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Old 23-Oct-2012, 4:18 AM   #1
bjs81
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will a new antenna help me receive stations 70+ miles away?

Hello,
I live in NW IN, nice and flat here. I live out in the country where cable is not available and I dont want to have a monthly fee to watch TV. I have lived here for 22 years and am on my second antenna. I put up the best available 11 years ago, a Winegard CA8100 with a AP-8275 pre-amp and a rotor, on my 37ft antenna tower. My cable is under 50ft from the antenna to the Electroline 4 way drop amp (EDA2400), and from there the cables are under 30ft to the 4 cable hookups in the walls. My TV is a 50" Samsung 1080i capable set. hopefully this will tell ya'll enough of my system to make an educated reply back. My reception is about 90-95%, and seems to be the worst during the summer. But it never fails that the 5-10% is while watching a show when it gets to a good part. After doing my homework I have found out all the stations in my area are mostly UHF while 3 are high VHF. and all but 2 are 72-73 miles away. So my question is ... would a Winegard HD7698P antenna gain me much over what I already have? Would it be worth the money and time to switch them out? I will do it in a heartbeat if it will help, but will be pretty upset if it doesnt help. I hate to waste money.. I have tryed taking the "4-way" out of the loop to see if that helped, and it did not. And also wondering if you feel the Antenna Craft HBU55 would be a better antenna then the Winegard HD7698P for pulling in a more reliable signal? or is there another antenna you would reccommend?

Thanks in advance,
Brian in IN

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Old 23-Oct-2012, 6:57 AM   #2
GroundUrMast
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I'm not willing to promise you would see dramatic improvement if you replace the CA8100. But it would not be my first or second place recommendation to your next door neighbor trying to 'cut the cord'.

If I was starting from scratch, I'd definitely consider the HD7698P, it's an excellent single antenna choice. But I would very likely go with separate UHF and High-VHF antennas. For UHF, the Antennas Direct 91XG or the Winegard HD9095P. For H-VHF, an Antennacraft Y10713 or Winegard YA1713. I would use an Antennas Direct PA-18 preamp on each antenna, then combine the outputs of the preamps downstream of the power insertion blocks. I would resist the temptation to use a distribution amplifier with only 80' of coax to drive on the longest total run. I would opt for a passive 4-way splitter, depending on the gain of the PA-18.

WLQI FM 97.7 appears to be close in, I'd place an FM trap between the antennas and their preamps.

Out of curiosity, with the CA8100, do you receive WOCK real CH-4, reliably, intermittently or not at all?

Last edited by GroundUrMast; 23-Oct-2012 at 7:10 AM. Reason: ? re. WOCK
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Old 23-Oct-2012, 7:04 AM   #3
teleview
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In it's day , the CA8100 was 'top of the line' , and still is 'top of line' even though it is no longer manufactured.

If the antenna is still in serviceable condition , install a , http://www.kitztech.com , KT-200 High Gain - Ultra Low Noise antenna booster in place of the AP8275 preamp.

Do not use the Electroline 4 way drop amp.

Use a , HFS-4D , 4 way splitter.

From the HFS-4D 4 way splitter a coax will go out to each of the 4 Tv's , this is known as home run wiring.

If 4 Tv's are not connected , then use , HFS-3D or HFS-2D splitters.

If 1 Tv is connected use no splitter.

(Do not use loop wiring , loop wiring is , a coax wire starts at a location and goes to location and from that location a coax goes to an other location and from that location an other coax wire goes to an other location , loop de loop de loop , and at at the end of loop hops there is not much signal.)

Buy the HFS splitters at , http://www.hollandelectronics.com , or , http://www.solidsignal.com.

If the CA8100 is not in serviceable condition , or better reception then the CA8100 can provide is required.

Then install a Winegard HD7698P antenna , with the Kitz Tech antenna booster , aimed at about 345 degree magnetic compass.

Looking at the Digital Current Plus Pending Applications Included tvfool channel list.

You are reaching out for the Digital Tv stations/channels in the magnetic compass direction of about 345 degree.

I suspect but can not say for sure that the Digital Tv stations down to and including WCPX UHF channel 43 ION television will be reliably received.

As always trees and tree leaves do a real fine job of reducing or blocking reception and so do buildings and other obstructions.

It is best to install the antenna at a location that has the least amount to no amount of obstructions of any type or kind in the directions of reception.
____________________________________________

---->You selected and used these words --> 1080i capable Tv.<----

You say the the Samsung is 1080i capable Tv.

This leads me to believe that it is a older Tv with one of the older generations of Digital Broadcast Tuner??

And most of those 1080i capable Tv's had no Digital tuners.

Is a external Digital Broadcast Tv tuner being used??

And if so , what is the make and model number of the external digital tuner??

