HD attic antenna and COAX integration to existing home coax - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 04-26-2013, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello All,

creating first thread as I begin investigation process for moving away from comcast cable and need input from experienced installers.

1. I have existing coax threaded through two story home; enters home and i find 3 way split in basement mounted in a box in joists of basement.
2. the splits lead to a) nearby basement room b) crawl space and up to first floor family room c) I suspect also all the way up to second story master bedroom. Mast bedroom wall plate looks like cable comes into junction box from above. ? attic above

so here are my basic questions need answers too:
A. if I find the coax in attic dropping down to master bedroom, can I splice into it (ie. mount attic antenna here and splice into the network in the attic)?
B. we are probably talking total distance of 35' to 40' vertical from attic to basement splits, if A can be done, will the hd signal travel
to all the other branches? (ie. splice from attic but still get signal on main floor fam room branch and basement branch.
C. I doubt their are any powered amps in the circuit , probably just a 3 way splitter in the box mounted to basement joists.
D. I am northern Indianapolis , so probably talking only 15 miles from most towers but maybe other towers inside 40 miles.
(are the upper end priced indoor antennas pretty strong these days to get a good signal inside 3rd story attic, and still have enough juice in the basement and first floor fam room branches?).

Finally, internet is via DSL so no issue here, as is a separate network.

thanks for your feedback.
L
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post #2 of 8 Old 04-27-2013, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fletch53 View Post

Hello All,

creating first thread as I begin investigation process for moving away from comcast cable and need input from experienced installers.

1. I have existing coax threaded through two story home; enters home and i find 3 way split in basement mounted in a box in joists of basement.
2. the splits lead to a) nearby basement room b) crawl space and up to first floor family room c) I suspect also all the way up to second story master bedroom. Mast bedroom wall plate looks like cable comes into junction box from above. ? attic above

so here are my basic questions need answers too:
A. if I find the coax in attic dropping down to master bedroom, can I splice into it (ie. mount attic antenna here and splice into the network in the attic)?
B. we are probably talking total distance of 35' to 40' vertical from attic to basement splits, if A can be done, will the hd signal travel
to all the other branches? (ie. splice from attic but still get signal on main floor fam room branch and basement branch.
C. I doubt their are any powered amps in the circuit , probably just a 3 way splitter in the box mounted to basement joists.
D. I am northern Indianapolis , so probably talking only 15 miles from most towers but maybe other towers inside 40 miles.
(are the upper end priced indoor antennas pretty strong these days to get a good signal inside 3rd story attic, and still have enough juice in the basement and first floor fam room branches?).

Finally, internet is via DSL so no issue here, as is a separate network.

thanks for your feedback.
L

You have two problems, a distribution problem and an antenna setup problem.

First you should ensure the antenna works on your desired channels without connecting it to the cable system. If it is possible I would take a small TV to the desired antenna location, if not get as close as you can. Once you determine the correct antenna type and positioning, you can work on the network. I won't go into detail on the antenna selection as there is a great of data on this. I personally have had a great deal of success with the Channel Master 8200HD in my attic for hi-band VHF and UHF.

As far as connecting to the existing cable goes, you will have to be lucky, as most probably only the cable outlets downstream of your splice will function. Ideally you should connect in the same location that your cable company does. You should be able to find it. Also you probably will need some type of distribution amplifier.

If you haven't worked with cable before, the right tools are important as proper connections are vital. If you have problems, it is probably a connection or bad splitter.
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post #3 of 8 Old 04-27-2013, 04:56 AM
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Post your tvfool report so we can get a better idea of reception in your area. You address will not be shown.

As for the cabling, it sounds like you can re-wire the cabling so that you can splice into the cable in the attic. You would need to put a 2-way splitter. The input coming from the antenna, with 1 output going to the master bedroom, and the other going into the basement.
Then in the basement you would need to take the cable coming from the attic, and hook up to the input of the splitter, with the outputs remaining the same going to the basement and living room. It would be wise to change the 3-way to a 2-way to minimize signal loss, but you can do this afterwords if you notice channels dropping out after you hook up your antenna. If channels still drop out, then you would need an amp.
The splitters should be rated up to at least 900Mhz.
Keep in mind mounting the antenna outdoors increases reception and signal strength, thus eliminating the chances of needing an amp. The towers 15 miles away should not be an issue. The ones 40 miles away might be.
Most medium sized VHF/UHF antennas cost between $40-$60. If you need only UHF, its even cheaper. This is why we need to see the tvfool report.
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post #4 of 8 Old 04-27-2013, 05:58 AM
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Indianapolis requires a high-VHF/UHF antenna. Suggesting an 8200 is not warranted as the nearest low-VHF station is 140 miles away and has about the power of a large light bulb (140 watts) The local transmitters are clustered along MIchigan between 71st and 79th, the Bloomington stations (ION, PBS, CW, etc) transmitters are from 30-55 miles south of the main cluster.

Figure out the maze of wiring so you can understand what losses might be incurred. Get an antenna working on one set with a temporary coax run, then work on integrating it all together. If you try doing it all in one step, it would be like a lifelong bachelor marrying a widow with six teenagers -- you won't have a clue on what to do first.
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post #5 of 8 Old 04-28-2013, 04:38 AM - Thread Starter
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If the box in the basement joists is a three way splitter, and I am able to splice in one of the branches from the attic (ie. top floor); can the signal propogate to back down to the other branches?
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-28-2013, 04:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fletch53 View Post

If the box in the basement joists is a three way splitter, and I am able to splice in one of the branches from the attic (ie. top floor); can the signal propogate to back down to the other branches?

