Help with OTA setup in Atlanta - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 05-14-2012, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Hopefully someone can help me with my issue. I'm just a novice on all of this so excuse my probably stupid questions. Looking to cut the cord and utilize my OTA antenna for live basic tv - which is where I've already run into trouble.

Basic setup
I have a DB8 HDTV antenna set up in the attic (angled at 140 degrees). From there I have a long coaxial cord running outside to the cable box where it is split and runs through the lines in the house. Here is a picture with my setup:
pic: freeimagehosting.net/fkp7g

My issues
two issues actually. My antenna is only getting UHF reception (thought this could be an issue). So, I need to also hook up a VHF antenna and from what I've read, I can use a uhf/vhf diplexer to keep my basic setup the same.

My other issue is the signal strength is not very good. This is likely due to the distance the signal needs to run though my cables and a splitter. I believe an amplifier will fix it but I'm unsure of what type will work best for my setup - with it going through a diplexer and an outdoor cablebox/splitter before going to the tv.

Help?
Suggestions on either of these issues? Specifically, a suggestion on a decent VHF antenna and what type/how to set up an amplifier?

If I forgot to include any other important info, let me know, I'll be monitoring this thread closely hoping someone is able to lend me a hand. Thanks.

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post #2 of 25 Old 05-14-2012, 09:00 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiOS24 View Post

Hopefully someone can help me with my issue. I'm just a novice on all of this so excuse my probably stupid questions. Looking to cut the cord and utilize my OTA antenna for live basic tv - which is where I've already run into trouble.

Basic setup
I have a DB8 HDTV antenna set up in the attic (angled at 140 degrees). From there I have a long coaxial cord running outside to the cable box where it is split and runs through the lines in the house. Here is a picture with my setup:
pic: freeimagehosting.net/fkp7g

My issues
two issues actually. My antenna is only getting UHF reception (thought this could be an issue). So, I need to also hook up a VHF antenna and from what I've read, I can use a uhf/vhf diplexer to keep my basic setup the same.

My other issue is the signal strength is not very good. This is likely due to the distance the signal needs to run though my cables and a splitter. I believe an amplifier will fix it but I'm unsure of what type will work best for my setup - with it going through a diplexer and an outdoor cablebox/splitter before going to the tv.

Help?
Suggestions on either of these issues? Specifically, a suggestion on a decent VHF antenna and what type/how to set up an amplifier?

If I forgot to include any other important info, let me know, I'll be monitoring this thread closely hoping someone is able to lend me a hand. Thanks.

Other info that is usually requested:
tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3db1a8777cd74714


A DB8 is really kind of overkill. You have ONE VHF station WXIA. With your signals strength you should be able to get it in with a DB8 in your attic. Are you sure the cable box doesn't have an amp in it? If it does that may be causing your issue. Why do you have 150 feet of cable from the antenna to the cable box then 150 feet of cabe to each TV? Also what kind of coax is it?

Try hooking the antenna directly to one of your TVs and see how that works then we can work back from there.
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post #3 of 25 Old 05-14-2012, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post

A DB8 is really kind of overkill. You have ONE VHF station WXIA. With your signals strength you should be able to get it in with a DB8 in your attic. Are you sure the cable box doesn't have an amp in it? If it does that may be causing your issue. Why do you have 150 feet of cable from the antenna to the cable box then 150 feet of cabe to each TV? Also what kind of coax is it?

Try hooking the antenna directly to one of your TVs and see how that works then we can work back from there.

here is what I know: The cable runs from the antenna across the attic, out the side of the house, down one side and across the rest of the house to the cable box. Probably less than 150 feet (closer to 100 is my guess, but just a guess without measuring). Cable box outside is just a splitter where it is sent into each of the rooms of the house so I don't have to rewire anything.

I'm sure the DB8 is overkill, but it was on sale so I figured getting the best was ideal. My hope was that it was strong enough to get WXIA (the NBC affiliate) but that doesn't appear to be the case.

