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Digital TV (DTV) - One Man's Experience - RF Cafe Forums

The original RF Cafe Forums were shut down in late 2012 due to maintenance issues. Please visit the new and improved RF Cafe Forums that were created in September of 2015. Unlike with the old forums where users registered individually, the new forums use a common User Name and Password so anyone can post without needing to create an account. Please find the current User Name and Password on the RF Cafe homepage. Thanks for your participation.

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 Post subject: Digital TV (DTV) - One Man's Experience
Posted: Wed Jan 21, 2009 12:09 am 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm
Posts: 676
Location: Erie, PA

Someone recently wrote to me with the following story regarding his experience with DTV. Have you had a chance to evaluate analog vs. digital?

As both a ham and an RF Engineer, I am naturally curious about other peoples experience with the transition to Digital TV. I think perhaps a new Blog site on RF Café would be an appropriate forum for this topic.

As for my own experiences with DTV, it took a lot of research and experimentation to get where I am now. I currently live in Port Saint Lucie Florida which is about 65 miles from most of the TV stations. Getting reliable TV coverage without resorting to cable was quite a challenge at this distance, but the ham in me just made me all the more determined. After a few failed attempts with the usual garden variety outdoor antenna, I settled on a Winegard HD-9032 Yagi which is providing very good results at only 20 feet above the ground.

For a second house in Cape May NJ, I used the same type antenna at 20 foot off the ground and was able to pull in 31 stations from Philadelphia which is over 71 miles away using a Zenith DTT901 Digital Converter Box. Once again the results were amazingly good and rock solid, probably because much of the path is over water.

I must admit that, when Digital TV was first proposed, I was convinced it would be a complete disaster. In the past, I was always able to pull in less than ideal stations and put up with a snowy picture. With DTV, I was convinced it would be all or nothing, with the emphasis on nothing.

But my experiences prove otherwise. The Zenith DTT901 tuner is hot and really does a great job pulling in weak stations in fringe areas. I have to conclude the FCC did quite a good job when they set up the technical specifications for these boxes.

I would be interested in reading about other peoples experiences (preferably technical) with the transition to DTV. It would be useful knowing not only what works, but what was tried and didn’t work. This could be of great help to others looking to set up a DTV setup.


- Kirt Blattenberger :smt024
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster

 Post subject:
Posted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 9:38 pm 
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 2:02 pm
Posts: 676
Location: Erie, PA

The author of the above note sent this photo of the antenna setup he used to get good results.


He adds, "I wish I had access to this kind of information before I set up my DTV system because it took almost 2 years and a lot of experimentation before I was able to pull in reliable HDTV from as far away as 71 miles without resorting to a 200 foot tower and giant antenna.

Attached is a picture of my final setup. Notice, no amplifiers. They made the signal worse due to overloading."

- Kirt Blattenberger :smt024
RF Cafe Progenitor & Webmaster

Posted  11/12/2012