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Philadelphia, PA - OTA - Page 118

post #3511 of 3806



post #3512 of 3806

The large antenna looks like an older VHF-high/VHF-low combination antenna, which may or may not have UHF capability (looks like perhaps it doesn't). The smaller yagi may be a UHF antenna or some other specialty antenna not for tv. Oftentimes, older antennas that have been not exposed to outside weather can perform just fine in their current place for today's tv reception. 35 miles is usually a receivable distance for attic antennas, so you don't necessarily have to use an outside antenna (at least not yet, until you test things a bit with your current antennas). Some things you might consider:

1 - Is the siding on the outside of your garage (above the garage door) aluminum siding? If so, "aiming through" that siding may be reducing signals significantly and/or causing multipath distortion.

2 - Is your garage door made of metal? If so, raising it (so that it is oriented horizontally directly below your antennas) might be producing a metal ground plane which is slightly enhancing received signals.

3 - The large antenna looks like some of its elements are not lined up straight/properly/squarely to each other, which might decrease the gain of the antenna. Gently bending the elements back in line might help things.

4 - The small yagi antenna (if it is indeed a UHF antenna) looks to be too close to the larger antenna. I would prefer to see it above the large VHF antenna by 2 feet (as high as possible), so that the larger VHF antenna does not "block" signals from reaching that smaller UHF antenna. You could perhaps loosen the clamps holding the mast going through the rotor and raise the mast until it just clears the bottom of the rotor, maybe raising it by a foot or a bit more (which would likely require you to also move the large VHF antenna down that mast by a foot or more). Then, you could remove the small UHF yagi from its current position and clamp it at the very top of the mast.

5 - What kind of coaxial or other cable are you using to connect to the antenna? If it is old 300-ohm flat twinlead or old RG-59 coax, an upgrade to RG-6 would probably help. Also, you would want the coax to run to the tv with the shortest amount of length possible, to preserve maximum signal. Maybe the previous owners had 100 feet of coax running all over the place that could be shortened a lot.

6 - How is the coaxial or other cable connected to the antenna? You'd want to make sure it is attached properly. Maybe there is a 300-to-75-ohm balun connector at the antenna that has gone bad, and that's the only problem.

7 - Which antenna is currently connected to your tv? If it's the small yagi, that would explain the lack of channel 6 reception (it's not designed for VHF-low reception). In order to attach both antennas to your tv, you would join the two antennas together into a single coax dowlead using two short coax lengths (maybe 3-4 feet each) fed into a special, but inexpensive, VHF-UHF combiner called a UVSJ (do not try to use a simple splitter in reverse, as it is not band-separated for this purpose): http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?p=UVSJ

8 - Is the antenna aimed properly toward your stations of interest?

9 - Also, you'd want to make sure that none of the metal crossover lines (connecting the individual elements of your large antenna, and running parallel to the antenna boom) have gotten bent so that they are touching each other, as that would basically short out the antenna.

It's entirely possible that you just have a few problems with one or more of these items, and that, once corrected (perhaps not at significant cost), you will enjoy great reception with the antennas you have. Does the rotor work as well? If so (and assuming that the large antenna clears the rafters while rotating), you might receive additional stations from other directions as well. If you have questions about any of these items, post a few close-up photos of things like the kind of coax you're using and the connection point at the antenna, and maybe we can help out some more.

Hope this is helpful - good luck...
post #3513 of 3806
I'm still at work, but let me answer a few of the questions so far

It is metal, aluminum siding on the outside. The garage door isn't metal but the cross members are metal going across.

The large antenna was bent up a bit - I tried to straighten it out a bit - I can try to straighten it out more.

On the big antenna there was what looked like 100feet of flat 2 wire cable going into the house. I did an ohms test on the wire and they are not broken but when I tried to hook a tv up inside the house I got NO channels at all. So I went to radio shack and got 2 300-to-75-ohm balun connectors. Put one on the big antenna and one on the small. Then I had a small flat screen tv that I put in the garage to test the antennas. I hooked up a short r6 line to the large antenna and got all the channels in the first sweep. WPVI came in crystal clear and so did 29.1 fox. I tried hooking to the small antenna and got only like 4-5 channels (and not those two).