Don't know what kind of coax it is. Honestly didn't really know there was a difference. It was actually already up there from the last owner who had it running from the box through the attic and down a wall into a bedroom that didnt have a cable outlet. I just pulled it from there, attached the antenna and reversed the feed.

And i never hooked it straight to the tv directly just because of the hassle of getting the cords in order. Essentially I took the easy way out and used what was already - or mostly - done for me and used that setup.

Thought I was smart, turns out not the case
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post #4 of 25 Old 05-14-2012, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post


Try hooking the antenna directly to one of your TVs and see how that works then we can work back from there.

OK, did as was told. Since the cord was long enough, rather than send the cord from the antenna to the cable box outside, I brought it though a door and hooked it directly to the tv. Vast improvement. Signal strength went from low 40s to mid-to-high 70s so it was almost crystal clear. Also was able to pick up WXIA, so that is a relief.

What do you suggest is my next step?
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post #5 of 25 Old 05-14-2012, 02:38 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MiOS24 View Post

OK, did as was told. Since the cord was long enough, rather than send the cord from the antenna to the cable box outside, I brought it though a door and hooked it directly to the tv. Vast improvement. Signal strength went from low 40s to mid-to-high 70s so it was almost crystal clear. Also was able to pick up WXIA, so that is a relief.

What do you suggest is my next step?

Ok so that tells us that it's probably too much cabling and not because of the antenna placement. So a pre-amp might help. "Almost" crystal clear? Either you are going to get a picture or you won't. There isn't any gradual improvement in picture like analog.

Nothing wrong with using the existing cabling except it seems that there is too much of it. I asked what kind because you'd have less signal loss if it was RG6 vs RG59. Also if you use quad shielded RG6 it would be less prone to interference. Of course a pre-amp would probably be cheaper and less of a pain. Especially since you don't know what kind of cabling you've got anyways. Do you know exactly how much cabling you'd actually need to get from the antenna to the cable box?
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post #6 of 25 Old 05-14-2012, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post

Ok so that tells us that it's probably too much cabling and not because of the antenna placement. So a pre-amp might help. "Almost" crystal clear? Either you are going to get a picture or you won't. There isn't any gradual improvement in picture like analog.

Nothing wrong with using the existing cabling except it seems that there is too much of it. I asked what kind because you'd have less signal loss if it was RG6 vs RG59. Also if you use quad shielded RG6 it would be less prone to interference. Of course a pre-amp would probably be cheaper and less of a pain. Especially since you don't know what kind of cabling you've got anyways. Do you know exactly how much cabling you'd actually need to get from the antenna to the cable box?

I said almost crystal clear as a general statement because just about every station came in though there were a few that I don't necessarily care about that didn't. So, we're good there.

Read the writing and I'm using a RG6 cable now. I can probably cut 10-15 feet off the end but that's it without drilling a new hole out of the house and running the wire directly down to the box. If that helps, I'll definitely do that as it's easy enough.

Looks as though my big issue is the signal strength, especially after it goes through the splitter and back into the house. If I were to get a pre-amp, what would you (or anyone reading this) suggest and do I have any issues since it will be going through that 3-way splitter at the cable box?
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post #7 of 25 Old 05-14-2012, 06:53 PM
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Your issue with a preamp might be overload from your stronger stations. A distribution amp would be better for you to use.
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post #8 of 25 Old 05-14-2012, 11:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

Your issue with a preamp might be overload from your stronger stations. A distribution amp would be better for you to use.

Well that would work since the cable form the antenna despite it's length gets good signal to the TV. He however is connecting to the TVs from the cable box which I assume it outside. So how would a distribution amp work there?
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post #9 of 25 Old 05-14-2012, 11:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MiOS24 View Post

I said almost crystal clear as a general statement because just about every station came in though there were a few that I don't necessarily care about that didn't. So, we're good there.

Read the writing and I'm using a RG6 cable now. I can probably cut 10-15 feet off the end but that's it without drilling a new hole out of the house and running the wire directly down to the box. If that helps, I'll definitely do that as it's easy enough.

