Originally Posted by bladerunner6
I should add I do have trees in the way.
Trees block TV signals, especially when they are wet.
Also, I did try a cheap internal pre-amp and that didn’t help but someone suggested I try an external one that is closer to the antenna.
What someone told you is true; a preamp is usually (but not always, if you need the attenuation of the coax*) more effective when it is mounted close to the antenna.
The antenna is located on our deck, although I might be able to mount to the side of the house- in on the south side.
Which side of the house is the deck on, the rear? Which direction does it face, south? Is it a 2nd floor deck?
So should I go for the Channelmaster pre-amp or a lower gain model.
I wish I could give you a precise answer, but I don't have enough information about your location. If I were there, I could make some measurements with my signal level meter and see if the signal paths were clear of obstructions. If you could show us some photos of the antenna location and what the signal path looks like from 109, that might help. Ideally, I would like to look at a satellite view of your location to see the green signal lines, but you would need to give me the coordinates of your antenna on the deck in a PM.
The problem with the 7777 is that if it is even partially overloaded by the strong signals, it becomes more difficult to receive the weaker signals. Channel Master also makes the 7778 which is a medium gain preamp, and they make the 7777HD which has high and low gain settings. I don't like the way the 7777HD mounts because it looks less protected from the weather than the 7777 and the 7778 which have the coax connections on the bottom. I have used the 7777HD with an indoor antenna and it works well. Channel Master has a new 7778HD, but I haven't tested it yet.
You must be prepared to make some more experiments to see what works well for your location.
I don't have your exact location, but an FM Fool report indicates that your local FM transmitters might interfere with the reception of WOOD-DT and WWMT.
Some preamps have an FM filter, but it might not have enough attenuation for strong FM signals; an external FM filter can be added between the antenna and the input of the preamp.
*I recall an interesting case on the Canadian forum. The poster was getting good results with his preamp mounted at the lower end of his 50 ft coax. He moved his preamp up near the antenna, and it didn't work as well there. He was upset set because he thought it SHOULD be near the antenna. We told him to put it back down below where it worked better. It turns out that it worked better below because the attenuation of the coax between the antenna and the input of the preamp was just right to optimize his antenna gain and preamp for the signals at his location. To put in technical terms, his preamp SFDR (Spurious-Free Dynamic Range) matched his Signal Dynamic Range plus 15 dB for the minimum required SNR for his Weakest Desired Signal.