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June 16, 2020 7:04 am  #1


Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

Anyone else been having odd OTA reception problems the past few weeks? Mine started just after WIVB and WNLO supposedly upped the power on their new transmitter site. It came in great for about a day or so – and then nothing. Sometimes it was there and sometimes the screen would be black. Often the signal strength was listed at around 45-50, but the signal quality was at zero.
 
And then the same thing started to happen on Channel 17. Even its inconsistency wasn’t consistent! I wondered if this had something to do with their new transmitter. So I called Joe Puma, the chief engineer at WNED and he was nice enough to give me a few minutes. He had a lot of interesting things to say. 
 
To start, he confirmed Channel 17 was at full power and that he hadn’t had many complaints from north of the border. And then he told me that WNED and WUTV, Channel 29, are on the same tower. “Right now the only stations on the same stick north of Buffalo on Grand Island are WNED and WUTV. The other stations are now back to their original purchase 30 miles south of Buffalo in the hills…so it’s difficult to get an antenna pointed from Toronto so it gets both.”
 
Which may explain my Channel 4 problem – I’ve been using a generic rotor position aimed at Buffalo to try and get everything from there. That may not work anymore. And the distance from Toronto is very different now. But he suggests if I can get WUTV, I should be able to pull in 17 as well. “Use Channel 29 as a bellwether, because they are on the same tower but they’re gifted with more power. So to make sure the antenna is tuned perfectly, go to Channel 29 and rotate it until it gets the highest reading on Channel 29. That will at least make sure it’s pointed in the right direction.”
 
He also suggests checking to see if your pre-amp that boosts the signal was made for an analog signal or a digital one. Apparently, there’s a big difference between the two. And replace any cable that wasn’t specifically made for HDTV. But what about the weather as a cause?
 
“It’s not the weather,” he says. “Depending on the ionosphere above large bodies of water like Lake Ontario, you can have signals that shoot right through it. Just keep in mind that the horizon comes into play as well as where you are. Because it’s roughly 80 miles, but the height of the tower mitigates that a bit. But some signals will bounce off the ionosphere, others will go right through it, depending on what the ionosphere is doing that particular day. And others will bounce all over the place and come to you from five different directions and cause multi-path and make it really difficult to receive.”
 
Channel 17 is now on channel 31 after the repack. What happens with the strong OMNI signal on Channel 30? “Digital TV is great in that way but if your receiver is overloaded with the signal from the CN Tower…Basically what it means is receivers are really good at discerning between digital channels, that’s why they’re all in a row now. Like in Buffalo, you’ve got 31, 32, 33 and 34 I believe. But the key being when you’re in a location, when you’d have a gargantuan signal on 30 and a relatively small signal on 31 that could swamp your receiver.”
 
And finally, be careful of a complete rescan when the Toronto stations make their final move. Depending on where your antenna is aimed, you might get less than you bargained for. “If you’re watching Buffalo TV and not having to rotate each time that’s difficult because now they’re separated by 30 miles most of the stations.
 
“You may very well get the station you want, but lose three others.”                    
 
Which may just explain why sometimes, I actually miss those analog days!

 

June 16, 2020 7:48 am  #2


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

In regards to receiving the seemingly more difficult Buffalo network affilliates these days, perhaps you could chromecast the ustvgo.tv site. If you are only interested in the daytime/primetime offerings of the commercial networks, this site will give you what you need. The PBS station on this site is WGCU in Ft. Myers, Fla.

 

June 16, 2020 9:33 am  #3


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

Great information.

 

June 16, 2020 11:13 am  #4


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

RA, well done.  But there are a couple of things he didn't mention.   This time of year, the heating of the land  between your location in Canada and the WKBW and WIVB transmitter sites well south of Buffalo, impacts signals particularly early morning and late night.  This is a phenomenon in the "troposphere" - the ionosphere, much higher up has nothing to do with UHF signals.   So, we also have the signals passing over many KM of water - L. Ontario or L. Erie.  The water temperature of L. Ontario is 48 F at this hour.   That's a big differential between the land temperature.  The water is 48F and the land is 72F. This is part of the cause of fog over the lakes, which impacts the UHF signals.  Sometimes it literally propels the signals, an actual "duct" forms in the troposphere - this is known as "tropospheric ducting" and sometimes signals can extend out by hundreds of miles through one of these tropospheric ducts.  I've been a "TV DXer" since the mid 1960's so I've seen a lot of tropospheric activity in this area.

