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Old 11-Sep-2013, 5:51 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 3
Do I have a bad pre-amp? Trying to trouble shoot

I moved into the Boston market a little over a year ago, c. 30 miles from the broadcast towers in Needham, Mass. Here is my TVFool report:

I put up a Winegard 7695 VHF/UHF antenna with an AP8700 pre-amp back then. The antenna is mounted c. 20' off the ground, on the gable end of my house, slightly above the roof line. It is pointed roughly 211. I have only one TV connected to it over roughly 50' of RG6.

Reception over the past year has wavered from good to poor. No sooner had I mounted the antenna, then there was a fire on the on the main broadcast tower that degraded reception for a period of a few months while it was repaired. Unfortunately, this being New England, we have had lots of inclement weather to deal with as well. I also have to point the antenna right at the crowns of some large ash trees that I can't get around. One channel in particular, WCVB, an ABC affiliate, has always given me trouble.

Over the past year, I learned more about antennas and OTA reception in my area. Since Boston is an all UHF town and almost all of the towers are located in the same place; I decided to replace my old antenna for a directional UHF one. So I put up a Winegard 9022. I don't care about the VHF stations, they are all either duplicates or in Spanish.

Reception improved on almost all of the stations since I installed it, although WCVB still gives me trouble. I have been trying to troubleshoot and improve the reception for it. I noticed something strange while doing this. All of the the stations I receive, I receive at the same signal strength of 21 on my receiver. (I do not know if this is in db or not, it isn't labeled on the receiver.) The strength never varies at all. It is always the same 21 on all frequencies. This is much lower than the signal I used to receive using the old 7695. Also, with the old antenna, the signal strength would fluctuate, both from station to station, but also on the same station. It would go up and down at least a little bit.

I disconnected the pre-amp and directly connected the antenna to the TV, although it still goes through the power splitter for the pre-amp, I disconnected the power and terminated the connection the port. I don't get WCVB, and maybe a couple of other low-power stations that broadcast from other locations, BUT the signal strength remains 21, all the time for every station I receive.

Continuing to troubleshoot, I put the old 7695 back up and I still get the same 21 on all the stations, even the VHF frequencies the 9022 doesn't receive. I have also tried switching out the cable from the antenna downlead to the mast-mounted pre-amp. And of course, I re-scanned, re-scanned, and re-scanned.

The only thing I can think of, is that the pre-amp is not working properly any more. Should I replace it? And if so, with what. We would really like to watch Modern Family when it starts up again.

Mulsanne is offline   Reply With Quote