So I hooked back up to the big and and started turning the antenna to see what other channels I could scan in. I'm 35 miles out from philly and looks like mostly the towers are all in the same direction. I did get a few more channels (some spanish and french ones and some religious ones) pointing more south. And when I pointed north I got the NJ network clear and a few others. Was most interested in the philly channels. SO I pointed back to philly, but no more wpvi 6.1 on the large antenna. And 29.1 only comes in at one very specific pointing - but I lose like 4-5 other channels pointed there. I assume interference. Either the siding on my house - of those power lines outside on the road that I am pointig through in the pictures. Where that telephone pole/ power pole is - is the exact direction of the philly towers it seems.

Oh yeah - there is a roter motor on the pole, looks like a wire - thats 4 wire is coming off of it. But no control box. I don't know if all 4 wires are hooked up. I will have to take the plate off to see. I hope there is a way to test the motor or get a control box for it. Inside the garage it does have room to spin 360 degrees without hitting anything.
post #3514 of 3806
The metal siding and the metal parts of the garage door certainly aren't helping, but if your testing with your small tv is getting all channels, then you might be okay nevertheless.

Trying to straighten out the elements of your big antenna is probably a good plan, as long as you can do it carefully, so as not to break any of the elements.

Since the flat 300-ohm twinlead has more signal loss than RG-6 coax, you're probably losing a bunch of signal right there, especially if the twinlead has long horizontal runs. Replacing it with lower-loss RG-6 would probably preserve much more original signal. Since all twinlead and coax lose signal strength over longer runs, perhaps 100 feet is not necessary, such that by re-routing through your house in a more efficient way, you might be able to get away with less, maybe 60-75 feet. If you did decide to purchase some RG-6 coax, you'd want to have a small amount of extra length, just in case you raised your antenna a few feet higher in your garage attic, for example. And in the event that you ended up putting an antenna outside, you'd also want the new length of RG-6 suitable for that.

For some additional testing, run a TVFool report for your exact address from http://www.tvfool.com. That way, you'd have a good idea of the stations available and the true compass direction for each. You can even post the link on this thread and your address won't appear. Maybe the aiming direction you need for most of your stations is off-axis relative to the metal siding, and if your rotor isn't working anyway, moving your large antenna up as high as you can (before the element ends just about touch the rafters), but aimed in the proper direction, would give you more elevation (almost always good) and would have less signal passing through the siding itself.

You might even consider unbolting that small UHF antenna from it's current location (where it's shadowed by, and might even be interfering with, your large antenna) and test it on its own way up high near the very top of your garage attic, if possible.

If you want to diagnose the rotor situation, Norm's Rotor Service is one place to start - http://www.rotorservice.com

Perhaps with some not-too-large investments in some cabling/connectors/etc., and a bit of time adjusting the antenna(s) and testing things out, you might end up with pretty good reception.
post #3515 of 3806

Those channels that are green and yellow are what i want and mostly the ones at 250 263 would make us very happy. Even though it shows inside antenna I think maybe the interference is my problem. Gonna try to remove the smaller one and see and then raise it up a bit more. If not I will try them on the roof and see what i get. If that doesn't work i guess i can try a bigger uhf/vhf antenna. Was hoping not to spend the extra money.
post #3516 of 3806
I think moving the antennas outside will really help. If you feel like replacing the antenna, it looks like you can get an omnidirectional antenna or even the bidirectional Winegard. Since I don't know how many TV's and how much coax you might run, I don't know if they will work for you. I know a person that lives half way between two big cities which are about 35 to 40 miles from him, and the land is very flat too. The person uses a Winegard GS2200 with no issue. I don't know if that will help or not. Someone from your area might help you better if you want to replace the antenna.
post #3517 of 3806
The previous owner of your house was rotating the antenna between Philadelphia, Allentown and New York stations. Realigning a few of the bent antenna elements (carefully, from their attachment points) first would probably be beneficial, since the big antenna might otherwise be in fine shape. Still tough to tell whether it's VHF-only or a VHF/UHF combo since it's an unusual/older design, but that doesn't mean it won't work out just fine.

