Digital TV reception

#1
I live in Milo, IA 50166. I just installed a Winegard HD7082P antenna and
HDP269 preamp as recommended in a forum when DTV took off. My signal strength fluctuates between 55 and 86 and reception is sketchy at times.
1) Does coax length affect reception? 2) Do I need additional equipment to increase the signal?
Any and all assistance will be appreciated.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#3
A TVFool report for your ZIP code shows that all of the Des Moines affiliates are fairly strong. Unless you happen to live in a deep gully or valley, where signals would be weaker than average, your antenna and pre-amp were good choices that should be working better than 55/100. (An 86/100 usually indicates a good signal needing no further attention.) A couple of ideas:

• First, verify aim to be certain that the antenna is pointed right at the Des Moines stations. If you think of the compass as a clock with 12:00 as due north, all of the stations are at about 11:30. See the attached illustration for the correct end of the antenna to point.

• If aim is OK, something may be wrong with a coaxial cable, one or more connectors on the cables, or the pre-amp. Cable issues are much more likely than a pre-amp problem. If you crimped or compressed the connectors onto the cables yourself, the only way to verify this is to cut off and replace each connector, one at a time, and check for improvement in reception each time. If the cables are factory molded, replacement is the only way to check them for problems.

• If you have an excess length of factory-assembled coax -- at least 10 feet or more -- that's lying in a tight spool somewhere, find a way to straighten it out! A pile like that forms an electrical coil that can wreak havoc on reception, even with a pre-amp.

• Also check the cables' condition. Coax is easily damaged by excessive bending, crushing or rough handling at installation (if it's yanked hard enough through tight spots, the two conductors can short-circuit). Replacement is the only cure.

• If you cannot find an issue with the cabling, then it's time to suspect the pre-amp.
 

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Jim1348

DTVUSA Member
#6
Feedline

Is the feedline RG-6, or better? If there is ANY RG-59, considering replacing it with RG-6 or better. Even the short patch cord lengths. I happen to think that the RG-59 is just too lossy.

Like Don said, and it almost goes without saying, but check the every connectors very closely. Most feedline sold just has crimp on connectors on them. Most of the time it is good enough, but not always. I could bore you to tears with stories over the years where crimp on connectors just fell off, etc. I am not exactly an expert with a solder gun or soldering iron, but generally speaking I happen to think that soldered on connectors are better than cheap crimp on connectors.
 
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jdemaris

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
I live in Milo, IA 50166. I just installed a Winegard HD7082P antenna and
HDP269 preamp as recommended in a forum when DTV took off. My signal strength fluctuates between 55 and 86 and reception is sketchy at times.
1) Does coax length affect reception? 2) Do I need additional equipment to increase the signal?
Any and all assistance will be appreciated.

If the antenna is not very hard to get too, you might want to test right at the antenna. It's a good way to find out if there's a difference - between reception at the antenna and reception in the house. That can elimnate a lot of guess work.

For a short run, there's little difference between RG59, RG6, and RG11. With a 50 foot run, RG59 at high-band VHF RG59 loses 2.4 dB. RG6 loses 1.6 dB and RG11 1.3 dB. You lose more than that just running through a splitter to two TVs. Now, if your signal is borderline-weak - then yeah, anything can be the "straw that breaks the camel's back."

It's quite likely that all you need is a preamp with more gain. Obviously, that's not a sure thing - but it certainly makes the difference in many installs.
If you have some strong and some weak channels, try an amp with a variable gain control. You can buy an AntennaCraft 10G212 for $27. Has almost three times the gain of the amp you have now (30 dB versus your 12 dB), and also has an indoor variable gain control and FM trap switch. If you have a channel that comes in too strong, you just turn the dial down a bit.
 
#8
Mainly VHF, 5, 8, 11, 13. I am running more than 1 tv, but reception same when connecting just 1
You shouldn't be having problems with those strong VHF stations. The 7082 is excellent on VHF, & should not even need a pre-amp with readings stronger than -70 db from my experience. If replacing the 6 foot piece of coax with a shorter piece doesn't help, I would re-check the aim as Don M has suggested. I would also try what jdemaris suggested by bypassing the amp (both parts), & see what results you get.
 
#9
Will do. I have a rotator on mast for antenna, so can find optimum signal strength (around 80 now). Have acquired shorter (3') coax to replace 6' now from antenna to preamp. Also noticed one element that is 180 degrees out. Will bypass preamp after checking when neighbor works on this afternoon. thanks for all the input.
 
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