Strange signal issues

I have a Antennas Direct DB4e antenna on my roof with a Winegard signal booster attached.
I have no splitters but there is one joint with a F-to-F joiner.

On nearly every recorded show, on every channel, I experience periodic picture break-ups on part of the screen. I had hoped the signal booster would help but it hasn’t seemed to make much difference.

Anyway, it really seems like when I am watching live TV the break-ups happen much, much less often and are not nearly as bad.

Now, I supposed it could be based on the time of day. I was thinking maybe my HD was starting to fail but I would expect that to affect live TV too. Also, the break-ups appear to be part of the signal because if I pause the show the break-ups are paused too.

All my channels show a green dot in the Tablo app.

Are there trees in the way of the antenna? Swaying branches\leaves will cause signal disruption.

There are a lot of trees in my neighborhood.

Specifically in the line between the antenna and the broadcast towers? Within 20 to 30 feet of the antenna?

In the cooler seasons when the leaves are off the trees, there is less impact on reception. When spring arrives, then summer, reception can fall off by 15-20% with signal disruption.

Yeah, this may be a losing battle. I have broadcasts coming from multiple directions and there are so many trees. I did raise the antenna a bit late last year but the trees just keep growing.

It’s just so weird. I was trying to watch shows recorded last night on CBS and it was just terrible. I had to keep the captions on because the glitches were causing me to miss words being said.

Today I’m home and watching CBS live and I’m not seeing ANY picture issues at all.

I can see it’s not windy at all now and maybe it was last night. I do know there was some rain in the area last night.

How far apart are the stations? The DB4e has about a 40 to 60 degree spread in beam width (depending on frequency). If the stations are further apart, putting its “view” in the middle between the spread of stations may be compromising some of its signal effectiveness. The DB8e has the ability of turning each of its DB4e panels in a slightly different direction in order to align each 4 bay more towards a certain signal direction.

Not a pleasant alternative, i.e. getting a new antenna if that’s a solution.

Rain (or clouds) by itself won’t affect a signal. However the rain moistens and wets the leaves on the branches and that is what causes signal degradation. A dry day with leaves is better than a wet day with leaves.

Here is my TV Fool report:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3D5134ef25be2d0f

The stations I actually get are ABC, CBS, CW, FOX, NBC and a couple of PBS as well as sub channels from the locals.

Oh, my antenna has the front facing in a southwestern direction.

Last year I removed the wire reflectors from the DB4e because I do have some stations coming in from opposite directions and the reflectors were blocking signals from the backside. That helped quite a bit.

Are you saying that each of the 4 “bowties” can be independently turned to different directions?

I’m not opposed to a new antenna but this is my 3rd one in about 2 years. I started with a Mohu leaf, then went to a Winegard, which was too small.

All that’s suggested is true. I’m seeing similar issues as I’m trying to align antennas. What I noticed was that repeated scans with the antenna in the same position would start showing increasingly poor reception on many channels. Mind you – I was no longer changing antenna angles. When I went to check on the Tablo, I noticed it was REALLY hot. A working hypothesis is that the repeated scans were taxing all the tuners, thus increasing dissipated heat. I can certainly see losing a couple of dB of sensitivity on the tuners at elevated temperatures. If you’re on the hairy edge it might might make the difference. It’s really hard to point the finger at anything just because there are so many variables you cannot control (wind, trees, etc.). However, I’ve been reading that some are using laptop coolers on the Tablos.

The DB8e is composed of two DB4e antennas. Each DB4e on the DB8e can be turned into a different direction (i.e. each set of 4 bays together in the panel). One can get two different directions for the whole DB8e antenna with both sets of signals coming through a common wire:

From the TVFool report, the spread is from 28 degrees to 350 with stations in the 220 to 260 range. That’s quite a spread of signals! The DB8e would help with the 220 to 305 spread but those outside of that range??? Perhaps an omnidirectional antenna like the Channel Master Smartenna…? The DB8e however has nice gain figures as opposed to a smaller omnidirectional.

“I’m not opposed to a new antenna but this is my 3rd one in about 2 years.”