But sometimes all of that water vapour between your home and Colden NY,  impedes the signals.  You will find that WIVB and WKBW are subject to a lot of fading, depending on the time of day, humidity, temperature, this time of year.  Yes, tower height are also part of the equation.  WKBW has been operating at reduced power and reduced antenna height.

Overall, things even out of course in the late summer, fall and winter, when the lake and land temps are closer together.  But it's brutal in May and June.  That's why some of us could receive WBXZ Ch. 56/RF Ch 17 (Cozi TV etc) from time to time in the past few months before they moved to Ch. 23.   This morning, for example, the religious station, WDTB-LP RF 29 "Ch. 39" was blazing in for an hour or so, due to the tropospheric effect.  Their transmitter is on an office building in downtown Buffalo.

Long term, things will settle out as we progress to more stable summer temps and the lakes warm up.

On the topic of pre amplifiers, the problem is also overload, from strong (local - i.e. CN Tower) signals.   Bear in mind that at the moment, we have at least 4 Toronto stations that are transmitting on 2 different frequencies.  The amount of local "RF" has grown significantly over the past 10 days while they are testing on Chs. 17, 18, 26 and 30.  In July (or slightly earlier) after shut down of their current transmitting facilities on Ch. 40, 41, 44, and 47, the signal levels causing preamplifier overload should decrease.  But of course, we have a couple of stations, CityTV and CIII who have also implemented power increases on Chs 17 and 18.  So the jury is still out as to "which" preamps will overload when the repack is completed.  there are certainly some models of preamps on the market today that aren't really going to work for reception of the weakest signals, which are in most parts of Toronto UHF 34 and 36 from those two sites south of Buffalo.   The Channel Master preamps have a tendancy to overload.    WNED, although pretty weak (175 kw), is much closer to Toronto in terms of path over land, and line-of-site so (great tower height and location), it is consistently stronger than WGRZ, WIVB/WNLO and WKBW in parts of Toronto.

Bottom line, whenever the Buffalo stations complete their tower repairs, which could stretch into late summer, and those 4 Toronto transmitters cease operation, we will know much better, how the Buffalo signals will fare over the long term.  I'm investigating the variable gain preamps made by Kitz Technologies.  They are reputed by the manufacturer to have better "overload" characteristics, when one is close to powerful transmitter sites (such as the CN Tower).

One other thought.  The issue of the "great lakes" effect was one reason why several cable companies went to a direct-to-studio fibre feed many years ago when they installed fibre in Buffalo.  I recall when WUHF (Fox) Rochester was negotiating with some cable cos in Ontario to provide microwave pickup of its signal (pre-fibre)...because the shot across the lake to Belleville was too often impacted by the lake temperatures.  WUHF eventually went up on a Canadian satellite if I recall correctly.

 

Last edited by tvguy (June 16, 2020 11:18 am)

 

June 16, 2020 12:11 pm  #5


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

Thanks tvguy. Your posts always teach me something. There's lots to unpack (repack?) in your message, but let me ask you about one thing I'm investigating in particular. I'm currently looking for a new pre-amp, because my old one is just that - very old and installed back in the analog days. It still works for the most part, but it's been sitting outside exposed to the elements for at least a decade or longer.

You talk about the Kitz Technologies variable pre-amp. It's the word "variable" that interests/worries me. I assume from that word that it can be adjusted depending on the signal you're trying to pull in. This is the same issue I have with the rotor. What if it has to be changed when you're not there? Supposing you want to DVR a show off of, say, WIVB and then an hour later Global - but you're not home. How can you adjust something when you're not there? 

From what you're saying, it looks like I should wait until the fall to pick the right one, once everything settles down. I have no idea if it will help, but it certainly seems time to look into something updated. Might even change the cable coming into the house, although I can see the price up going up with every inch of it from the roof to the living room. 

Anyway, thanks for the input. I always find it interesting and always worthwhile. And I suspect I'm not the only one. 

