Long coax runs - how do you do it?

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SatelliteGuys Pro
Original poster
Apr 18, 2006
I'm still fiddling in trying to get the satellite signal from downstairs to upstairs. I ran some rg6 and there's a LOT of signal loss. It was a 100' cord, but I ended up cutting off about 15 or so feet and reconnected it, thinking the extra few feet would make a difference... unfortunately, the signals still no good.

Signal comes in upstairs (where second tv and pc with ati all-in-wonder card are), but with tons of static in both video and audio. I tried a cheapo vhf/fm/uhf 12 dB Amplifier from Phillips that I got at Wal-Mart today, but it's not helping.

How much dB gain do I need?

Or am I fighting an uphill battle that I'll never win since there's too many feet from the source?
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100 feet should not be a problem. Are you using a good compression or crimp on F connector, and are they done up properly? Are there any splitters, ground blocks, etc inline?
If you're picking up static, the ground shield on your cable is probably not properly connected someplace. Check your connectors and receiver fittings. Also check that the shielding is not touching the center wire at the cable ends.
You should be able to run anywhere from 150-200 feet without amplification if your sending a standard video signal.

If your doing DISH, you can get about 500 feet without amplification depending on where you mount the Switch.

I have done about 450 feet with legacy running both 110 and 119 with seperate cables and then installing an SW21 within 20 feet of the receiver.

I have run about 300 feet using dishpro with the switch being 300 feet away.
If your using an amplifier to increase signal from dish to receiver, then thats your problem, you can't do that esp with dish pro.
The amplifier was to move signal from receiver, not from the dish.

Yes, it's the cheap twist on f connectors.

I've tried a number of different ways as far as y cords and stuff goes... even tried direct line from the reciever's tv out to the ati's coax in port... had a lot of different y cords in the mix at various points, with the long coax in front of the vcr's signal, behind the vcr's signal, and finally straight outta the fta receiver... did a lot of fiddling - actually snapped one of the coax connections on the vcr upstairs off near the end of the day - that's about when I gave up for the night. I think I got it back in... for now, I'm bypassing the vcr upstairs and going straight from the receiver to the pc.

right now, there's one itty bitty 6 inch coax coming outta the receiver to a high speed y connector - the y connector is a special one that we got back in the days when we had cable internet and the cable guy gave us a couple of them. I think they are up to 1ghz or so... so the y shouldn't be causing trouble. I did notice some improvment when I moved the cord to coming off the receiver instead of filtering through the vcr first...

Hermitman, I'm guessing you may have the key, as I think the shielding maybe touching center wire. I'm gonna go and fix that tonight. Hope it helps.

I took the amplifier back to the store because I'm guessing it wasn't helping.

Strangely, there's one ota signal that went through the vcr upstairs really well when I had it in the mix... some weird religious channel on something like channel 68 or so - if it was coming in, it gives me hope... I'm pretty sure that I can get the other to work, if I can get it set up right.
mastermesh said:
Yes, it's the cheap twist on f connectors.

Those things aren't cheap. They cost more than compression connectors, they are just expensive junk. They can work, though but they must be prepped perfectly. Anything you use to splice the cables together is a potential problem.

If I understand you, your cables come in from the dish to the living room, then you added cable to run it down to the basement. How far is that first run, what kind of shape are the connectors, ground block, or other splicing devices in? Are they prepped properly?
As far as I know, I prepped it properly. The run down to the basement is fine and dandy, but that coax run isn't nearly 100'. More like 30' or so. The picture quality in the basment couldn't be much clearer. It's the run to upstairs computer room that's the problem. There is one surge protector between the sg2100 and the receiver... same surge protector is between the ota antenna and the fta receiver. I've got good cords running from there to the fta receiver. From the fta receiver's tv out there's a 6 inch or so coax (it was made that way, I didn't splice it to be that short), that goes in to a y and from that y feeds upstairs and the vcr in the living room.. vcr in the living room is merged in with a dvd player through a small signal converter thingy to get dvd in to coax signal. I can't remember if I've got the basement before or after the vcr in the living room at the moment. I redid things a lot yesterday, and put a lot of y cords in and out of the mix... minimizing to as few as possible near the end of the day.
got rid of the sheilding touching the middle wire... no help in signal gain though :(
Urgh.. I hate spending money. I've got lots of coax wires at home now, only two of which, those two mentioned earlier, that are nearly long enough to do this sort of stuff. I'm thinking of doing some testing this weekend, putting the little tv from downstairs up in the living room and testing the cables, seeing which ones get signal without the static and which ones don't. I think I was pretty careful so the 100 footers that I've got going to upstairs now shouldn't have any snags or kinks in them or anything, but maybe they do and I just don't see it yet.?

Are the compression type of coax clamps better than the f connectors, and if so can you get them at wal-mart? I'm gonna run by there after work today for some stuff. Also, thinking about buying some new coax and not cutting it, seeing if that fixes the problem... I just don't wanna go buy the store out of rg6 when I already got all of this stuff at home that should work. Frustration.

