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Old 12-Jan-2014, 8:04 PM   #1
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A bit overwhelmed, not sure what to fix first?


I'll try to be as specific as possible, so please bear with me if I'm a bit longwinded.

TV Fool Report:

I cancelled Dish network, and have been trying to use my old radioshack antenna (mounted to a mast on my chimney 18' above ground) to supply my HTPC and preferably the other 2 tv's in the house with OTA signal.

I bought the antenna around 2005, and best i can tell from this spec sheet, , it is model VU-190XR. The spec sheet shows element numbers, gains, etc, but I don't know what to make of them. With a tape measure end-to-end it measures approximately 13' long.

i have a Radioshack p/n 15-2507 VHF/UHF/FM amplifier hooked up, with the (preamp?) box on the mast, and the power supply with gain knob and FM trap inside the house.

There's about a 4' piece of coax (not sure if rg6) going from matching transformer on antenna to (preamp?) box on mast, then about 20-30' long rg6 cable with ground wire coming inside to the amplifier. Amplifier then goes to the HTPC and/or other TV's through the attic, about another 20-30' runs apiece.

Here's where it gets tricky for me. I've tried with the amp, as well as without the amp, and not a whole lot of difference. I did not remove the (preamp?) box from the mast in either scenario, as I didn't have enough slack in the rg6 to make it all the way to the transformer.

Inside the house, I'm using the coax that Dish Network installed in the walls to make the run to my TV's and HTPC, and I'm unsure if it's rg6 or not.

Here's a pic of the labeling on the wire, but it doesn't say rg6:

To my knowledge, there are no splitters/switches/multiplexers, etc left on the coax lines from dish. I tried originally with a 4-way splitter in the bedroom to go to the TV's and PC, but today I just have the coax from the amplifier connected with a butt-connector to the coax that goes directly to the HTPC.

The HTPC is running a Hauppage 2250 dual tuner card, which I've heard is not quite as sensitive as, say, an Avermedia card. There is also a butt connector on the coax exiting the wall, with about a 1' piece of coax leading to the HTPC because the coax exiting the wall is too short to reach the tuner card.

My main problems, I've noticed, are with channels higher up in the real channel range. NBC, ABC, and ION are pretty steady. CW is okay, and CBS is very glitchy. FOX is nigh unwatchable. I see a direct correlation with the real channels being higher, and poorer reception.

I'm interested in all the green channels at the top of the plot, except for the last two (Ind and UNI). Anything below those I don't care to receive.

I really don't know where to start. I've contemplated running a new rg6 cable directly from the transformer on the antenna to the HTPC and see if it's adequate, but I have no clue if I need the amplifier or not. I've contemplated buying a different antenna, or a different tuner card for the HTPC, or running new cable through the wall because the dish network cable may be wrong, etc etc. I'm very frustrated, and don't want to waste time (or money!) doing things that won't help me.

Any input is VERY appreciated, and I'm willing to buy a better antenna, amp, and/or tuner card if need be.

EDIT: here's a pic of the location of my antenna, and it's pointing in the direction of the large yellow line (as close as I can tell)

thank you all,

Last edited by naga77777; 12-Jan-2014 at 8:25 PM.
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Old 12-Jan-2014, 9:09 PM   #2
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Start at the beginning...

Test just the antenna:

An RS 190 in decent condition should not need any amplifier to drive several TVs.
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 12-Jan-2014, 9:35 PM   #3
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The Current Broadcast Tv Channels that are transmitted and received in the , USA , Canada , Mexico , are.

VHF low band channels 2 thru 6.

VHF high band channels 7 thru 13.

UHF channels 14 thru 51.

The VU 190 , Is a Big All Channel Antenna that receives all the channels.

Aim the VU 190 , at about 146 degree magnetic compass direction.

Here is how to aim Tv antenna ,

Use a Real and Actual magnetic compass to aim antenna.

Most Digital Tv's have a , Signal Strength Meter , and some Digital Tv's also have a , Signal Quality Meter.


The reception signal strengths are strong signal strengths.

A antenna system signal amplifier is not required for reception at your location.

Remove and Discard All parts of the radio shack amplifier.

Remove and Discard the Preamp Unit.

Remove and Discard the Power Injector.

Remove and Discard the Power Supply.


To -->Prove Reception<---.

Remove and Discard the , Matching Transformer , (Balun) .

That connects the VU 190 antenna to coax.

Connect a New Matching Transformer to the VU 190 , antenna terminals.

Connect a NEW Continues Length of Coax to the New Matching Transformer.

Run the New Continues Length of coax through a open door or window , direct to 1 Tv.

Connect the New Continues Length of coax direct to the 1 Tv that has a , ATSC- Digital Broadcast Tv Tuner.

