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post #1 of 20 Old 03-19-2015, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Question Improving my broadcast digital TV Signal

I recently (gulp!) cut the cord on dish network and installed a digital TV Antenna to feed signal to my 2 televisions. Here are the components I used:
RCA ANT751 outdoor antenna
RCA Digital Signal Pre-amplifier TVPRAMP1R
Radio Shack 3.0 GHz 2-way splitter model number 1500378
Audioquest HD6-1 Coaxial Cable (Blue 50)

I built a reflector out of aluminum pipes and construction screen, and mounted the antenna to a 10' mast lashed to my chimney (kind of proud!) It looks like a military radar, but I picked up over 60 channels and filtered them down to around 20 or so that we actually would watch. The reception is generally good, but interference interrupts programming perhaps half the time we try and watch broadcast TV. We live in Sonoma County, CA, and the signal comes all the way from San Francisco.Here are my questions:

1. Are the components that I used sufficient to protect the signal? Are there better quality ones that would be worth replacing any single component with?
2. Does anyone recommend that i switch from a splitter to an A/B switch, since we don't tend to watch both TVs at the same time? If so, can you recommend a high quality one?
3. What impact would grounding the system do besides lightning protection? Any influence on the signal?

Thanks!
Live long and prosper...
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post #2 of 20 Old 03-19-2015, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remembering Spock View Post
I recently (gulp!) cut the cord on dish network and installed a digital TV Antenna to feed signal to my 2 televisions. Here are the components I used:
RCA ANT751 outdoor antenna
RCA Digital Signal Pre-amplifier TVPRAMP1R
Radio Shack 3.0 GHz 2-way splitter model number 1500378
Audioquest HD6-1 Coaxial Cable (Blue 50)

I built a reflector out of aluminum pipes and construction screen, and mounted the antenna to a 10' mast lashed to my chimney (kind of proud!) It looks like a military radar, but I picked up over 60 channels and filtered them down to around 20 or so that we actually would watch. The reception is generally good, but interference interrupts programming perhaps half the time we try and watch broadcast TV. We live in Sonoma County, CA, and the signal comes all the way from San Francisco.Here are my questions:

1. Are the components that I used sufficient to protect the signal? Are there better quality ones that would be worth replacing any single component with?
2. Does anyone recommend that i switch from a splitter to an A/B switch, since we don't tend to watch both TVs at the same time? If so, can you recommend a high quality one?
3. What impact would grounding the system do besides lightning protection? Any influence on the signal?

Thanks!
Live long and prosper...
Your setup sounds good. Make sure you post your report from TVFool.com, and you'll get better answers to your questions. Without knowing this report, it's hard to make recommendations. Although one thing I would recommend besides using a splitter would be to use a Channel Master CM-3414 distribution amplifier instead. This will allow you to hook up multiple TVs without losing signal. Grounding your antenna will not cause any reduction in signal. Look up some YouTube videos on how to splice the coaxial cable. It's easy, and you can buy the coaxial connectors and grounding block at any hardware store.
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post #3 of 20 Old 03-19-2015, 09:18 AM
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Yes, we need to see a TV Fool report to better diagnose the situation. You will need 5 posts to post a report.
Also, describe the interference you are seeing.
Does it occur randomly or at certain times of the day?
Are only certain channels affected. If so, which ones?
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post #4 of 20 Old 03-19-2015, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Does a reply count as a post? If so I'll reply several times...
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post #5 of 20 Old 03-19-2015, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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First of all thanks for your responses!!
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post #6 of 20 Old 03-19-2015, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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I ran a TV fool report to determine antenna direction, but could give no analysis to signal strength. Most channels come in good, some always seem to have regular interference. For example, CBS in the morning is worse than fox or other major networks. Generally, there is more interference in the morning...

Does grounding improve signal integrity. Somebody told me it does...
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post #7 of 20 Old 03-19-2015, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
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I will upload a tvfool report later this afternoon...
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post #8 of 20 Old 03-19-2015, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remembering Spock View Post

Does grounding improve signal integrity. Somebody told me it does...

No. In the event it appears to do so, then something else is wrong.

Tech support for Antennas Direct
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post #9 of 20 Old 03-19-2015, 01:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remembering Spock View Post
I will upload a tvfool report later this afternoon...
I also own the RCA ANT751, and it's an average performing antenna. It does the trick for me, but I personally opted for a better setup... the XG91 combined with the Y5-7-13, all mounted on a single pole with rotor.

I'm not sure I understand why you built a reflector for your antenna. What made you do that? I suppose if it works, then that's cool, but I wonder if it's even necessary.
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post #10 of 20 Old 03-19-2015, 02:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Andrew,
I chose the RCA ANT751 completely randomly; I have no background in signal reception and didn't know how successful anything would be where I live. There are curvature of the Earth issues; everything comes out of Sacramento (too far) or San Francisco, and line of sight is fairly obstructed. The reflector increased the number of channels and strength of the signal tremendously. I had heard mixed reviews on rotary antennas. Have you had a good experience?

