Troubleshooting antenna reception

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MadSpleen85

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I have a Centerfire Deluxe discone antenna which I am currently running 2 scanners and 4 TV's off of.

I do not have all the say as to what is done in the end as I do live with my parents. Currently the Scanner's work great off the antenna, the TV's however do not. Lower numbered channels 4-16 work perfectly all the time on all TV's. Channels 19-62 are in and out. Works most of the time on the main 46" Sony HDTV in the family room, but do have their times of brief in and out reception. The upper channels do not come in at all on the TV's in the bedrooms.

The current setup is Antenna mounted on a mast above the chimney (nearly 20ft from ground)

Next comes a 30 ft cable run down into the basement

In the basement that cable ends and meets the first splitter, this one is a 3 way.

First out is labeled -3.5db and goes directly to a 46" Sony HDTV

Second out is labeled -7db and goes towards the scanners. There is a 2 way splitter to get both scanners on the same cable.

Third out is labeled -7db and goes directly to another 3 way splitter, each of those outs go to TV's in bedrooms.

NOTE: Each of the 4 TV's has a 2 way splitter which one out goes to a VCR/DVD Player/Recorder and other to TV. TV's in bedrooms have Analog to Digital Converter boxes also.


After some thinking on my part, I thought "How about adding a drop amp?" Here is what I am thinking and what I am looking for feedback on.

Antenna to basement stays the same.

Basement, cable would meet a 2 way splitter

First out would go to the scanners and their 2 way splitter

Second out would go to a 4 way Drop Amplifer (Electroline EDA-2400)<-- Model I am looking at, still open to suggestions.

Those four outs would go directly to the 4 TV's in the house. Which all would still have a 2 way splitter behind them.


So I do away with 1 splitter and add an amplifier. Pro's and Con's? Hope this all makes sense, if not I can answer any questions.
 

k9rzz

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Call me a simpleton, but what about a "TV Antenna" ? Geeze, they aren't very big for UHF plus it will be horizontal - that will get you 30 db right there. Can't imagine one more run of RG6 would make much difference in appearance if that's an issue. Just tape 'em together.
 

Tweekerbob

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Is there an option for you to put up a TV antenna, to just run the TVs? Or are you limited to just a discone for all of your receivers? If most of the TV stations you are trying to receive are in one general direction, a higher gain, directional TV antenna will be the way to go. This will give you a stronger, more clear, signal to start with before you start introducing a myriad splitters.

Your idea is definitely a step in the right direction...eliminating at least one splitter is good. The problem is that you have way too many 3 way and 2 way splitters in line before the TVs. That's just too much loss.

Instead of going all the way down to the basement and then back up to the bedrooms, is there a way to distribute the signals to the TVs from the attic? This will help cut down on line loss. By the way, what type of connectors and coax (most importantly) are you using in your system?

Before introducing amplifiers to your system, make sure that the UHF TV signals aren't too weak to work with in the first place. Take a small TV down to the basement and plug it in directly to the coax coming down from the antenna. If you have good results there, a distribution amp may help your system. If it's not a usable signal, start looking at higher gain TV antennas that you can point in the right direction and work from there.

Also, I'm not familiar with your TV/VCR equipment, but instead of using a splitter, most VCRs have a line in/line out for coaxial connections. Try running the line first into the VCR and then out to the TV or converter box and see if you can't eliminate more splitters that way. Might help make the weaker stations a little less fuzzy.

In terms of amps, try to find a very good, low noise "in-line" amp, that you can mount as close to the antenna as possible (like on the mast). Should be around 10dB.

If you can please answer the questions I posed, I think I and a whole bunch of others can chime in with better ideas. From the onset, I'd say your system is simply trying to do too much, but it doesn't mean you couldn't get it to work really well.
 

MadSpleen85

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Shawnee, Kansas
Is there an option for you to put up a TV antenna, to just run the TVs? Or are you limited to just a discone for all of your receivers?

Instead of going all the way down to the basement and then back up to the bedrooms, is there a way to distribute the signals to the TVs from the attic? This will help cut down on line loss. By the way, what type of connectors and coax (most importantly) are you using in your system?
I am limited to one mast. My problem is this house just had new vinyl siding installed last summer, the coax from the antenna was previously going into the old siding and when the new was installed that hole was covered by the new siding. I am left with no way of getting to that hole to pass any other coax lines through it, so no way to run two coax lines from two separate antennas.

The cable is all already in the basement and my parents are not wanting to change that since that requires climbing into the attic and drilling more holes.

All of my connectors are "gold plated" F connectors, besides adapters at the back of the scanners which are F to BNC. All of the cable is RG6 coax.
 

