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Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

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moldyoldie
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Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

Post by moldyoldie » Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:17 am

My uncle has an old analog 24-inch TV with an external digital converter and an old (really old!) external rabbit ears antenna with one ear lopped off. He gets all the Detroit local stations and their associated sub-channels just fine except for WJBK Fox 2, even after three scans. He lives in southwest Detroit around Vernor & West Grand Boulevard. Should simply getting a new indoor antenna fix the problem? Is the problem indeed the antenna?


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Re: Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

Post by Vic Doucette » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:28 am

That is the first (cheapest) remedy to try.


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Re: Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

Post by mtburb » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:40 pm

If his house has at least two floors, you should consider moving it higher, maybe even outdoors. I'm several miles further from WJBK than he is and I can get it just fine with an indoor antenna on my second floor.


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Re: Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

Post by moldyoldie » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:43 pm

Thank you for the replies. Moving the antenna to the second floor isn't a reasonable option for him; we'll see what happens with a new indoor antenna.


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Re: Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

Post by innate-in-you » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:24 pm

What face of the building is his apartment on?

West Vernor and W Grand Blvd (conozco bien) is urban, but not that dense.

If he's on the south face, the longer waves (WJBK is actually VHF 7) and lower ERP (27kW) could be a problem. However, multipath is not as severe at VHF.

Try an amplified indoor antenna with the rods at maximum extension.

24" analog TV?!?
A 1958 Emerson black-and-white like mine? (The last 24" models with 24xxP4 pregnant rectangle were made in the earliest sixties, supplanted by 23" bonded face 23xP4 black-and-white tubes with sharper corners, looking more like a true rectangle).
At that time, all color sets were "roundies" with a 21" round tube (21FJP22 most common). "25 inch" color arrived about 1965 with the 25AP22, which was forcibly redesignated as the 23V class. Actual 25" rectangular color 25VxxP22 came about 1971.
Last edited by innate-in-you on Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

Post by MWmetalhead » Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:51 pm

When I lived in the city of Warren, I had an indoor amplified antenna (in addition to cable) connected to a TV in the basement.

Perhaps it is only a random coincidence, but in my case, I actually received the best signal from WJBK with the dipole rods extended only about ten inches.

Bottom line - don't give up right away with new antenna if you don't get good reception right of the bat. DTV signals are finicky. Even the tiniest adjustment to antenna placement, extension or orientation can make a big difference in reception.

FWIW, other folks on the Buzzboard have been reporting OTA reception issues with WJBK recently.

Doesn't surprise me at all that Moldy's uncle cannot pick up the station with what is essentially a telescoping single pole antenna. WJBK's TX site is a good 12 or 13 miles away, which is about the same distance it was located from my old house.


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Re: Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

Post by innate-in-you » Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:26 pm

Lots of brick at and around Grand Blvd. Is your Warren home frame (which helps immensely)?



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Re: Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

Post by moldyoldie » Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:33 am

innate-in-you wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:24 pm
What face of the building is his apartment on?

West Vernor and W Grand Blvd (conozco bien) is urban, but not that dense.

If he's on the south face, the longer waves (WJBK is actually VHF 7) and lower ERP (27kW) could be a problem. However, multipath is not as severe at VHF.
Try an amplified indoor antenna with the rods at maximum extension.
He lives in a two-story frame house; the TV/antenna are downstairs nearest the southwest facing exterior wall. FWIW, cars passing on the street affect the reception causing pixillated tiling. Thank you for the suggestion; it sounds like a reasonable remedy.
Had a quick lunch the other day at Evie's. :blink

innate-in-you wrote: A 1958 Emerson black-and-white like mine? (The last 24" models with 24xxP4 pregnant rectangle were made in the earliest sixties, supplanted by 23" bonded face 23xP4 black-and-white tubes with sharper corners, looking more like a true rectangle).
At that time, all color sets were "roundies" with a 21" round tube (21FJP22 most common). "25 inch" color arrived about 1965 with the 25AP22, which was forcibly redesignated as the 23V class. Actual 25" rectangular color 25VxxP22 came about 1971.
:lol: I don't think the TV is quite that old, but the antenna certainly might be!
Last edited by moldyoldie on Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:29 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

Post by moldyoldie » Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:42 am

MWmetalhead wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:51 pm
When I lived in the city of Warren, I had an indoor amplified antenna (in addition to cable) connected to a TV in the basement.

