Thursday, July 09, 2009

A straightened paper clip will lead you to digital nirvana

KOAA chief engineer Quentin Henry posted this in comments, but it's much too interesting not to pull out to the main page:

Too large of an antenna is a common problem...

Gone are the days (and practices) of analog Television. "Back in the day" (of analog) More antenna was better, no longer is that the case.

TOO LARGE of an antenna can cause the stronger signals to cancel out themselves due to "reflections" of it's own signal coming in 180 degrees out of phase from the side gain of the antenna.

Digital is NOT as forgiving on "Ghosts" (reflections) as analog was. Analog "Ghosts" used to look like echos, or shadows in the video. In Digital the signal just kills it's self.

Flat antenna wire will cause problems too. It is NOT shielded and it DOES act as an additional ANTENNA picking up signals (reflections) out of phase killing the digital signal. Too high of a signal into the receiver can cause the digital receiver to NOT demodulate (receive) the Digital signal, a $2 20db attenuator can help in some cases.

SOME RABBIT EAR antennas have a built in amplifier and that amplifier can cause MORE problems that it solves. MANY cases we have the viewer "un-plug, or by-pass" the amplifier to get perfect signal on ALL digital channels.

Rabbit ear antennas have performed very well in Black Forest, Monument and other areas we have had difficulty with analog in the past.

SUMMARY: Old analog antennas WILL work IF they are not TOO LARGE, and do not have flat antenna wire more than 3 inches on the system.

StationsIn order of strength:

KOAA-42-880,000 watts
KRDO-24-200,000 watts
KXRM-22-51,000 watts
KTSC-26-39,000 watts
KKTV-10-20,000 watts.

Here are some actual case studies:
1.) Black Forest can get KOAA and many others using a straightened paper clip instead of an antenna.
2.) Trinidad (120 miles away) gets us with a small 19"X22" panel antenna that is mounted in the rafters with no amplifier.
3.) Limon gets us with a small 3' antenna no amplifier, and can not see Cheyenne Mt., just the top of Pikes Peak.
4.) La Junta gets us with a small 12"X12" panel antenna no amplifier.


1.) Do NOT use any flat wire longer that 3 inches.
2.) Do NOT use any amplifiers with in 60 miles.
3.) You can Reduce Rabbit ear gain by making the rods as small as possible.
4.) If you can receive channel 30 ANALOG, even a weak signal with sound, you should be able to receive all the digital channels.
5.) An out side antenna MIGHT be needed IF you can not see Cheyenne Mt. due to local terrain, hills, mountains, but not due to vegitation, trees etc...


At 9:50 PM, July 09, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Contrary to what the "Chief Engineer" having the most powerful signal does not make it the one most people can see. They have to have the most powerful signal because they are the one's on the highest UHF channel. Isn't that true. If they had a lower Channel assignment they wouldn't need all of that power. Correct me if I am wrong.

At 5:14 AM, July 10, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both are correct. KOAA does put out more power, and they are higher frequency than many of the other DTV stations. That is physics, more power is needed on higher frequencies. That is why a red (455 Thz) laser is more common than, say green (570 Thz) or for that matter blue (710 Thz).

Good question though!

At 7:40 AM, July 10, 2009, Blogger AndyW said...

But soon KKTV will have the most power!

One of my coworkers tried the paperclip trick last night and said it worked!

At 7:54 AM, July 10, 2009, Blogger AndyW said...

And why is "chief engineer" in quotes? It's not like he's faking it - he's the chief engineer.

At 3:31 PM, July 13, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, I've tried the paper clip, non amplifier, moved the antenna in the house around, but still can't get KOAA. I get the other channels though perfect. How can they be the most powerful and they are the ONLY one's I can not get.

At 10:32 PM, July 13, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The paperclip TOTALLY works! I'm watching KKTV-HD right now with no problems on my new 32" Samsung with built-in tuner. I'm going to try it on my mom's converter boxes tomorrow.

At 9:19 AM, July 14, 2009, Blogger AndyW said...

Like I said, I have to move my antenna around to get KOAA. What part of town are you in? What style of antenna do you use?

At 7:44 PM, July 14, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before the paperclip, I was using an RCA antenna with a 30 db amp and got all the local digital channels.

I live on the westside of Downtown COS near Monument Valley Park. I took two large metal paperclips and twisted them around one another (Macgyver Sytle) to weave them together and stuck one end from one paperclip into Antenna In parallel to the floor. I get channels 5.1-48.2 and everything in between.

I tried the weaved paperclips at my Mom's work in Downtown COS next to the DTV Center (ironically) at Bijou and Wahsatch and we had some occasional minor interference with channels 48.1 & 48.2 but it still worked.

Then, I tried the weaved paperclips at my Mom's house in Fountain and it didn't work quite as well. Her antenna with the 30 db amplifier worked better there.

At 2:31 PM, July 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Rockrimmon and cant get PBS. I have HDTVs with tuners and rabbit ears. I just recently began to get KKTV again (it was gone for 3-4 weeks after the conversion). Any suggestions on how to maintain the CBS signal and get PBS too?

At 3:40 PM, July 20, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not entirely sure...have you tried the paperclip(s) or an amplified antenna?

At 10:31 AM, July 21, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For PBS - do a "re-scan" from your TV or converter box menu - I think they changed channels.

They'll show up again as 8-1, 8-2, etc., but they're "actually" on a different channel.

I was missing PBS for several weeks before I thought to try it!

At 6:29 AM, November 25, 2015, Blogger Jade Graham said...

Too high of a signal into the receiver can cause the digital receiver to NOT demodulate outdoor antennas


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