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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all -


Got my E86 installed on Friday. Wow! Getting to watch soccer on hd.net ALMOST makes the sport interesting! Almost! :)


Anyway, I put up a mid-sized roof antenna (my wife wanted attic, this was a compromise) and am able to pull in a decent amount of HD content from Boston. I get PBS-HD (not my local PBS.. but just some looping PBS-HD thing which is spectacular), my local PBS, CBS, NBC, UPN and ABC. I'm 50 miles away.


Seems like 40 is the breaking point for a signal on the E86... and that means I'm without WB and FOX, and I'd sure like them. Even my ABC.. which occassionally goes up to 100... seems to bounce wildly from about 40 to 100. Of course that could just be wind.


I bought a RS 15-1109, and installed it at my receiver. It immediately took my signal strength on all stations down to almost nothing. The run from the antenna is probably about 50 feet max.


It might be that there's nothing I can do to get the remaining stations... but since I can get a weak signal on them.. and their non-digital counterparts come in (albeit weakly).. I don't want to give up.


So I'm open to any/all suggestions.


Thanks!
 

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Are they UHF channels? You might try a higher gain UHF antenna first, then add a Channel Master UHF low-noise preamp after that if required.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ThumperBoy -


Yes, they're all UHF. But I thought perhaps I could add something inside to try first.. before venturing back up to the roof.


Is that not the case?
 

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Adding amplifiers should be the last resort since they also add some noise and that freaks out digital receivers. I advise improving the passive antenna gain first since that yields the most improvement before resorting to amplifiers - the good pre-amplifiers cost as much or more than the antenna too!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Frank_M
I bought a RS 15-1109, and installed it at my receiver.
This is problem # 1. An antenna preamp needs to be as close to the antenna as possible, using it at the receiver will usually cause more problems than it fixes.


Problem #2 may be the RS amp. I'm not familiar with it. Is it an antenna preamp, or a plain jane RF amp? What is the db noise rating for UHF.


Standard RF amps do not work well for antenna preamp use.


RS antenna preamps have a checkered record: some models are reported as working quite well, others are dogs. Try a search in this & the HDTV Hardware forum for details.


Problem #3 may be your specific issue: If you are having multipath problems, or are within 15-20 miles of the DTV stations, a preamp could make your problems worse.
 

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At over 50 miles you definitely need the highest gain antenna before adding a preamp! Try a Channel Master 4228 (rated at 60miles) for UHF and perhaps add a good low-noise Channel Master preamp too.
 

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The RS 1109 is a two-piece "preamp", I believe, where the amp portion is co-located with the antenna and the power supply is down by the receiver. The problem is that this unit is very noisy. While it might work fine for analog reception, it doesn't work worth a damn with digital. The only RS model in their catalog that I've found with a low enough noise factor to work well with digital receivers is a "Bi-Directional Cable Amplifier" (15-1171). Unfortunately it is a single unit and 50 feet is too far of a run. I've used it at 30 feet would good performance but not farther. It is "sturdy" enough to be mounte outside so if you can get power to it (12 volts...) and you can get it close enough to the antenna, it will work fine. In your case I would use the CM 7775 preamp. Like the 1109, you mount the amp portion on the mast with the antenna. The other piece can go inside and it feeds power back up the cable to the amp. The 7775 has a low noise factor (2.0 dB...) and many here, including me, have had good luck with it.


Fifty miles is not necessarily a problem. I'm sixty miles and get good reception from relatively small antennas. It sounds like you'v got some multipath problems so a more directional "Yagi"-style antenna will probably work best. What are you using now?


-- Gary
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think the RS model number for the antenna is the VU-90. It was on sale for $30 (and the only one they had in stock at that store). I've got it aligned to the precise point for the Boston tower.. but its on a tripod mount, so if I had to swap it out for a different one it would be pretty easy.
 

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Frank_M = I can't believe that you are 50+ miles from Needham (where the towers are). I live in Charlton and I am 40.1 miles as the crow flies. Given that Shrewsbury is closer to Needham than Charlton (I know this since I used to drive 20 minutes to work in Shrewsbury), I would think you are less than 40 miles.


I tried getting reception from my house, but my last venture did not work. My last attempt is going to be with 2 antennas mounted next to each other. This should reduce my multipath problems. I get really weird results based on where in my backyard the antenna is.


I would suggest the Channel Master 4248 (yagi design) and the CM 777x UHF pre-amp. Both can be purchased locally at Stark Electronics in Worcester.


On a side note, I curious as to why you are battling with antennas when Shrewsbury cable offers the locals in HD? At least that is what I thought.


Later...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hey Beefcake -


Yeah, maybe I'm off on the mileage. Sometimes it FEELS like 50 miles, you know? :) Plus, with Shrewsbury being in a little bit of a valley, I'm sure that affects things as well.


As for why not Shrewsbury cable... I'm a Directv person. And I'd never give up my Directivos.


And like I said, I can get 2, 4, 7 and 38 great. 5 is strong but then drops sometimes... but I can get nothing for 25 and 56. If I could get those, I'd be golden.
 

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Get the Antennacraft MXU59 Antenna and the channelmaster 7775 mast mount preamp and some good RG6 cable and you will get EVERYTHING (except VHF). BTW, the MXU59 is UHF only so it is not that much of a monster, visually.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Frank_M
I'm 50+ miles from ALL of the DTV stations... unfortunately.
I think you mean all the stations you want to receive. There are a couple of UNI stations in your neighborhood (Worcester, Marlboro.) Take a look at AntennaWeb .


Being in a valley may be the problem. You could ask Bob Hess about where the antennas are on the tower - maybe Ch 5 is lower on the tower, and harder for you to get?


I have a RS U-75 in my attic and get 2/4/5/7/25/38/56 with no problems. Haven't checked lately to see if WGBX-DT is on the air yet.
 

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Channel 41 (WB56) is at lower power (only 30kW currently using a directional antenna). They're supposed to boost the power at some point to 550kW, but not until fall at the earliest. Channel 31 (Fox 25) is at somewhat lower power than the rest as well, but I don't think they are planning on boosting it up.


I'm not sure why channel 20 (5) is giving you problems. They're at similar power, frequency, location and antenna height as channel 19 (PBS 2).


Look at the Massachusetts status thread for power info on the various stations.


or look here:

http://www.100000watts.com/tv/BOS.html
 
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