Welcome to the club. I’ve done 15 to 20 antennas over a period of a decade - some imported from Europe! I even looked at an Australian design. I’m deep in the heart of Georgia with rows and rows of pine trees and cypresses to contend with.

Now that looks like a serious piece of business!

My thinking now is to maybe raise the antenna some more.

That’s almost always going to help. Height above ground is king for line of sight to the transmitters.

His signals are not LOS - they are 1 and 2 edge. As well they are spread out over 300 degrees.

Height doesn’t always help. Some antennas perform better at lower heights which has been observed at several antenna design forums. This is especially relevant with 2 edge signal diffraction. Only experimentation can help here.

In looking at your situation, a DB8e would help with one panel aimed 240 degrees (to get ABC and PBS) and the other panel aimed 320 degrees (to get NBC and CBS). That leaves FOX which according to TVFool you can get with rabbit ears!

If you take the reflector off the first panel, that would probably bring FOX through the rear. However removing a reflector loses you up to 3 db signal strength which is considerable in the UHF world.

As an alternative, you could place the rabbit ears in the attic to get FOX and join the cable from the rabbit ears to the DB8e cable from the roof with a joiner. The FOX solution is $20 (rabbit ears plus joiner). The DB8e is the expensive part. May not even need the rabbit ears if you still have the Mohu or Winegard which you can use instead in the attic just for FOX.

Or inexpensively build a multidirectional antenna like this one (which is quite ingenious):

Put some lantern shades around it and hang it out…

Ok, well I think those TV Fool listings are misleading. I think the NBC and FOX stations are broadcast from the same location as they are owned by the same station. They are 24.1 and 24.2.

All the stations except CBS are mostly fine. They have occasional minor pixelation. But sometimes CBS gets so bad it sort of locks up playback on my Fire TV.

When I dumped cable many years ago, and many years before Tablo, I purchased one of the Solid Signal Extreme Signal HDB8X antennas ($49.99 on sale). You can aim each half in different directions like the one in the photo earlier in this thread. I live exactly halfway between Milwaukee and Green Bay WI being about 50 miles from each location’s towers. Well I quickly learned that aiming half the antenna south the other north was not going to cut it. Many channels were unwatchable so I reconfigured the antenna to aim all 8 bays in one direction then aimed it an Milwaukee first and all the channels came in strong. Then did the same and got the same results aimed at Green Bay. I immediately ordered another one of the same antennas. The installation ended up with the north direction antenna highest on the pole and the south direction directly below it. I had solid reception on most of the local channels (now currently 48 channels). I’m also using an old Radio Shack signal amp and distribution amp (to 5 TVs) which by the way are unequaled compared to the stuff you get now a days. I did order new versions of amp and distribution amp years ago thinking the newer technology would work better. Well it didn’t so I went back to the old tried and true RS models which date back to the late 1990’s.

Then years later when my daughter purchased one of the ClearStream 4 antennas and got amazing reception I waited for them to go on sale again on Amazon, and when the did (half price) I ordered two. To my major disappointment the ClearStream performed poorer than my inexpensive (1/3 the price) HDB8X antennas. But while I was reconfiguring antennas I decided to do some experimenting (with the original lesser expensive antennas). First I arranged them both as high up the pole as possible back to back. That worked like crap. The next try was to reconfigure each antenna so half was aiming north and half south then mount them each on the pole so 8 bays (4 from each antenna) were lined up aiming north and the other half aiming south. Well that worked great and is my present configuration. See photo.

There are times when some channels do not come in well or not at all. Especially in summer on warm muggy sunny days. But I have signals coming from 2 directions and when Green Bay channels are a challenge the Milwaukee ones come to the rescue. Very seldom is there a show we cannot watch from one direction or the other.

CBS at 350 degrees is at the most extreme edge of your sweep. The antenna may be receiving it through a side lobe and not getting the full strength of the signal hence the pixelation. The difference between the first direction (ABC at 225 degrees) and the last (CBS at 350) is 125 degrees which is beyond the normal beam width of the DB4e. Off axis signals are also subject to multipath interference. @SophieCat aligned the HDB8Xs along the axis of Milwaukee and Green Bay for maximum effect.