TV antenna question - not a Tablo problem

Fellow Tablonians -

I have an Amazon Basics 25 mile antenna with no amplification. For purposes of my question assume that I cannot move my antenna from the general area in which it is placed. Every station I want is within 2 miles of my house and the receiption is generally fine. But one station (ABC Channel 2.1), also less than 2 miles away, has spotty reception more often than I would like. When I look at tvfool, I see that the placement of the ABC broadcast antenna is not grouped with the antennas for all other stations. Here is a screenshot:

Do you have suggestions (I don’t mind buying a new antenna to replace the Amazon Basics if necessary) for how to get better recption on the ABC channel without hurting my reception on the rest of the channels I get?

Appreciate any suggestions you might have.

Being that close, perhaps an omni-directional antenna will get all the stations (e.g. ChannelMaster Smartenna or Mohu Leaf).

Another method: since ABC is 200 degrees outside the sweep of the other stations, one directional antenna will not get ABC and the others reliably. Get a second small directional antenna and aim it at ABC (with the original antenna aimed at the other stations). Join the two antennas with a $2 splitter reversed to be a combiner. Output of combiner goes to TV.

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Sorry my post may not have been clear. I am a Tablo user and want to run the OTA through the Tablo so I would not want the output to go to the TV - I want it to go to the Tablo.

Output of combiner can go to Tablo.

Being a new Tablo owner for just two days, I should now make it a habit of remembering that Tablonians hook antennas up to a Tablo and not necessarily a TV… BTW I’m also in Atlanta, up Cumming way so I recognize the channels. It’s interesting that from Forsyth County (30 miles away), ABC does fall in line with all the other channels but not when one is so close to the broadcast towers (question of angles). In my case ABC is at 202 degrees and the others at 205 so one antenna brings them all in.

You could you try putting a splitter between the antenna and the tablo to lessen the signal strength in case the signal is overpowered. From what I’ve seen on here the tablo has an internal amp which could be causing this.

If that doesn’t work I’d suggest moving the antenna around a bit because it could be multipath interference, but I know you said to assume it needs to stay where it is so I’d try the splitter first.

You shouldn’t need to replace your antenna. You could probably get everything you want with a paperclip at your location. In fact, you should try that. :wink:

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I agree while it might be poor signal reception of that one channel it is also possible since you’re so close that the signal is over powering the Tablo tuner resulting in signal issues. Trying a splitter to degrade the key is a good idea, or you can even get a fancy attenuator for a few dollars too.

Using the same antenna exactly where it is, if you plug it in directly to your HDTV do you have any issues with the video on ABC?

Will try direct to the tv and will try a splitter to see if signal is overpowered. It seems to me it is more likely the location of that particular broadcast tower that is causing the spotty picture rather than an overpowered signal. Appreciate all suggestions I have gotten.

@CraigRoyce suggested adding a second antenna pointing towards the weak station and then combining the two using a combiner/splitter. That seems pretty logical to me - any reason why that shouldn’t work?

There are lots of variables here, and it may not be possible to know the answer. At the end of the day your best bet is to use an iterative approach–that is to say that you should try several different things to see what works. Some things you could try are:

  • try the antenna at different positions, angles, or rooms.
  • add a second (or even a third) antenna and combine them with a splitter (used backwards)
  • add attenuation
  • try a different antenna (an omni-directional one for example)

There may be several things going on that are going to be trouble for you.

  • You may be too close to the tower. A standard Marconi antenna radiates in a pattern that looks like a donut. You may be in the “donut hole.”
  • You may be close enough to the tower that you are in the near field as opposed to far field (point source). Near field RF is almost voodoo. Simply moving the antenna a few inches can make a world of difference.
  • You may be experiencing multi-path RF effects. This is where the source signal “bounces” off of something else and competes with the direct line signal your antenna sees. Again, this is almost impossible to model, and you combat it by antenna position, attenuation, etc.

Good Luck

In my case this method (combiner) works. I could not get ION, which is 85 degrees away from all the other stations. Now I have an antenna aimed at ION and join it together with an antenna pointing at all the other stations.

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Just bought a second indoor antenna and a splitter/combiner and will fool around this weekend. Will let you know how it goes. Thanks for all the help!

If the second antenna interferes with the first antenna (its signals are diminished), there is another solution slightly different in the combining aspect. Sometimes a second antenna can get signals that the first antenna gets but they are out of phase and hence distort the original signals from the first antenna. The solution to that is a Jointenna. One inserts the first antenna into the “All” port and the second antenna into the “39” (ABC) port. The output would go to the Tablo. The “All” port filters out ABC while the 39 port filters out all the others thus preserving only the signals required (not the duplicate or secondary ones) from each antenna.

Should you need one, I have a WSB Jointenna for the Atlanta ABC frequency that I am no longer using. Also this vendor (eBay) sells them (ChannelMaster used to make them but no longer). One specifies the channel required at purchase time (for ABC\WSB 39 is the real channel, 2 is only its virtual designation).

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I think the signal strength is likely way too strong for most of those stations. I’d say get three 10db attenuators in front of the Tablo. Use whatever combination of them that gives the best signal

I’d 2nd the Smartenna (if you have to buy a new antenna and the combiner doesn’t work). I have it mounted on my roof and pick up channels in all directions, the farthest away that has full green (according to Tablo app) is 17 miles away.

BTW this is the smartest omnidirectional DIY antenna I’ve ever seen:

I’d paint it, place some lamps on it and hang it as a lantern.

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Well, that would solve my problem because if I showed that to my wife, she would kick me out of the house and I would have no need for an antenna.

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Ha I almost built that one, but ended up building the db4 version instead (btw it’s hidden in my attic so I don’t have to live alone :wink: ).

Same here; after being dissatisfied with most purchased antennas over the years, I finally built my own for my situation. I had to address being in a valley surrounded by hundred year old 50 foot Georgia pines on all sides. Solved my problems with a few stacked db4s built as per MClapp’s specifications (which work great through tree barriers). My Tablo reports full signal strength on most channels when I did not even expect any signals at all a few years ago. Antenna design, construction and placement makes a difference.

BTW I was pleasantly surprised by the Tablo’s tuner sensitivity (which I did not expect). It does a marvelous job picking up my stations in a very difficult area! Even after I had split the signal four ways coming from the antennas.

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@CraigRoyce I just wanted to report back that your suggestion about getting a second antenna (I got an inexpensive RCA Ant to go with my inexpensive AmazonBasics) and using a $2 combiner seems to have solved my problem (and may be useful for other Tablonians with similar problems). Appreciate your help. This thread is the Tablo community at its best - those with helpful information helping those in need of helpful information. Thanks.

What happens if you use a combiner with two antennas that get similar channels but of course one antenna picks up one channel really well and the second antenna picks up another channel really well?

What happens to the channels that both pick up? Is there interference?