Yes, that is what I mentioned in my post above. In the basement you would need to switch the connection of the cable coming from the attic from OUT on the splitter to IN since it is now feeding that splitter in the basememt.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-28-2013, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Sry for the persistence of questions: having to keep throwing these out because exaustive googling not providing me all answers needed.

Following further investigation: the attic tunneling , etc. would seem to be a nightmare with all the insullation, etc. and no easy way to route to basement.

I do notice that the back corner of my house nearest a group of high trees could be logistially possible to run coax in a conduit up to roof soffit (ie. drill small hole in soffit from inside attic and run line down along 1x4 outter trim piece and then over to mounted box where input coax is for the house).

The quesions:
1. I am guessing maybe 80 - 90' max from attic antenna to input coupling; if its a single line of cable(no connectors) and again, this is
city signals from tower maybe only 12 - 15 miles away, do you guys think my signaling should be fine with the additional distances of the existing home threaded coax?

2. comcast is connected in this rear box; is cable signal SO MUCH stronger than OTA (ie. if the OTA cable 80' is connected at this comcast port into home, do you think the signal will be adequate with the additional home network distances to TV's?)

again sry for lengthy questions.
Lee
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post #8 of 8 Old 06-18-2013, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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4 weeks later - SUMMARY OF OBSTACLES I OVERCAME AND MAY HELP OTHERS

1. living in north Indianapolis, approx 12 miles from many transmitter towers. couple transmitters approx 35 miles away.
2. My earlier initial postings were for how to get started with install of antenna and how to proceed; below is a summary of obstacles I was hit with and overcame after many weeks.


A. Didnt want outdoor antenna since in a nice neighborhood(aesthetics).
B. Home was prewired with coax and 3 branches , 1 branch to each floor, (basement, 1st, 2nd).
C. currently have Comcast and looking to possibly drop
D. Bought winegard .. 94P antenna, would have bought Channel Master but blogs talked of large square profile... access to attic was only 2 feet by 2 feet hatch.
Went with the Winegard because good reviews and had a narrow linear profile that could be expanded when in the attic. antenna was about 4.5 to 5 ft long and easy to expand all fins, rods.
E. Because antenna is very directional, I bought 1 inch pvc conduit to use as mounting pole, couple clamps, joist hanger, basic mounting pieces to secure to attic joists and roof support 2x4's.
F. Coax length was a concern, 100' coax would start the path but then I would have to connect into back of house where comcast enters and deal with impact of the additional pre-wire and splits in the home.
G. Antenna was mounted, and this was time consuming as I would turn the antenna to TVFool mapping degrees, then go down to master bedroom where 100' coax attached to tv and do channel scans and evaluate. I made repeated charts of all channels and the quality of display of the channel for each antenna rotation. Approx 3 target positions. Surprisingly was getting 40 recieved channels from Tuner.
F. 32' lcd could lock on the channel but the resolution was different for different channels (aspect ratio) plus non HD channels would have varying degrees of some border blur.
G. Tossed 100' coax out window and attached to back of house; (obstacle) . As expected my upstairs had about 40% reduction in strength plus lost about 3 channels. Following week I replaced the 3 way splitter in furnace room with a "balance" 3 way splitter plus purchased an RCA pre-amp ($24) and attached right before the splitter. I was getting signal at antenna but needed the amp to overcome splitter signal degradation and additional branch lengths of coax.
H. Sigh!, worried at this point , but continue - only about $150 invested in the project so far. still cheaper than two months of comcast
I. Still some signs of not fully strong signal to basement and family room branches; (obstacle) noticed the prewire of home was Rg59 cable- debatable online but I decided to rule out and spent weekend threading new RG6 coax to the two accessible branches; crawl space and furnace room for family room and basement.
J. Better signal. (obstacle) forums debate better amplification at antenna versus inline downstream. I moved the pre-amp into the attic with the antenna and powered it via the injector in furnace room just before the splitter (ie. about 110' coax) between antenna and injector, just before the splitter.
K. Better signaling on all branches
L. (obstacle) spent another weekend, patching junction box drywall from coax rethread and also permanently drilling hole in soffit in rear of house to run coax out attic and down rear gutter ( I will put line in conduit and strap to gutter/paint to match) to have a clean look. And connected the coax. into box where comcast enters home.
M. Purchased a 47" LG smart TV 47ln5750 SamsClub $698 for the family room. Turned it on and easy tv wizard.
Beautiful Picture and get 40 recieved channels. 15 are daily watchable (others are religious, weather, spanish, etc). But the new tv tuner plus the stretched out coax and all above changes made for a fantastic FREE viewing.
N. 32" lcd in master bedroom, still shows weaker signal strength (bars on tv) but all the channels recieved and good picture. no drop outs. This is accepted, as I did not change this branch line (still rg59) and it is the longest branch , post split.
Conclusion: thanks for everyones input and this week I will drop Comcast but will still have undamaged branches should I have cable withdrawls in future.
PS. for the basement 46" tv I have router and purchased Roku 3 so that tv has the surround sound, ota, and also the streaming capability of Roku3.

Hope this tips help others.
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