best antenna amp?

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#2
The very best pre-amps and distribution amplifiers are those used by cable-headend engineers and designers of high-end master antenna systems. They cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Most homeowners wouldn't notice any difference between professional gear versus quality equipment made for residential use, so such a "relentless pursuit of perfection," to steal the carmaker's phrase, would be impractical.

In the home market, pre-amps and distribution amps made by Channel Master and Winegard are the most widely respected band names. Each company offers a wide range of high-performance products in both categories at competitive prices ($35-$100 range). Deciding which one might be best for you depends on factors such as local signal strengths and how many TVs you wish to connect into an antenna system.

Please be aware that amplifiers are designed to counteract losses from long cables and splitters only; they do not make up for an inadequate antenna. The majority of viewers with one or two TVs and less-than-ideal reception don't need an amplifier at all -- they need either a better antenna, or replacements for weathered/worn out/failed antenna-system components.
 

CptlA

DTVUSA Member
#3
The very best pre-amps and distribution amplifiers are those used by cable-headend engineers and designers of high-end master antenna systems. They cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Most homeowners wouldn't notice any difference between professional gear versus quality equipment made for residential use, so such a "relentless pursuit of perfection," to steal the carmaker's phrase, would be impractical.

In the home market, pre-amps and distribution amps made by Channel Master and Winegard are the most widely respected band names. Each company offers a wide range of high-performance products in both categories at competitive prices ($35-$100 range). Deciding which one might be best for you depends on factors such as local signal strengths and how many TVs you wish to connect into an antenna system.

Please be aware that amplifiers are designed to counteract losses from long cables and splitters only; they do not make up for an inadequate antenna. The majority of viewers with one or two TVs and less-than-ideal reception don't need an amplifier at all -- they need either a better antenna, or replacements for weathered/worn out/failed antenna-system components.
So do both pre-amps and distribution amps basically do the same job? I've always been under the impression that the only difference between the two are that the distribution amp can be located further down the line from the antenna.
 
#4
What to look for in a pre amplifier is the one with the most gain and the lowest noise factor.

The two best high power amplifiers are the Winegard AP 8275

And the Channel Master CM 7777 Titan II UHF / VHF pre amplifier.

Both should be less than $75 from Solid Signal.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#5
So do both pre-amps and distribution amps basically do the same job? I've always been under the impression that the only difference between the two are that the distribution amp can be located further down the line from the antenna.
Yes. Figuring out which one is more suited to a situation depends on one's local signals.

An antenna-mounted pre-amp is a better bet in areas with marginal to very weak stations simply because it amplifies the signals before the cabling ahead of the amplifier makes them even even weaker. There's not much chance of that happening on three feet of coax.

When signals are strong (most urban/suburban areas) and you have several sets to feed, you want a distribution amp. The longer cable running to it attenuates the signals a little bit, lessening chances that the amplifier or one or more TV tuners will overload. Overload in digital TV means lost stations.

What to look for in a pre amplifier is the one with the most gain and the lowest noise factor. The two best high power amplifiers are the Winegard AP 8275. And the Channel Master CM 7777 Titan II UHF / VHF pre amplifier. Both should be less than $75 from Solid Signal.
These pre-amps are top choices for viewers at least 35 miles out. Lowest noise is always important. Greatest gain isn't if it the amp or tuner(s) overload, and those models are notorious for causing overload in urban and suburban use. Winegard makes a highly overload-resistant pre-amp, HDP-269, with only 12 dB gain. That's all most viewers (three-quarters of whom live in cities or suburbs) need in a house with up to four TVs, for reasons mentioned in the last paragraph at #2 above.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#8
Winegard makes a highly overload-resistant pre-amp, HDP-269, with only 12 dB gain. That's all most viewers (three-quarters of whom live in cities or suburbs) need in a house with up to four TVs, for reasons mentioned in the last paragraph at #2 above.
Those between suburban and fringe might find this one a good choice, Winegard AP8700, as it has 17 VHF/ 19 UHF gain, low noise and a variable FM trap.

Those that might be 25 to 35 miles out but live near an FM station would be a good market for that amp.

It's actually all the fringe amp most people need.

Don, have you found the CM amps have any better dynamic range in a near overload condition than the Winegards? I have heard this stated before but not sure it's true.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#9
Are you the Don M from AVS? I guess it might be obvious I am the same Piggie.
One and the same. Been a lurker off and on here a while; thought these threads were a good place to begin contributing to this community.

