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Discussion Starter #1
I just bought a CM 4221 antenna and Spartan 3 preamp (3041) to help me pick up some OTA HD channels with my Dish Network 722 DVR. I plan to mount the antenna in the attic, but have some questions about where to put the preamp. Most advice I have read is to mount the preamp to the mast below the antenna, but I will not have a mast. In fact, the antenna just barely fits in my short attic. So, where should I put the preamp? I can mount it to a nearby rafter, but does it matter if it is in front of or behind the antenna? I could mount it the the very bottom of the antenna, but is that too close? Should I route the twin-lead through the screen to place the preamp behind the antenna? Or just let the wire go in front of the antenna and off to the side?
 

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Doesn't really matter where the pre-amp is physically located in relation to the antenna, you just want as short a run as possible between the antenna and pre-amp.


Personally I'd suggest you try running without it first unless you have multiple sets and/or long runs to feed in the house.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
OK, thanks. I wasn't sure if the electronics would intefere with the antennas reception. I have a single coax setup with satellite and OTA diplexed together with the TV2 feed from the 722, all going through about 150 ft of cable. Without the preamp I get nothing.
 

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Hope your luck with an attic mount reception is better than mine. I gave up on attic installations - too much multipathing and loss. Moved the antenna outdoors and I was picking up TV stations I didn't even know existed. Generally, I wouldn't put anything between the antenna and the transmitters, including a pre-amp if you want to ensure the cleanest signal possible. My two cents.....
 

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Can't beat an outdoor antenna.
 

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Amen - antennas were designed to be used out in free space. Then you use the pre-amp to overcome cable losses....
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I hear you about mounting it outside. Unfortunately, my wife thinks antennas are ugly. Not sure I can change her mind on that. The good news is that the 4221 with preamp seems to do a good job picking up PBS and CW, which are the 2 locals Dish does not have in HD. That was my original goal in all this - getting the last 2 HD locals. Being able to use the 3rd tuner in the VIP 722 is a nice bonus, so while I am going through the effort, I figure I might as well do what I can to pick up as many locals as possible. Maybe I will make one more attempt to convince the wife that I should mount it outside.
 

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Quote:
Unfortunately, my wife thinks antennas are ugly.

I love it everytime I hear this.

My reply to anyone is; Too bad, if you don't like it don't look up. It serves a purpose.

This is the same for any of you that don't like the look of cellular towers, but have a cellular telephone. You can't have it both ways.

Stop your whining.
 

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I think those wind turbines look ugly on roofs, and they are bigger than antenna's yet they are still put up. They serve a purpose, just not as important a one as antennae!
 

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If you camouflage it good enough, maybe your wife won't even realize you mounted it to the roof. See the thread below:

Quote:
Originally Posted by arxaw /forum/post/12757381


If you have trees around, you can paint an antenna with Krylon camo ultra flat gray green spray paint. It will make the antenna barely be visible from the street. I've done it several times. See if you can spot the small Channel Master CM4221 in this picture:



I remember when everyone had outdoor antennas and no one thought a thing about 'em. Then cable came along and started telling everyone they were ugly. I guess if you tell someone something enough they start believing it.


IMO, an antenna on the roof beats crappy TV. And a cookie cutter neighborhood.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whidbey /forum/post/12885476


If you camouflage it good enough, maybe your wife won't even realize you mounted it to the roof. See the thread below:

Wow. That is a great job of camouflage. Even with the arrow pointing to it I can't really make it out.


mfabel, what part of San Diego are you in? If you can provide your ZIP code, we can run a plot for you.


I have a 4228 in my attic and it works great, but much depends on the composition of what the antenna is looking through. If the antenna is looking through a wall with stucco on the outside, it's a losing battle.
 

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Really - I can't see the antenna there even with the red arrow pointing at it. That is an excellent job of camouflage.
 

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Bet you could see it when the leaves fall. Personally, the Bow Tie antennas aren't displeasing to the eye. No boom and just an array. I preferred the 4-bay Winegard PR4400 because it didn't have the fencing screen behind the pickup elements as the CM has. The WG looked simpler and folded-up for shipping & handling, plus it was a bit less expensive. For about a $25 investment, I got great TV reception. I recommend the bowties - not nearly as ugly as those boom type & Yagis.
 

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Discussion Starter #14

Quote:
Originally Posted by Falcon_77 /forum/post/12886764


mfabel, what part of San Diego are you in? If you can provide your ZIP code, we can run a plot for you.


I have a 4228 in my attic and it works great, but much depends on the composition of what the antenna is looking through. If the antenna is looking through a wall with stucco on the outside, it's a losing battle.