10 to 15 feet won't mean much. If the antenna is 25 feet up why do you need 85-90 feet of cable to get form the antenna to the cable box. And why do you need 150 feet of cable from the cable box to each TV?
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post #10 of 25 Old 05-15-2012, 03:39 AM
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Originally Posted by MiOS24 View Post

Looks as though my big issue is the signal strength, especially after it goes through the splitter and back into the house. If I were to get a pre-amp, what would you (or anyone reading this) suggest and do I have any issues since it will be going through that 3-way splitter at the cable box?

If you can mount the antenna outside, it will improve signal strength significantly, thus perhaps eliminating the need for an amp.
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post #11 of 25 Old 05-15-2012, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BCF68 View Post

10 to 15 feet won't mean much. If the antenna is 25 feet up why do you need 85-90 feet of cable to get form the antenna to the cable box. And why do you need 150 feet of cable from the cable box to each TV?

Again, my numbers are complete guesses but i figured I'd rather estimate to the long side than short. For visual purposes, the antenna is on the southeast side of the house and the cable box is on the north side. For the first cable (antenna to outside box) I figured it's got 35 feet across the whole attic to a hole going outside the house (with about 10 feet of slack), 25 feet down the corner of the house from there, and 20 feet across the house to the box outside. So, even adding that up i'm a tick under 100 feet. I don't really know what the lengths are from the box to the tv's so I just guessed that since they are winding through walls it's safe to assume it's roughly the same length as the first cable.

Being that I'm getting my signal pointing towards the southeast, I put the antenna in the southeast part of the attic, away from anything else (heater, duct work and storage).
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post #12 of 25 Old 05-20-2012, 01:52 PM
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I get good reception at 17 miles, with a Silver Sensor pointed across the room, toward a window.

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post #13 of 25 Old 05-20-2012, 02:02 PM
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What's the roof made of? And, what other "stuff" is in the attic, near the antenna?
If the roof is any kind of metal, it's going to block some of the signal. If there are things like air conditioning ducts and wiring very close to the antenna, they will distort the signal.

Unless you have lots of trees, a DB8 outdoors should be plenty to drive the 4-way splitter.
A VHF/UHF combiner would work fine, to add a small-ish VHF antenna for WXIA.
Trying to get VHF on a UHF antenna might be a problem, since the pattern will be split (off-axis by about 20-40 degrees or more, from my experience).

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post #14 of 25 Old 05-20-2012, 03:44 PM
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On a DB8, VHF reception will be better off the back than the front.
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post #15 of 25 Old 05-20-2012, 06:00 PM
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The Channel Master 4228HD is designed to receive HiVHF, in addition to UHF. It is sold at Dow Electronics and Fry's. The folks at Dow said it works well in the Atlanta area and does receive WXIA on RF10, as well as the major UHF channels.
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post #16 of 25 Old 05-21-2012, 05:31 AM
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The "numbers" (gain, F/B Ratio and Beam-width) for High-VHF are pretty pathetic, though. Any reliable VHF reception with a UHF-design antenna are going to be hit-and-miss.
The addition of Channels 7-13 to their specs sounds more like marketing than engineering.

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post #17 of 25 Old 05-21-2012, 05:48 AM
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The 8-bay UHF antennas were designed for UHF. They just happen to have some VHF capability, more likely through luck or serendipity than by intentional design.

Still, if the antenna has useful capabilities on the VHF band, it's fine to use it for such as long as it's recognized that its out of design band performance will be well below the in-band performance and that other measures may be needed, just in case. With digital reception, usually all you have to have is a signal that is "adequate" with enough fade margin, it doesn't have to be perfect.
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post #18 of 25 Old 05-21-2012, 07:09 AM
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True!

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post #19 of 25 Old 05-21-2012, 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by kenglish View Post

The "numbers" (gain, F/B Ratio and Beam-width) for High-VHF are pretty pathetic, though. Any reliable VHF reception with a UHF-design antenna are going to be hit-and-miss.
The addition of Channels 7-13 to their specs sounds more like marketing than engineering.

