On upgrading a 45+ year-old OTA distribution system in my condo - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 45 Old 02-25-2013, 10:16 AM
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The TA-52 was a good amp in its day. Your main issue is the distribution system. You can have the absolutely best antenna and distribution amp that money can buy, but if the distribution system sucks, you won't get good service.

CIAO!

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post #32 of 45 Old 02-25-2013, 02:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by egnlsn View Post

The TA-52 was a good amp in its day. Your main issue is the distribution system. You can have the absolutely best antenna and distribution amp that money can buy, but if the distribution system sucks, you won't get good service.

I understand that, really do, and know that I need to first map out and fix the distribution system; you seem to be saying that the amp should be good enough once I do that. The mapping will take some time, after which I'd like to pick things up again to ask how to determine the value of the drop taps in the lines I need to update. Thanks very much for your help.
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post #33 of 45 Old 02-25-2013, 03:37 PM
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The amp probably is fine, though don't hold me to that. wink.gif

Good luck with the mapping project. Don't worry about any numbers that might be on any of the wallplates. Just a map of the cabling with approximate footages is all that is needed at this point. After that, it's just "Do the math."

CIAO!

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post #34 of 45 Old 11-09-2013, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm back with more questions and some answers. To recap, we have an HD antenna, a fairly new TA-52 distribution amp, a bank of 45-year-old splitters, and RG59U cabling running to twin-lead wall-plates in the units. It looks like our building antenna distribution system is in fact wired in vertical tiers, and that our splitters are doing badly with the higher UHF broadcast frequencies (bypassed the splitters to test that).

I'd like to replace them with new ones, and am asking if those found on the Monoprice site would be ok, and if not, what would be recommended?

I'd need to replace a 2-way, a 3-way, and two 4-way splitters, from which the drops to the tiers emanate.(I've made some progress mapping the drops, with more to go.) Thanks
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post #35 of 45 Old 11-10-2013, 09:06 AM
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I was going to say the Monoprice splitters would be fine, but then I decided to look at the specs. 10.5dB loss through a 2-way splitter? That's about what most manufacturers' 8-way splitters lose. Most 2-way splitters have an insertion loss of ~3.5dB.

CIAO!

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post #36 of 45 Old 11-10-2013, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egnlsn View Post

I was going to say the Monoprice splitters would be fine, but then I decided to look at the specs. 10.5dB loss through a 2-way splitter? That's about what most manufacturers' 8-way splitters lose. Most 2-way splitters have an insertion loss of ~3.5dB.
Call them. That's got to be a typo. It says 10.5dB for any of their splitters.
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post #37 of 45 Old 11-10-2013, 12:10 PM
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Look also at the 8dB Return Loss listed. That doesn't even come close to what most industry manufacturers build.

CIAO!

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post #38 of 45 Old 11-10-2013, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, so the specs on the Monoprice splitters are either misstated or subpar; I'll check. Meanwhile, which brands would be trusted? I see some Extreme splitters on Amazon which seem to be selling well; are these a known quantity?
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post #39 of 45 Old 11-10-2013, 06:44 PM
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It's is a little odd that all of the Monoprice splitters have the same specs regardless of the number of ports.
john
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post #40 of 45 Old 11-10-2013, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctdish View Post

It's is a little odd that all of the Monoprice splitters have the same specs regardless of the number of ports.
john

Not really..anyone who understands the basic math of a splitter knows that it is a typo by someone in marketing that has no idea what they are selling..tongue.gif Besides, everyone knows Monster brand is better because it costs more..wink.gif

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post #41 of 45 Old 11-11-2013, 05:37 AM
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If you have access to a Signal Level Meter, or a Spectrum Analyzer, you could use one of those triple or quad NTSC Modulators from Channel Plus, and send several different frequencies through the system at once, measuring the levels at each drop.
That would help you figure out the layout and losses.

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post #42 of 45 Old 11-11-2013, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kenglish View Post

If you have access to a Signal Level Meter, or a Spectrum Analyzer, you could use one of those triple or quad NTSC Modulators from Channel Plus, and send several different frequencies through the system at once, measuring the levels at each drop.
That would help you figure out the layout and losses.
Sorry, but I don't have access to that equipment, and have been using a lower-tech but workable method to figure the layout. I connect a TV to the wall-plate, tune to a stronger channel, call my cellphone from another phone left by the TV, listen for the loss of audio as I disconnect the cable drops, and tag the cables appropriately. I get a relative measure of signal strength from the TV's DTV "meter".