Keep testing the two antennas individually with your short RG-6 coax and your portable tv (following the "Real" channel numbers on your TVFool report). You may find that testing that small UHF antenna 2-3 feet above your big antenna (but on the same mast) gets good UHF reception (maybe even better than on the large antenna). If so, you could join the two antennas with a UVSJ and two short coax lengths. If you think you might have some future interest in getting that rotor working, then leave the big antenna at its current height (or maybe move it up only a little if there's a bit more height available while still clearing the rafters upon rotation) and test both antennas at 203/250/297/40 degrees true. You might end up pleasantly surprised with what you have (at not much cost for some new wiring/connectors).

Once you have good reception with your portable tv, then feed to your main tv with new RG-6 coax, as efficient (short) a length as possible.
post #3518 of 3806
Ok I finally had some time to play with the antenna more today. So far what I did was separate the antennas. I took the little one off the pole all together. I then raised the bigger one high as I could without hitting the garage roof. Raised it up another few feet. It can no longer spin 360 degrees how it is - but its higher. I straightened out the big antenna best I could.

I took the little antenna and just put it on a pole on the ground. Only a few feet off the ground - but just to be outside and see what i got. Raising the big antenna inside seemed to help a bit and angling it up a bit helped also.

Without playing with direction much the little antenna picked this up with the first sweep

12.1 .2 .3
17.1 .2 .3 .4
35.1 .2 .3 .4
48.1 .2 .3 .4 .5
61.1 .2 .3
65.1 .2

Still no 29 or 6.1 wpvi. But of course the antenna is low and close to the ground. Not sure if I put this on the roof how it might do.

Now the big anetnna inside got these.

10.1 .2
12.1 .2 .3
17.1 .2 .3 .4

When I moved where it was pointing I got
6.1 .2 .3 (wpvi and a very strong single )

I moved it some more and got
61.1 .2

moved it a bit and finally got fox 29 but the signal isn't very strong and it drops out.

So now I am happy I can get 6.1 - but where its pointed I lose a few other channels. I am thinking up on the roof is what I'm gonna do. I just don't know if I should put the little one on the roof - or the big one - or both together? Or a newer - bigger antenna.

I also took pictures of everything and popped the rotor cover off to see the wiring. the rotor has no plate or markings at all. Its a 4 wire. Not sure if I can find a box for it and see if it works or not. if not I will buy another rotor so I can spin the antenna on the roof.
post #3519 of 3806
Higher res Pictures from todays testing - not sure if I should do links or pictures themselves..... If I need to change it lemmie know

post #3520 of 3806
Originally Posted by forceten1 View Post

It looks like you might needs to cross the phasing lines because it looks like it is touching the pipe and might be causing issue. I know another friend that made that mistake and was having issues. Since I don't know what antenna that is, I am not sure how it was built.
post #3521 of 3806
The phasing lines attaching the three folded dipole portions of the antenna definitely should not be touching anything except the folded dipoles themselves at the respective connection points. Having the one phasing line touch the mast is probably shorting out the antenna, hindering its reception capability.

Since the mounting bracket for the mast looks like it's a permanent part of the original antenna (and properly located), it does seem like the phasing lines should instead be crossed again between the second and third folded dipoles (just as they are between the first and second folded dipoles), with the "X" located right alongside the mast, directly below where the mounting bracket is attached to the mast. That way, the mast would not get in the way of the phasing lines.