Nope. Get reliable signal all the time. Atlanta based HDTV forums have people confirming this.
And there are two VHF stations here, 8 and 11.
So not just marketing.

KP
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post #20 of 25 Old 05-21-2012, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by kennethpruett View Post

Nope. Get reliable signal all the time. Atlanta based HDTV forums have people confirming this.
And there are two VHF stations here, 8 and 11.
So not just marketing.

KP

The techs at Dow told me the 4228HD indeed works well in the suburban Atlanta area, including RF8 and RF10, which are PBS and NBC. And of course ABC, CBS, and Fox which are UHF. So I would try that antenna, with a possible Winegard 269 preamp if needed. If VHF is a problem, then add a separate HiVHF antenna, unless you try a combo.
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post #21 of 25 Old 05-24-2012, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
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I appreciate everyone's thoughts since I've been away. I'll do my best to cover the questions:

I've got the DB8 in the attic installed so I'm not really looking to get a new antenna unless I really need to.

The roof is just your normal one - wood and shingles. It's hung on the south portion of the house away from the duct work and storage boxes (which are all on the other side). So there is nothing nearby to interfere with the signal.

I did test the antenna by hooking it directly to the tv and it worked perfectly. It's only when I run it to the outside cable box (where it goes through the splitter and back into the house) do I lose signal strength.

So, my last question is I guess where I started from. It's obvious I need an amp of some type to increase the strength. But I've seen suggestions for a regular amp as simple as something I can get from RadioShack, a pre-amp, and a distribution amp. Which one is best and at what point do I hook it in? I don't really know. So, any last suggestions or should I just go get a few to see what works and return the rest? Many many thanks.
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post #22 of 25 Old 05-24-2012, 02:24 PM
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First, make sure your coax is RG6, not RG59. It should be stamped on the side of the coax insulating jacket. If not, replace it with RG6, where practical. If it is RG6, I would try adding an HDP269 preamp, with the "amp" portion of the preamp installed as close to the antenna as possible. For simplicity's sake, also install the power supply/power inserter in the attic (before the splitter).
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post #23 of 25 Old 05-27-2012, 07:56 AM
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How many splits are there? If there is a splitter in the Cable junction box, does it feed several rooms, or is just the one TV being used?

You could try putting terminators on the splitter outputs that are not being used, to see if there are some reflections from the ends of unnecessary cables, or a bad cable that's letting some interference in. That would tell you something, and the splitter, even if not needed, will still drop the level a bit...so, you'd know that it's not really the problem. If bypassing the splitter (and feeding only one set) then makes things start working, you'd know the level was very marginal...but, as close as you are to the towers, I doubt that's going to be the issue.

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post #24 of 25 Old 05-31-2012, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

First, make sure your coax is RG6, not RG59. It should be stamped on the side of the coax insulating jacket. If not, replace it with RG6, where practical. If it is RG6, I would try adding an HDP269 preamp, with the "amp" portion of the preamp installed as close to the antenna as possible. For simplicity's sake, also install the power supply/power inserter in the attic (before the splitter).

Yes, it's a RG6.

Thanks, I'll look to get the HDP269. At $29 on Amazon - its definitely worth a shot.
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post #25 of 25 Old 05-31-2012, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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How many splits are there? If there is a splitter in the Cable junction box, does it feed several rooms, or is just the one TV being used?

You could try putting terminators on the splitter outputs that are not being used, to see if there are some reflections from the ends of unnecessary cables, or a bad cable that's letting some interference in. That would tell you something, and the splitter, even if not needed, will still drop the level a bit...so, you'd know that it's not really the problem. If bypassing the splitter (and feeding only one set) then makes things start working, you'd know the level was very marginal...but, as close as you are to the towers, I doubt that's going to be the issue.

it's a 3 way splitter to the three rooms with TV's.

I was able to run the line from the antenna directly to one of the tv's and it worked perfectly. just loses signal strength at the point of the cable junction splitter and through however much more line there is from the box to the tv's.

Thanks for asking. Hopefully the amp recommended above does the trick.
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