Didn't work- HDP-269/3671/8 way splitter

navychop

navychop

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Poor reception at new home.

I have moved about 3-4 miles. The old place had a StealthTenna with internal pre-amp and worked fine, using a distro amp. At the new place, about 300' higher in elevation IIRC, I wanted all the stations I was previously getting, plus improved Baltimore reception and possibly pick up an Annapolis station. So I put up a CM3671 with a Wineguard HDP-269 preamp. That particular pre-amp was chosen to avoid overloading on nearby stations yet help pull in distants. It is mounted on the mast just below the antenna and above the rotor. It feeds a CS-208 8 way splitter (currently feeding 4 lines, expected to feed 5 or 6 lines, most of which will be further split). The splitter is marked "all ports power pass." The preamp is fed from a feed in a bedroom. No diplexing, no separators. Trees are around both antennas, maybe a bit more in the new place.

Analogs mostly come in fair to poor. I get 67% on 9-1, 88% on 30-1, zero on 26-1 and 90% on 66-1. 4-1, 5-1, 7-1 & 14-1 all come in "no program." I am in zip code 22032.

Stations of primary interest follow. All are digital except 22, an analog PBS station:
WNVT-DT...30.1...IND...GOLDVEIN VA........217°.....15.0......30
WPXW-DT..66.1.....i......MANASSAS VA......210°......2.5......43
WJLA-DT......7.1...ABC...WASHINGTON DC...65°......15.3.....39
WUSA-DT.....9.1...CBS...WASHINGTON DC...65°......15.3.....34
WETA-DT....26.1...PBS...WASHINGTON DC...74°......10.9....27
WTTG-DT.....5.1...FOX...WASHINGTON DC...63°......15.4....36
WRC-DT.......4.1...NBC...WASHINGTON DC...67°......14.9....48
WFDC-DT...14.1...TFA...ARLINGTON VA.......67°......14.9....15
WNVC-DT...57.1...IND....FAIRFAX VA...........63°.......6.0....57
WDCW-DT..50.1...WB....WASHINGTON DC....68°......18.1....51
WMPT.........22.....PBS...ANNAPOLIS MD.......81°......40.0....22

I'd also love to get WWPB analog channel 31, PBS out of HAGERSTOWN, MD at 339°, 67.2 miles. There are other, more distant stations I'd like to get but are no big deal.

The 3671 was selected, vice a UHF only, to support current local analogs (in-laws!) and the reversion to VHF of some stations after the digital transition on 2/17/09. It was also hoped to pull in Annapolis and other more distant stations.

Options to improve reception:

1. Remove pre-amp, in the theory it's overloading nearby stations.
Probably not likely to be successful, since this pre-amp is good about not overloading, plus most of these stations are about 14.6 miles away, and some come in, some don't. I might look up ERP on each, but I'm near where I used to live and had no problems there. But it's easy to test this possible fix.

2. Replace 8-way with 4-way splitter to improve signal strength.
This might work, but I suspect would be insufficient. Further splitters exist on at least 3 of the legs, to feed both ATSC & NTSC inputs. Also, it will force additional splitters to feed more planned drops. But its relatively easy to try and does not involve running another outlet in an exceedingly hot attic.

3. Replace 8-way splitter with a distro amp. This may well drive the sometimes lengthy coax, and the extra splitters. But it means adding that attic outlet to power the distro amp. And it will require moving the pre-amp power inserter to the attic as well, since to the best of my knowledge there is no way to "power pass" thru a distro amp.

I am tempted to throw a coax off the roof and temporarily run it inside to see how the antenna with and without the pre-amp works as a direct feed to a TV. That might tell me something about the effect of the splitters on the signal. But I guess I could just remove the 8 way and put in a barrel connector to test any given leg.

Any thoughts on which would work, or is there another approach?
 
navychop

navychop

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Thank you for your response.

IIRC, one channel had this problem: " A sign of overload is...signal drops aimed at the towers and goes up as you point away." So you may have nailed it.

Yes, I checked the wiring. If I unplug the power to the preamp, the signal is lost.
 
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bhelms

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I agree with Rick - Strip it down to its simplest form and work up (down?) from there. Start with just the antenna in the system, single coax to a single receiver, and "baseline" the antenna. Then continue with the preamp/splits/accessories.

I'm in a situation where I need to do some real fine tuning, possibly moving the antenna around on my roof, changing height, angle from horizontal, etc., all things that Rick and others have suggested. Without much forethought to where it's presently located, I can only receive a weak analog UHF channel with my 4228 that happens to be co-located with at least 4 digital channels that are what I'm really trying to receive. I think the best approach to improving results (and I'm confident that the 4228 with 7777 preamp can do it!) will be to take a small VHF/UHF analog TV onto the roof with me and find the "sweet spot" first for that single channel, then start working-in the preamp, etc. I can also run a longer single coax to the HDTV's location and check for improved DTV results in step with the improved results on the analog UHF channel as indicated with that small TV at the "source".

