Going from Cable to Antenna


  #1  
Old 08-30-06, 07:28 AM
putt4317
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Going from Cable to Antenna

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I have recently moved to the country in the middle of Iowa and the house is wired for cable, but I am choosing not to have cable, but instead install a Indoor/Outdoor Antenna in my attic.
Please tell me if I am wrong, but I should be able to run a cable from the antenna to the cable box and all of the outlets in the house should work. Do I need some type of signal booster?

Any help would be greatly appriciated.
 
  #2  
Old 08-30-06, 07:35 AM
R
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Throw away the cable box (or save it until you realize that an antenna is not enough and you break down and buy cable).

You need to connect the existing in house cables to the antenna. Where and how you do this depends on how they are presently run and where they meet.

The existing incoming cable likely comes into the basement. Somewhere it splits and branches off to each television location. Find this location and bring in your antenna cable. Connect the antenna cable in place of the incoming cable.

Whether or not you need any sort of amplifier would depend on how strong the signals from the television stations are, how long the runs are in the house, and how many times the signal is split. Other factors include the quality of the cables and splitters.
 
  #3  
Old 08-30-06, 10:23 AM
putt4317
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Thank you very much
 
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Old 08-30-06, 10:53 AM
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tried this long time ago, not work
 
  #5  
Old 08-30-06, 11:58 AM
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Better antennas have a preamp right on the antenna. At least they used to. You run regular RG-6 between the distribution amp and the preamp, which carries power to the preamp as well as the signal. If you are using coax, there's a chance you don't need an amp, maybe if you only have one TV or have a great signal. But I wouldn't count on it from an attic antenna or if there are any splitters.

In the old days 300-ohm twinlead was used, which has lower loss with VHF, but it did not work well for UHF and it was much more susceptible to interference all-around.

It would be a good idea to get an antenna and amplifier that works for both present VHF-UHF and HDTV frequencies.

Also even though it's in your attic you should make provisions for proper grounding.
 
  #6  
Old 08-30-06, 07:57 PM
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One more thought. Make sure that you can get a strong over the air signal where you moved. When the government cuts analog TV in a few years, a slightly fuzzy signal won't make it. Of course if you don't have a full HDTV receiver, it will be dead anyway.
 
  #7  
Old 08-30-06, 08:42 PM
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What you are proposing is fine, so long as you have a strong enough signal. Go to www.antennaweb.org and input your address (not just your zip code, it's often not accurate enough). Post back here with the output list from antennaweb, it will show you the stations you may be able to receive. Then I can give you some antenna advice!!
Hopefully there is a splitter near where the cable comes into the house, maybe in the basement if you have one, or sometimes in the attic - can you find it and how many outputs are there?
 
  #8  
Old 08-31-06, 08:27 AM
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Hey texasbrit - Here is my www.antennaweb.org output... can you help me figure out what kinda of antenna system/rotor/amps I would need to receive as many as possible?