The NEW Continues Length of coax , Bypasses every electronic and electric device and connects to a Digital Tv that has a , ATSC-Digital Broadcast Tv Tuner.

Scan for Channels.

The Digital Tv Must Channel Scan for the , OTA=Over The Air , ATSC-Digital Broadcast Tv Stations Channels , often named the ~ DTV Channels ~ Antenna Channels ~ Air Channels ~ in the Tv Stup Menu because the Tv transmissions travel through the Air from the transmitting antenna to the receiving antenna.

Some Digital Tv's will Automatic channel scan for cable Tv channels.

DO NOT channel scan for cable Tv channels.

Go into the Tv Setup Menu and select ~ DTV Channels ~ Antenna Channels ~ Air Channels~.

Scan for the ATSC-Digital Broadcast Tv Stations/Channels.

Last edited by teleview; 13-Jan-2014 at 5:33 AM. Reason: Clarify information and typos.
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Old 12-Jan-2014, 11:10 PM   #4
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Thanks very much for your input. Will take the preamp box out of the equation and retest tomorrow, but I don't have a signal strength meter on the only other HDTV in the house. (the 3rd TV is an old CRT with a converter box)

I have another HDTV i can try to borrow for testing purposes, will see if that one has a signal strength meter built into the menu somewhere.

Last edited by naga77777; 12-Jan-2014 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 13-Jan-2014, 5:45 AM   #5
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Some converter boxes have a , Signal Strength Meter , and some converter boxes also have a , Signal Quality Meter.


Remove and Discard -->ALL Parts of the preamplifier. ALL means ALL.

Install a New Matching Transformer to the antenna.

Use a New Continues Length of coax to connect to the 1 Digital Tv or Converter box.
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Old 13-Jan-2014, 4:40 PM   #6
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Thanks so much, both of y'all.

Something is definitely wrong. I took the amplifier completely out of the equation, and installed a new matching transformer to the antenna. I used a continuous run of rg6 from the transformer to a borrowed TV with a signal strength meter.

It fluctuates WILDLY from 0 strength to around 60 (out of 100). After I installed the new matching transformer, it made the situation worse.

I will try and go get a new roll of rg6, as I used the old run because I didn't have any more. So now it looks like the problem is bad/corroded connections on the antenna itself, or bad cable.

I feel like I'm making progress, although my picture/signal is worse at the moment, haha.

Will report back after I replace the coax cable
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Old 13-Jan-2014, 5:23 PM   #7
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The Tv Stations in the Green reception zone of the tvfool report are Strong Signal Strength and easy to receive.

Is the VU190 broken and damaged??

In the picture , looks like the antenna is install down on the side of the house.

Looks like a ridge of trees or ridge of dirt to the south.

As a Test of Reception.

Move the VU190 antenna to Above The Roof Of The Building in such a manner that the roof and building are not , obstructing , impeding , blocking , reception in the directions of , South , South West , South East.


The Local , ATSC-Digital Broadcast Tv Stations/Channels , are Strong Signal Strength and should be received with even a small antenna such as a ANT751 antenna.
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Old 13-Jan-2014, 11:28 PM   #8
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so I went and bought a spool of quad-shielded rg6 that says "swept to 3ghz" which I'm hoping is the same as the stuff that's rated for 3ghz HDTV signals. I wasn't sure what swept meant.

Ran a new line of coax from the new matching transformer, inside the house, and directly to the TV with the signal meter. Signal was vastly improved!

I then did the test that GroundUrMast suggested, recording the values from the signal meter with the direct line to the antenna, and then re-recording them once I put the splitter back into the equation. I bought a new 4-way splitter, that said it was rated up to 3ghz as well, since my old one said nothing about it.

Here's a pic of the "before splitter" signal readings, compared to the "after splitter" readings. I was suprised it degraded that much, but it appears to be stable on all except the weakest channel. That one gets a bit blotchy every so often. The virtual channels are on the left, with the signal readings (before and after splitter introduction) after them.

In regards to teleview's posts, my antenna is actually above my roof, pointed away from the house, to the closest approximation of where the tower is (I don't have a compass). It's 18 feet above ground level, and I could probably raise it another 6 inches, but I ran out of daylight today.

The aerial picture of my house is a bit misleading, as my roof is 2 different colors, due to a color-matched paint flaking off the old part of the house.

Here's a couple pics of how my antenna is positioned:

To my knowledge, the antenna is not damaged. However, it is nearly 10 years old, and I'm wondering if it would help to take some fine sandpaper to the terminals where I attached the matching transformer....

Thanks SO MUCH for the help both of you had provided.

I have 2 more small questions if anyone's interested: How much would it help my signal if I bought a terminator for the unused port on the 4-way splitter?

Also, is there anything I can do to regain the signal lost by the introduction of the splitter? I would be willing to buy a better amplifier if needed. I've read that the RadioShack one introduces a fair bit of noise.

