Antenna Changes - Belgrade, MT

spec1alk

Thread Starter
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Sep 6, 2008
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Here is a link to my rabbitears.info.

I bought an RCA ANT751E in 2014. It has worked pretty well over that time. However, I have always had trouble pulling in KWYB-LD, even though the transmitter is located in the same spot as the other channels on the list. The other stations/channels at that same position (112.6° x 18.1 miles) have a very good picture that does not pixelate, but the channels from KWYB-LD (which includes my local ABC & FOX) will pixelate almost constantly with the audio dropping occasionally.

When I installed the RCA ANT751E, the very back element I had to slightly angle in to point my antenna at 112.6° (100.9° magnetic). Could this be affecting that group of channels? I had to do this because the mounting pipe that the antenna came with was not long enough to get the antenna far enough away from the house to have the element fully extended and still point the antenna at the right direction.

I just purchased a longer mounting pipe: Winegard DS-3000 J Pipe Mount for Antennas, 39"

Is it likely that getting that back element extended (and my antenna slightly higher off the ground) will address the pixelation of those channels? Or should I be looking at purchasing a different antenna altogether?
 

NYDutch

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The rear element is for VHF-high reception. KWYB-LD is a low power translator broadcasting on UHF channel 19 (virtual 18).
 

spec1alk

Thread Starter
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Sep 6, 2008
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Ok, so the rear-most element isn't causing my issues. Will getting this longer mounting pipe help? Or do I need to get a signal booster? Am I losing too much signal through my splitter?
 

FTA4PA

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I forgot to ask, I am connecting 3 TV's and possibly a recording tuner to the antenna. Do I need to purchase a signal booster?

I also have an Extreme Broadband Manufacturing BDS104H 4 Way HD Digital High Performance Coax Cable Splitter that I am using to split the signal. I have grounded the splitter. Is this a low quality splitter that I should replace?
It may work if you have exceptionally strong signals otherwise you might need to go with a distribution amp. This is what I use to supply four televisions.


Our signal is supplied by Stellar Labs 30-2370 and 30-2476 antennas fed to a mast mounted combiner/amp. Our stations are two edge reception at about 41 and 57 miles away. :)

https://www.newark.com/stellar-labs/30-2370/long-range-uhf-hdtv-91-element/dp/72Y2542

https://www.newark.com/stellar-labs/30-2476/deep-fringe-directional-antenna/dp/71Y5462

 

NYDutch

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Ok, so the rear-most element isn't causing my issues. Will getting this longer mounting pipe help? Or do I need to get a signal booster? Am I losing too much signal through my splitter?
Each connection between the antenna and the TV reduces the signal some. "Height is might" always applies to antennas in getting a better line of sight, but don't expect too much in this case. An amplifier may be a better choice. Or both...
 
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andy_horton

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Each connection between the antenna and the TV reduces the signal some. "Height is might" always applies to antennas in getting a better line of sight, but don't expect too much in this case. An amplifier may be a better choice. Or both...
My unique experience was even 5 ft higher improved some channels, but most worsened. After experiments, lol.. I ended up putting the antenna back to its original height on the mast, kept everything the same except changing the weather boots. You'd think higher is always better, but like so many have said, depending on distance, obstructions, etc it can be a combo of both an amp and the "sweet spot" or one or the other.
 

NYDutch

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My unique experience was even 5 ft higher improved some channels, but most worsened. After experiments, lol.. I ended up putting the antenna back to its original height on the mast, kept everything the same except changing the weather boots. You'd think higher is always better, but like so many have said, depending on distance, obstructions, etc it can be a combo of both an amp and the "sweet spot" or one or the other.
There's a difference between going higher and going high enough. ;)
 

907TECH

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I would probably use a mast mounted preamp rather than a distribution amp. Your splitter is reducing the power at each drop by about 75%. Kitztech offers the lowest noise figure preamp on the market, the KT-200. Think it has 24 db gain, easily enough to take care of the 6.5 db loss in your splitter.
 

spec1alk

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Sep 6, 2008
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In addition to the longer mast in my original post, I also purchased a powered splitter (Antennas Direct 4-Port TV Distribution Amplifier) and installed both today.

I am seeing basically the same results. Attached is a screenshot of the signal strength from one of my TV's. Notice it is getting 18.80dB SNR. The other channels that come in fine are 31-34dB.

I unfortunately didn't check the signal strength before making the changes today to be able to compare.

Is a mast-mounted pre-amp the next thing to try? What I don't understand is that I am pointed at 4 transmitters, and the channels from 3 of them come through excellent. Why is the 1 so much worse? Is it the channel/frequency? Do I need a different antenna?