DTV Antenna
Type Call Sign Channel Network City State Live
Date Compass
Orientation Miles
From Frequency
Assignment
* yellow - uhf WATC-DT 41.1 REL ATLANTA GA 79 9.9 41
red - uhf W55BM 55 TBN MARIETTA GA 78 9.8 55
red - uhf WPXA 14 i ROME GA 359 19.5 14
* red - uhf WPXA-DT 14.1 i ROME GA 359 19.6 51
red - uhf WUVG 34 UNI ATHENS GA 84 44.2 34
red - uhf WPBA 30 PBS ATLANTA GA 142 25.0 30
red - vhf WSB 2 ABC ATLANTA GA 144 23.7 2
red - vhf WAGA 5 FOX ATLANTA GA 137 23.1 5
red - vhf WXIA 11 NBC ATLANTA GA 142 25.2 11
* red - vhf WXIA-DT 11.1 NBC ATLANTA GA 142 25.2 10
red - vhf WGTV 8 PBS ATHENS GA 123 31.6 8
red - uhf WTBS 17 TBS ATLANTA GA 145 21.7 17
red - uhf WATC 57 REL ATLANTA GA 79 9.9 57
* blue - uhf WTBS-DT 17.1 TBS ATLANTA GA 137 22.4 20
* blue - vhf WGTV-DT 12 PBS ATHENS GA 07-08 123 31.6 12
blue - uhf WATL 36 WB ATLANTA GA 137 22.4 36
* blue - uhf WATL-DT 36.1 WB ATLANTA GA 137 22.4 25
blue - uhf WGCL 46 CBS ATLANTA GA 137 22.4 46
blue - uhf WUPA 69 UPN ATLANTA GA 147 23.1 69
* blue - uhf WUPA-DT 43.1 UPN ATLANTA GA 146 24.9 43
blue - uhf WHSG 63 TBN MONROE GA 122 40.8 63
* blue - uhf WAGA-DT 5.1 FOX ATLANTA GA 137 23.1 27
* blue - uhf WSB-DT 2.1 ABC ATLANTA GA 144 23.7 39
* blue - uhf WUVG-DT 34.1 UNI ATHENS GA 137 22.4 48
blue - uhf WFLI 53 WB CLEVELAND TN 345 65.4 53
* violet - uhf WPBA-DT 21.1 PBS ATLANTA GA 142 25.0 21
violet - uhf WDGA-CA 43 AZA DALTON GA 338 53.5 43
violet - uhf WELF 23 TBN DALTON GA 329 76.9 23
violet - vhf WDEF 12 CBS CHATTANOOGA TN 336 86.1 12
violet - vhf WTVC 9 ABC CHATTANOOGA TN 336 87.5 9
violet - vhf WRCB 3 NBC CHATTANOOGA TN 336 87.4 3
violet - uhf WTCI 45 PBS CHATTANOOGA TN 338 89.4 45
violet - uhf WDSI 61 FOX CHATTANOOGA TN 339 89.5 61
violet - uhf W38CU 38 TEL ATLANTA GA 111 25.4 38
violet - uhf WJSP 28 PBS COLUMBUS GA 186 81.5 28
violet - vhf WCIQ 7 PBS MOUNT CHEAHA AL 244 77.9 7
violet - uhf W29AO 29 FOX ANNISTON AL 244 77.9 29
* violet - uhf WHSG-DT 44.1 TBN MONROE GA 146 24.9 44
violet - uhf WIRE-CA 40 BOX ATLANTA GA 134 19.2 40
* violet - uhf WGCL-DT 46.1 CBS ATLANTA GA 137 22.4 19
 
  #9  
Old 09-01-06, 08:25 AM
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ok - are you looking for analog stations (regular TVs) or digital stations (for digital/HD receivers)?
FYI the analog stations will go away in 2009 and every TV will need a digital box. If you want analog stations you generally need a much larger antenna since many of them are on lo-band VHF.
 
  #10  
Old 09-01-06, 10:17 AM
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Just digital really... list edited down:

* red - uhf WPXA-DT 14.1 i ROME GA 359 19.6 51
* red - vhf WXIA-DT 11.1 NBC ATLANTA GA 142 25.2 10
* blue - uhf WTBS-DT 17.1 TBS ATLANTA GA 137 22.4 20
* blue - vhf WGTV-DT 12 PBS ATHENS GA 07-08 123 31.6 12
* blue - uhf WATL-DT 36.1 WB ATLANTA GA 137 22.4 25
* blue - uhf WUPA-DT 43.1 UPN ATLANTA GA 146 24.9 43
* blue - uhf WAGA-DT 5.1 FOX ATLANTA GA 137 23.1 27
* blue - uhf WSB-DT 2.1 ABC ATLANTA GA 144 23.7 39
* blue - uhf WUVG-DT 34.1 UNI ATHENS GA 137 22.4 48
* violet - uhf WPBA-DT 21.1 PBS ATLANTA GA 142 25.0 21
* violet - uhf WGCL-DT 46.1 CBS ATLANTA GA 137 22.4 19
 
