If the range of human hearing extended to 1 GigaHertz instead of 20 kHz, then your RatShack amplifier would make a dandy little fuzz/distortion gizmo for your local grunge bands' hyper-electric guitar. Otherwise they aren't of much use. Has anyone with a spectrum analyzer on hand measured their utility as a frequency multiplier, intermod mixer or the like for some ham project? I suspect that they are good for something, just not sure what yet.
My favorite still being Winegard, just 'cause that's what I have experience with, but Channel Master is probably good also. I did discover something VERY interesting last night about my 20 year old Winegard. The UHF antenna is a really cool design where the pre-amp is built into a cartridge that plugs into a special slot built into the antenna, or else you can plug in a simple "pass-through" card. Either way this card is what matches the antenna from 300 ohms to 75, whether amplified or not. The thing I like about this is that you don't have to have a 300 to 75 ohm balun attached to the antenna - together with the almost certain mismatching and stray coupling that you are likely to see in the vicinity or even such a short undisciplined piece of twinlead.
On the other hand - this totally great and remarkable piece of antenna engineering came with a really cheapo piece of crap aluminum box that feels like someone's junior high school science project --- that they had the nerve to call a power inserter. The box says something to suggest that it inserts 18 volts AC onto the wire - so I don't know off hand if I could power it off the power to an LNB, not even gonna go there.
So what I did last night is to take a standard RatShack UHF-Satellite diplexer and use that as a replacement power inserter! I did this by taking the 18 volts from the cheapo aluminum box and feeding that to the Satellite connector on the diplexer, that is the connector that blocks UHF but passes DC and Satellite signals. Then I hooked the UHF antenna port to the TV - since that port only passes UHF, but NOT DC! (or AC). Hooking the 18 Volts AC to the other port doesn't hurt the diplexer because it is a completely passive biderectional device. Be careful if you try anything like this with an active device or you may seriously regret it! Finally I connected the Satellite+UHF+power port to the feedline to the UHF antenna -- and shazzam -- I know had an ultra high quality power inserter for my UHF antenna, with in all likelihood a very low SWR and insertion loss - especially as compared to the old cheapo/flimsy aluminum box from before.
Of course the old cheapo aluminum box is still being used as a power source, but now that it is piping the power into the diplexer port it is only being used as a power source as it no longer has the UHF passing through it.
5-1 on UHF 29 was 40-50 units, now 60-72.
7-1 on UHF 24 was 83-90 units, now 93-100
20-1 on UHF 19 was 60-70 units, now rock steady 79.
5-1 went from unwatchable to sometimes watchable. 20-1 went from sometimes watchable to usually watchable. 7-1 and others were already pretty good, but its nice to have more margins.
Moral: it don't matter how good the antenna is, and the coax and all the rest - if you piss it away at the TV with anything that mismatches the line or whatever the like -- you're still screwed. So if I were you - I would definitely look at the quality of ALL of the components and make appropriate adaptations ...
I'm a lot happier today than I was over the weekend when I raised the antenna to 41 feet and re-guyed it only to find that channel 5-1 had gotten worse! Maybe its time to replace that antenna with a fresher one?
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Have spectrum analyzer, will travel.