This is what my connection looks like for most of these, with the exception that one of the TVs does not have the wall plate connector.
Antenna => Connector => (Cable Box) Powered Splitter (grounded) => Wall Plate (male-male connector) => TV
 

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Radioguy41

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That question was answered early on, it's a low power station. An in-house distribution amp is seldom the answer because it can't make the signal any better than what's coming from the antenna. A mast-mounted pre-amp would be the way to go.
 

spec1alk

Thread Starter
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Sep 6, 2008
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Oh, because they are transmitting at lower power than the other stations? I think I get it. Thanks.
 

spec1alk

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Is something like the Skywalker the way to go? Does it have to be mounted on on the "mast"? Or can I put it at my cable box?
 

TheKrell

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Is something like the Skywalker the way to go? Does it have to be mounted on on the "mast"? Or can I put it at my cable box?
Since nobody better qualified has answered this, I'll have a go. Yes, I think that is what radioguy was suggesting to mount on the mast. It may say distribution amp on it, but it has a variable gain up to 25dB which is what you may need to receive that low power station. The problem with low power stations is they are orders of magnitude lower in power than the big boys. So amplifying all the powerful stations along with the low powered station might result in distorting all the channels and even overloading the inputs of your tuners. I would try it if I were you, and play with the gain until you find a happy medium (if possible).

The reason people are recommending mounting a signal amp as closely as possible to the antenna is to avoid amplifying noise added by various connectors, barrels, and the coax itself. I've had success with distribution amps mounted in my attic about 25' away from my antenna. YMMV.
 
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907TECH

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The problem here with distribution amps is that they do not have the low noise figure that the better preamps do. The SNR in the system is highest at the antenna feedpoint. If you are working with a low power signal, you have the best chance with a preamp placed here. The good vendors offer preamps with higher overload immunity if you have high powered signals to be worried about. Again Kitztech rules the roost they have a preamp with a .4 db noise figure. A good Channel Master distribution amp, 2 db. Better yet is a better antenna the 751 has low gain.
 
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arlo

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TheKrell is on the right track. I live in the deep fringes so amplifying all channels is the main idea here. No chance of overload. I wish I still had my box of discarded stuff from the local CATV company. But I still have a mental snapshot of how things were done.

Multiple antennas. Ones cut for a specific frequency or range of frequencies. Combiners, preamps, and bandpass/notch filters.
Scenario. You slap a high gain amp on the mast and feed it into your house. Low signal channels get amped nicely but you have some that are saturated.
You could try an attenuator for the channel(s) that are overloading. They do stack pretty good. End to end.
.
Or use an antenna that is aimed at a weak transmitter (cut for that channel), preamp it. Another antenna aimed at the strong ones.
Bring the cables inside. Feed out of the power inserter from the amped weak signal and coax from the unamplifed antenna into a combiner.
And feed the combined channels to your TV. Enough signal and, splitters will be okay. Or a dist amp with variable gain.

In a situation where identical antennas are used (VHF/UHF all frequencies) you could get a bandpass filter and insert it at the amped antenna before the amp input.
In the OP's situation channel 20, a bandpass filter for 506-612 MHZ would let that channel pass to the amp and kill all of the others. They would remain unamplified in theory.

Where I live, on axis stations are 90+ miles away. There is a PBS station ~100 degrees off axis that is 40 or so miles away, so even though that is amplified at the antenna. Being off axis reduces the overall signal already. But pointing the antenna directly at the xmitter definitely will overload.
 

MartyDe

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Oct 28, 2019
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Kind of had the same problem with basically the same antenna. Three stations on same tower and the one I suspect has the most power was flaky. After a lot of fooling around the fix was a horizontal move of 12 feet (attic location). RF will do what it wants so keep trying. No amp was needed here. Good luck.
 

Comptech

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It may work if you have exceptionally strong signals otherwise you might need to go with a distribution amp. This is what I use to supply four televisions.


Our signal is supplied by Stellar Labs 30-2370 and 30-2476 antennas fed to a mast mounted combiner/amp. Our stations are two edge reception at about 41 and 57 miles away. :)

https://www.newark.com/stellar-labs/30-2370/long-range-uhf-hdtv-91-element/dp/72Y2542

https://www.newark.com/stellar-labs/30-2476/deep-fringe-directional-antenna/dp/71Y5462

Although I have both antennas, i do not use the UHF one. The 30-2476 picks up my UHF fine. I personally think it is the best antenna on the market right now.
 

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