Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Orange County, CA
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Chezpaul, first of all on the vertical line issue...
The fact that it appears as a static line within the video frame means it was synchronous with the AC line frequency, 60Hz. A hint that suggests a grounding problem. You could try defining your AV amp or satellite receiver as the central grounding point, and connect all chassis grounds to that device in a star-like configuration. Then ground only that box to the AC plug and float the other boxes with 2-wire adapters. I hate suggesting this because it defeats the safety aspects of having 3-wire plugs on all the boxes, but sometimes this works best from a noise standpoint. The "star ground" eliminates ground loops between boxes.
It's hard to know whether 45% is good or bad since the signal level scales for the various boxes are all arbitrary. My gut feel is that 45% is probably low. The tendency is to be forgiving when you get any success at all, but after a while you'll probably be dissatisfied. For the low cost, I'd try the preamp to boost your signal levels across the board.
Cjames, living in South Laguna, I suspect you'll be terrain-challenged for receiving L.A. stations from Mount Wilson. The coastal range might be quite a barrier. You may have a clear shot at receiving the San Diego stations because of the way the coastline follows an arc between Laguna and San Diego. The distance won't be significantly different, and a straight shot beats an over-the-hill shot, for sure!
The primary benefit of HD is viewing the major network series shows and special events, since the local news, etc (and many secondary shows) are still carried only in SD. So you could watch the local L.A. shows in SD and network shows from San Diego in HD.
I hate to say it, but your best bet for local HD coverage might be cable, as even Dish and DirecTV don't have all the network HD feeds. They are concentrating on HD premium channels that they can charge more for. Dish for example carries only KCBS-HD and I think they still charge $1.50/month for that one station.
It would be worthwhile to check with some of the local specialty high end video stores, and ask if they've done any installations in Laguna. There's one such store on Lake Forest, just south of the 5. I think it's called "Genesis Audio/Video".