If/when I get it all going good, I may eventually get a dvb world box and buy a new pci usb2 card, hooking the wire going upstairs to the computer directly to the if out on the receiver, but may not do any of that for a long while since I need to know that the coax run that far will work proper, and need to also think if I want to keep upgrading this slow ol 1.5 ghz machine with 512 mb ram or buy a new one in a couple of years that will be enormously faster.
need to also think if I want to keep upgrading this slow ol 1.5 ghz machine with 512 mb ram or buy a new one in a couple of years

Upgrades used to be the way to go, but nowadays with computers so cheap, it's definitely better to buy new. That being said, if you have plenty of HD space and good CD/DVD drives, you can buy a new motherboard, processor, and RAM from newegg.com for fairly cheap (about $200). But why do that when you can go to Wal-Mart and buy a new 3.4GHZ eMachine WITH a monitor for $600. WOAH!
I would look into ordereing a 1000' box of coax on a spool, and a bag of 100 connectors - weatherproof with silicon and o rings from Sadoun - the connectors are $15 and the coax is like $49 or $50. I had to make a run to Home Depot, and got 2 connectors (was out at home) :) and they were on sale for $4 for 2 - usually $6! OUCH! Anyway, the tools - a crimper and wire stripper are pretty cheap, and it really is worth it in the long run. Sadoun also has some tool kits too with compression fittings. It is real slick though, buying in bulk. It is also amazing how fast you go through all that :)
100 feet should be no issue. I have runs of 100 feet and 175 feet and the signal is the same on both.

I've used the twist on connectors (most of my setup is that) and I have no issues with signal. I did get some compression connectors recently
I bought a new 100 footer today - this one was a little more expensive and was quad shielded... it's working well. I'll put it up this weekend, and not cut it. I musta screwed up the head on the other one, and wasn't really using a real wire splicing tool - just some wire cutters... May have yanked it out of place or something too hard?
By the time I was done with my current setup which includes 4 dishes and multiple receivers along with a plumbers nightmare of switches and wires to give each room access to any picture on any receiver I had close to 60 F connectors installed. Unfortunately they were the cheapo screw on type and gave me lots of trouble. The solution was buying a bulk bag (100) of compression fittings with a reasonable tool.

I'm gonna try to mess with it all this weekend some more. I may end up having to get the compression fittings you guys keep talking up. The new coax with the quad shield seems to have a compression fitting type thing on it, so I'm starting to wonder if that's the reason the quality is better. That coax was about 28.00 the other, cheaper ones, were about 18.00 at wally-world. I got me an electrical tester kit, some wire ties, and more electrical tape today, and am gonna try to figure out what's going on. I kinda wish I hadn't cut those two coaxes so that I could take them back to the store since the 10.00 extra for the new cord seems to work.

My new (new to me at least - bought from ebay) ati came in last night. Haven't messed with it. It has a cord that has straight pins, so the bent pins in my old cord for the tv out from the ati card should, hopefully, end up as color instead of black and white, like it is now.

The channel 4 combiners aren't here yet. Gonna fiddle some more and see what I can do this weekend.

Also, gotta remember how I got the soundcard to export to the tv back when we had cable. Those were the days... a two bedroom apt. with over 300 ft. of coax strung out all over the place to get signals to the computer and to a tv. Now it's all nicer since we are in a house and it doesn't look like some weirdo mad scientist's joint. Back then, when I had 4 computers going, three of which were hooked up to 2 monitors, one was for the wife, and one was for auto surfing and stuff, one of my friends said the place looked like the cockpit in one of the star trek movies. Now it's not so bad like that, but it's still all there, just more spaced out.

When I was a kid, other kids always wanted to be cops, firemen, and stuff. I wanted to be a mad scientist... I found math and science above my head in more advanced stages, but with all this techno gizmo stuff, I still get that labratory feeling, and love it.
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whoo hooo! Got it working... I'm gonna do some recordings now. F: drive has 93.9 gigs free. That translates in to enough room to record 2 days 5 hours and 21 minutes at 640x480 with bitrate of 23.49 mb/minute and 44.100 khz audio or 1 day, 3 hours and 30 minutes at dvd high quality of 720x480 with bitrate of 46.74 mb/minute with 48.00 khz audio.... and on top of that, I got an external hd that's got almost nothing on it, and C: drive that's still got over 77 gigs! :)

Had to redo the f connector with the new wire stripping too. Always use those doohickeys - never use a normal pair of wire cutters only! :)

This weekend, I'll work on getting signal to send back from up here at the computer back to living room... should be easy once I get the coax hooked up.

Now, I've got 3 100 ft. coaxs, two of which are good... soon to be 3 once I get the other going. Which means I've gone one extra that I may just have to keep there til I can afford a new usb2 connector and a dvb world box down the road :)

or... I may take one of them back to wal-mart - probably the one I haven't cut yet... doh.
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Glad to hear that you got it running. Many of us have well over 100 ft runs (I have 2 that are right at 100 ft with almost no noticable signal loss (my reciever says the same signal stregth on a 3 ft cable as it does on the 100 ft ones). The key is quality connections (and as few of them as possible).
I strongly suggest to get the following when $ allows. It will save you lots of $$$ in the long run, and frustration:

1000' box/spool of RG-6 $50 or so
F Connectors (good quality crimp or compression) (locally the are $3 EACH - 100 from Sadoun - $15!)
Proper crimpers
Coax Wire stripper.

I used to buy 100' lengths, and do my own connection where need, and did not have the proper strippers. For $7, the strippers have saved time, pain and frustration!

Oh, also get a tool that holds your f connector while you slide it on the cable, and it has a socket on one end for tightening and loosening f connectors.
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