TV amp for scanner

IdleMonitor

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Always experimenting and tinkering with different things. I happened to come across this item for a whopping clearance sale price of $9 @ Wal*Mart this past week.

Guess what? It works surprisingly quite well. I've increased some of my signals including both VHF FleetNet and some towers on OnQ, PushPlus and GoTRBO systems. Low noise with very few if not unnoticeable interference from other frequencies.

It actually works better (for my needs right now) than the GRE Super amplifier 3001 I picked up from an RR member. It works, but I find it actually picks up more interference.

Thoughts?
 

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kruser

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I tried doing a very fast Google search of the model number for some basic specs like gain, noise figure and frequency range but I did not really turn up any info on the thing.
Oh well, glad it helped in your case!
 

iMONITOR

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For only $9 it's cheap enough to try. If it doesn't work it's easy enough to return.
 

gary123

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I have used TV amps in the past before I migrated to band-pass amps for specific services. They do work well in rural areas, but in areas where there is a lot of RF, they tend to saturate easily and then you end up with a raise in the noise floor that overpowers the weak signals your trying to amplify.

$9 is very cheap and for that price I would get one and see what the results are. I spend that much on lottery tickets and have nothing to show for it. At least you will have an amp to show off.:)
 

popnokick

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Broadband Broadcast TV / CATV amps can work well for general scanning. I'm using one now. However, in your pics it looks like you have attached the amp directly to a telescoping indoor antenna. That antenna is going to pick up all the RFI / EMI emanating from every computer, USB charger, LED display, and many other devices in your house / building. And if the RFI / EMI wasn't noticeable before, it WILL be now because the RF amp you've attached to the whip antenna has now amplified all that interference. You need an outdoor antenna... or at least an indoor antenna connected via a coaxial cable run that gets it away from most / all of the electronic interference (placed in attic, upstairs window, or similar high location).
 

vagrant

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@IdleMonitor You may have already tried this but, turn down that GRE to halfway or less. 5-10dB (1/4 to 1/2 way) should be fine. Even in the middle of nowhere I would not run it at the 20dB max. I have used the smaller version and even with various filters inline it was too much above 50%.
 

IdleMonitor

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Broadband Broadcast TV / CATV amps can work well for general scanning. I'm using one now. However, in your pics it looks like you have attached the amp directly to a telescoping indoor antenna. That antenna is going to pick up all the RFI / EMI emanating from every computer, USB charger, LED display, and many other devices in your house / building. And if the RFI / EMI wasn't noticeable before, it WILL be now because the RF amp you've attached to the whip antenna has now amplified all that interference. You need an outdoor antenna... or at least an indoor antenna connected via a coaxial cable run that gets it away from most / all of the electronic interference (placed in attic, upstairs window, or similar high location).
This is actually hooked up to my discone antenna on the roof almost 30 ft up from the ground.

That's an SO-239 at the receive end feeding Into a right angle bnc connection into an F connector setup.
 
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IdleMonitor

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@IdleMonitor You may have already tried this but, turn down that GRE to halfway or less. 5-10dB (1/4 to 1/2 way) should be fine. Even in the middle of nowhere I would not run it at the 20dB max. I have used the smaller version and even with various filters inline it was too much above 50%.
Yeah I've played around with it for a bit. It works but finding the sweet spot on it for me is iffy. For my listening I do base it on how much interference comes in on the Kinburn tower as well as a few other frequencies.
 

popnokick

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This is actually hooked up to my discone antenna on the roof almost 30 ft up from the ground.
Sorry - pics weren't clear on the antenna. You may also be experiencing FM broadcast interference. Those filters are similarly inexpensive and worth trying. FM broadcast interference can be insidious... you may not actually hear noise or any radio stations where they don't belong.... but your receiver could be experiencing desensitization.... especially with the amp inline.
 

IdleMonitor

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Sorry - pics weren't clear on the antenna. You may also be experiencing FM broadcast interference. Those filters are similarly inexpensive and worth trying. FM broadcast interference can be insidious... you may not actually hear noise or any radio stations where they don't belong.... but your receiver could be experiencing desensitization.... especially with the amp inline.
I have had the odd ghosting type of interference pop up. Mind you it's been on frequencies that aren't too important for me but the presence has been noted for the general concern from neighbouring frequencies that may be used elsewhere.
 

polkaroo

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Has anyone done any comparisons between a low-end cable amp like this one, higher end ones like Electroline drop amps or the Pico Truspec in-line or satellite amps, and purpose-made devices like Stridesberg multi-couplers?
 

gary123

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I use RF amps made by Advanced Receiver Research. They are bullet proof and highly reliable. They have their own front end limiter so strong inband signals dont blow out the amp.

Satellite amps are no good I think they start at 960+ Mhz and go up from there. The LNB output freq band was chosen for this to prevent signal leakage from commercial systems from messing up your PPV :).

If you can find a band pass cavity for 850-865 you can then try a wide band amp again. Cellular signals would tend to saturate the amp so you need to get rid of those siganls.
 

mapleradio

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I use RF amps made by Advanced Receiver Research. They are bullet proof and highly reliable. They have their own front end limiter so strong inband signals dont blow out the amp.

Satellite amps are no good I think they start at 960+ Mhz and go up from there. The LNB output freq band was chosen for this to prevent signal leakage from commercial systems from messing up your PPV :).

If you can find a band pass cavity for 850-865 you can then try a wide band amp again. Cellular signals would tend to saturate the amp so you need to get rid of those siganls.
I put an LTE Filter and RF Choke on the feedline and I managed to make a signal from Toronto come in very cleanly... not to mention, putting it on my TV.... another 6 US Channels! woot. lol
 

IdleMonitor

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I know during the winter season my UHF (420/450/460) tends to get better but I did notice yesterday that the PushPlus Camp Fortune site was coming in for me which is a good thing, as well as Pakenham coming in much better as well.

If I'm getting those 2 towers especially Camp Fortune on any of the UHF systems, then it's doing good for me.

Did it improve 800 MHz reception?
 

polkaroo

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I use RF amps made by Advanced Receiver Research. They are bullet proof and highly reliable. They have their own front end limiter so strong inband signals dont blow out the amp.
The Stridesberg MCA204M multicoupler has a bandwidth of 25 MHz to 1 GHz. Price is $200.
The Electroline and Channel Master cable amplifiers spec forward path at 54MHz to 1GHz. Price is $45.

Are we buying the audiophile equivalent of the $400 IEC power cable?
 
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