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Old 8-Dec-2022, 7:03 PM   #1
richardrosa
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 21
Pre-amp advice

Greetings All,

I live in an area where TV signals seem to avoid.
However with 4 antennas, and some careful placement of same,
I have managed to extract (barely) enough signal levels to keep my Sony TV happy.

I am looking to try and boost what little signal I get with the addition of a different pre-amp or signal processor.

Here is my current setup:

Antenna 1 is a VHF Yagi pointed South-East, used to bring in a single channel: WTNH (Ch-10) (transmitter in the general area of Bethany, CT.

Antenna 2 is a 4 Bay Bow-Tie pointed Due east that captures the following stations:
Ch 30 (WEDH) Hartford, CT
Ch 31 (WVIT) Hartford, CT
Ch 33 (WCCT) Waterbury, CT (ATSC v3)
Ch 34 (WTIC) Hartford, CT
Ch 28 (WHPX) Hartford, CT (New this week, as Local Ch 28 shut down)

Antenna 3 is also a 4 Bay Bow-Tie pointed North for a single station:
Ch 23 (W23ER-D/WMHT) in Highland, NY

Antenna 4 is a UHF-Yagi pointed South-East to capture:
Ch 21 (WZME/WEDW) near Trumbull, CT
Ch 22 (WCWN) From Schenectady, NY (ATSC v3). This one is most likely a reflection, as Schenectady is due North from here.

The antennas are all joined using 2 way splitters (as joiners) with some single channel filters. These all feed into an RCA TVPRAMP12E before being sent to the the TV.
All wires except the VHF are RG-6. The VHF required RG-11, as it is on the opposite side of the house where the other antennas are. This was the ONLY spot I could find where there was enough usable signal for Ch 10.

Even though Ch 23 transmitter is about 15 miles away, it was a bit challenging to find an area on my property where there was enough signal to decode!

Note that although my location is closer to NYC than to Hartford, I get NO usable stations from the south, as there are a number of large mountains in the way.

Although this setup works reasonably well, none of these signals (except CH 23) is particularly strong. I especially have issues with Ch 33 & 34.
These two channels are fairly close to the level where the TV no longer will decode them. Depending on the weather, there are days where these channels cannot be watched.

I've done as much as I can with antenna location and height. I don't have a lot of property, so there are not a lot of location choices to start with.

I'm thinking that a better pre-amp, or something that would eliminate the signal joiners might help. I'm not sure if the RCA is adding more noise than signal.


Currently, I've looked at:
ClearStream JUICE Preamp
Televes 560483 Dual Input Antenna Preamp
Johansson Smart Amplifier with Auto-Programming, 4 Inputs - KIT7473L2
Televes Avant X 532180

The Avant X is VERY expensive (over $400) but looks like it MIGHT solve a lot of problems.

Anyone had any experience with any of these devices?

Should I splurge on a new pre-amp, or will I be wasting my $$$?

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Thanx

Richard Rosa
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Old 8-Dec-2022, 9:52 PM   #2
OTAFAN
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Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 260
Hi Richard:

ClearStream Juice and Televes both have excellent reputations. Televes seems to be the most progressive in OTA technology at the moment, according to user reviews across the Net. The RCA Preamp you're using have tended to have quality control issues over the years. Sometimes they work fine, other times not so good. It's a known issue on TV Fool.

You might want to look at this while you're at it:

https://www.kitztech.com/index.html

Highly recommended from users here at TV Fool over the past several years. I have not used their preamps, because I don't need one in my strong signal area. But I don't think you could wrong according to reviews here on this forum.

Let us know how you come out. I know it would be helpful to others.

All the best.....

Last edited by OTAFAN; 8-Dec-2022 at 9:59 PM.
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Old 8-Dec-2022, 10:57 PM   #3
Tim
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Location: Acworth, GA
Posts: 291
You said, "The antennas are all joined using 2 way splitters (as joiners) with some single channel filters."

It would be helpful to know a little more about how these are all connected as well as some information about the single channel filters.

And the lengths of coax being used before you get to the preamp.

And a signal report from https://www.rabbitears.info/searchmap.php
__________________
Antennacraft Y10-7-13 VHF, Antennas Direct 91XG UHF

Last edited by Tim; 8-Dec-2022 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 8-Dec-2022, 11:57 PM   #4
richardrosa
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim View Post
You said, "The antennas are all joined using 2 way splitters (as joiners) with some single channel filters."

It would be helpful to know a little more about how these are all connected as well as some information about the single channel filters.

And the lengths of coax being used before you get to the preamp.

And a signal report from https://www.rabbitears.info/searchmap.php
Sure. Signal report: https://www.rabbitears.info/searchma...tudy_id=835130

This is the filter that I use: https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/vp0AA...UB/s-l1600.jpg
The filter is needed (on the East pointing antenna) as it picks up enough Ch 23 signal from the back/side of the antenna to interfere with the antenna pointing north (but NOT enough for a usable signal).

As far as lengths go, the VHF antenna (RG11) is probably around 50-60ft in length before it gets to the preamp. The North & East Antennas are about 6-7ft of RG-6 before encountering the first coupler (a small two-way splitter). The second coupler mixes the UHF Yagi (about 25ft of coax) and the first splitter. The connection between the two couplers and the preamp is done with male/male rigid F connectors, so there is no wire used for any of these connections.

The joiners, filter and pre-amp are away from the elements, so weatherproofing is not an issue with any change in pre-amp.


ALL the inbound connections also go through a ground-block BEFORE entering the amp/filter/joiner. The ground block connection probably adds a small amount of attenuation, but I'm willing to put up with this for the added safety.

After the preamp, It gets split (another 2way splitter) to the TV and to my computer for use with a USB Tuner. All these wires are RG-6. Wire length from preamp/splitter to TV is about 30ft. To the Computer is about 10ft.

With the VHF antenna located where it is, and the quality of cable. the signal is fairly reliable. It's the UHF frequencies that are problematic.



Richard Rosa
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Old 9-Dec-2022, 11:19 AM   #5
richardrosa
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 21
Unhappy Additional Information

Some additional information:

Each antenna location was chosen based on signal analysis from a hand-held spectrum tool. I don't have a lot of property or a large house. so there are some physical limitations as to where antennas can be placed.

The only channel that is not particularly sensitive as to where the antenna is located is WVIT (Ch 31). For all the other stations, the signal level drops dramatically within a foot or two (and sometimes inches) from where they have been placed.

The VHF antenna is on the northeast most corner of the attic. The East facing antenna is on the South End of the house (outside). The UHF Yagi is also in the attic, in the center. The North facing (Ch 23) is in the Front Yard!

If I had unlimited $$, (and a lot less age) I would put up a 100ft Tower with all the antennas on a rotor. An even better solution would be to sell this house and buy/build one on one of the local mountains
Alas, I have neither the wealth or the youth

Richard Rosa
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Old 13-Dec-2022, 3:20 AM   #6
Tower Guy
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Delmar, NY
Posts: 1,236
Quote:
Originally Posted by richardrosa View Post
The Avant X is VERY expensive (over $400) but looks like it MIGHT solve a lot of problems.

Richard Rosa
Are you using a UVSJ to add WTNH? If not that will help.

Have you looked at the Televes SmartKom? It?s half the price of the Advant X.
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Old 13-Dec-2022, 3:35 PM   #7
Tower Guy
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Delmar, NY
Posts: 1,236
The Johansson Smart Amplifier with Auto-Programming, 4 Inputs - KIT7473L2 looks like it’s designed for the European channel plan using 8 MHz wide channels. I doubt it would work in the US.

Nice find though.
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