... have you found the CM amps have any better dynamic range in a near overload condition than the Winegards? I have heard this stated before but not sure it's true.
Seems that way with the W-Gs, particularly among models having more gain than the 8700. I'm not the real expert on these matters, though. If you haven't seen the following threads, you may wish to go over the work holl_ands has done in this regard:

Pre-amp Signal Overload calculator

Spurious Free Dynamic Range spreadsheet
 

suzzie

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#10
The channel master 7777 was the one i had in mind,now for sure. I live in a remote location away from the rat race and im haveing trouble keeping channels up. after the change i get 20 viewable channels logged in. a channel mite be on and then its not. It seems to me like a station would be in the same spot all the time. I can turn the antenna and may find a channel or may not. some ive only seen a couple of times. why is that? i have a vhf/uhf antenna 30 ft with rotor and inhouse amp. will a preamp help me with this problem?
Im seeing that weather has a bearing on reception with this digital crap. In a storm situation the old analog way was great. you could get tv in a storm,atleast viewable tv. i think it was a mistake on the government for this and it will bite us in the ass.but then again i think to much,so ive been told.
thanks:suzzie:thumb:
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#11
They're weak signals, so they cut in and out. You may have also noticed that reception may be a bit better after dark, also a characteristic of marginal signal strength.

You sound like a good candidate for a CM 7777 pre-amp. It's a good choice in places where signals are weak, because it sports just about the lowest noise figure of any consumer-grade amp. Low noise is crucial in the fringe for best reception.

The pre-amp's housing should be mounted on the mast right below the antenna, where it will cancel out the signal loss that's now occurring in the coax cable between the antenna and your in-house amp. The pre-amp's power source goes inside the house (such as behind the TV); it sends a small amount of DC current to the pre-amp over the same coax cable that provides the signals.

Since the 7777 is a powerful pre-amp, it is a replacement for the in-house amp, not a supplement to it. Two amps are usually not better than one for digital reception!
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#12
One and the same. Been a lurker off and on here a while; thought these threads were a good place to begin contributing to this community.
Glad you started posting sir, good to have your knowledge over here. I have found it a very nice community.
Guess you have noticed that Trip guy wandering around here also.

Seems that way with the W-Gs, particularly among models having more gain than the 8700. I'm not the real expert on these matters, though. If you haven't seen the following threads, you may wish to go over the work holl_ands has done in this regard:

Pre-amp Signal Overload calculator

Spurious Free Dynamic Range spreadsheet
Yes I have used those calculators. holl_ands had done some nice work on this subject. According to his calculators my cm7777 should be in overload, but yet my weakest station pins the meter (163 KW at 37 miles at 300meters on Ch28 to my U-75R at 23 ft and it's LOS), but it's not that weak of a signal. Anyway my point is my CM7777 seems to be dealing with it, leading me to believe they are a little more tolerant than holl_ands calculations predict. And of course mileage varies when it comes to RF, I know that well.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#13
The channel master 7777 was the one i had in mind,now for sure. I live in a remote location away from the rat race and im haveing trouble keeping channels up. after the change i get 20 viewable channels logged in. a channel mite be on and then its not. It seems to me like a station would be in the same spot all the time. I can turn the antenna and may find a channel or may not. some ive only seen a couple of times. why is that? i have a vhf/uhf antenna 30 ft with rotor and inhouse amp. will a preamp help me with this problem?
Im seeing that weather has a bearing on reception with this digital crap. In a storm situation the old analog way was great. you could get tv in a storm,atleast viewable tv. i think it was a mistake on the government for this and it will bite us in the ass.but then again i think to much,so ive been told.
thanks:suzzie:thumb:
Suzzie I can't remember, did you post your TVFool plot in another thread?
Could you post it again or post it. It's much easier to give you the best answer if we can see your plot. TV Fool then post the link back here.
A recommendation is a CM7777 is the right amp will be more obvious then.

Most likely what you describe is called tropo or tropo skip. This is where stations from outside your normal range come in because the radio waves travel past the horizon. This condition will not only give you temporarily more channels, it can also over whelm local channels removing them from your reception during the event.

Also stations can come in so strong, it fools you as to which way to station is coming in from. So that is normal in strong skip, it's sometimes hard to figure which direction the station peaks on the rotor.

In general, if you live in the boonies, the amp up at the antenna makes a big difference if you have 50 ft or more of cable.

