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post #1 of 31 Old 11-18-2009, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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I have been trying to get a TV station from the next city over for a few months now. I have finally broken down and bought a new antenna (8200U) that I thought would have been big enough, but I only get 16-20% strength now instead of the 10-15% with the DB8 antenna. However during the night when the weather is good, these numbers improve to 40-50%. (I have two tuners, so I needed another big antenna anyways)

The antenna is pointed in the right direction, and the RG6 cable is only 12' long, however the antennas are behind two layers of wood and shingles in an attic. There are also some tall trees across the street. I am not sure about the quality of the tuner either, but it works well with 4 other channels that output ~400kW compared to the 180kW station I am having problems with.

So, the question is, would adding a 7777 or 7778 pre-amp work for me? The max signal strength I get on any station now is 83-86%, so I worry about it amplifying it too much. However, I think it needs all the amplification it can get. The other thing I am worried about is that it will just be amplifying the noise.

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post #2 of 31 Old 11-18-2009, 03:32 PM
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We need more info. Please post a link to your TVFool results or at least provide your ZIP code. Also need to know which channels you want and which are giving you trouble.
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post #3 of 31 Old 11-18-2009, 06:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caps18 View Post

I have finally broken down and bought a new antenna (8200U) that I thought would have been big enough. The antenna is pointed in the right direction, however the antennas are behind two layers of wood and shingles in an attic.

A much smaller antenna on the roof will outperform the 8200U. Do you really need low band (channels 2-6)?
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post #4 of 31 Old 11-19-2009, 06:45 AM
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To quote what I hear Hans say over and over again each day taking phone calls here... "what's a hundred times nothing?" The pre-amp is only going to amplify the signal you are receiving from the antenna to make up for loss in the cable run, splitters, etc.

You need to get the antenna on the roof. Yes, antennas will work in attics, but you will lose 50-90% of your signal depending on roofing materials and other objects between your antenna and the signal.

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post #5 of 31 Old 11-19-2009, 06:56 AM
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TO echo - get your antenna on the roof - and you will get rid of 50-90% of your problem.

And don't throw the HOA in on a single family home.

You CAN put antennas on your owned and/or controlled property...
http://www.fcc.gov/mb/facts/otard.html

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post #6 of 31 Old 11-19-2009, 07:24 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winegard View Post

To quote what I hear Hans say over and over again each day taking phone calls here... "what's a hundred times nothing?" The pre-amp is only going to amplify the signal you are receiving from the antenna to make up for loss in the cable run, splitters, etc.

I 100% agree that it is best to have the antenna do the work.

Is Hans aware that the typical noise figure of a tuner is 5 - 6 dB?

With that said, there are many situations where adding a low noise amplifier (i.e. 1 to 3 dB) at the antenna will be beneficial (e.g. lower system noise figure, make up for coax loss).
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post #7 of 31 Old 11-20-2009, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help. Here is the tvfool output, sorry I forgot to include this.

I get 12 & 48 (54%), but 19 (23%) and 14 (12-15%) are the ones I have problems with. They may not broadcast with the same power though.

My neighbors already think I am crazy. If they saw all the antennas I have in my attic and computer room on top of my house, they may have me committed. I will work on positioning them better if I don't need to worry about line loss (within reason) with a preamp.

(My antenna is pointed in the mag 210-215 range, it may be one other thing to look at)

Thanks
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post #8 of 31 Old 11-20-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caps18 View Post

I get 12 & 48 (54%), but 19 (23%) and 14 (12-15%) are the ones I have problems with.

I will work on positioning them better if I don't need to worry about line loss (within reason) with a preamp.

(My antenna is pointed in the mag 210-215 range, it may be one other thing to look at)

19 is really on channel 29 which is adjacent to channel 30 which is 46 db stronger. That's unlikely to work unless you get the sharpest antenna possible and aim it at about 205. The slight misaim will help tune out WRGT. It may be necessary to install the DB-8 outdoors to minimize scattering from the roof.

I don't see a reason for a problem with 14.
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post #9 of 31 Old 11-21-2009, 09:41 AM
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In almost all cases a significant improvement can be had by putting the antenna outside above the roof. But to get back to your original question of would a preamp help you. Not the models you mentioned. Preamps do improve the SNR to most TV tuners and also can make up the loss in the cable but only if they do not overload. You will see the weakest channels disappear first from added noise caused by an overloaded preamp. You have a lot of very strong channels so the best bet would be to try a low gain preamp like the HDP 269.
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post #10 of 31 Old 11-23-2009, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I hooked up the Channel Master 7777 at lunch today and did some tests. I will do the same test again tonight to see if there is any addition improvement from being night time (I usually get a 10-20% increase in signal strength on the far stations at night).