There should be no need for black electrical tape to insulate the phasing lines from the mounting bracket bolts, the boom or the mast, as the phasing lines should be below the boom, and each cross (or "X") in the phasing lines should be vertically separated by a half inch or so, to ensure that they don't touch. You should probably pull off those few extra copper strands wrapped around the phasing lines near where your balun is attached, just to make sure they don't inadvertently touch anything else and cause a short.

I'm not an expert on phasing three folded dipoles (this is an older antenna design, for sure, but might still work just great in the end), but by the look of how the phasing lines are bent already, and the location of the mast mounting bracket, it seems like those phasing lines should be re-crossed. I'd try to carefully disconnect, bend, separate, re-cross and reconnect those phasing lines, and then test the reception again. It would not surprise me if your reception improved quite a bit after doing this, since it really looks like somebody switched these at some point and allowed the lines/mast to touch, ruining the antenna.

The rotor looks like an Alliance model (and many of those were very good rotors; I have one myself). Are there any markings on the inside of the plate you removed to reveal the wiring attachments? Norm's Rotor Service might know the model just by looking at your photos, and if we're right about the antenna phasing lines, maybe you'll be able to lower the antenna height again (having achieved much better reception) to allow for rotation.
post #3522 of 3806
The more I look at your large antenna, I think it is a VHF-low/VHF-high combination antenna that is not really intended for UHF reception. Thinking now that, once you get the phasing lines repaired, the large antenna will get strong reception on WPVI-6 (6.1, etc.), WHYY-12 (12.1, etc.) WBPH-9 (60.1, etc.), WNJB-8 (58.1, etc.) and maybe even WABC-7 (7.1, etc.) when properly rotated. UHF reception might be decent for nearby stations, but not exceptional, hence the need for the separate small UHF antenna.

You'll probably get much better results with some better height for the small UHF antenna. Perhaps the best result will be from putting the small UHF antenna 2-3 feet above the large VHF antenna on the same mast, and connecting the two together into a single downlead using a UVSJ (if the antennas work okay when tested separately).


Will be interested to hear if fixing the phasing lines improves your large antenna (at least for your stations having VHF "Real" channel numbers on your TVFool report)...
post #3523 of 3806
thanks for the fast replies.

I have to say - the lines touching the mast is a trick of the camera angle. The one side goes around the mast but it does not touch at all. I had looked at that at first but no matter how the antenna is spun the the mast - those two lines do not touch the mast. just a bad angle on the picture.

The electrical tape and the bit of wire strands where from the flat antenna lead wire that was originally hooked up. I cut it off and removed the tape holding the wire (my guess was while the antenna spun). I will do a little bit better of a job of taking that excess wire off this weekend.

Is the little antenna a uhf type? I could try to lower the large antenna and put the little one on top and go get that UVSJ and hook them up.

I will have to take a look at the plate I took off to see if there is anything on the rotor. But If I remember right - there was nothing.

Although, for the large antenna, I was only able to get 6.1 wpvi once I raised the antenna up as high as it could go. i fear dropping it back down will make me lose that channel again. Maybe that is gonna be the argument for putting them outside and on the roof.

can the small uhf one go under the big antenna? or will that mess things up
post #3524 of 3806
Once I saw the close-up pictures you posted of those phasing lines, they immediately looked strange to me because of the way they were bent around the mast. Either the mast clamp wasn't originally at that particular location on the antenna, or the phasing lines were somehow bent/moved.

In your 7th photo down (the same one reproduced by advcomp2019 with his post), the upper of the two phasing lines in that photo looks parallel to the boom until there's a noticeable bend right near the mast location. That's probably where the original cross (or "X") began for those phasing lines (identical otherwise to the other cross). I'd still try switching them.

VHF-high (real channels 2-6) uses the largest horizontal elements (usually around 119" wide) and are usually the rearmost elements on a large combination antenna that includes VHF-low capability, such as the 8200U:

VHF-high elements (for real channels 7-13) are smaller horizontally, usually around 36" wide maximum. The newer kind of combination antennas for VHF-high and UHF (but not including VHF-low capability, for the many areas of the country that no longer have any VHF-low stations) are only about 35" wide because of this, such as the HD7696:

If you look at your larger antenna, it looks like it has the longer VHF-low elements interspersed among the medium-sized VHF-high elements. If this is correct, we wouldn't expect it to have very good UHF reception.

