Distributing DTV throughout home (long)

searay268

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
When we built our house (9 years ago), we ran a single feed from our antenna into a wiring closet. This run alone is around 35 to 40 feet. I then hooked it into a booster with two outputs and hooked a four way splitter onto each output to feed various spots throughout the house. This worked fine for a long time.

About 3 years ago we bought an HDTV and were able to receive DTV signals with no problem. Since February, we have lost one of the channels (ABC) and now after the "official" switch, we have lost another (CBS). It's my understanding these channels switch from UHF to VHF (if I understood things properly).

I disconnected the booster and hooked a DTV converter box straight into the antenna feed and was able to get the channels I had lost. I then hooked the booster back up and hooked the converter box straight onto one of the outputs and the channels were gone so obviously the booster is an issue; however, if I don't use the booster, the channels that did work are not able to reach various rooms in the house.

Are there different types of boosters that should be used?

By the way, I live about 50 miles east of the Cincinnati, Ohio area so I am in a rural area.

Also, the booster I have is rated as follows:
VHF/UHF/FM 24 db 50-900 MHz

Thanks
 

1inxs

DTVUSA Member
#2
searay, Welcome to the DTVUSA Forum. Connect the HDTV like it has always been connected. Do a channel scan on the digital tuner in the setup function in your HDTV. You should get results. Post back and let us know what that does for you.
When we built our house (9 years ago), we ran a single feed from our antenna into a wiring closet. This run alone is around 35 to 40 feet. I then hooked it into a booster with two outputs and hooked a four way splitter onto each output to feed various spots throughout the house. This worked fine for a long time.

About 3 years ago we bought an HDTV and were able to receive DTV signals with no problem. Since February, we have lost one of the channels (ABC) and now after the "official" switch, we have lost another (CBS). It's my understanding these channels switch from UHF to VHF (if I understood things properly).

I disconnected the booster and hooked a DTV converter box straight into the antenna feed and was able to get the channels I had lost. I then hooked the booster back up and hooked the converter box straight onto one of the outputs and the channels were gone so obviously the booster is an issue; however, if I don't use the booster, the channels that did work are not able to reach various rooms in the house.

Are there different types of boosters that should be used?

By the way, I live about 50 miles east of the Cincinnati, Ohio area so I am in a rural area.

Also, the booster I have is rated as follows:
VHF/UHF/FM 24 db 50-900 MHz

Thanks
 

Aaron62

Contributor
Staff member
#3
When we built our house (9 years ago), we ran a single feed from our antenna into a wiring closet. This run alone is around 35 to 40 feet. I then hooked it into a booster with two outputs and hooked a four way splitter onto each output to feed various spots throughout the house. This worked fine for a long time.

About 3 years ago we bought an HDTV and were able to receive DTV signals with no problem. Since February, we have lost one of the channels (ABC) and now after the "official" switch, we have lost another (CBS). It's my understanding these channels switch from UHF to VHF (if I understood things properly).

I disconnected the booster and hooked a DTV converter box straight into the antenna feed and was able to get the channels I had lost. I then hooked the booster back up and hooked the converter box straight onto one of the outputs and the channels were gone so obviously the booster is an issue; however, if I don't use the booster, the channels that did work are not able to reach various rooms in the house.

Are there different types of boosters that should be used?

By the way, I live about 50 miles east of the Cincinnati, Ohio area so I am in a rural area.

Also, the booster I have is rated as follows:
VHF/UHF/FM 24 db 50-900 MHz

Thanks
Do you think you received the channels again after hooking up the converter box because of the auto channel scan? You may not need a booster at all, but then again I might not be understanding you correctly. The booster may be too much for your antenna system. Have you done a TV Fool broadcast tower distance check yet? Just for giggles, I entered Turpin Hills, OH which is 25-50 miles East of Cincinnati, and TVFool showed that digital broadcast towers were only 8 miles away. Heck, you could use a cheap indoor antenna to receive signals at that distance.
:usa2:
 
#4
place a pre amp on the antenna the channel MAster 7777 is a good one low noise.
Signal distribution amps have very high noise levels and can overload tuners with the noise. the lower noise pre amp will only keep the signal from dropping it will not try to boost it like a distribution amp.
 

searay268

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
Thanks for the feedback. I did do an autoscan (actually first thing I did) and it did not help.

We just got back from Maysville and they had a Radio Shack there. I talked to the guy and I bought one of their High-Gain Signal amplifiers which mounts on the antenna mast. He swore to me with tears in his eyes that if it does not work, I can bring it back.