The first test was just the HD8200U hooked up with a 12' RG6 cable, the second was the HD8200U along with the preamp (close to the tuner however), and the third was a quick experiment in combining both the DB8 and the HD8200U. They may not be pointed in exactly the right direction, and are probably not far enough apart.

I will have to work on getting things setup and pointing in the right direction still, but I think it did help a little. I think I will be able to get to 50% on all channels anytime during the day eventually with just a few tweaks. I will work on this some more tonight to see if it makes a difference.


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post #11 of 31 Old 11-23-2009, 07:36 PM
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Hi, I'm new. You all look so helpful and I need help. I would really appreciate some advice.

I just bought an RCA ANT 751 with hopes of receiving all the local over the air channels on my 2 tvs. I'm about 25 miles from the towers and most are -30dB (most of these I was getting with bunny ears), but one Ch. 39 is -40dB (the one I want most) .

Anyway, right out of the box, I plugged the ANT 751 in, as I held it and pointed it towards the towers out my patio doors, I got all the channels. But, when I put it up on top of the tv, I lost ch. 39. When I put it up in the attic in the garage, same story. So, my simple understanding thought, my body must have been acting as a booster and if moving it from the living room to the attic didn't help, maybe a amp will do it. By the way, I'm only getting a 15% signal.

So, I ran to radio shack and brought home the 15-1170 Amp (just for a quick try). When I plugged it in (and I'm sure I followed the instructions right), my signal went to 0.

Any thoughts? Why did this happen (do I have the wrong kind of cable or something)? Is an amp the answer, or would putting it on the roof be the answer? I do have a pretty long cable as the one tv in the basement is on the opposite end of the house from the antenna. I also have a 3-1 splitter in it (only using 2).

Thank you!
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post #12 of 31 Old 11-25-2009, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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You should be able to get that station, but you need to look at a few variables. Direction is important, height, obstructions (roof, hills, other houses...), length of cable run, splitters (test with no splitter, you may need two antennas), and amplification (like was said above, you will also amplify noise if there is no signal.)

You may have also received a bad amplifier.

I'm sure there is some scientific answer as to why antenna work better when you (or I) are touching it. I've noticed it as well.

------------------------------

I did a little bit of testing at night, but I will have to wait until Sunday to do the full test. I was able to record a program on channel 14 at around 45%-50% at night however.

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post #13 of 31 Old 11-25-2009, 09:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opie C View Post

Hi, I'm new. You all look so helpful and I need help. I would really appreciate some advice.

I just bought an RCA ANT 751 with hopes of receiving all the local over the air channels on my 2 tvs. I'm about 25 miles from the towers and most are -30dB (most of these I was getting with bunny ears), but one Ch. 39 is -40dB (the one I want most) .

Anyway, right out of the box, I plugged the ANT 751 in, as I held it and pointed it towards the towers out my patio doors, I got all the channels. But, when I put it up on top of the tv, I lost ch. 39. When I put it up in the attic in the garage, same story. So, my simple understanding thought, my body must have been acting as a booster and if moving it from the living room to the attic didn't help, maybe a amp will do it. By the way, I'm only getting a 15% signal.

So, I ran to radio shack and brought home the 15-1170 Amp (just for a quick try). When I plugged it in (and I'm sure I followed the instructions right), my signal went to 0.

Any thoughts? Why did this happen (do I have the wrong kind of cable or something)? Is an amp the answer, or would putting it on the roof be the answer? I do have a pretty long cable as the one tv in the basement is on the opposite end of the house from the antenna. I also have a 3-1 splitter in it (only using 2).

Thank you!

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post #14 of 31 Old 11-25-2009, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caps18 View Post


I'm sure there is some scientific answer as to why antenna work better when you (or I) are touching it. I've noticed it as well.


It's because your body is also acting as an antenna and the signal is getting coupled to the real antenna when you touch it.
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post #15 of 31 Old 11-25-2009, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caps18 View Post

You should be able to get that station, but you need to look at a few variables. Direction is important, height, obstructions (roof, hills, other houses...), length of cable run, splitters (test with no splitter, you may need two antennas), and amplification (like was said above, you will also amplify noise if there is no signal.)

You may have also received a bad amplifier.

I'm sure there is some scientific answer as to why antenna work better when you (or I) are touching it. I've noticed it as well.

