Player Error - weak signal?


I don’t have my UHF and VHF antennas stacked on top of each other because I found out that my UHF signals come in about 2 feet to the left of my VHF signals. I didn’t even mount my antennas high up in the attic. They are both near the floor mounted on wooden poles\stands (like my FM coat hanger) three feet apart from each other.

Another tip. You can add to the VHF dipole’s reception by sticking a copper pipe or tube (or even 4 or 6 gauge copper wire) as a reflector about 70 inches long, 20 inches directly behind the antenna (on another pole). That can add up to 30% more power to the antenna as it bounces the signal back onto the antenna.

Or a 4" by 70" long strand of chicken wire will act as a good reflector. Or a long roll of aluminum kitchen foil taped to cardboard.

Yes, that RCA preamp with separate VHF and UHF inputs will combine the two antennas. Make sure the switch on the bottom reads “Separate VHF UHF inputs” and not combined.


Got it and I plan On doing some type of reflector for the dipole. Great suggestions.


Good luck in your 6abc effort. It took me 3 years to get this one particular channel - changing antennas, looking for the right placement, building a reflector, getting the right preamp, etc. Eventually I got it - as they say, “If you build it, it will come.” Why did I persist when there were 20 other channels? Only this one station had my wife’s all-time favorite program (it wasn’t even out on VHS or DVD). I got healthier climbing up those stairs…and when we got that channel we recorded every episode of that freakin show!


I’ll keep you in the loop as to how I am making out. Thanks for the help.


I see what you did there :wink:


Not on purpose I can assure you! So the dipole did not work out. I did better using an fm antenna. Back to the drawing board I guess.

It did not pick up 6abc at all. I might try a different baking but I’m sort of at a loss right now.


How did you hook it up - through the RCA preamp? Was the RCA preamp set to separate VHF UHF inputs or combined?

6abc has an article on antenna reception:

They claim rabbit ears will do the trick…

The station also states in the article that, “6abc has the strongest signal in the area.” If this is true, then try hooking up the dipole without the preamp - directly to the TV or Tablo as a test. This way the preamp will not be overdriving their “strong” signal.

They also have some interesting observations on what can distort their signal:

"Because we are on a low-band VHF frequency the signal is subject to a lot of interference from electronics such as light dimmers, pool pumps, vacuum cleaners, etc. It is the same interference you may remember from older days of watching television, but instead of seeing lines on your screen and a whining noise, now you get a blank screen.

You can do a test to see if there is local interference getting in the way of your signal. Get an old-fashioned AM radio and tune it to an unused portion of the band (somewhere between 600-800 khz) and listen for a buzz. If you hear one, there is a source of interference nearby. That might hurt indoor reception as well. Look around and see if you can identify the problem. If you can turn it off, or move it, you may see an improvement."

As a last resort (test), you can try moving the dipole outside the house - anywhere - to a porch and see if the signal comes in.


I’ll try moving it outside tomorrow. And im testing the radio thing now.

I did not have it hooked up to the rca preamp when I tested it.


Maybe old fashioned rabbit ears will work (as 6abc claims)…


Tried the radio test, seemed ok, I did find some buzzing so I’ll try outside tomorrow. The buzz was the n the low end of the spectrum, around 600.

I tried a set of regular rabbit ears and there was no getting the channel, tried many different positions.

Maybe I should try mounting something on the front of my house. I got the blank screen they mention in the article when using the dipole. So maybe there is something with interference.


I don’t think it’s an antenna problem because you’ve tried different types of antennas. Someone with a signal meter would be able to walk around the house and property and decipher whether the signal is even reaching your area adequately or is being partially blocked.

It may also be a matter of placement - where the antenna goes. I had to walk around both my roof and attic for days to see where the signal comes in. In both the attic and on the roof there are “dead zones” or “null areas” where a signal is absent. You may need a partner to view the TV as you move the antenna from spot to spot and communicate through cell phones.

