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Discussion Starter #1
I have an antenna on top of the house I'm renting and there are cables coming down from it that disappear into a hole in the side of the house. Inside, on the opposite side of the wall where the cables go in, there is just wall, so those cables are going somewhere else. In three different locations throughout the house there are coax cables, dual cables (like they are two separate cables but they are fused together), that come up from the floor. I've connected all of them to our TV and done a scan but none of them provide any signal. Does anyone have a guess as to what's going on in this setup? If there's a splitter somewhere, where is it likely to be?

Also, if I don't want to bother with tracking all this down, can I just cut the cables coming from the antenna and put new ends on them? There seems to be a thin cable also coming from the antenna that's much thinner than a coax cable but it also disappears into the wall in the same spot. Is that power?

Finally, I currently have DirecTV, in case that matters. Looking to ditch it for OTA.

I'm a total newb at all this, sorry if this is a stupid question. Thanks!
 

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Can you get to antenna, if so check to see if wire(s) connecting balun to antenna aren't broken, or just replace it if it is old anyway (only cost 3 or $4) test outlets again.
 

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Can you tell if the antenna has/has ever had a rotor? That might account for the thin cable. Since your outside cables seem to go into the wall and your inside ones up from the floor I would go looking in the basement or crawl space for splitters or any junctions.
There is a chance that the house has also been wired for cable TV at some point and the antenna feed may not be hooked up inside any more, again look in the basement.
 

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Can you tell if the antenna has/has ever had a rotor? That might account for the thin cable. Since your outside cables seem to go into the wall and your inside ones up from the floor I would go looking in the basement or crawl space for splitters or any junctions.
There is a chance that the house has also been wired for cable TV at some point and the antenna feed may not be hooked up inside any more, again look in the basement.
How's the signal path of a tv antenna with rotor? I don't understand.
Antenna >>>>(coax cable1)>>>>Amp box with rotor direction control>>>>(coax cable2)>>>>TV
How's that coax cable1 able to receive tv signal and deliver motor power at the same time? Or is there something special about that cable (more than just coax)?
 

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How's the signal path of a tv antenna with rotor? I don't understand.
Antenna >>>>(coax cable1)>>>>Amp box with rotor direction control>>>>(coax cable2)>>>>TV
How's that coax cable1 able to receive tv signal and deliver motor power at the same time? Or is there something special about that cable (more than just coax)?
The thin cable is only for powering the rotor, the signal would still go through a coax cable if that's what's up there. So you would see a round coax and the other wire( which can be multiple wires in one jacket). It's more than likely that the antenna predates digital broadcasting so you never know what is really up on that mast. If the antenna is really old you may if have one with a rotor that no longer works. In a lot of areas people don't bother to take down old antennas even when they don't use them.
 

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Some possibilities you might want to investigate:

1) Coax NO LONGER connected at Antenna....or somewhere else in distribution chain....
2) Antenna has a Mast-Mounted Preamp that needs a matching Power Insertion Module....
3) Distribution Amplifier might be located in Attic but needs a matching Power Insertion Module....

All of these require actually finding and inspecting the coax cables....

A trip into the Attic (or basement or crawlspace) is probably required whether you decide to use existing or all new Coax (be sure to lay down boards so you don't fall through).

If the Coax runs are still a mystery, you might want to get a Signal Tone Generator and Signal Detector Set, such as:
http://www.amazon.com/Triplett-3375...ywords=tone+tracer#product-description-iframe
http://www.amazon.com/Optimal-Shop-...=1426992614&sr=1-6&keywords=cable+tone+tracer
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0..._m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=002483E7N6BEKV3VTHSD
I have no experience using ANY of the CURRENTLY available devices, so I have no opinion re how well each of them works to trace Coax Cable. They work by sending an AUDIO frequency square-wave signal down the cable which radiates many harmonics of that signal that can be picked up by the Tracer within a few feet of the excited cable.
 

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The thin cable is only for powering the rotor, the signal would still go through a coax cable if that's what's up there. So you would see a round coax and the other wire( which can be multiple wires in one jacket). It's more than likely that the antenna predates digital broadcasting so you never know what is really up on that mast. If the antenna is really old you may if have one with a rotor that no longer works. In a lot of areas people don't bother to take down old antennas even when they don't use them.
I've seen amp box which has no extra wire, just the standard coax, but still with the ability to rotate the antenna. :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thank you!

Thanks for the responses everyone! I'm going to try and take some pictures to share. There's no attic in this house that I've been able to find an entry into and I also haven't found any way to get under the house, but I do believe there is space under it because we have to go up a few stairs to get in. I just haven't found any opening large enough for a human to get through. I'm guessing that there is some other piece of equipment under the house that may be key to all of this. I don't know if there's a rotor, hopefully some pictures will help.

I called an antenna installer and he told me that an antenna is an antenna and that there's no such thing as a "digital" antenna, that old antennas are still viable. Is this accurate? Also, someone mentioned a balun, what is that?

All of this stuff was already there when I started renting the house, including two DirecTV dishes, only one of which I believe are currently being used with my account. Unfortunately there's nobody for me to ask who lived there previously.
 