------------------------------

I did a little bit of testing at night, but I will have to wait until Sunday to do the full test. I was able to record a program on channel 14 at around 45%-50% at night however.

I kind of need the splitter (or some sort of connector) because I don't have one continuous cable from tv to antenna. I did try just disconnecting one of the tvs from the splitter and it does make the other tv slightly stronger (but still not strong enough to get ch. 39.
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post #16 of 31 Old 11-25-2009, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caps18 View Post

You should be able to get that station, but you need to look at a few variables. Direction is important, height, obstructions (roof, hills, other houses...), length of cable run, splitters (test with no splitter, you may need two antennas), and amplification (like was said above, you will also amplify noise if there is no signal.)

You may have also received a bad amplifier.

I'm sure there is some scientific answer as to why antenna work better when you (or I) are touching it. I've noticed it as well.

------------------------------

I did a little bit of testing at night, but I will have to wait until Sunday to do the full test. I was able to record a program on channel 14 at around 45%-50% at night however.

Good thought about the amplifier. I will try swapping it for another at Radio Shack. I could tell the one I got had been returned before.
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post #17 of 31 Old 11-25-2009, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

Please post back with a link to your TVFool results page.
As a new member, the link may be munged, but it post anyway.

My TVFool. Thanks again so much all.
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...bc274d06438d07

Here's an interesting clue. After unplugging one of the tvs (which improved the signal slightly), I'm now getting ch. 47 and almost ch. 14, but still not 39 (which is a stronger signal then those 2 according to this report). Anyone know why that would be?
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post #18 of 31 Old 11-25-2009, 08:18 PM
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Hi Opie,

I have personal experience with the EZ HD antenna (identical to the ANT751). It does not have very high gain. Your chances of success are much greater if you can put it up on the roof (5 to 10 ft above the ridge line) rather than in the attic or indoors. What direction are you aiming the antenna? Based on tvfool, the best aim appears to be ~140 degrees (compass heading). Are there nearby trees that the antenna is aimed through toward the towers? If so, what type of tree (evergreen or deciduous)? The first eleven stations on your tvfool are UHF. IMO, you likely would see a nice response by switching to a CM 4221 or even an antenna direct XG-91. Your tvfool report says most of your signals are two edge. How close are you to the hill/ridge/mountain between you and the towers? The XG-91 can be tilted up toward the horizon over the obstacle. Maybe advantageous to you as well for improving reception.

HTH,

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post #19 of 31 Old 11-26-2009, 05:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opie C View Post

I kind of need the splitter (or some sort of connector) because I don't have one continuous cable from tv to antenna...

To connect two pieces of cable together, don't use a splitter, use a "barrell splice."

I agree with IDRick. You need an antenna installed outdoors and may need one with more gain. Point it roughly SouthEast.
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post #20 of 31 Old 11-29-2009, 08:08 AM
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Thanks again to all for the input. The amp I had from Radio Shack was bad - I exchanged it.

I did also put the antenna (RCA ANT751) on the roof yesterday with much improvement over the attic (allowed it to point up over the houses and trees behind us).

Here's the thing though. There is a small satellite dish that remains on my roof from the previous owner. My thought was to mount the antenna on top of the dish. Initially, as a preliminary test, I just placed the antenna on the roof, right behind the dish (I propped up the front end on a ventilation pipe pointing toward the towers), with the amp plugged in. Everything came in, both tvs, strong signals all around - I was thrilled. So, then I go ahead and mount the ant. above the dish and plug it in again and suddenly everything is gone! I am stumped. When I pull the amp off, many of the channels come in (almost all in the main fl tv, and about half on the bsmt tv).

Can anyone help me understand and solve this problem. Why did the amp work great when the ant. was behind the dish, and not at all when it was above the dish? Or did it have something to do with the ventilation pipe it was leaning on?

Thanks in advance.
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post #21 of 31 Old 11-29-2009, 11:18 AM
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How far apart are the two locations?

It could be that the dish location is directly in a dead OTA reception spot (lower signal, multipath and/or interference there). Another possibility is that the dish may not be grounded and the vent pipe is. Grounding can affect reception.

If you really want to put the antenna on the dish mount, make sure it's grounded properly (to your home's electrical main ground source). If it's not, ground it and try that location again.
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post #22 of 31 Old 11-29-2009, 11:54 AM
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Your amp is overloading. Eliminate it. The antenna worked "great behind the dish" because it was partially blocked and therefore had a much weaker signal present at the amp's input.

Most pre-amps, when in line and unpowered, represent about a 30 dB attenuator.