     Thread Starter
 

June 16, 2020 12:32 pm  #6


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

As an antenna user myself, always love reading this stuff!!  Thanks all.

 

June 16, 2020 4:16 pm  #7


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

Okay RA.  How many miles/km would you say you are from the CN Tower and is it directly in the path of your antenna heading towards WIVB and WKBW?   That's the starting point for overload issues.   I've contacted Kitz Tech and unfortunately their pre-amp that handles TV overload, is not good with FM overload.  A catch 22 in Toronto given the number of stations and FM RF from the CN Tower and FCP.  You'd have to install 1 or 2 FM traps which would lose a lot of the UHF signal.  Also the FM traps push your investment up significantly - if you can find a good FM trap.  So that's not going to be a solution in many parts of Toronto.  For someone like Saul who I believe lives outside of the GTA, that could be a good solution.   The Winegard LNB-200 XT Preamp works quite well only 3 miles from the CN Tower.  Its overload characteristics are better than most on the market.  It's selling at $87 on Amazon prime but there's used ones for $69 - with a warranty on Amazon prime.   This could be a safe bet.  I'm using some here and have had success despite signal levels from Local Toronto stations.  It has 20 db of amplification and under 1 db noise.  FM signals do not appear to be a problem with this pre-amp.  I also have a good comparison, because I have a Winegard LNA-200 and a Channel Master 7777 (30 db gain) pre-amp connected to the same antenna via a good splitter.   The Winegard performs very well.  I have tried different Channel Master pre-amps 7777's and 7778's on at this location - some have overloaded badly some have not.   So I would avoid Channel Master,  They have a model the 7777HD that can be switched to a lower gain, at the antenna, but that would mean, you set it and forget it.  I believe that the gain with that model of 7777 HD is equivalent to the  winegard with the overload switch engaged.  and it's a lot more expensive - nearly twice the cost.   So at the end of the day, you get 4 db more gain from the 7777HD without the overload engaged, but the noise figure isn't as good.  Like a rubic's cube eh?

Overall I think the Winegard is good value.  The other variable, and I have to ask, is what are you using for your antenna?  4-bay bow tie? 8-bay? Yagi - if so what brand/model?  Are you using Coax Seal or some other product to waterproof the connection at the balun on the antenna.  You'd be shocked to see corrosion on the coopper wire after 6 months to a year, in the connection to the antenna if not properly sealed.  That will rob you of signal.

At what height is the antenna above ground  and do you have a "view" over trees?  Tree leaves are fatal in summer weather, particularly when wet, in reducing incoming signals by a few more db.  So if you're looking directly into a lot of trees, a pre-amp won't necessarily solve your signal loss problems completely in summer, but a 20 db gain might stabilize your distant channels and in fall and winter, the falling leaves could resulting in a stronger signal.   Last thing.  There was a storefront - Tinker and Hack.  He sold a lot of Winegard pre-amps and he was getting quite a few "returns" with the Channel Master product, because of overloading in Toronto  so he was recommending the Winegard product.   I think he had good reason to promote the Winegard LNA-200 XT line. 

Suffice it to say, I've done more research here than most folks, including using different tuners, set top ATSC boxes and a field strength meter.   I can also tell you, and this may seem bizarre, that antenna location - a couple of feet one way or the other way horizontally can be a major factor.  In other words, just because you have an antenna at x feet above the ground does not guarantee good reception of WIVB/WKBW etc.  At 90 air miles to their transmitters, there are a great number of variables.   Reception from Grand Island, is a whole other situation.  

Hope I did not drone on too long.   After tinkering with UHF antennas, for about 52 years, you learn a thing or two.
Mostly, the aches and pains of climbing up a ladder to change amps, connectors, etc.   As Mike Holmes says, "do it right".

Last edited by tvguy (June 16, 2020 4:21 pm)

 

June 16, 2020 4:41 pm  #8


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

Wow, tvguy, lots to absorb (hopefully without leaves!)  and think about. My tech knowledge is very limited compared to yours, so I'm not even sure how I would answer some of your questions. I do have a UHF head, which has provided me with faithful service for years and every antenna tech I've ever consulted has told me it's as good or better than the new so-called HD special models. 