The smaller elements on the front of both the 8200 and 7696 antennas are the UHF elements, for channels 14-51 today, similar to a UHF-only antenna, like the MXU 59:

How wide is the widest/rearmost horizontal element on your small antenna? If it's 35" wide, then it might work for VHF-high. If smaller than 35", it's only gonna be effective for UHF, most likely. Putting it above your large antenna (as high as possible, or as high as it can go while still being able to rotate, if you choose to get your rotor working), and connecting with a UVSJ would likely be the way to go, once your testing of it individually confirms that this is correct. I wouldn't put it below the large antenna; the large antenna will shadow it too much, and you want the maximum benefit of height, as well as avoiding "aiming through" your metal siding as much as possible.

Your test results on the big antenna so far are kind of inconclusive; thinking that maybe switching those phasing lines might be a good next test, before considering putting anything outside.
post #3525 of 3806
Originally Posted by gcd0865 View Post

How wide is the widest/rearmost horizontal element on your small antenna? If it's 35" wide, then it might work for VHF-high.

Your test results on the big antenna so far are kind of inconclusive; thinking that maybe switching those phasing lines might be a good next test, before considering putting anything outside.

I got to test more things today! Ok small antenna - the longest element is 19" so I guess only uhf.

I went up on the ladder and crossed the phasing lines. They actually crossed without much problems and are a little further away from the mast. They are not touching anything or close to anything. I noticed what looks like plastic washers with claws on them where they get attached with screws to the main antenna. Is that right? The phase lines are not suppose to touch the main antenna at all? Not even where they get secured?

Tested the large antenna again up high. but no noticeable improvement at all. I had high hopes for a sec

But then the next test - I lowered the large antenna down the mast and put the little uhf one at the very top of the mast. Then i used that little coupler piece you guys told me to buy. The one that combines uhf and vhf.

I put the little antenna on the UHF side and the large on the VHF side - and went down to go test.......

Ummm wow - that seemed to almost do the trick. EVERY channel on my list came in without moving the antenna pointing(even a few that were not pointing in the right direction - not sure how that works). Except two. channel 29 comes and goes - but half the time its there. And now no 6.1 wpvi

But I did not have time to try rotating the antennas at all. I think next weekend when i have time I can get the big vhf antenna pointed perfect for 6.1 to come back and then put the little uhf pointing right where it is and I might have all the channels without even getting the rotor to work. Only problem is gonna be fox 29.

I started reading this thread from the start - it seems fox 29 can be problematic?

If I can get the large antenna pointed to get 6.1 and the small gets everything but fox 29 good - not sure what i can do. If we want 29 - try the roof? or will that make a difference? I will try next time to move the little antenna around and see if I can get 29 clear at all. if I can inside then I guess its time to get the rotor working or get a new rotor.

All in all - this last test went great - lots of progress - thanks to this forum and your guys input!! after the antenna is all set then I have to do my 75-100 foot runs to the two tv's and figure out if its preamp time or not.
post #3526 of 3806
And after researching - the rotor is indeed an alliance. Looks like Alliance U-100 which is the 3 wire model. I see what control box its suppose to have (funny thing - same box/rotor my grandma had on her roof 30 years ago!).

I see 4 control boxes on ebay - but all 4 sellers aren't sure the box works. Three have pictures with the box plugged in and lit up - but that doesn't mean anything I think.

Anyone have a working Alliance U-100 box - or know where I can pick up a working one to test the motor?
post #3527 of 3806
Sounds like you're making some good progress.