MadSpleen85

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Shawnee, Kansas
Call me a simpleton, but what about a "TV Antenna" ? Geeze, they aren't very big for UHF plus it will be horizontal - that will get you 30 db right there. Can't imagine one more run of RG6 would make much difference in appearance if that's an issue. Just tape 'em together.
Ideally this would be my preferred method of getting both as it would also do away with 2 splitters going to the scanners. There simply is no way to get another run of RG6 or any other coax from the antenna into the house without tearing at the brand new EXPENSIVE siding. This is all in the back of the house but good money was paid for it so don't want to mess with it any more then absolutely necessary.

Did just have a thought of widening one of the holes in the soffit vent nearest to the antenna mast to bring in one run of Coax.

Hard to tell from this picture but those are very small vent holes to let air in and out of the attic.

My thought is to keep the current path down through the basement, and put the TV antenna back up on the mast along with the Discone and bringing its coax into the attic through the soffit vent.

I am limited to one mast. I do have both a discone and a TV UHF/VHF antenna. Would I put the TV antenna above the discone or below? If my parents are ok with this method.

Buying a new TV antenna is very unlikely.
 

k9rzz

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Put the TV antenna below your discone. Gotta have the right priorities 'ya know.


Looks like you've got a good entry point. Do it up nice so it looks professional.

You'll be all set until you get the itch to put up a tower in the yard.
 

MadSpleen85

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Shawnee, Kansas
Before introducing amplifiers to your system, make sure that the UHF TV signals aren't too weak to work with in the first place. Take a small TV down to the basement and plug it in directly to the coax coming down from the antenna. If you have good results there, a distribution amp may help your system. If it's not a usable signal, start looking at higher gain TV antennas that you can point in the right direction and work from there.
Just tried this. The TV's in the bedrooms, all smaller ones, have Analog/Digital converter boxes. Plugged one of them into the coax before any splitters. Signal strength bar shows about 3/4 bar and right now it is pouring down rain and overcast.

I have it figured out to where I can get lower loss 2 way splitters along with the drop amp and have 0 loss from splitters. Of course there is still going to be some signal loss due to cable runs but nothing compared to the loads of loss I am facing now. However, with the purchase of the drop amp and enough lower loss 2 way splitters that is going to cost right around $90 shipped to my door.

I am going to pitch the idea of putting both antenna on the single mast and the scanner cable through the soffit and the TV antenna through the current hole in the siding. This one would be the cheapest method and would mean one splitter for the scanners, instead of two.
 

Tweekerbob

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As k9rzz said, if it is possible to run the second antenna a little lower on the mast, and a second run of coax (preferably RG-6QS (quad-shield)) and make it look not only professional, but maintain the water tight seal of your siding and the integrity of it as well, this would be the way to go. Careful drilling and application of silicone sealant will prevent any water from coming in. Also, utilize an effective drip loop on your coax. Should have zero water penetration into the dwelling.

If it's anyway possible, try to replace all of your coax with the RG-6QS. This will help all the way around, especially on your UHF TV channels. Pretty cheap and I think most home improvement stores sell this stuff.

Keep any amps you plan on introducing as near to the antenna as possible, that is, before ANY splitters; and try to engineer your system with as few splitters as possible. Imagine running a water hose system with that many splitters; you simply won't get the volume out of any outlet that you put into it. It's even worse when you run a leaky hose (lossy coax).
 

arvellabill

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Manassas Va
I am surprized that you receive anything, you must live in the attic over the TV stations and police dispatch centers every one of your setups cancil out the next. All preamps have a DC Block in them so all after the first cancels out the rest also verticle and horizontal antennas systems are not compatable. When a radio signal comes to a splitter it seperates and half goes one way and half another. But if it works for you I guess its ok
 

MadSpleen85

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Shawnee, Kansas
arvellabill, I am 9.5 miles from the closest TV transmitter and just under 16 miles from the farthest. Everything that is monitored by my scanners ranges from just under 2 miles to just under 25 miles.

I am pushing putting the TV antenna halfway up the mast and leaving the discone where it is at the top of the mast. Just need all this rain to stop.
 

MadSpleen85

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Location
Shawnee, Kansas
FIXED. TV antenna is now halfway up the mast and discone sits alone on the top. Two separate cables running into the house. Drilled a small hole, barely big enough for the coax to fit through, fed it into the house and pulled through enough to get to the scanners and not pull the discone off the mast. Left enough slack for mounting it to the house. Works great and TV reception is better than I think it has ever been. Thanks for all the help.
 
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