AVS Special Member
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: College Park, MD
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The old, RG-59 commonly used twenty to forty years ago has copper braid shield and leaks like a sieve, causing the blurriness that Ken alluded to. If someone is in a region were an ignorant contractor or fledgling cable company had once made it their conductor of choice, then they may be working in environments that are not representative of the world in general. Whenever I run across copper braid shielded RG-59, it is a piece added onto the system by a do-it-yourselfer. I have no leakage problems with foil shielded RG-59.
As has been explained so many times, the signal meter numbers are not just unreliable measures of signal strength, they are so far removed from being indicative of signal strength that they are nearly useless in estimating it. They are the resultant of unique algorithms that reliably principally on the amount of error correction being performed. You can vary signal power a thousand fold without the receiver signal strength number changing.
If someone is 18 miles from full powered transmitters and is using any conventionally designed consumer grade antenna, they will not experience any signal level problems that can be remedied through amplification. When signal level numbers jump from 70 to 80% down to zero or thereabouts, it means that there is multipath interference that fluctuates around the threshold level of canceling the desired signal to the point of rendering it unusable. The remedy is an antenna remedy, either reaiming it within the attic, replacing it or putting it on the roof.
While the original poster now has a situation that satisfies him, he has no way of knowing how much of a performance margin he has, because digital signals, unlike analog signals, only display avalanche failure symptoms. If any channel craps out again, the only practical solution is to put the antenna on the roof, where the signal quality is invariably, significantly better.