Perhaps it is only a random coincidence, but in my case, I actually received the best signal from WJBK with the dipole rods extended only about ten inches.

Bottom line - don't give up right away with new antenna if you don't get good reception right of the bat. DTV signals are finicky. Even the tiniest adjustment to antenna placement, extension or orientation can make a big difference in reception.

FWIW, other folks on the Buzzboard have been reporting OTA reception issues with WJBK recently.

Doesn't surprise me at all that Moldy's uncle cannot pick up the station with what is essentially a telescoping single pole antenna. WJBK's TX site is a good 12 or 13 miles away, which is about the same distance it was located from my old house.
Thank you for that account, I'll certainly keep it in mind.

Gonna give this cheap little puppy a try.


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Re: Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

Post by Milk » Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:41 pm

moldyoldie wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:42 am
MWmetalhead wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 7:51 pm
When I lived in the city of Warren, I had an indoor amplified antenna (in addition to cable) connected to a TV in the basement.

Perhaps it is only a random coincidence, but in my case, I actually received the best signal from WJBK with the dipole rods extended only about ten inches.

Bottom line - don't give up right away with new antenna if you don't get good reception right of the bat. DTV signals are finicky. Even the tiniest adjustment to antenna placement, extension or orientation can make a big difference in reception.

FWIW, other folks on the Buzzboard have been reporting OTA reception issues with WJBK recently.

Doesn't surprise me at all that Moldy's uncle cannot pick up the station with what is essentially a telescoping single pole antenna. WJBK's TX site is a good 12 or 13 miles away, which is about the same distance it was located from my old house.
Thank you for that account, I'll certainly keep it in mind.

Gonna give this cheap little puppy a try.
DON'T DO IT! I bought one from Best Buy last year and it didn't work.



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Re: Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

Post by innate-in-you » Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:50 pm

Second that. It is a UHF-only design.

Of course, it could receive high-VHF if the signal were VERY strong. But any antenna designed for all channels is more likely to work for WJBK 10 miles from the TL than a UHF-only model.

I've been trying to tell people "Beware of the cute little antenna", yet UHF-only antennas continue to dominate the marketplace.

Part of the problem was a policy shift quietly made decades ago. When the frst plans were being made for a digital transition - in the mid-1980s, One goal was to have all television on one band, specifically, UHF.

Antennas woiuld be a lot smaller (and, due to the laws of mettallurgy and the physics of wind, more durable). "Interference" (sometimes actually from CB and HF ham radios, more often from poorly designed TV receivers) would no longer be a problem. Your Packers vs. Lions game would no longer be replaced by a meeting of the Miami School Board, broadcast by WTHS, coming in by sporadic-E skip.

Without much fanfare, the powers that be trimmed channels 63-69 from the TV band (70--83 gone long earlier), for more wireless communications and a new public safety band, offering VHF-High band as a replacement. Later, they went for more UHF spectrum, making channel 51 the highest channel and assigining some stations to the VHF-low band.

Note that the VHF TV band is not one band. It is two distinct bands. Low-VHF has channels 2 through 6, while High-VHF is channels 7 through 13 - But channel 7 is half the wavelength. There is just as much bandwith between the top of the 160m Amateur band (2 MHz) as there is between the top of channel 6 and the bottom of channel 7 (FM Broadcast, Instrument landing systems for aircraft, two-way AM radio for aircraft voice communication, naval navigation satellites, 2m amateur radio, marine radio, small-town police and fire, weather service, and a bunch of others are between channel 6 and channel 7).

I am disappointed that antenna manufacturers are not changing the design of their antennas to take advantage of the repack (yes - while I think a lot more money would have been raised if they had auctioned spectrum for full-service television stations with must-carry status, reducing the gross bandwidth of the UHF TV spectrum provides opportunities to make better TV antennas).

Most UHF antennas were designed to work on channels 14 through 83. Problem is, most antenna designs are at peak efficiency at the top of their range, crashing to zero shortly after passing channel 83. From channel 83 down, performance degrades gradually, with gain decreasing - and undesired minor lobes increasing, as the frequency used is lower.