Lightning really bothers VHF digital channels (real channel, not the one that shows up on the TV or Converter Box). Another factor is UHF will break up when the wind blows. This can be over come with antenna pointing sometimes, and other times it takes an antenna that is more directional on UHF channels.

Post us your TVFool plot and we can go from there.

Don posted at the same time as I did, but read twice what he says the CM7777 would replace the indoor amp. Running both would almost certainly result in a much worse signal.
 
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suzzie

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#14
Piggie: tvfool says my results can be referenced at TV Fool im not sure what it says but it looks like alot of channels are reachable. Do you think an omnidirectional/smart antenna would work for me so i don't have to keep rotateing? Or would the 7777amp do the job? Please check out my condition and addvise. all the info that has been posted has been very helpfull,thanks to everyone.:thumb:
thank you very much:suzzie
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#16
Piggie: tvfool says my results can be referenced at TV Fool im not sure what it says but it looks like alot of channels are reachable. Do you think an omnidirectional/smart antenna would work for me so i don't have to keep rotateing? Or would the 7777amp do the job? Please check out my condition and addvise. all the info that has been posted has been very helpfull,thanks to everyone.:thumb:
thank you very much:suzzie
Suzzie, something happened with the link you posted. Try again.

go here TV Fool

Put in your address and the height of your antenna.

Then the resulting page has a bold link at the top that you copy and paste here.
 

suzzie

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#17
i have no idea how to copy/paste anything,never did it. i don't see the bold link that seems like it may be what i need,sorry.if you can explain i can do otherwise thank you for the help you have allready given me.
thanks:suzzie
 

Jason Fritz

Administrator
Staff member
#18
i have no idea how to copy/paste anything,never did it. i don't see the bold link that seems like it may be what i need,sorry.if you can explain i can do otherwise thank you for the help you have allready given me.
thanks:suzzie
Hi Suzzie,
Once you receive your TV Fool Results, you should see a message like this at the top:
If you would like to share these results with others, this page can be referenced as:
http:/www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d663d710a3f3502
I edited out one of the "/" so the link wouldn't parse and you could see the example above.

Highlight the bold link starting with the "h" in "http" while holding down your mouse, select and highlight all the way through to the last bolded number which in my example above is "2",

once highlighted, right click anywhere within your browser and select copy.

Come back to the forum and reply to this post or use the quick reply option, right click inside the message box and select "Paste" which should then paste the link in the message box. Then "submit reply".
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#20
You sound like a good candidate for a CM 7777 pre-amp. It's a good choice in places where signals are weak, because it sports just about the lowest noise figure of any consumer-grade amp. Low noise is crucial in the fringe for best reception.

The pre-amp's housing should be mounted on the mast right below the antenna, where it will cancel out the signal loss that's now occurring in the coax cable between the antenna and your in-house amp. The pre-amp's power source goes inside the house (such as behind the TV); it sends a small amount of DC current to the pre-amp over the same coax cable that provides the signals.

Since the 7777 is a powerful pre-amp, it is a replacement for the in-house amp, not a supplement to it. Two amps are usually not better than one for digital reception!
TV Fool
Please check out my tvfool and advise my situation
thanks:suzzie
Suzzie, first girl you didn't say you lived 18 miles ESE of me, and pick up some of the same channel. Though you are far enough away to pick up some I don't. But our antenna solution is very very similar.

Good thing you are at 30 ft, because that is needed in our area. Hope your VHF/UHF antenna is a big one.

Just for my interest I would love to know the model number of your amp and what channels you get after suggestions. Help me a lot in the Gainesville and Orlando threads over at the AVS forum where I post.

Don M nails it without your plot. Channel Master 7777 is your preamp, period. (actually you nailed it also, but with the data we have now, it's a no brainer). Channel Master CM 7777 Titan2 VHF/UHF Antenna Preamplifier with Power Supply (CM7777) | CM7777 [Channel Master]

And as Don says, remove your indoor amp, sell it on craigslist, throw it away, just don't use it. It will ruin the beauty of the signals out of CM7777.

The CM7777 has to be mounted up at the antenna. Also another good hint if you are installing it yourself is to not use quad shield between the antenna and the amp, with a rotor, it's too stiff. Be sure to leave enough cable so it can rotate and hand a little below the amp so the rain water drips off and not in the amp.

That should make things much better. But remember Suzzie you are DEEP FRINGE and some stations there one night won't be there the next.

If you buy the CM7777 please hang around to tell us the results.
 
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