I'm still thinking my problem may be in the pre-amp and the wiring. So I'll be looking into that, although admittedly, I'll have to get someone to do the work for me. My days of climbing masts are over! 

As for trees, my antenna at the moment does tower over them, but there are a few evergreens that are on city property not far from my back fence that could eventually grow to great heights, and when I asked the city to trim them a number of years ago because they were getting in the way of my old and much missed C-Band dish (4DTV anyone?), they said they'd look into it - and that was the last I ever heard of it! So if I can't prune them and the city won't, they may one day be a problem. But not yet.  

Anyway, you've given me lots to think about, as always, and I sure appreciate the thoughtful and detailed reply. 

If worse comes to worse, I guess I just might have to move closer to Buffalo!  

     Thread Starter
 

June 17, 2020 9:14 am  #9


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

When buying an antenna here in the GTA Save and Replay always kept pushing me to the Antenna Direct DB4E due to its high performance.  Being on large 3rd floor balcony facing south here in Central etobicoke, a building to my left blocking site the the CN tower path, a tree in front of the antenna, it picks up all buffalo (WBBZ on tropo with no VHF elements) and all of Toronto along with for some reason Global Paris (which I think is reflecting off the building next to me).  

I dont know if its my location or the antenna.  Worth changing to a better antenna, a new RG6 cable and giving it a shot.  

 

June 17, 2020 11:50 am  #10


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

Question about CKVR while were on the topic of OTA

According to this:  https://www.rabbitears.info/tvq.php?request=items&facid=9561200    did they drop their ERP power when switching from channel 10 to 9?  

 

June 17, 2020 9:00 pm  #11


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

I learned something new from this thread, which is always a good experience.

Even after having been on Grand Island just a few days ago looking up at the towers, I didn't realize that WUTV is currently on Special Temporary Authority to operate from the WNED tower, instead of from its own usual tower just to the southeast. 

(If you're following along historically, the "WUTV" site is the one that was the original channel 29 analog site starting in 1970, though the tower that's there now was built later on during the DTV transition; the "WNED" site is the one that was built in 1987 when WNED moved 17 analog to Grand Island and signed on then-WNEQ 23.)

I'm pretty sure the STA facility WUTV is using right now on RF 32 from the WNED tower is literally the same RF plant that was the pre-repack WNLO/WIVB - same transmitter, same antenna. So if you got WNLO/WIVB before April, you're getting WUTV right now over exactly the same signal. Only the data it's transmitting has changed. 

WUTV won't stay on that signal forever. It has a CP to move back to the WUTV tower once the needed antenna replacement work is done. 

And there's a third TV signal from Grand Island: WNYO (virtual 49, RF 16) is on the WUTV tower, albeit at reduced power (101.7 kW) while it waits for its own final antenna configuration to be put into place. It may soon be a trickier catch in the GTA because of Global on RF 17. My experience has been that most DTV tuners don't do well with weaker signals on an adjacent channel just below a very strong local. For whatever reason, adjacents on the upper channel fare better, so WNED on 31 may not suffer as badly from Omni on 30. 

Meanwhile in WNLO/WIVB-land, it appears that signal is finally at its final antenna/power configuration down in Colden, south of Buffalo, either. A lot of tower/antenna work had been delayed because crews have largely stopped traveling except for emergencies - but WNLO/WIVB applied for a license to cover June 4, saying the construction had finished. So if you weren't getting WNLO/WIVB a few weeks ago, it might be worth taking another shot now that they're back on a top-mounted antenna at full power in Colden. 

(Trivia time: where was WNED 17 analog until it moved to Grand Island in 1987? It was in North Buffalo, on the Elmwood Avenue tower built by NBC in the 1950s for WBUF-TV 17, behind the building that had been planned as the WBUF-TV studio but which ended up becoming home to WBEN radio/TV. WIVB/WNLO are still in that building, and the tower is used by WBUF 92.9 and WGRQ 96.9.)
 

 

June 17, 2020 9:33 pm  #12


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

Another great post tvguy. You might be interested to know that I talked to Dr. Antenna, who you recommended in a previous thread on this very topic, and I'm going to see if he thinks a better pre-amp (he also likes the Winegard) will improve my Buffalo reception. It's been pretty frustrating the last few weeks.