I am in zip code 92026 (north county). The antenna will be looking mostly through concrete roof tiles. Right now the antenna is sitting in my bedroom, where it is looking through a couple of interior walls and then a stucco wall, and it is doing a reasonable job. I fully expect I could get a better signal outside. I may spend some time on the roof putting up some temporary test poles to try to convince the wife it would be inconspicous, but the attic may well be what I end up with.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfabel /forum/post/12887378


I am in zip code 92026 (north county). The antenna will be looking mostly through concrete roof tiles. Right now the antenna is sitting in my bedroom, where it is looking through a couple of interior walls and then a stucco wall, and it is doing a reasonable job. I fully expect I could get a better signal outside. I may spend some time on the roof putting up some temporary test poles to try to convince the wife it would be inconspicous, but the attic may well be what I end up with.

I just put mine up without the spouse knowing it. She could always just take it down if she doesn't like it.
 

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I think those wind turbines look ugly on roofs

???
Quote:
IMO, an antenna on the roof beats crappy TV. And a cookie cutter neighborhood.

You mean the suburbs in general.
Quote:
She could always just take it down if she doesn't like it.

Love it! I can't believe the number of 'wimps' around here. It will nbe a cold day in hell before I let anyone tell me I can't erect an antenna.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfabel /forum/post/12887378


I am in zip code 92026 (north county). The antenna will be looking mostly through concrete roof tiles. Right now the antenna is sitting in my bedroom, where it is looking through a couple of interior walls and then a stucco wall, and it is doing a reasonable job. I fully expect I could get a better signal outside. I may spend some time on the roof putting up some temporary test poles to try to convince the wife it would be inconspicous, but the attic may well be what I end up with.

If you are getting some results looking through a stucco wall, I would suggest trying it in the attic w/o the pre-amp at first. The ZIP code plot (see attached) may not be very accurate for the area North of Escondido, knowing the hills in the area. However, if you have a view to the South, then your prospects appear to be good.


Hopefully, the 4221 can pick up 8 and 10 when they switch back to VHF next year. How does it do on analog 8 and 10 now?
 

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Discussion Starter #18

Quote:
Originally Posted by Falcon_77 /forum/post/12894799


If you are getting some results looking through a stucco wall, I would suggest trying it in the attic w/o the pre-amp at first. The ZIP code plot (see attached) may not be very accurate for the area North of Escondido, knowing the hills in the area. However, if you have a view to the South, then your prospects appear to be good.


Hopefully, the 4221 can pick up 8 and 10 when they switch back to VHF next year. How does it do on analog 8 and 10 now?

When I say I am getting results through a stucco wall, it is only with the preamp. Without it I get nothing.


If I connect the preamplified antenna directly to the TV, I sometimes get snowy 8 and 10 reception, and sometimes nothing. I need to try the antenna directly to the TV without the preamp to see what it does on the analogue 8 and 10.


What surprised me last night was some testing moving the antenna downstairs and connecting it directly to the tuner. Signal strength for 15, 39, 51, and 59 were all decent without a preamp. Adding the preamp, the weaker stations improved slightly, and the stronger stations did not change at all. I was expecting the preamp to overload with the direct connection. Since it did not appear to, I am wondering in I should trade up from the Spartan to a CM 7777. I am estimating my losses from the attic will be as follows:


2 splitters - 8db

2 diplexers - 2 bd

~150 ft of coax - 7.5 db

total - 17.5 db


not sure if I should add some loss for being in the attic or other connectors. Seems like the 23 db gain on the Spartan is about right, but if I want to get the VHF-hi stations next year, the 16 db VHF gain may be a little low. If a direct antenna-preamp-tuner connection does not appear to overload the preamp, should I upgrade?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfabel /forum/post/12894952


Seems like the 23 db gain on the Spartan is about right, but if I want to get the VHF-hi stations next year, the 16 db VHF gain may be a little low. If a direct antenna-preamp-tuner connection does not appear to overload the preamp, should I upgrade?

Overloading the pre-amp is more likely than overloading the receiver. VHF signals are not attenuated as much by coax cable losses, so that is not a concern. A 7777 may be a slight improvement, but I would suggest giving the Spartan a try first (in the attic).


Relying on a pre-amp to "improve" the 4221 enough to get High-VHF channels, is not the best choice. Once you get the 4221 in the attic, let us know what the results for 8 and 10 are w/o a pre-amp. A separate VHF antenna may be needed as the 4221 is not reported to be a good performer on 8 and 10.
 

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Get the antenna outside and it's performance will improve significantly. Stucco has a metal mesh underneath that plays bad with reception of RF signals.


And I wouldn't be surprised if a dedicated VHF or a combo UHF/VHF antenna will eventially be required.
 
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