EDIT: I see that distribution amplifiers are made to combat signal loss from splitting coax cables. The coax packaging I saw today said that 3ghz was needed for HDTV signals, but when I went to research distribution amplifiers, they typically only go up to 1ghz (which I saw was above the frequency range of UHF). Why, then, was the packaging on the coax trying to sell me on getting something rated for 3ghz?

Last edited by naga77777; 14-Jan-2014 at 2:00 AM.
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Old 14-Jan-2014, 1:46 AM   #9
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The latest pictures show the antenna aimed into the thick part of the trees in the direction of reception.

As Always , trees and tree leaves , plants and plant leaves , have a Negative Effect on Broadcast Tv Reception and so do buildings and other obstructions including your own roof and building.

Some and not all Negative Effects are.

Absorbing , Blocking , Reception.

Multi-Path Reflecting Tv Signals Bouncing All Around.

The Best Practice is to install the antenna at a location that has the least amount to no amount of obstructions in the directions of reception including your own roof and building.


The Number 1 Action to take to Improve Reception Make The Tv Signals Stronger And More Reliable.
Is 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.

Here are some , Above the Peak of the Roof antenna mounts.
Use the , ronard model #4712-50-10. 10 foot tripod antenna mount.
Use the , ronard(911) , 5 foot tripod antenna mount.

Buy the ronard antenna mounts at , , or , buy from ,


As to a antenna system amplifier.

Antenna system amplifiers , Are Not For Powering Through Trees and Tree Leaves.

When the tree leaves come out in the spring , reception Will Degrade.


As to the 4 way splitter.

Putting a terminator on on the unused port of the splitter will not improve signal strength.

The correct action to take is use a 3 way splitter.


As to the radio shack antenna system amplifier , Put it in the trash.


If you use a antenna system amplifier , then use a , RCA - TVPRAMP1R , or , Channel Master , CM7778 .


If using a preamplifier then.

For 1 Tv connected use No splitter.

For 2 Tv's connected use a , Holland Electronics , HFS-2D , 2 way splitter.

For 3 Tv's connected use a , Holland Electronics , HFS-3D , 3 way splitter.

Buy the , HFS-2D and HFS-3D , splitters at , , or ,


If using a antenna system amplifier and Antenna Is Aim At The Thick Of The Trees , Do Not Expect to have the Heavens Open Up and have Magic Tv Reception.


Here are some places to buy antennas and etc. .,


As you are discovering , coax that is outside exposed to the weather and rain can go bad.

And as a matter of fact , all coax every where outside and inside can be defective.

And so can , couplers , splitters , coax grounding coupler , and etc. .
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Old 14-Jan-2014, 11:09 AM   #10
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Since OTA signals only go to 698 MHz, it's a waste of money to pay extra for the 3 GHz stuff. There is no benefit to you. Likewise, there is no benefit to quad shield coax over two or three layer shielded coax.

I'm wondering if it would help to take some fine sandpaper to the terminals where I attached the matching transformer.
That is a good idea. Also inspect any other rivets or screws that are for any phasing lines (if used) for corrosion.

Use the interactive maps feature, switch to satellite view, place the virtual antenna on your rooftop in its mounting position, then turn on the lines. You can then get a visual as to where the signal paths are relative to nearby landmarks visible in the overhead shot. That way, you'll get you default aiming direction spot on.

Replace the splitter with a four port distribution amplifier (no preamp). I have yet to find any amplifiers on the shelf in any national retailers that are good enough for me to recommend, so you'll need to order one.
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Old 14-Jan-2014, 4:49 PM   #11
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Man, I wish I'd have known that about the frequency range and no need for quad shielded cable. Could have saved a bit of money getting the cheaper rg6 and not buying a new 4-way splitter.

I've been watching a little TV today, and virtual channel 5-2 as well as 50-2 have been breaking up on the HTPC. They weren't even the weakest signals according to the test TV I used after the splitter (albeit in a different room, but the cable run is about the same length). I haven't watched the weakest station, but will turn it on for a while to see if it's worse than the others.

I looked on AntennasDirect's site yesterday at distribution amplifiers, and see the 4-way y'all sell. Looks like that may be a good option for me.

I still can't understand why, according to my TVFool report, and user teleview's posts above, these channels should be extremely easy to pick up. I'm only interested in the green ones, and it says "an indoor set-top antenna is probably sufficient". Yet, I have a huge, outdoor, roof-mounted antenna, and they're still intermittently choppy. I would have thought I'd have rock-solid signal with no problems ever.

EDIT: so for some reason my computer didn't show teleview's last post. Thank you for your input. I've got to decide now if I want to move the antenna higher, since getting those trees out of the way isn't going to happen.

Last edited by naga77777; 16-Jan-2014 at 9:36 PM.
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