The WIVB/WNLO combo is there one hour and then two hours later, both are gone. Channel 17 comes in perfectly and then ten minutes into a show, it goes to black. Pretty frustrating, but if I can tweak a few things, we'll see if it makes a difference. Thanks for the suggestion to call him. His Homestar reviews are pretty good and my tower climbing days are behind me! 

     Thread Starter
 

June 18, 2020 3:13 pm  #13


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

Scott, no problems even 3 miles from the CN Tower with Ch. 16 Buffalo (PSIP ch. 49).
I've tried a variety of antennas and amps with various receivers.   I'm pleased to note that WNYO -  at reduced power under their STA, has not been impacted by Global on Ch. 17.

WNED is really the most-improved signal.  No impact whatsoever from Ch. 30 Toronto. Amplified or non-amplified.   WNED has been very steady, since they moved to Ch. 30 and upped their ERP to 175 kw.

I'm assuming that to date, the Toronto stations are running their (full) authorized power from the CN Tower. CIII would be running around 59 kw on Ch 17.







 

 

June 18, 2020 4:46 pm  #14


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

tvguy wrote:

Scott, no problems even 3 miles from the CN Tower with Ch. 16 Buffalo (PSIP ch. 49).
I've tried a variety of antennas and amps with various receivers.   I'm pleased to note that WNYO -  at reduced power under their STA, has not been impacted by Global on Ch. 17.

WNED is really the most-improved signal.  No impact whatsoever from Ch. 30 Toronto. Amplified or non-amplified.   WNED has been very steady, since they moved to Ch. 30 and upped their ERP to 175 kw.

I'm assuming that to date, the Toronto stations are running their (full) authorized power from the CN Tower. CIII would be running around 59 kw on Ch 17.

 

Did the CN tower get new antenna arrays or still using the ones from the 70s?
 

Last edited by markow202 (June 18, 2020 4:46 pm)

 

June 19, 2020 9:03 am  #15


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

So it looks like when the repack is completed, most of the GTA channels will be found 14-20 and 29-36. For those who enjoy DXing, I have discovered that WROC Rochester and WSEE Erie operate on ch 21 and WUHF Rochester and WJET Erie are on ch 28.

 

August 6, 2020 8:24 am  #16


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

By the weekend, you are likely to see a major improvement in WKBW reception.   Possibly WUTV and WNYO as well.  Based on postings on AVS forum, the helicopter crew is expected to hoist the new antenna for WKBW today or Friday.   It is also expected that the crew will also hoist a new antenna for the WUTV Grand Island Tower site, where WNYO and WUTV will broadcast from on RF 32.

 

 

August 6, 2020 9:02 am  #17


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

If only someone could do something about WIVB and WNLO. I thought the repack might improve them in some way.  The truth is most of the time, I've lost them entirely. And nothing I've tried to boost the signal from Colden, N.Y. has helped. I don't expect things to get much better as we head to winter. 

     Thread Starter
 

August 6, 2020 11:39 am  #18


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

tvguy wrote:

By the weekend, you are likely to see a major improvement in WKBW reception.   Possibly WUTV and WNYO as well.  Based on postings on AVS forum, the helicopter crew is expected to hoist the new antenna for WKBW today or Friday.   It is also expected that the crew will also hoist a new antenna for the WUTV Grand Island Tower site, where WNYO and WUTV will broadcast from on RF 32.

 

Thought WNYO Channel 49 was on RF 16. Is it changing?

 

August 6, 2020 11:40 am  #19


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

RadioActive wrote:

If only someone could do something about WIVB and WNLO. I thought the repack might improve them in some way.  The truth is most of the time, I've lost them entirely. And nothing I've tried to boost the signal from Colden, N.Y. has helped. I don't expect things to get much better as we head to winter. 

Have you tried looking at tvfool coverage maps for your area of these stations?  You could just be in a dead zone for them regardless of what you do.  Also how old is your RG6 cable?  