Cowboy, if it does not work, I'll take a look at what you suggested. By the way, what exactly is a pre amp as opposed to an amplifier?

Again, thanks.
 

1inxs

DTVUSA Member
#6
Thanks for the feedback. I did do an autoscan (actually first thing I did) and it did not help.

We just got back from Maysville and they had a Radio Shack there. I talked to the guy and I bought one of their High-Gain Signal amplifiers which mounts on the antenna mast. He swore to me with tears in his eyes that if it does not work, I can bring it back.

Cowboy, if it does not work, I'll take a look at what you suggested. By the way, what exactly is a pre amp as opposed to an amplifier?

Again, thanks.
A preamp is located at or nearest the antenna and has a low level output. The amplifier is what you are calling a booster. It is the distribution splitter/amplifier.

Here is the next test I would try to isolate the problem. I would set up the CECB without the booster and write down the signal strength. Then add the booster back into the mix and read the signal strength. We need to determine if your system is being over driven or under driven. I pretty confident we will pinpoint the problem.
 

searay268

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
Okay, I just tried to hook the amplifier I bought from Radio Shack yesterday. Remember, if I hook directly onto the antenna feed in the wiring closet, I could get the main channels we watch but we could not get the signal through the rest of the house.

It did not seem to affect 9.1 (the ABC channel) but 12.1 (CBS) was barely coming in where without the amplifier directly on the antenna feed I could get both so I have removed it. By the way, it is a model 150-2507 if anyone cares. I'll be taking it back.

1inxs, since I removed the amp, I went ahead and got the numbers you wanted. I assume a CECB is the converter box itself so here are the strength numbers of the stations we watch the most hooked directly to the antenna feed:

5.1 - 67
9.1 - 34
12.1 - 70
19.1 - 58

I then hooked the old amplifier up that we've been using to the antenna feed and then the converter directly to the amplifier:

5.1 - 52
9.1 - no signal
12.1 - no signal
19.1 - 58

It's pretty obvious the old amplifier is no help with the DTV signals overall; however, I do appear to need it to feed the lines that branch out from the closet to the rest of the house because without it, no channels get through to the televisions in the house.
 
#8
ok the distribution amp is the problem if you use a pre map at the antenna channel master titan 7777 recommend has lowest noise levels, this should give you what you need to make the runs. distribution amps must be between the converter and the tv they will not work between the antenna and the converter box. again to much noise. Radio shack pre amps which is what you have are very noisy and will not give as goode results as the channel master.
 
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1inxs

DTVUSA Member
#9
Okay, I just tried to hook the amplifier I bought from Radio Shack yesterday. Remember, if I hook directly onto the antenna feed in the wiring closet, I could get the main channels we watch but we could not get the signal through the rest of the house.

It did not seem to affect 9.1 (the ABC channel) but 12.1 (CBS) was barely coming in where without the amplifier directly on the antenna feed I could get both so I have removed it. By the way, it is a model 150-2507 if anyone cares. I'll be taking it back.

1inxs, since I removed the amp, I went ahead and got the numbers you wanted. I assume a CECB is the converter box itself so here are the strength numbers of the stations we watch the most hooked directly to the antenna feed:

5.1 - 67
9.1 - 34
12.1 - 70
19.1 - 58

I then hooked the old amplifier up that we've been using to the antenna feed and then the converter directly to the amplifier:

5.1 - 52
9.1 - no signal
12.1 - no signal
19.1 - 58

It's pretty obvious the old amplifier is no help with the DTV signals overall; however, I do appear to need it to feed the lines that branch out from the closet to the rest of the house because without it, no channels get through to the televisions in the house.
You should have a preamp installed at or near the antenna if the coaxial cable run is longer than 100 feet. The Radio Shack 150-2507 would work if your run was over 100 feet. In your closet to send the signal out to the other rooms, you would need an amplified splitter. See my link for an example.
CyberEstore | 8dB RF Amplifier And 4-Way Splitter - 1 Input /4 Output Splitter | C-0314

EDIT: Sorry cowboyup4christ, While my slow fingers were typing you were posting. I'll bow out of this thread as it looks like you got it covered.
 
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searay268

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#10
Thanks for all the help. You guys are great.

I want to make sure everyone (including myself) understands what I have to make sure I get the right stuff since it sounds like I'll have to order it (I guess the Radio Shack stuff isn't that good) and I don't want to deal with trying to return it.

All wiring is RG-6.