The phasing lines should be secured to the antenna only at the attachment points (where you have the wing nuts on the attachment posts), but otherwise not touching anything (sorry for not making that clearer before). Sounds like you have the phasing lines set up properly now. The plastic washers with the claws are probably there just so the phasing lines don't move relative to the antenna elements, which is fine, because the electrical contact takes place through the attachment bolts and the wing nuts, at a minimum.

If WTXF Fox 29 is problematic, it might be because it broadcasts on real channel 42, while your closest station, WNJT is on neighboring real channel 43, at only 7.3 miles away. Perhaps there is some spillover signal occurring there that is interfering with WTXF. Aiming the UHF antenna to 250 degrees, or maybe even a little south of that (like around 230-240 degrees, more away from the direction of WNJT at 299 degrees) might help to receive WTXF better. You might need to get a small compass for the aiming.

How high up is the UHF antenna right now, relative to as high as it could be in your garage attic while still being able to rotate (once you get your rotor working)? If you could move the UHF antenna up higher (either by moving the main mast up through the rotor another foot, getting a longer mast, or extending the mast another foot or two with a wooden dowel), it would get that UHF antenna farther away from your VHF antenna below it, helping its directivity. Really, the goal would be to have both antennas as high as they can be while still being able to rotate (just 2 inches or so below touching the rafters), if possible.

Does your tv have an on-screen signal strength meter available? If so, use that to optimize the aim. If the signal strength on the meter jumps up and down a lot, that's an indicator of multipath distortion that might be cured by moving one or both antennas outside.

If getting the best height and optimizing the aiming still doesn't make WTXF reliable, then you could consider putting only the UHF antenna up on the roof (much less of an eyesore than having the big antenna up there as well). But that's for later.

Not sure what to recommend about the rotor control box, except to e-mail Norm's Rotor Service and ask them.
post #3528 of 3806
THE little uhf antenna is as high as it can go on the mast. And the mast and the larger vhf antenna is as high as it can go but still keeping distance from the little antenna and that i can still rotate the mast without hitting the rafters.

So any higher would have to be outside............

yes my little flat screen has a signal meter.
So my plan this weekend is to rotate the antenna around here and there and see if there is a spot where 6.1 will come in. Gonna lock the big antenna into that spot (if its there) and then start to rotate the little antenna and see if i can get a clear shot of 29. If I can I will see what other channels i lost because of the move. But if I can get 6.1 and 29 clear then all i need is a working rotor.

If I can't get either channel at all - then I guess the roof is the next step. And true - your idea if i can get one of those two but not the other - I could mount one on the roof (if its the little one) and keep the larger one inside. But if its the larger one then both go up top. Gotta get some grounding stuff for that side of the house too. And gonna need longer r6 runs too. I already have the side wall mounts on the way in the mail just in case........

Will let ya know how this weekends tests go! My better half will be thrilled to have local channels again - soon as I hook it all up.
post #3529 of 3806
When you test signal strength for your various stations, it will be good to note the threshhold percentage number where your tv locks a signal and where it starts to pixelate, in addition to the max signal strengths for the individual stations and best antenna direction for each. For example, my tv's tuner will hold a solid lock on anything above 40 on the meter; between 35 and 40 it may hold steady, but may also sometimes pixelate; and below 35 I mostly get no picture. I'd have much more confidence with signals in the 70s, 80s and 90s than in the 30s and 40s, considering that the addition of your long coax and splitter (for your multiple tv's) will always lose some signal (maybe 10-15 points).

You may even want to test aiming toward Allentown (297 degrees) and New York (40 degrees) to see if any of those happen to come in, since it would tell you whether to bother with getting a controller for your rotor (at least for use with your current antennas).
post #3530 of 3806
As I start to see what supplies i have for the inside runs - looks like I will need one 3 way splitter. A line from the antenna in the garage (or on the roof) will come into the basement and hit the splitter.

From the antenna to the splitter will be maybe 30 feet (a little more if I have to move the antenna to the roof.