What is the model number of the Samsung Tv?? , and is this the only Tv that is connected??

________________________________________________

I have a question , What is the Weakest digital tv channel that is being reliable received??

Last edited by teleview; 24-Oct-2012 at 3:14 AM.
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Old 23-Oct-2012, 2:37 PM   #4
bjs81
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I do not receive "ch 4 wock" at all as far as I know. It may come in on them rare occasions would be it. I guess I forgot to mention that we mainly watch stations from Chicago and south bend (compass headings 345 and 48-49), with the south bend stations being more reliable. Looking at the "Pending Applications Included tvfool channel list", I receive and watch stations from the top down to WNIT 34.1 with my CA8100 with 90-95% reliability. My antenna mast is in concrete and can not be moved, so I will need to work with what I have. I have no trees line of sight in heading 345 closer then 400ft, and in heading 48-49 I have 3 trees that are around 80-120 ft from the antenna in that direction, then nothing else for miles. and the antenna is above all buildings within miles. if it will help, I can take some pictures and post them so you can see the line of site in both directions. I do not have the loop setup with my coax, and it is rg6 also.
My TV I bought in 2007, it is a Samsung HL-T5687SA, so its a 56", and it does have the built in digital TV tuner. Yes, my CA8100 is still working, it has 1 of the long elements broken off, but from what I have read, the long ones are for low VHF? I have 2 other older TV's hooked up with set top boxes.

So now with all this new information, will a new antenna gain me enough to make it worth the money and effort? or shouls I just change out the pre-amp? what is better about the KT-200 over the AP8275?
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Old 23-Oct-2012, 3:42 PM   #5
teleview
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The KT-200 boosters are Ultra Low Noise.

All electric and electronic circuits generate noise , the noise is like fuzz that masks the signal.

Less noise means more of the actual signal will be delivered to the Tv.


The Tv transmissions are very weak at your location , I can not 100% say that reception will be improved.

What I can say is , the recommendations I have made will most likely improve reception.

Last edited by teleview; 24-Oct-2012 at 3:16 AM.
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Old 23-Oct-2012, 5:47 PM   #6
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It's hard for me to 'push' for antenna replacement in your case. Your current results suggest the UHF and H-VHF performance of the CA8100 is still quite good.

I'm more in favor of,

1) Replacing the existing distribution amplifier with a passive splitter (with only enough output ports to feed the connected tuners).

2) Upgrading to a preamp with better noise performance.

Last edited by GroundUrMast; 23-Oct-2012 at 5:50 PM. Reason: complimenting the CA8100
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Old 23-Oct-2012, 9:04 PM   #7
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OK, thanks for your input. I do see a major difference in the kt-200 having only .4 db noise where the ap-8275 has 2.8 dp noise. And I do know that amplifiers that are designed to amplify the signal will also amplify the static (noise) also. But replacing the drop amp with a passive splitter confuses me. I see where 4-way passive splitters will reduce the signal strength by as much as 12 db, and that seems like alot when my signals are so low to begin with. Please help me understand this theory. Seems if I reduce the noise level, a splitter that boosts the signal going out to what is going in would be a good idea??
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Old 23-Oct-2012, 10:45 PM   #8
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I calculate your distribution losses at 13 dB based on 50' of RG-6 from the antenna to the distribution point (3 dB), a 4-way passive splitter (8 dB) and another 30' of RG-6 (2 dB). If you have only three tuners connected, a 3-way splitter will have even less loss. Most 3-way splitters have a -4 dB port and two -8 dB ports. There a a few 3-way splitters that have equal output on all ports. Example: http://www.antennasdirect.com/store/...tter-SPT3.html

Either of the the preamplifiers suggested thus far have enough gain to overcome all of that loss.

Every amplifier is a source of noise over and above the noise received by the antenna. A good consumer grade distribution amplifier has a noise figure in the 3.0 dB neighborhood. Why go to some effort and expense to eliminate noise at the preamp if you're going to add a significant amount 50' later?

As an example, let's say the antenna receives a signal that is 30 dB stronger than the noise (there is a signal to noise ratio, SNR of 30 dB). After passing through a preamplifier with a gain of 24 dB and a NF of 0.4 dB, the desired signal power is 24 dB higher... but the noise is 24.4 dB higher, which means that the signal to noise ratio at the output of the preamp is 29.6 dB. If you delivered that signal to a distribution amplifier with a NF of 3.0 dB, the signal at the output of the DA would have a SNR of 26.6 dB.

The bottom line is, you can get all the gain you need from one amplifier. Adding a second needlessly elevates the noise delivered to the tuner.