 

August 6, 2020 12:46 pm  #20


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

markow202 wrote:

RadioActive wrote:

If only someone could do something about WIVB and WNLO. I thought the repack might improve them in some way.  The truth is most of the time, I've lost them entirely. And nothing I've tried to boost the signal from Colden, N.Y. has helped. I don't expect things to get much better as we head to winter. 

Have you tried looking at tvfool coverage maps for your area of these stations?  You could just be in a dead zone for them regardless of what you do.  Also how old is your RG6 cable?  

I had an antenna expert up here a few weeks ago. He found nothing wrong with the install or the antenna, although the cabling has been around since the early 90s. 

I'm almost positive the problem is the repack. I never used to have an issue with Channel 4. When WIVB shifted back to Colden, which is a lot farther away from Toronto, their signal strength into the city took a big hit. What really irritates me most, though, is that they took WNLO with them, and now both are coming from the same tower with roughly the same power. Channel 23 used to have one of the best signals into Toronto, so strong even a mid-winter blizzard couldn't black it out. Now I'm lucky to get it cleanly on a sunny day in July. 

I've tried an extra pre-amp with an attenuator, but it didn't do a thing. So I'm not sure what, if anything, the next step might be, other than move closer to the border! I like some CBS & CW programming, but I'm not quite that desperate! 

     Thread Starter
 

August 6, 2020 2:10 pm  #21


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

RadioActive wrote:

markow202 wrote:

RadioActive wrote:

If only someone could do something about WIVB and WNLO. I thought the repack might improve them in some way.  The truth is most of the time, I've lost them entirely. And nothing I've tried to boost the signal from Colden, N.Y. has helped. I don't expect things to get much better as we head to winter. 

Have you tried looking at tvfool coverage maps for your area of these stations?  You could just be in a dead zone for them regardless of what you do.  Also how old is your RG6 cable?  

I had an antenna expert up here a few weeks ago. He found nothing wrong with the install or the antenna, although the cabling has been around since the early 90s. 

I'm almost positive the problem is the repack. I never used to have an issue with Channel 4. When WIVB shifted back to Colden, which is a lot farther away from Toronto, their signal strength into the city took a big hit. What really irritates me most, though, is that they took WNLO with them, and now both are coming from the same tower with roughly the same power. Channel 23 used to have one of the best signals into Toronto, so strong even a mid-winter blizzard couldn't black it out. Now I'm lucky to get it cleanly on a sunny day in July. 

I've tried an extra pre-amp with an attenuator, but it didn't do a thing. So I'm not sure what, if anything, the next step might be, other than move closer to the border! I like some CBS & CW programming, but I'm not quite that desperate! 

Strange.  It could be area but im not sure - however cabling on your system since the early 90s is definately due for a replacement you might not see it visually or not.  I just replaced it at the cottage (since 1998) and it make a huge difference in signal.  

In Etobicoke I have found no fluctuation in these Buffalo channels except for 49.1 recently but I understand they arent up in full yet.  
 

 

August 6, 2020 2:26 pm  #22


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

I actually thought my problem might be all the splitters I'm using, which could reduce the db of the signal. So I unplugged one and put it directly into my DVR, bypassing the TV. Not much improvement.

Most of the people I've talked to don't think the cable is the issue. The fact that it was there before the repack seems to be the proof that they just may have moved too far out of range. 

But I'll always keep trying to improve the signal!

     Thread Starter
 

August 6, 2020 8:02 pm  #23


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

Me bad.   WNYO is on 16 and WUTV on 32.  Both will transmit from the (old) WUTV Tower on Whitehaven Road, on Grand Island - is what I meant to write.   RadioActive, the reference to DVR sends up red flags.  What brand?  You are probably suffering from overload from the CN Tower, which is, impacting HDHomeRun and older Philips DVRs very badly.  It is virtually impossible to receive WIVB/WNLO reliably with a preamp connected these days.  I've tried variable attenuators, and haven't had much success.  Newer LG TVs function very well, with preamp'd signals - older Samsungs do not.   It's basically luck of the draw, because colden is so far from Toronto, and the signals are far more susceptible to temperature changes, rain, etc over the 87 mile path.  You may also find, with these very weak Buffalo UHF signals, from Wales NY and Colden that the placement of the tower/antenna - a couple of metres one way or the other, or a couple of metres higher, will impact reception.  Bottom line, not much can be done to improve reception, but one thing I can guarantee is that the noise level and overload characteristics of the pre-amp is the first thing I would examine.  I believe you mentioned you are using an older preamp?   The only reliable pre-amp I've found is the Winegard LNA-200, which is lower gain than Channel Master, but less overload problems.  Subject to my comments above regarding HDHomerun, Philips DVRs' etc.