From the splitter the first split will go 2 feet to the basement gym TV. A 2nd line will go 2 feet to a network tuner for the computers. The third run will go to the 2nd tv in the livingroom - maybe 30 feet away.

Once I get the antennas pointed and mounted where they will be I will see how the tv's look and if I need a preamp.

But my questions is - does it matter what type of 3 way splitter I get? Or will any old type do?

And the rg6 lines. I have dual shielded I think in lots of quantities. I can cut them to exact length (I have 100's of feet from the dish network install that I'm pulling out). But I read about quad shielded. I have read the difference in the shielding......... so the question is - does it matter at all with an OTA antenna if the rg6 is dual, triple (if there is such a thing) or quad shielded? With the length of my runs. Meaning will the extra shielding help any interference or anything? And if it does matter - will it still matter if I wind up using a preamp?

So many questions and so much to learn! After I'm all set I know half a dozen people who are letting me learn everything and are gonna ask me tons of questions and help them get setup. I be the guinnie pig
post #3531 of 3806
You'd want a good-quality splitter that allows power to pass through it on at least one port in case you add an amplifier, which would have a power inserter near your tv and the amp unit itself on the antenna mast. Here are a few that are power-passing on all three ports:


Applicable frequencies for tv in your case will be 82-690 MHz, so you wouldn't really even need the one that goes up to 2050/2500 MHz (that's for cable or satellite frequencies), but it's not bad to have a high-frequency splitter either, just in case it ever gets re-purposed for cable/satellite.

You might even find something similar locally, just stay around these general prices for this item; any more is not necessary.

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053 (power passing on all three ports)
http://www.lowes.com/pd_117641-12704...ductId=3362974 (power passing on only one port)

Your dual-shielded RG-6 should be just fine, unless you have some unusual local interference, such as a neighbor's underground electric pet fence, nearby LED outdoor lighting, etc. I'd just stick with what you have, and keep the runs as short as you can.

You're on the right track - soon, you'll be the neighborhood antenna/wiring expert (which may or may not be good)...
post #3532 of 3806
Ok everything is good to go except (as I feared) the 75 foot runs and three way split was a bit too much. In the garage with one tv and a 20 foot run I got all the channels finally. In the house I drop out and lost some (ones that are perfect in the garage). So I know its just a bit far from the antennas......

So preamp time......... I see so many though. What do you guys have or use or recommend and why.

Somebody told me this one - since I am already using a splitter at the antenna to combine the ufh and vhf antenna. Its a bit pricey though


I see this one but mixed reviews being made cheaply from china (guess everything comes from there now)


or this one


Or what should I be looking for? if not any of them
post #3533 of 3806
Originally Posted by forceten1 View Post

So preamp time......... I see so many though. What do you guys have or use or recommend and why.
Or what should I be looking for? if not any of them

I haven't bought a preamp in probably 35 years, but I will say that my circa 1977 Channel Master preamp has performed faithfully and without complaint or failure all this time (though with various antenna configurations). That one was probably made in the US, something that isn't going to happen these days.

If you keep the antenna(s) indoors, here's another alternative (that I use as a distribution amp, but would serve well as an indoor preamp) that is extremely well made and has a low noise figure: http://www.kitztech.com - look at the KT-100VG because for indoors you really don't need the remote power supply (and its associated insertion loss.) This one is, to the best of my knowledge, lovingly hand crafted in the USA by Mr. Kitz himself.
post #3534 of 3806
What you need is a powered distribution amp at the antenna.

The CM3418 wins hands down
post #3535 of 3806
Originally Posted by CLT OTA Nut View Post

What you need is a powered distribution amp at the antenna.

The CM3418 wins hands down

I need to amplify close to the antenna no? Not inside I think.

That won't work in my situation - as the antenna in the garage - 1 line goes into the house (75 feet) and then when it gets into the basement I split it down there three ways. 1 line goes to the computer network, one line goes to the basement/gym tv (both right there) but the third line goes another 20 feet or so to the livingroom tv. So that cm3418 I wouldn't be able to split at the antenna... well I guess I could - but then I would need to run three lines of 75 feet to get into the basement not just one....
post #3536 of 3806
Glad to hear you're almost there...