Design an antenna for Channel 36, and the gain of the antenna will be far greater that what an antenna designed for Channel 83 could deliver, and performance will be vastly better at all UHF channels 14-36 as well.

It doesnt take much to make the antenna compatible with High-VHF as well (As K8JD reported, a 26" dipole would do it, though I would recommend a 22" folded dipole). Even Low-VHF has a way out without making a large antenna. Flexible thin wires for Low-VHF, or a skew-planar-wheel, with a lot of amplification, could be used for Low-VHF (At low-VHF, sky noise is greater than amplifier noise, anyway).

Finally, Antennas that do not cover all channels should have to carry a "red box warning" that reads "This antenna may not be able to receive all your local stations".
Last edited by innate-in-you on Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:46 pm, edited 8 times in total.



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Re: Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

Post by k8jd » Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:35 pm

a 26 inch dipole made of # 10-16 gauge insulated wire would work better for "Fox 2" (RF ch 7) than a high priced UHF antenna that is dsigned for more than twice the freq you want !



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Re: Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

Post by moldyoldie » Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:39 pm

milk wrote:DON'T DO IT! I bought one from Best Buy last year and it didn't work.
innate-in-you wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:50 pm
Second that. It is a UHF-only design.
Thank you, it was already shipped, but I was able to cancel the order in time; it is returning to Amazon. A credit card refund will be forthcoming.

Now, I'm not in a position to spend big bucks on something elaborate; I'm just trying to help out my dear ol' uncle on a fixed income who'd like to watch the sports offered on Fox 2. Googling "26 in. dipole" and "22 in. folded dipole" yielded results which cost anywhere from $70 to upwards of three and four hundred dollars! It's hardly worth spending that kind of dough on the set-up he's currently using. Besides, he'd be very upset with me!

A recommendation of an indoor antenna to receive all local channels and sub-channels around $50 or so would be appreciated. If there is no such animal, then I can just tell him so. He can listen to the games on radio. :blink


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Re: Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

Post by innate-in-you » Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:36 pm

If you can somehow find some twinlead (the flat plastic cable that nearly everyone used for TV before about 1980), you can make an antenna from it by cutting a 23" length of it, stripping the plastic and joining the conductors at each end, then making a cut at the middle of the wire at one face only.

Affording twinlead should not be a problem. Finding it could be, as it has been scarce since Cable TV caught on.

Then use more twinlead to serve as the lead-in at the TV, by attaching the stripped wires at the middle of the dipole to the twinlead down lead.

Next attach the twinlead to a 300 to 75 ohm adapter (often available at dollar stores) Do not attach the adapter at the middle of the antenna - attach it at the end of the downlead, where you plug it in to the back of the converter box - otherwise your signal will be wasted in the adapter).

One disadvantge - He'll need to switch between the dipole for Fox 2 (and CBC 9) for those channels and the UHF antenna for all the other stations, though an A-B switch may be convenient.



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Re: Can't Get WJBK Off-Air in SW Detroit

Post by MWmetalhead » Sun Jan 20, 2019 8:37 am

This doesn't need to be complicated.

Any of the following antennas should offer reasonably good reception of all major OTA networks in Detroit:

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/insignia-i ... Id=8233003

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/insignia-f ... Id=8234002

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000EIMKYC/re ... B000HKGK8Y

https://www.amazon.com/RCA-ANT121Z-Dura ... EBWR6ZWSM3

https://www.amazon.com/RCA-Amplified-In ... 75PYQM44S0


RCA & GE antennae tend to have short dipoles. That hasn't caused any problem for me, but then again, I live only about 5 miles from Fox 2's TX site. (Remember, at my old house, which is about 11 miles from the Fox 2 TX site, I actually needed to collapse the dipoles most of the way to maximize WJBK reception. That fact seemingly runs contrary to the laws of physics, but it is what it is.)

My suggestion would be to pick up the $7.49 Insignia from Best Buy if you can find a store that has one, or the $9.50 GE Antenna for Amazon. However, any of the five on the above list should work reasonably well.

I have the $9.50 antenna from link #3 in my home, and it actually works slightly better than an indoor amplified antenna I bought from Radio Shack about 12 years ago. I've compared signal strength readings on multiple channels to compare the two. (Performance of the Radio Shack antenna works best when I have the amplifier gain knob dialed in on the lowest setting possible.)


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