  #11  
Old 09-01-06, 11:21 AM
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Ok. Let's start with the antenna. All your digital stations are UHF apart from the two hi-VHF stations (WXIA-DT on channel 10 and WGTV-DT on channel 12). You are too far out for an omnidirectional antenna (especially given the terrain, trees etc) so you ideally need an outdoor UHF directional antenna that gets decent reception on hi-VHF. There is really only one - the CM4228. At your distances you can probably get away without a preamp, but this depends on how many times you are going to split the signal.
The CM4228 is a rectangular antenna about 40 inches square - compare this with the typical VHF/UHF antenna which is about 8-10 ft long, 8-10 ft wide and about three feet high.
http://www.solidsignal.com/prod_display.asp?PROD=ANC4228&main_cat=03&CAT=

You can sometimes get them locally but most people buy on-line, the link is from solid signal but I got mine at warren electronics.

There are no other UHF antennas with the necessary performance at hi-VHF. You should mount it as high as possible (roof, chimney). It MIGHT be OK to put the CM4228 in your attic - mine is there and I am about 40 miles from the Dallas transmitters but everything here is flat!!
You will probably be able to point the antenna so you get the Atlanta and Athens stations without a rotator.

I'll try to answer any questions you have about antennas. In my next post I'll try to give you some advice on preamp, splitters etc. How many digital receivers are you trying to connect?
 
  #12  
Old 09-01-06, 12:23 PM
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Thanks texasbrit... I'm looking at the feasibility of receiving OTA locals instead of paying $5 extra per month for them if I go back to satellite (currently have cable).

Max split would be to 3 TVs/receivers. Longest cable run from likely antenna placement would probably be 100ft (over-estimating probably).
 
  #13  
Old 09-01-06, 02:38 PM
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A three-way splitter gives you about 5.5db loss (3db = 50%). Cable losses are about 6db per 100 ft for RG-6 and 10db per 100ft for RG-59. So let's take the worst case and assume you have 100ft of RG-59 total from the antenna to the TV (hopefully you have RG-6, particularly if you are thinking about satellite!!). That means you will get about 15.5 db loss. (That means that you will see about one thirtysecond of the original signal at each TV). A shorter cable run and RG-6 will give you about 7-8db of loss. One trick if you have different lengths of cable run is to use a two-way splitter (3.5db loss) and use one output to drive the longest cable run, then split the other output using another two-way splitter (3.5db loss) to drive the shorter runs. This will better balance out the signal across the three receivers.

(There is a lot of garbage talked about splitters. You will see marketing stuff talking about gold connectors and so on, but the losses in splitters are pretty much the same regardless of what they are made from! You can pay $3 for a splitter or $20. You certainly don't need to pay more than $5.)

You can overcome these losses by putting in a preamp, or a distribution amp. You should not need both. A preamp is generally better because it is located as close as you can to the antenna so it amplifies the signal before the losses take place. They are designed to operate outside, they get power sent up the antenna cable from a power supply in the house (ideally just on the input side of the splitter). The only problem is you have to install them near the antenna, usually on the antenna mast.
A distribution amp replaces the splitter - it is essentially a splitter with a built-in amplifier. Channel Vision do a good range of distribution amplifiers.

Solid Signal has a great list of available preamps. See it at http://www.solidsignal.com/antennas/preamplifiers.asp

Don't be tempted into getting a bigger preamp than you need. Too much amplification can overload the receiver and make your reception worse. If you use the double-split approach you will be getting say 10db loss and if you have a strong signal to start with, a 30db preamp might be an overkill (but might not, if you are in a weak reception area). My recommendation, assuming you don't mind going back on the roof to put in a pre-amp at a later stage, would be to try without a preamp first.
 
 

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