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Old 30-Mar-2018, 11:37 AM   #1
Hillbilly Hermit
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Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 6
Using Portable TV to locate reception sweet spot

I live in a mountainous area and have no OTA TV reception at my house. I am wondering if walking around my property with a portable TV would be a good strategy to find a location where I can get reception somewhere on my acreage? Also, what is the maximum distance the antenna can be from the house and still get a reasonable signal through the coax cable. Heres my analysis report: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e6a49b16d0a52d.
I appreciate any help and advice.
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Old 30-Mar-2018, 1:44 PM   #2
jrgagne99
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Canaan, NH
Posts: 115
You have some pretty weak signals. It will be a stretch, but with a lot of hard work and some luck, you *might* get the first 3 channels on your chart. Try entering higher heights to see if it improves your chances.

As for you questions about signal hunting, I used a handheld portable TV with built-in signal-strength diagnostics to do exactly that. Mine is an RCA and the meter is qualitative (poor , fair, good, very good, excellent).

Professional installers use some pretty pricey signal meters that when they “walk the roof” during installs. Rabbit73 might recommend one for you. I built a poor-man’s version for about $70 using a Winegard Sensar Pro Signal Strength Meter unit that is designed for recreational vehicles- RVs. It requires a DC blocker, a hobby enclosure, and an 8-battery power pack to supply 12VDC. See R. Ross’s review on amazon for instructions.

I recommend the RCA handheld because when you’re done using it, you still have a TV. I like to take mine hiking to see how reception is when we get to the top. My wife hates that.

As for distance between house and antenna, 300 feet is not unheard of. My antennas are 55 feet up in a pine tree about 150 feet from my house. You'll likely need an amplifier. KT-200 is one of the best low-noise ones out there. Juice is good too. Depending on the length of your run, you may need a lot of gain. Check the loss vs. distance tables for UHF and VHF, and use a single length of new RG-6 between amp and house. RG-11 is less lossy, but more expensive. I recommend putting the amplifier at the bottom of the tree. See my thread “Reception Help in NH” for pictures and the whole story.

Last edited by jrgagne99; 30-Mar-2018 at 1:49 PM.
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Old 30-Mar-2018, 6:22 PM   #3
rabbit73
Retired A/V Tech
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: S.E. VA
Posts: 2,147
Welcome back, Hillbilly Hermit

Thank you for the signal report. It looks like the one I did for you based on the coordinates you gave to me for your house.

Raising the antenna to 50 feet at your house doesn't help much; you would need to move your antenna to higher ground.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...e6a42d0ed01454

Your previous threads for reference:

Need help with DIY Antenna Design
27-Sep-2017
http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=16368

Can I get OTA TV at my location?
17-Jan-2015
http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=15198

Quote:
I am wondering if walking around my property with a portable TV would be a good strategy to find a location where I can get reception somewhere on my acreage?
That would be a good strategy IF the TV has a relative strength indicator AND you are using an external antenna similar to the one you would mount at that location.

WCYB is on VHF-Low real channel 5, which requires a BIG WIDE antenna with LONG elements.
Quote:
Also, what is the maximum distance the antenna can be from the house and still get a reasonable signal through the coax cable.
That depends upon several factors. You will need a preamp at the antenna that requires a certain minimum voltage to operate and a certain minimum gain to overcome the coax signal loss.

Ordinary RG6 coax with a copper clad steel center conductor would have about the same signal loss as RG6 Quad, but RG6 Quad with a solid copper center conductor would have a much lower voltage drop for the preamp power.

RG11 coax would have a lower signal loss, but it is difficult to work with; it is thicker and requires special connectors.

The next step up would be 75 ohm hardline as used by cable systems.

Calaveras at AVS Forum has much longer run of coax; 575 feet of which 480 feet is 1/2" hardline. He uses a high gain preamp at the antenna and increases the voltage sent up to the preamp by the power inserter so that there is sufficient voltage for the preamp to operate.



A forum member at High Def Forum has a solar panel and battery at the base of his tower to power his Channel Master 7777HD/Amplify preamp before a 300 ft coax run.

I have measured the minimum required voltage for the 7777HD, which comes with a 5V power supply, as 4 volts. I was able to use a coax run over 300 ft and still have proper operation.

Your coax run to your closest hill, Hill B, is 951 feet, but the signals are stronger at Hill A, which is 1424 feet away.



If you moved your antenna to Hill B, you could try the 7777HD preamp at the 30 dB high gain setting with RG6 Quad solid copper center conductor. You would need to increase the voltage sent to the preamp from the power inserter inside, or power the preamp at the base of the 20 ft mast on the hill.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Calaveras ANTs_1.jpg (73.8 KB, 98 views)
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Last edited by rabbit73; 30-Mar-2018 at 8:02 PM.
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