Last edited by GroundUrMast; 23-Oct-2012 at 11:04 PM. Reason: Added example of SNR calculation
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Old 23-Oct-2012, 11:02 PM   #9
bjs81
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OK, In my defense of asking that last question, I assumed the pre-amp was to boost the weak signals received at the antenna so the Tv can accually tune in the stations that have really weak signals .. so now I guess I understand that if you were able to hook the tv up straight to the antenna, no amps would be needed at all?? the amps are just to make up for loss in the coax, splitters ect. ..... So I could accually get by with a lower output amp then. Is too much as bad as too little? what is the line where you "over power" the tuner?
another question about the KT-200 amp ...... I see it is not designed to be mounted at the antenna, without a weather proof box. SO can I mount this amp in the basement, or do you reccommend mounting it at the antenna in a weather proof box?

Last edited by bjs81; 23-Oct-2012 at 11:09 PM.
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Old 23-Oct-2012, 11:10 PM   #10
GroundUrMast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjs81 View Post
... the amps are just to make up for loss in the coax, splitters ect. .....


another question about the KT-200 amp ...... I see it is not designed to be mounted at the antenna, without a weather proof box. SO can I mount this amp in the basement, or do you reccommend mounting it at the antenna in a weather proof box?
To your first conclusion... Yes! You've got it! The only exception to that conclusion is when the tuner has a poor noise figure... a low noise preamp may help overcome some of the noise in the tuner. But when you think about it, the preamp is still not adding to the capability of the antenna, it's only overcoming losses on the output side of the amplifier.

The KT-200 needs protection from the elements. As with any amplifier, it's not going to overcome losses on the input side, so the best place for it is near the antenna.

Last edited by GroundUrMast; 23-Oct-2012 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 24-Oct-2012, 3:26 AM   #11
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You can buy the KT-200 amp that has the remote power option and try it in the basement or outside.

Just because it has the remote power does not mean that it has to be installed outside.

The KT amps are ultra low noise amps , all electric and electronic circuits generate noise , noise is like 'fuzz' it masks the signal , so less noise means more usable signal.
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Old 24-Oct-2012, 2:03 PM   #12
bjs81
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Well after you all have educated me about pre-amps and how they only need to make up for the signal loss between the antenna and the tv, wouldnt the KT-100 be a better choice, especially seeing how it is adjustable. Then I can adjust it perfectly to my system. But will I need a meter of some sorts to measure the signal at my TV, or how does that work? And do you have a suggestion for a weather proof box for it to be mounted in up on the antenna? Or I could install it in the basement after 37ft of coax from the antenna if you feel my loss of 2.22 db will not be bad enough to loose channels. Remember though, I have really weak signals to begin with?? please advise me of my next steps. Thanks, Brian

Last edited by bjs81; 24-Oct-2012 at 2:06 PM.
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Old 24-Oct-2012, 5:50 PM   #13
meridish
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjs81 View Post
Well after you all have educated me about pre-amps and how they only need to make up for the signal loss between the antenna and the tv, wouldnt the KT-100 be a better choice, especially seeing how it is adjustable. Then I can adjust it perfectly to my system. But will I need a meter of some sorts to measure the signal at my TV, or how does that work? And do you have a suggestion for a weather proof box for it to be mounted in up on the antenna? Or I could install it in the basement after 37ft of coax from the antenna if you feel my loss of 2.22 db will not be bad enough to loose channels. Remember though, I have really weak signals to begin with?? please advise me of my next steps. Thanks, Brian
Please see the picture for an idea how to weatherproof kitztech.

Thanks
Attached Images
File Type: jpg kitz%20tech%20mounting%20box.jpg (57.3 KB, 415 views)
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Eaglestar 53-6165-1V-L, Kiztech-200 in the Attic
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Old 24-Oct-2012, 5:50 PM   #14
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Squeezing 2.2 dB noise out of a system should only be expected to 'help' make the marginal signals a bit more reliable. There won't be a dramatic 'night & day' difference.

As far as precisely matching the preamp gain to your distribution system losses goes, don't worry about it. An extra few dB of gain in your case may help with tuner noise (which would be measurable with lab grade equipment, not worth spending money and time on). Tuners are designed to adjust to a very wide range of signal power. You simply want to avoid overloading the preamp. An overloaded preamp distorts the signal, making them less reliable or even unrecoverable.

My recollection may be wrong, but I think there used to be a large price difference between the KT-200 and nearly equivalent competing brand-name preamps. The minimal difference at this point makes me agree with teleview, if you make the effort to optimize your existing system, the KT-200-COAX has the best NF.

Home Depot usually stocks PVC junction boxes with rain tight covers. Kudos to meridish for posting the photos of the type of box I was thinking of.

Last edited by GroundUrMast; 24-Oct-2012 at 5:54 PM. Reason: Kudos to meridish
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