Maybe that approach will work for you as well... Good luck with it!
 
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navychop

navychop

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Thank you. Maybe a spousal unit can watch an inside TV and talk to you on a cell, to avoid hoofing a TV to the roof.

I removed the 8 way splitter and ran direct to a TV with the pre-amp bypassed. Almost every station came thru very well. I reconnected the pre-amp, leaving out the 8 way splitter and every station came thru, most perfectly. So I've narrowed it down to the 8 way splitter.

I will now try, hopefully tonight, a 4 way splitter with power pass and hope that it works for the 4 drops I've currently set up. If not, I will try the 4 way distro amp using a long extension cord for testing. If that is what is needed, I will wire in an outlet and power the amp and pre-amp from the attic. I need to run a line to install a gable vent fan anyway, but was hoping to do that at the other end of the roof where the run is shorter and I can more easily do the install.

I'll post results. Thanks for the assistance.
 
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bhelms

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navychop said:
...Maybe a spousal unit can watch an inside TV and talk to you on a cell, to avoid hoofing a TV to the roof....
Yeah, I tried that once - ended-up in utter frustration for us both ("...a little more to the left...no - BACK, BACK...no, try your OTHER left...!!"), not to mention that the strong FRS radio signals didn't help matters any either. This is a job I need to do myself - on both ends...!

Sounds like you're making progress using the logical progression! I hope I have similar good results to report soon...

BRgds...!
 
navychop

navychop

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Oh, I kinda expected that frustration response, from my experience. But hope springs eternal......

Progress, yes- and think of the weight I'm losing in that hot attic! :rolleyes:

I wonder if I'm enjoying the install more than I'll enjoy the watching. How about you?
 
N

NightHawk

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Did you terminate the un-used output ports on the 8-way? Reflections from un-used, unterminated ports can sometimes cause problems.

The Winegard 269 isn't the best pre-amp choice. Its low gain (11 dB) combined with a high noise figure (3 dB) do not overcome the 9 dB loss of an 8-way splitter.
The result is a net loss of SNR.
 
navychop

navychop

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Hmmm, Rick, you're the one that talked me into the 269. :rolleyes: ;)

No, I did not terminate- should have.

But now it gets more interesting.

With the 8 way (4 in use) splitter and pre-amp, I rec'd most of the analog stations and some digital, none very well. The pre-amp power inserter has a red LED that glows when both plugged in and connected to the pre-amp. In this described configuration. If unplugged from power, the LED goes out (DUH), as it does if the pre-amp is removed and replaced by a barrel connector. With no power to the inserter, no signal is rec'd on the TV.

So I replaced the 8 way with a 4 way, and the LED goes out. Oddly, if the antenna is not connected (like while swapping splitters), the LED is on. The 4 way passes the analog stations, not well, but no digital stations. I suspect it is not "all ports power passing" even though labeled and sold that way. But something must be happening, since I do get some analogs, which I don't if it's unplugged from power. Maybe the power inserter itself has elements using the power, but the 4 way splitter is still not passing the power to the pre-amp? BTW, all the ports on the 4 way were connected for the test.

So I next tried a 4 way distro amp, with the pre-amp power inserter between the distro amp and the pre-amp. Almost everything comes in. I'd prefer to get 22 out of Annapolis better, but I'd also like to win the lottery. Experimentation showed that if I aimed at 65 degrees, rather than 60, I got the best reception. Essentially, channel 14-1 does not come in at all- but I don't watch it (Spanish language station, my back pocket plan for one day learning Spanish). Sometimes 5-1 has pixellation. I can live with this configuration, although I don't look forward to running an attic outlet to replace the temporary extension cord I'm now using. But I'd like to tweak it even better. Time will tell.

I've left out some details- it's an odd setup. The test TV has the antenna feed in to a Dish 721, so the TV's coax input can receive the satellite as well as OTA signals. The only other input to the TV is composite, which is fed from an ATSC STB/DVR daisy chained thru a combined VCR/DVD recorder- which is also fed, split, from the coax output from the 721. Nice TV, but having only 2 inputs complicates things. Other TVs in the house have other splitters to feed various devices, plus to feed separate NTSC & ATSC HDTV inputs.

So, you guys think the 4 way splitter is in fact NOT passing power (I tried all ports)? I plan to call Solid Signal about it, but first want to think and talk it over. Also, I want to try the 4 way splitter with the pre-amp power inserter placed between the splitter and pre-amp.
 