Outside, the antenna doesn’t need to be way up high. At least 8 feet off the ground. Tying the antenna temporarily to a pole (or even a tree) just as a 15 minute test.


Here’s another consideration. I went to TVFool and tried several different zip codes for the Philly area. 6abc comes in SUPER STRONG every which way. It may be coming in TOO STRONG for you. In which case no matter how you hook up the antenna, it is overdriving your tuners.

You may have to lessen the incoming signal. Stick a 4 way splitter in the way to dampen the signal strength by 4 (or even a two way splitter).

From any Philly TVFool report, 6abc is absolutely right when they claim in their article that their signal is the strongest in the area! Forget hooking up 6abc through a preamp.


So pick up a 4 way splitter and where should I place it. Right now I am testing right from the antenna to the tv.

My zip is 08012.


Antenna —> Coax —> Splitter —> Coax —> TV (or Tablo)


I think Home Depot has 2 or 4 way splitters, I’ll pick one up and see how it goes.

Do I need any kind of terminators on the unused splitter points.

I find it interesting that using a 4 tuner Tablo and the signal could be overdriving the Tablo and a tv tuner. When I ran a scan today, 6abc was showing three orange dots.

I added it to the guide and it was decent but pixelating from time to time.

I know people have mentioned on the forum that the 4 tuner Tablo tuners are subpar. Me I don’t see it. I can see channel 2 and it’s sub channels along with 3 & 4 and all their sub channels. But they show 1 red dot all the time. This is on my rca Yagi mounted on my chimney. I was getting 6abc up to March of this year, then it disappeared.


I think that article is right about simple rabbit ears getting 6abc. Their signal is that strong. A full wave dipole would have no problems whatsoever picking it up (inside or outside).

It could be that a two way splitter does the job as well. Pick up a 2 way and a 4 way (the cheapest possible never mind the expensive ones).

If you were trying to conserve the signal, terminators should be used to prevent signal leakage but we’re trying to lose the signal of all things!

If that doesn’t work, then we may have to consider that something is obstructing the signal from reaching your house. At the signal strength 6abc is showing all over the Philly area (on most zip codes for that region), a paper clip stuck into the tuner would pick up that channel.

If channel 2 is coming in well but Tablo is showing just one red dot, it could be that the signal is overtaxing the Tablo’s measurements and it has gone over the top and then restarted down at the bottom of its meter. That is the red dot is 6 green dots but since there can only be 5 green dots, the 6th one is restarting the meter from 1. Just speculating…:upside_down_face:


2 does not come in at all on the Tablo, 1 red dot all the time no reception at all.

Will report back tomorrow after picking up a couple of splitters.

Thanks for the options and all the help. Off to bed for now.


Do you know if any neighbors get 6abc thru OTA? Or anyone within a mile radius of your house?

One other possibility. Is there a powerful FM radio signal near you? This may be creating havoc with VHF TV. In such cases people put FM filters on the line from the antenna to the TV to get rid of FM interference. FMFool would show you all the FM stations around you and their power (FMFool shows you are flooded with FM stations in all directions). FM filters are usually a couple of bucks (Radio Shack used to have them):



I don’t know if anyone getting it over the air. One other guy in the next court has a Clearstream 2 or 4 v. Same situation was getting it and it simply disappeared.

I had the best results with 300 ohm wire. I’m gonna order some of that and try again. And I’ll order an fm trap and give it a go. I also want to try a better balun as well.


You mentioned a building going up that could be an obstruction. VHF has a certain amount of elasticity and will bend around objects.

If someone else in the area is experiencing the same thing then it has to be an external blockage or interference that came up at that point in time.

The 300 ohm wire - you can string 12 feet of it across the whole attic to act as the antenna. Like an old fashioned clothes line people used to have in their back yards.

The 6abc signal is very strong. The only thing I can think of that signal not effectively reaching your area is that the transmitting antenna has become directional and isn’t covering the whole region in a circular fashion. I’ve seen that happen where a transmitter suddenly starts broadcasting in certain directions and not others.