 

August 6, 2020 8:38 pm  #24


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

RA: For your CBS reception perhaps you should try chromecasting the ustvgo streaming site. While some of the stations [A&E, USA, ESPN, FOXSPORTS 1] are no longer available because a specific vpn is required [Express and Nord are blocked] the four U.S. nets plus PBS have [for me] been extremely reliable. While none of the affiliates are from Buffalo, if all you are interested in is the main network daytime and primetime offerings, this site should solve your CBS issues. For the record, the CBS affiliates seem to rotate between NY, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Miami.

 

August 6, 2020 8:54 pm  #25


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

Thanks tvguy and Mace for the advice. My DVR is a dual tuner Channel Master DVR+, which is made specifically for recording off air signals. And I have a 40' tower with a rotor and a UHF head. Reception was pretty reliable on the Nexstar owned channels (4 and 23) before the latest repack. Now sometimes they're there, too often they're not. 

As mentioned, there's a splitter involved, which further degrades signal strength.

All the others are pretty good, although I seem to be having the occasional issue with WUTV, which is baffling because it's normally very strong. I checked it tonight, for instance, and the signal strength is at 80 (out of 100) but there's a 0 on the Signal Quality. How that can be, I have no idea. But the result is a black screen. 

Anyway, I'll think about the ustvgo idea, although I prefer to DVR everything so I can skip through the commercials and watch things in a much more efficient way at a time of my own choosing. Although I'm surprised to hear they've nulled out my VPN (Nord.) Hopefully, they'll figure out some way to defeat it, as this endless cat and mouse game continues.

Have you tried http://123tvnow.com/category/united-states-usa/? It seems to work just fine on most stations for now - even without a VPN. 

Thanks again for your thoughts on this. It's kind of ironic that Channel 4 would be the hardest signal to get, given that it was the very first television station in this region, going back to 1948. Sometimes, I miss analog! 

     Thread Starter
 

August 6, 2020 11:40 pm  #26


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

Yes. I am aware of the 123tvnow site. I use it as a backup. One other piece of disappointing news. WZTS  is no longer available to stream. No more COZI TV for me.

 

August 7, 2020 7:11 am  #27


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

RA, I think as someone else mentioned, your issue, is overload. I in Peterborough am getting WYNO/WIVB no problem. You have to much signal touching your antenna

 

August 7, 2020 9:11 am  #28


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

unfortunately the Channel master products have a bad reputation for signal overload.   So the problem with WUTV and WIVB could be intermod . Do you have a pre-amp?  That's the #1 red flag for overload/intermod.  The overload is from the Toronto stations.  For example, WUTV could be impacted by Rogers on Ch. 30.

Have you tried the antenna directly to a newer model TV?  Any differences in reception?  Clearly, the amplified signals are nuking my HDHomerun and my Philips DVRs, but are receivable on Visio and LG TV sets.

 

August 7, 2020 9:38 am  #29


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

RA have you tried using your antenna without an amp?

 

August 7, 2020 9:45 am  #30


Re: Been Losing Buffalo Stations OTA? This Could Be Why

I've tried disconnecting the pre-amp, which solved so many problems in the old analog days, but almost everything goes away when I do. So it's damned if you do and... well you get the idea. I've searched for other OTA DVRs on the market and couldn't find anything else that served my needs. I would welcome any recommendations. I'm not a huge fan of the TIVO and I don't think they serve Canada with a built-in TV Guide in any event. 

I really like the DVR+ -- so much so I bought two of them, one for upstairs and one for the living room. As noted, up until the repack, there were no issues. 

I'm waiting for someone to invent a programmable pre-amp, that can be set to go on or off at a certain level and remember which is which by each channel. So far, no one's thought of it yet, but if any tech types out there want to steal the idea and make one I'll be the first to buy it and try it!

     Thread Starter