To do the job properly, it would make more sense to find a competent vendor; is there a recommendation in the Chicago (or North Suburban) area?

Meanwhile, I find that decent quality splitters are not all that expensive, and like the form factor of these; would they be suitable for our MATV distribution system?

http://picodigital.com/product-details.php?PID=95
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post #43 of 45 Old 11-11-2013, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by gring40 View Post

... we have an HD antenna, a fairly new TA-52 distribution amp,

Actually, you more likely have a newly purchased TA-52 amplifier, as I doubt that anyone has manufactured a new unit of that product in this century. The antenna business is notorious for selling "new, old stock". When I buy RG-11 crimp-on connectors, I'm sure they were made decades ago, and the MX-4 channel combiners that I grab whenever I stumble across any have never borne a manufacturing date any newer than 1992. I still use TA-52s on sit in a few places, but with old amplifiers, the mechanical adjustments, like gain potentiometers and the 10 dB attenuator and FM trap switches, can become touch sensitive, which is a problem you might have difficulty detecting without a responsive signal meter to detect their problems, should they ever arise.
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a bank of 45-year-old splitters,...

I service a ten story hotel in Washington, DC where we are sending out signals on midband (120-174 MHz) and then superband and hyperband (216- to about 400 MHz) through five nice RG-11 branch cables, but they each split in the plastered ceiling and actually tilt over 20 dB after they each go through single, 2-way splitters that must have been manufactured 60 years ago when this building was built and they probably are VHF only. For now, I have five huge Blonder Tongue BIDA amplifiers, one on each line, to enable me to "muscle" enough superband signals through them, but when I tried diplexing in local broadcast UHF channels, they were a no-go. I've been in the master antenna system business for a long time, but I have never seen any splitters roll off abruptly above VHF frequencies the way these do. it would really behoove you to buy a cheap used signal meter on eBay for a hundred bucks (Sencore 1453 and 1453i are commonly available in that price neighborhood) because you won't always be able to reliably detect the incorporation of hidden splitters without one
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post #44 of 45 Old 11-11-2013, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AntAltMike View Post

Actually, you more likely have a newly purchased TA-52 amplifier, as I doubt that anyone has manufactured a new unit of that product in this century. The antenna business is notorious for selling "new, old stock".

Sadly, I suspected that, and it burns all the more as the amp the installer replaced was ...... a TA-52 mad.gif
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It would really behove you to buy a cheap used signal meter on eBay for a hundred bucks (Sencore 1453 and 1453i are commonly available in that price neighborhood) because you won't always be able to reliably detect the incorporation of hidden splitters without one

Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for a meter, but the only one up now is going for $225. I'm hearing the observation that replacing the old splitters I can see may well miss the ones I can't.
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post #45 of 45 Old 11-11-2013, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by gring40 View Post

Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for a meter, but the only one up now is going for $225. I'm hearing the observation that replacing the old splitters I can see may well miss the ones I can't.

There's a Sencore 1454, which is a newer and better meter, listing on eBay for $142.50 or best offer that would be nice, but you'd have to make sure you can download a manual before you buy it, because it can be more confusing to operate.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SENCORE-SA-1454-SIGNAL-LEVEL-METER-/310762205606?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item485adef1a6

If you do buy a Sencore meter, PM me and I'll find you a source for battery packs for about $20 each. Sencore sells them for about $60 to $70.

Whatever you do, DON'T buy the Sencore SL753D. They can't be made to evaluate digital signals without mapping the desired channels into a channel plan individually, and incredibly, the original factory instructions for that meter do not tell the owner/operator how to do that. Several years ago, Sencore could only send me a magazine article telling how to create such a channel plan for the similar, subsequent model SL754D, but it was not the same and took me between five and ten minutes of hacking per channel built before I gave up and threw it away.

You can use any broadband amplifier that begins with the part number ACA as long as it isn't a -450 or -550 model. Lots of manufacturers call their amplifiers ACA or CA. and most now go to 1000 MHz. You should have no trouble finding one for $130 or less, new.
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