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bhelms

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navychop said:
Oh, I kinda expected that frustration response, from my experience. But hope springs eternal......

Progress, yes- and think of the weight I'm losing in that hot attic! :rolleyes:

I wonder if I'm enjoying the install more than I'll enjoy the watching. How about you?
LOL - Well, I often think the eventual results of my most challenging and enjoyable labors are very anti-climatic! To whit - I spent many (too many!) hours planning, buying, and installing a new wiring scheme for my pool while it's all dug-up being rebuilt. I laid-out all the conduit, then changed everything after I decided to have an underwater light installed (which unavoidably floods part of the conduit). I took a few photos then sat back and threw-down a couple of cans of Golden Elixir when I finished-up late one evening last week. That was such a good job, it was as much art as utility - I was so proud! Then I came back the next day and it was all covered-up by concrete...!

The irony with the antenna is that I impulsed about $5k in Dec. on this whole HD upgrade, another $500 for the 622 in April plus increased my monthly E* bill by more than double, then about $100 more for antenna related stuff since June. All the while my summertime viewing is down to about 2 hours a week! So what's the point? (My wife, who has absolutely NO appreciation of HD, keeps me constantly reminded of that...!)

So my other projects (as above!) have kept me from completing the antenna insallation, which is by no means routine. As Rick suggested, I'll probably add a rotator (see my other post about "Remote Control Rotator") and start fabbing-up something that looks appropriate before spending several hours on the roof and many trips up and down that ladder (any weight loss will be offset by that Elixir, but only AFTER the job is done!). But I generally find the work enjoyable and the eventual results worth the effort. Any snags/explictives uttered along the way will be quickly forgotten as long as the final outcome is positive, and I have high expectations for this one...!

Sorry I Shanghai'd the post but you did ask...!
 
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bhelms

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navychop said:
...So, you guys think the 4 way splitter is in fact NOT passing power (I tried all ports)? I plan to call Solid Signal about it, but first want to think and talk it over. Also, I want to try the 4 way splitter with the pre-amp power inserter placed between the splitter and pre-amp.
You can certainly verify with a multimeter. Check AC first, then DC.

Is it possible your "power inserter" also has some part of the amplifier circuitry in it? Not likely, but in the case of my Blonder-Tongue high-gain preamp, about half the amplifier is in the power supply part. I'm not sure why they design it that way so I assume there is some advantage, like perhaps that part of the circuit doesn't really need to be at the antenna and it will have better performance if not exposed to temp. extremes, like most circuits...

Just my 5-cents worth (my rates recently increased...!)
 
navychop

navychop

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Oh, I can feel for you about the concrete!

If She Who Must Be Obeyed likes Desperate Housewives, try switching between the analog and digital stations and see if She reconsiders. It's been known to happen. :p

Yeah, I wonder about it all, too- not as much watching as before. But Smart Travels on Equator just rivets us! No real OTA to speak of, until DH & ER return.

Yep, I left off that I was planning to test different points with the meter. And I have no idea how it's split up- something else to ask SS when I call.
 
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NightHawk

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The multimeter is a good idea. DC resistance from the center pin on the input to any power passing output should be near 0 Ohms.
 
navychop

navychop

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The best setup I've tried is antenna to pre-amp to power inserter to 4 way distro amp (never mind all the configurations I tried). This requires power in the attic. This setup gives me all the stations I want (OK- Annapolis comes in poorly), and more, with just some pixellation on 5.1 - I wonder what the actual ERP is for them, not the FCC 1,000 kW listing. Tweaking the antenna aim seems to move 5.1 from 55%-66% to 66%-72%, mostly. I'll see how it is over time. But I don't actually watch much Fox anyway.

The 4 way splitter is definitely blocking, not passing, power. This is confirmed not only by loss of signal and loss of power LED, but by voltage measurement. I will call the seller tomorrow.

Thank you, but the rotor is installed and paid for. It will only have light use anyway. All coax has been installed in walls and down thru the basement. Not much performance difference between the longest and shortest runs- tuner quality seems to be a bigger factor.

From my experience where I moved from, I pretty much expected this would be the final configuration- I was just hoping to avoid running power to the attic. It is now easier to add an attic outlet than to rerun coax (which would mean longer runs anyway). The new home gets a bit more signal quality overall, except for 5.1, which I don't really understand. It's co-located with most of the other antennas and I'm only about 3 miles from the old house, and less than 15 miles from the transmitting antennas. BTW, the antenna I used at the old place was just a CM3010 StealthTenna!

I guess my only significant loss is that I may now abandon my plans to add a couple more OTA runs. Or I could play with an 8 way distro amp, like I had in the previous home. I guess I can just put my composite-fed wireless video transmitter system back into service. That would be simplest.

Thanks again to all for your input.
 
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