If you really need an amp, in order to overcome system cable and splitter losses, a better place for it might be immediately upstream of your splitter.

I'd recommend trying the antenna with a single cable all the way to one set. No splitters, on nothing extra. Make that work for each set individually, then reinstall the splitter. if you've now lost reception, add the pre-amp and use it as a distribution amp.
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post #23 of 31 Old 11-29-2009, 04:02 PM
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post #24 of 31 Old 12-03-2009, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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I finally got around to testing my antenna setup last night (for 5 hours), and I think I have figured out what will work the best for my setup.

I will have to check it out today at lunch, but at 9am (daytime), all the channels that I want to get are coming in clear. I did have to end up pointing the two antennas in different directions (only ~5 degrees off), and using two different tuners, but that is acceptable to be able to get a strong enough signal in any weather condition or time of day.

The tests I did was a quick test of my first crude pointing, I moved the 8200 back and forth to the right and left a little bit to see it was pointed in the best direction, then I moved the DB8 further horizontally away from the 8200. Next, I tried to combine the two antennas using two 12ft cables into a Radio Shack UHF/VHF combiner, then using a cheap splitter backwards, and the UHF/VHF combiner that the Channel Master 7777 pre-amp has built in. Then I tried combining the antennas and using the pre-amp to see if that would boost the signal strength. The final tests were just using one antenna plugged into the pre-amp at a time to see how that improved each one. And the final setup seems to work the best with each antenna pointed just a few degrees off, and using the pre-amp on the DB8 to get the difficult to get channel 14. The 8200U is capable of getting the rest of the stations without needing the pre-amp, and you can see that the amp does help get the farthest stations but doesn't impact the other local stations the antenna isn't pointed at. And it isn't exactly the high-tech advanced combiner, amp that I would like to see. It should be able to tell which signal is stronger and only use and amplify one of them for instance. I would think someone could sell a lot of them if it allowed people to add antennas instead of having a rotor setup. If I had to point in three or four directions, I would want to be able to have some box that could pick the best signal and then combine it in one output.

But, I am happy now, and will make sure I watch some TV to see how well it works, but I think everything is good now.
LL

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post #25 of 31 Old 12-15-2009, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

Or use a CM3410.

I like this idea. Thanks. Is there one you would recommend with a dual output that I could just use as my splitter? Or would it be better to just use the CM3410 at the tv that is not getting all the channels?

Thanks again.
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post #26 of 31 Old 12-15-2009, 07:25 PM
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post #27 of 31 Old 12-16-2009, 03:38 AM
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Originally Posted by arxaw View Post

How far apart are the two locations?

It could be that the dish location is directly in a dead OTA reception spot (lower signal, multipath and/or interference there). Another possibility is that the dish may not be grounded and the vent pipe is. Grounding can affect reception.

If you really want to put the antenna on the dish mount, make sure it's grounded properly (to your home's electrical main ground source). If it's not, ground it and try that location again.

I tried a grounding test where I ran a copper wire from the antenna (on top of the dish) to the exhaust pipe and it didn't make a difference. So, though I don't know much about grounding, that doesn't seem to be the cause. Thanks though.
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post #28 of 31 Old 12-16-2009, 03:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ProjectSHO89 View Post

Your amp is overloading. Eliminate it. The antenna worked "great behind the dish" because it was partially blocked and therefore had a much weaker signal present at the amp's input.

Most pre-amps, when in line and unpowered, represent about a 30 dB attenuator.

If you really need an amp, in order to overcome system cable and splitter losses, a better place for it might be immediately upstream of your splitter.

I'd recommend trying the antenna with a single cable all the way to one set. No splitters, on nothing extra. Make that work for each set individually, then reinstall the splitter. if you've now lost reception, add the pre-amp and use it as a distribution amp.

I think you are right. So, I am ordering the CM3412 distribution amp to try as my splitter. Thank you.
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post #29 of 31 Old 12-16-2009, 03:39 AM
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Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

The CM3412.

Aw, don't know why I didn't see that because I looked around. Thanks a lot.
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post #30 of 31 Old 12-17-2009, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Opie C View Post

I tried a grounding test where I ran a copper wire from the antenna (on top of the dish) to the exhaust pipe and it didn't make a difference. So, though I don't know much about grounding, that doesn't seem to be the cause. Thanks though.

There's a good possibility that the vent pipe isn't grounded. The dish should have been grounded, when it was installed. If it isn't grounded, then you need to ground it to the electrical ground (at the power meter) or cold water copper pipe. Make sure the water pipe is copper all the way to the street entrance.
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