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sm237 1-Aug-2013 6:51 PM

Noob OTA Progressing Good So Far, But Here's a Few Questions
Hi… I’m another cable cutter “noob” with a few questions.

We cut the cable, and while we’re enjoying the usual streaming media products, we miss some local, live stations. I ran the TV Fool report and we’re apx 30 miles from the nearest transmitters and are in hilly terrain. To make matters worse, our house has aluminum siding. A local installer familiar with our area said he could do an installation (rooftop with rotor and amplification) for $300-$400, but he didn’t know if we would have any reception, considering our location. I’m not at all familiar with what would be a fair cost, but I wanted a little more assurance that it would work before I shelled out the $.

I decided to try a cheap (very cheap) attic-mounted antenna by myself to see if we could pick up anything at all before going any further. I mounted it high in the attic and aimed through the roof, missing the aluminum siding. The antenna is a $39 GE 34792 attic antenna from Wally World. I assembled it, and carried a TV up there (it’s a walk-up attic) to check it out. To my surprise, not only did I receive the few local channels that we wanted (in apparently very high def), we received a total of 22 digital channels. Nice!

Here are some questions: 1) I used the compass on my phone to set the antenna to the general direction of the transmitters (from TV Fool report). Is it true that with digital, I will get the picture, or will not get it at all? So I assume there is no need for “fiddling”? 2) We only have two TV’s to connect downstairs, so is a one-into-two splitter all I need, and is this one sufficient (Lowes – IDEAL Zinc 2-Way Coax Video Cable Splitter 5MHz – 2.3GHz)? 3) Is running two coax cables down from the attic from a splitter placed near the antenna a good idea? 4) Should I wait and see the results before buying any “pre-amplifiers” or “DA’s”. 5) Would it be better to run one coax down and split it closer to the TV’s?

Suggestions, comments, tips, criticism, heckling (yeah… I’m cheap!) are welcome!! Thank you very much!


GroundUrMast 1-Aug-2013 7:34 PM

It would be helpful to have a link to your TVFR.

A two way splitter with a bandwidth of 5 to 1000 MHz (1 GHZ) is plenty... For most applications. There is no advantage moving the location of your splitter unless you need or want easier access to it in the future.

If your TV has a signal meter function, you can optimize the aim using that to gauge the best overall aim point (usually a compromise between several channels). The antenna you're using should not be hyper-critical about aim point, that is, it is not very directional.

sm237 1-Aug-2013 7:41 PM

Here is a link to my TVF report:


GroundUrMast 1-Aug-2013 8:14 PM

You best opportunity for reliable reception year-round is to mount the antenna outdoors, clear of obstructing buildings and vegetation. A roof covered in wet snow is going to absorb more signal that a clean dry roof, so an antenna in the attic may have trouble as the weather changes.

Your TV Fool report suggests that you may benefit from a amplifier. If the antenna stays in the attic, consider locating a Channel Master CM-3410 distribution amplifier near the antenna... It would provide plenty of gain to overcome all the losses caused by splitting and the cable runs to each TV.

If you move the antenna to an outdoor mount, consider using a Winegard HDP-269 preamp.

sm237 1-Aug-2013 8:27 PM

Thank you very much for your assistance!! Vegetation is not a problem near the house, and snow rarely covers that part of the roof, if ever. Since my cost is at a minimum so far, I'll definitely order the DA, and install it near the antenna before the splitter. One thing about the attic, it does get hot! Could that be a problem at some point?

Again.. many thanks! Oh... I'll see if my TV's have a signal meter function. And I'll definitely consider the outdoor mount if there is any question about the performance from the attic.

GroundUrMast 1-Aug-2013 9:19 PM

Most preamps and DA's will tolerate some heat... but if it intolerable for you, it's too hot for the equipment. Is there a closet or similarly convenient location below and near the antenna? The CM-3410 can be powered remotely if you need to.

sm237 1-Aug-2013 10:01 PM

It can get pretty hot up there. I'd guess in the 90's when the sun is shining. If I move the 3410 to the floor directly below the antenna, but still ahead of the 2-way splitter, will it lose much effectiveness? Unfortunately, I haven't figured the cable runs yet, so I can't tell you how long they are. I don't know if I want to use the cable TV cables yet, because I'd like to keep the runs as straight and short as possible. I have a feeling the cable installers didn't care much about that. But I'll be looking that over shortly.

Thanks much!!!

GroundUrMast 1-Aug-2013 11:09 PM

RG-6 coax will have roughly 1 dB loss in 20'. Each dB of loss between the antenna and amplifier will reduce the overall system noise figure by the same amount. So you certainly want to avoid putting the amplifier at the end of a long run. If the temp never exceeds 90 F, I would not be worried about the amplifier, but much over 100 would start to make me take steps to protect the amp.

Again, the 15 dB gain of the CM-3410 is more than enough to deal with the splitter and cable losses in almost all residential applications.

sm237 2-Aug-2013 12:00 AM

What would we internet dweebs and noobs do without folks like you to show us the way?! My capabilities regarding any outside interest or endeavour I've had have been greatly enhanced by generous folks such as yourself.

Thanks very much!

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