Here is a link to the TVFool Report.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...f1f012f8fe0296

I oriented my antenna on the 147* magnetic azimuth, but went solely off the preponderance of channels coming from that source. Any thoughts? Thanks...
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post #11 of 20 Old 03-19-2015, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remembering Spock View Post
Andrew,
I chose the RCA ANT751 completely randomly; I have no background in signal reception and didn't know how successful anything would be where I live. There are curvature of the Earth issues; everything comes out of Sacramento (too far) or San Francisco, and line of sight is fairly obstructed. The reflector increased the number of channels and strength of the signal tremendously. I had heard mixed reviews on rotary antennas. Have you had a good experience?

Here is a link to the TVFool Report.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...f1f012f8fe0296

I oriented my antenna on the 147* magnetic azimuth, but went solely off the preponderance of channels coming from that source. Any thoughts? Thanks...
You have quite an interesting mixture in your TV Fool report. I'm curious which of these you can receive. Technically, anything with a noise margin (NM) of zero or greater, you should be receiving.
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post #12 of 20 Old 03-19-2015, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Although one thing I would recommend besides using a splitter would be to use a Channel Master CM-3414 distribution amplifier instead. This will allow you to hook up multiple TVs without losing signal.

The RCA PRAMP1R has the following specs:
16dB gain with a 2dB noise figure and 22dB gain with a 3dB noise figure.

Is there any possibility that utilizing the CM 3414 would overload the system? Also, there are four outputs; do splitters divide the signal over every output, or only if the output is connected to something that is displaying the signal?

Thanks..
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post #13 of 20 Old 03-19-2015, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Related question, if I disconnect the coaxial to the second TV that we don't watch very often, will it increase the signal to our main TV as though the signal weren't split? Or does the presence of a splitter divide the signal strength regardless of actual output connections? I hope that question makes sense (someone told me that simply unscrewing the coaxial from the TV not in use would increase the signal going to the TV we commonly use)

Thanks
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post #14 of 20 Old 03-19-2015, 05:44 PM
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I use the Channel Master CM-3414 where I live because it doesn't overload for me. I can't use a pre-amp or else it makes the signals worse. FM radio and TV stations that are nearby can cause overload. In my TV Fool report, I have a few noise margins as high as 75 to 80 dB. So I'm definitely not a candidate for a pre-amp. You may want to try without the pre-amp and just use the distribution amp instead and see if that helps.

If you're using a splitter, the signal is reduced no matter if you're using all the outputs or not.
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post #15 of 20 Old 03-20-2015, 03:59 AM
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Unfortunately the ANT-751 just isn't enough antenna to pull in those weak signals. What you really need is something like this . . . . . . .
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post #16 of 20 Old 03-20-2015, 04:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Digital Rules View Post
Unfortunately the ANT-751 just isn't enough antenna to pull in those weak signals. What you really need is something like this . . . . . . .
Beautiful!! Do you select your antenna purely based on the gain that it promises? In general, bigger is better? Thanks...
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post #17 of 20 Old 03-20-2015, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Remembering Spock View Post
Beautiful!! Do you select your antenna purely based on the gain that it promises? In general, bigger is better? Thanks...
It looks like you have a station in your area that has a few repeaters all on the low-VHF channels (2-6). That is what K03IC is. Technically you'd need a low-VHF antenna for that if you care to watch it and all its sub-channels, but it's strong enough to where you may not need a dedicated low-VHF antenna. You have a lot of stations in the red which have really low noise margins. I'm wondering if your ANT751 can receive any of those. If not, then I'd step up to a bigger antenna like the HBU33 or the XG91. The XG91 has got some serious gain, but it's only for channels that actually broadcast on UHF frequencies (real channels 14 and above). You could do what I do and get some nice separate UHF and VHF antennas and combine them.


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post #18 of 20 Old 03-20-2015, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
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One limitation in antenna selection is that I want to keep using a rear U-joint mounted antenna because it works with the reflector I built, which I believe adds a lot of gain to the system. I think the antenna I have is working well, but is it possible to add more element to the UHF portion? After looking at antennas that offer more gain, none of them will work with the reflector, and adding something to my antenna might be a very simple fix. I've included a picture. What do you think? Thanks...
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post #19 of 20 Old 03-20-2015, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Remembering Spock View Post
One limitation in antenna selection is that I want to keep using a rear U-joint mounted antenna because it works with the reflector I built, which I believe adds a lot of gain to the system. I think the antenna I have is working well, but is it possible to add more element to the UHF portion? After looking at antennas that offer more gain, none of them will work with the reflector, and adding something to my antenna might be a very simple fix. I've included a picture. What do you think? Thanks...
That's a nice looking reflector. I am not sure how effective that would be compared to other antennas. Maybe someone else can comment on that. I would post your question in the HDTV Technical forum on this site. You'll probably get a lot more help there. That's where most people post their antenna questions and TV Fool reports. I would be interested in hearing other peoples' opinions and experience on antenna reflectors. I've heard that the best antennas ever sold had the large parabolic reflectors on the back. But those haven't been sold in a while.
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post #20 of 20 Old 03-20-2015, 06:29 PM
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The DB8e was designed with larger reflectors, as well as the DB4e and DB2e. Seems to help gain more signal. And Channel Master and Antennacraft stopped making those parabolics years ago due to cost and size. But they were reportedly considered the best UHF fringe antennas. But the DB8e is a very good antenna from all reports with the newer design.
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