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Old 4-Oct-2011, 3:32 PM   #1
PhotoJim
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Location: Regina, SK, CA
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How much signal strength is enough?

Hi all,

How do you know if you have enough signal strength?

I recently installed a new antenna for my ATSC TV. I'm getting signal strength of between 87% and 100% depending on the channel. This is in fair weather with no precipitation. The TV is a Panasonic 46" plasma 1080p but my guess is that signal strength percentage varies from brand to brand.

How do you know if you have enough strength? I get all the channels perfectly today, but would an installer be satisfied with these numbers? Would it be better to try different mounting orientations or locations (this antenna is attic mounted but I ask the question generally). For example, I could mount my own antenna higher and possibly add some signal strength, but I'm not sure if I'm already at the threshold where it would gain me nothing, or if it might improve reliability in heavy rain or other poor weather.

In my particular case all of my channels are line of sight so I don't have to deal with tropospheric effects.

How do you know if you've done the antenna installation well enough?

I ask the question generically. I looked in the archives and couldn't find anything.

Once again, I appreciate the site. I'm really enjoying my new antenna setup and the advice in the forum convinced me to buy a less expensive antenna than I was contemplating, and it's working extremely well.

Jim
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Old 4-Oct-2011, 3:59 PM   #2
Tower Guy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhotoJim View Post
How do you know if you have enough strength?
Jim
The signal is strong enough when the reception has no dropouts or pixelization.
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Old 4-Oct-2011, 4:13 PM   #3
be236
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Originally Posted by Tower Guy View Post
The signal is strong enough when the reception has no dropouts or pixelization.
Agreed! Is there a problem you're trying to solve?

If all your channels you can watch w/o issue, then it's all good... as the saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
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Old 4-Oct-2011, 7:01 PM   #4
GroundUrMast
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If you can achieve real noise margins of 20 dB or greater at the receiver, you will have very few, if any, visible impairments to reception.

Notice I'm not referring to a particular signal power level... A strong signal mixed with interference, noise or distortion products may not be receivable. A weaker signal free of interference, noise or distortion may provide 100% reliable reception.

There is more to reception than mere signal strength.
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If the well is dry and you don't see rain on the horizon, you'll need to dig the hole deeper. (If the antenna can't get the job done, an amp won't fix it.)

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Old 4-Oct-2011, 10:16 PM   #5
PhotoJim
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Location: Regina, SK, CA
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I'm getting all four local ATSC stations with no visible noise or dropouts, but we haven't had anything but sunny dry weather since I installed the antenna. I guess I was wondering if there's a percentage of signal strength where you're close to the cusp, and I'm inexperienced enough at this to not know where that cusp might be.

Right now all is rosy. Maybe the best thing to do is to wait for foul weather and see if anything changes?

The issue of noise is a good point. I have no idea how much noise I'm getting.
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