I have a single run from the antenna into a wire closet. This run is probably around 40 feet (could be as much as 50). This antenna is a new (few weeks old) Radio Shack antenna. It's about the biggest one they had (think something like a VU-190).

The wiring closet branches off to 8 different locations; however, only 4 are really in use so I don't have to get them all at the moment.

What I had originally going on was the antenna feed went into a power strip (surge protector) then into the amplifier which then went into a four way splitter. With this setup, I can get some DTV channels such as 5.1, 5.2 and 19.1. There are some others but these are the main ones I'm interested in. The other channels I want and cannot get with this setup is 9.1, 9.2, 12.1 and 12.2.

Remove the amplifier, and the signals are not strong enough to reach the televisions in the house; however, with the converter box in the wiring closet as a test, I can get the 9 and 12 channels along with the other channels.

Now after the long winded statement above, do I simply need the Channel Master 7777 pre-amp or do I also need an amplified splitter?

Out of curiosity, the Radio Shack gadget I bought says it's a "High-Gain Signal Amplifier" although it does mount on the antenna mast with a power supply in the house. Is this considered a pre-amp? I know you guys know a lot more about this stuff than I do (I know nothing about it), I'm just concerned if I buy something similar I'll get the same result as the Radio Shack device.

I just looked online at the Channel Master and it appears to have separate inputs for VHF and UHF. The antenna I have has only a single hookup (matching tranformer going from 300 OHM to 75 OHM connection). How would I hook this up?
Thanks a million.
 
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Piggie

Super Moderator
#11
Welcome to the forum searay268,

To solve your problem I need more information, and though I have a few hints from reading your trials.

The very first thing I need to see is your TVFool plot.
Go to TV Fool put in your address then look at the top of the page for the bold print and copy and past that link here.

Also be sure to estimate the height of your antenna.

With that I can get a good idea of your signal levels at your antenna.

Once I know know the signal levels at your antenna, then I judging the requirements for feeding the TV's in your house will be (to me I guess) simple math.

=======

I also need to know.

In the wiring closet is the splitter one big 8 way splitter?

How many TVs are you actually feeding?

Are there any other spliters in the system?

How long is the cable from the wiring closet to the TVs?

That should give me enough information to tell you what to do or buy.
 

searay268

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#12
Piggie, here's the TV Fool link: TV Fool

I originally had two four way powered splitters that got zapped a few years ago. Since I was only using four of the branches at the time, I have a simple four way splitter feeding the four televisions that we use.

I did forget to mention a splitter which I am basically using as a combiner. My satellite box is feeding into an RF modulator which runs into the wiring closet. This feed is ran into one side of the combiner and the antenna feed goes into the other. I take the line out of the combiner and it is what goes into the old amplifier I have which then goes to the 4 way splitter. All of my tests I have conducted have been without this combiner, just straight out of the antenna feed or with the old amplifier plugged directly into the feed because I wanted to remove as many variables as possible to figure out where things were breaking down.

Each television run from the wiring closet is different. I'm guessing here but I'd say they are runs of 20, 25 and 35 feet. The other run goes to the far end of the room above the garage and that may be close to 50 feet by the time you take into account going from the basement to the second floor and then to the back of the room.

I was also trying to figure out the gain for the antenna I have. Apparently Radio Shack has quit selling my antenna since I could not find it on their site, but I believe it's a VU-190XR (based on googling all over the net) but I could not find the technical specs for it and I don't have the paperwork for it.

Thanks
 

searay268

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#13
Once I found out I could hook up the Channel Master 7777 to my antenna, I went ahead and ordered one. I'll let you know how it goes.

Again, thanks for all the input.
 

CptlA

DTVUSA Member
#14
Once I found out I could hook up the Channel Master 7777 to my antenna, I went ahead and ordered one. I'll let you know how it goes.

Again, thanks for all the input.
Good luck, my dad bought the CM 7777 for a short run of coax (50' which was distrubuted to 4 other HD TVs in his house, and it worked out great for him. He also went to RG-6 in the process so I don't know which helped him out more, but what I do know is that those 2 changes worked for him. ;) YMMV. ;)
 

1inxs

DTVUSA Member
#16
Woo Hoo!:dance: The Channel Master 7777 did the trick! We're getting all the channels we should get.

You guys are awesome.

Thanks for the help and suggestions.
That is excellent to hear. :bigband: Thanks for posting back with the results. Enjoy your crystal clear OTA DTV. Nice to have you here in the forum.
 
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