it though).

In between meetings I am going to hook a tv up to the antenna and see if it does any better. Yes…I know I should have done this long ago. I will report back what the TV reveals

Let us know how that goes…

There may be an issue with the originating broadcaster but given how many customers we have in Chicago I think we’d probably have heard about this by now.

Is it possible that there is a new tall building that went up recently? That could be blocking your signal.

I just ran a channel scan on my tv…no channel 7.1 (ABC Chicago).

As far as I know there would be no new buildings having gone up to interfer with the signal. Nearly all Chicago channels broadcast from the Sears Tower. So if I am getting the rest then it would seem odd that I lost ABC and LivingWell (or whatever it is called) alone.

I live in Dekalb. No problem with ABC what so ever and that’s 58 miles from the tower. Get both WLS TV out of Chicago and WREX TV from Rockford.

Maybe its my antenna. I guess I need to do some more checking

What type of antenna and what type of amplifier are you using?

That’s just weird. ABC is a strong signal. You say you jacked directly in the TV and still Nada?

My antenna is:

RCA Compact Outdoor Yagi HDTV Antenna with 60 Mile Range
It is in my attic pointing straight at the broadcast signal. When it went out a few weeks ago I went into the attic and checked. It was off by about 2-3 degrees. So I moved it (picked up more channels).

I’ve tried two different amplifiers now.

I live in a heavily wooded area. However, with all the ash trees dying in recent years there are far fewer of them than there use to be. So I’d say there are less obstructions than there use to be. And certainly nothing new in recent weeks/months/years.

It just seems so odd. ABC has been among the strongest channels since I first started with Tablo and now nothing from ABC.

If anyone has any recommendations for an antenna (for the attic) please let me know (or any other suggestion…besides a roof mounted antenna). I spoke to my wife this evening and she has no interest in paying for cable or satellite again (not even playstation vue or sling tv). So spending money on new antenna is acceptable if it means getting ABC back

In a wooded area bowtie antennas do better than yagi style (which your current antenna is). Bowtie antennas have a larger reception area which is preferable for gathering signals that are scattered by trees. Bowtie antennas such as the Antennas Direct DB8e or the Channel Master 4228. There are cheaper clones of these just as effective which some members of this forum have.

In an wooded area, low noise preamps (1 db noise or less) are preferable due to the signal scatter. Examples of these are the Kitztechs.

Two years ago I installed a Channel Master 4228 in the attic for a friend with a Kitztech KT-200 amplifier looking through a huge tree with a row of trees ten feet behind that one. Signals come in at 80 to 100% 30 miles from the broadcast towers.

If this approach doesn’t work and you are handy with simple tools, twenty dollars will allow you to construct an antenna specifically for the ABC channel\frequency to be combined with your existing one. Had to do this for another friend who had lost CBS and we got him a channel 46 custom made antenna from parts bought at WalMart and Home Depot…

Agree. In addition to the bowties, Antennas Direct also markets the Clearstream 4 for wooded areas. Some friends are using this antenna in their attic surrounded by trees. It has the same features as a bowtie.

Signals can subtly shift by several degrees over the course of time due to a variety of external factors. That’s why the broader bowties, covering a wider reception window behave better in these situations. A good quality preamp (less than 2 db NF) is essential in these circumstances.

A Clearstream 4 is an easy attic install.

Thumbs up on the Kitz 200. Excellent preamp! Good ole Wisconsin product. Right next to the cheddar…

You may not have lost ABC. The signal may have just moved over a few inches to the left or right of your antenna. This happened with CBS for me. After several years it came in a foot to the left of my antenna. I hunted around for it and found it coming in at a different angle. I couldn’t get it and the other channels with one antenna and had to put up another antenna in the new spot it was coming in. As TabloFan mentioned, signals can shift left or right, up or down and it appears that they have been lost when in reality they’re still around only at a different location. With any luck, that signal may have shifted slightly and a broader antenna will capture it.

Some considerations:

With attic installs, antenna location is primary! Should you experiment with a new antenna, the current location of your existing antenna may not be the optimum placement for your new antenna. Attics have what is called a “sweet spot” where all the signals converge. One has to hunt around for that location experimentally.

Alternately if the ABC signal has shifted sufficiently away from the rest of the signals, a second antenna to supplement the first may be in order. The two combined antennas may have to be joined with a special channel specific joiner to avoid signal overlap and interference.

Ok, ordering a Clearstream 4 today. Should I get the preamp now or wait to see how the antenna works?

Do I need to worry about a VHF retrofit kit? Someone mentioned it in the reviews I’ve seen for that antenna… specifically mention needing it for ABC in NJ. Sure I am not in NJ but I thought I’d ask.

You would need the retrofit VHF kit only if you have real channels below 14. A TVFool report would show if there are any VHF channels in your area. ABC is UHF in your area (7 is its virtual not real channel number).

I would first try it without the preamp. If you still have a previous amp, try it with that one after tests without a preamp. The good quality preamp would be a last resort.

I called channel 7 and they informed me that they are replacing the antenna on the roof of the Sears tower anyone south will not be able to get channel 7. This will not be completed for another 3 months. Bummer I know!!

Hmmm…having lived on all sides of the Chicago area I can say that the south side always gets the shaft. So reading that only the south loses their signal does not surprise me.