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When TV went from Analog to Digital there was a major reshuffling of the channels...so your OLD Antenna may or may not be suitable for CURRENT channels. To determine how well YOUR Antenna performs in YOUR location, we need to identify the Antenna (photos please) and copy/paste the RESULTS URL (Webaddress at top of Browser) after entering you location into www.TVFool.com.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have some preliminary info. Here's the report from TVFool:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id=f1f0cb9475dba8


And here are some pictures that I lifted from Google maps. I will take some pictures of my own as soon as I can. These aren't high quality.

http://1drv.ms/1EKJlnG

The antenna is the tower on the right in the pictures. The other is available to me if anyone thinks it's better but the one on the right has the antenna(s) that have the cables going into my house.
 

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Thanks for the responses everyone! I'm going to try and take some pictures to share. There's no attic in this house that I've been able to find an entry into and I also haven't found any way to get under the house, but I do believe there is space under it because we have to go up a few stairs to get in. I just haven't found any opening large enough for a human to get through. I'm guessing that there is some other piece of equipment under the house that may be key to all of this. I don't know if there's a rotor, hopefully some pictures will help.

I called an antenna installer and he told me that an antenna is an antenna and that there's no such thing as a "digital" antenna, that old antennas are still viable. Is this accurate? Also, someone mentioned a balun, what is that?

All of this stuff was already there when I started renting the house, including two DirecTV dishes, only one of which I believe are currently being used with my account. Unfortunately there's nobody for me to ask who lived there previously.
A balun connects the 300 ohm antenna output to the 75 ohm coax, the thin 300 ohm wires tend to corrode and break at spade connectors after years of being in the elements. http://dennys-tv-antenna.mybigcommerce.com/outdoor-matching-transformer-mt-75-more/
 

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I have some preliminary info. Here's the report from TVFool:

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id=f1f0cb9475dba8


And here are some pictures that I lifted from Google maps. I will take some pictures of my own as soon as I can. These aren't high quality.

http://1drv.ms/1EKJlnG

The antenna is the tower on the right in the pictures. The other is available to me if anyone thinks it's better but the one on the right has the antenna(s) that have the cables going into my house.
That's more antenna than house, you should get the antenna guy you talked to come over. Should not cost more 2 to 3 hours of his time (a balun or two and maybe some coax) to get you set up.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
That's more antenna than house, you should get the antenna guy you talked to come over. Should not cost more 2 to 3 hours of his time (a balun or two and maybe some coax) to get you set up.
I know that would be the best solution, problem is he's $45 per hour and I'm super short on money, which is why I'm trying to ditch DirecTV and go OTA. Might just have to save up and have the pro come by.

That balun, I assume that's up by the antenna and not down wherever this mystery splitter or whatever is? I'm not even sure how I'd get up to the antenna without a cherry picker truck.
 

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I know that would be the best solution, problem is he's $45 per hour and I'm super short on money, which is why I'm trying to ditch DirecTV and go OTA. Might just have to save up and have the pro come by.

That balun, I assume that's up by the antenna and not down wherever this mystery splitter or whatever is? I'm not even sure how I'd get up to the antenna without a cherry picker truck.
Wow, I didn't think he would charge that much figured 20 $25 and yes the balun(s) are up there on antenna(s). He would just climb up tower, definitely not something to do if don't know what your doing. See if he will give you a free estimate, if nothing else you would get info about all that up there for free.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wow, I didn't think he would charge that much figured 20 $25 and yes the balun(s) are up there on antenna(s). He would just climb up tower, definitely not something to do if don't know what your doing. See if he will give you a free estimate, if nothing else you would get info about all that up there for free.
I'll call him back and see what, if anything, he'll do for free. Thank you everyone for your help!
 

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What you CAN do is buy a Hi-VHF/UHF Combo Antenna...whatever you can AFFORD....and attach it to the tower or your house at a level that YOU can reach comfortably and point it toward 332-deg. [It would help if you could rerun & post TVFool Results for the lower height.]

AntennaCraft HBU-22 is only $38 when shipped to your local Radio Shack.....but may or may not be enough to receive NBC from the lower height. Higher Gain, Higher Cost alternatives include AntennaCraft HBU-33 or HBU-44 or Winegard HD-7694P and others....

You might even find you don't NEED to eventually mount it on top of that Monster Oil Derrick.....
 

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IMO...
Get some price estimates for "limited basic" or "antenna service" (locals only) from a cable or FiOS provider. See how that compares to new antenna, new wiring, and health care insurance coverage. ;)
 

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The AntennaCraft HBU-22 is in short supply and getting hard to find. If you take holl_ands advice and mount that antenna at a convenient height, aim it at 319 degrees magnetic, and run a new RG6 coax cable directly to your TV for a test, you should get these channels:

KOVR, CBS, real channel 25, 317 degrees magnetic

KMAX-TV, CW, Real channel 21, 319 degrees

KCRA-DT, NBC, Real channel 35, 319 degrees

KTXL-DT, Fox, Real channel 40, 318 degrees

KQCA-DT, MyN, Real Channel 46, 319 degrees magnetic

KSPX-DT, ION, Real channel 48, 319 degrees magnetic

KXTV, ABC, Real channel 10, 317 degrees magnetic

KVIE-DT, PBS, Real channel 9, 318 degrees magnetic
 
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