A few preamplifier vs. distribution amp thoughts:


Here's an enormous, but very good, thread dedicated to amplifiers. If you just scanned through the most recent pages, you'll see some of the favorites:


Post #2942 on page 197 discusses advantages of preamplifiers, and that's generally what I've always believed. Where your stations are far away, you'll see that the Channel Master 7777 is highly recommended, but it's a high-powered amp that is susceptible to overload from nearby stations, and I don't know whether WNJT at 7.3 miles would be enough to overload you or not. There are supposedly old and new versions of the CM7777 (see post #2977 on page 199), with the old one being cheapened in its components, so be aware of that if you choose that model. Post #2958 is a good guide too.

For stronger signal areas, lower-gain amplifiers (12-18 dB, instead of 26-30 dB) are much more overload-resistant; you'll see that the Winegard HDP-269 and Antennas Direct CPA-19 are both highly-rated.


Here's another good thread that ends up discussing an AntennaCraft 10G212 that has its gain adjustable from inside the house (I've seen this one recommended before too):


That's about all I can provide on amps - hope it's helpful...
post #3537 of 3806
So far I am leaning towards the 7777 (mainly because I can use it to combine both antennas and do away with the combiner I have right now.). I think the gain for the philly stations will be great - but not sure if the few NJ ones will overload.

So question - if I overload the signal from the closer towers what happens? I only loss or get a worse signal from those closer stations? Or does it overload all the signals and I lose strength on the far away ones also?

I could go with a smaller preamp (the one for $30) also and see how it goes. Not sure which way to go. Best thing about amazon though (not sure how solidsignal is with returns) is if the 7777 doesn't work for me I can return it and go with the smaller preamp. I think I lean to that - as I can try the more powerful one - and if it gives bad results I can swap it out and go for a smaller preamp.
post #3538 of 3806
Select the dual input 7778 instead of the 7777 and the overload worries are greatly diminished. The Antennacraft 10G221 would also be a good choice as would the Winegard AP-2870 if strong signals are mixed with weak.


So question - if I overload the signal from the closer towers what happens? I only loss or get a worse signal from those closer stations? Or does it overload all the signals and I lose strength on the far away ones also?

It depends on what overloads (tuner or amp) and what the specifics happen to be. You might loose everything, only weak signals, weak signals that are on adjacent channels to strong ones, or some other combination. Instead of using a high gain amp to find out, select a medium gain, high input amp and avoid the whole mess.
post #3539 of 3806
I used a CM 7777 with dual inputs in Columbus, NJ, not that far from NJN C,annel 52 in Trenton and never had overload issues. I got excellent results from Philly, Allentown, and NYC, so I think I would try that pre-amp so I could combine the antenna with less signal loss. My UHF antenna was an older CM Bowtie corner reflector.
post #3540 of 3806
Originally Posted by ProjectSHO89 View Post

Select the dual input 7778 instead of the 7777 and the overload worries are greatly diminished. .

I was looking at the 7778..... but some of the newest reviews on amazon were complaining that they changed the amp and now the new ones are not separate uhf and vhf. The old ones are still separate but they new ones are just one input. So no clue if I would be getting a newer one or older when ordering.

Originally Posted by JoeWS View Post

I used a CM 7777 with dual inputs in Columbus, NJ, not that far from NJN C,annel 52 in Trenton and never had overload issues. I got excellent results from Philly, Allentown, and NYC, so I think I would try that pre-amp so I could combine the antenna with less signal loss. My UHF antenna was an older CM Bowtie corner reflector.

I'm about 20 mins north of columbus on the other side of trenton. You got NYC channels from there? I might have to turn the antenna 180 degrees and try a scan and see. I just figured I would get the few local Nj channels and all the philly ones. i didn't even think to point towards NY and scan for them there......
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