Do I need a preamp? Which one?

#1
I just installed a Clear Stream 4 on my roof, running 60 feet to grounding block and then another 45 feet to a 3-way splitter. I plan to move to a 5 way splitter at some point. The longest run is another 50 feet or so from the splitter. I live in 21244 (baltimore suburbs) and have the antenna pointed to washington DC to pick up those stations. I currently pick up Baltimore and DC stations, but the signal strength is only around 65% average or so for most of the stations. The 3-way is a cheaper splitter I bought at Best Buy, all the coax is RG6-QS. I have been experiencing occasional pixelation on some stations and break up on some others.

I am thinking due to the relatively low gain of my antenna combined with the long cable run and splitter that I would benefit from a preamp. Does this seem correct?

What model would you recommend? I do have a few stations that are close and giving strong signals, so I don't want to overload the signal. I am thinking the Channel Master 7778 may be a good choice.

Also, is there a benefit to buying a more expensive splitter like a Monster-Cable?

Any advice is most appreciated.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#2
:welcome:

I am thinking due to the relatively low gain of my antenna combined with the long cable run and splitter that I would benefit from a preamp. Does this seem correct?

What model would you recommend? I do have a few stations that are close and giving strong signals, so I don't want to overload the signal. I am thinking the Channel Master 7778 may be a good choice.
You need a pre-amp for three TVs when all are more than 100 feet from the antenna, let alone five TVs, but not the CM 7778. It is very likely to overload since seven of Baltimore's stations are within 8 miles of your ZIP code. The Winegard HDP-269 is tailor-made for situations like yours. While not impossible to overload, it is very difficult to do so.

Also, is there a benefit to buying a more expensive splitter like a Monster-Cable?
No. Monster's equipment is seriously overpriced IMHO. Splitters are basically commodity products. All you really need to worry about is whether it can handle all over-the-air channels. A splitter rated for 800 MHz or higher is fine, as are those labeled for use in satellite systems.
 
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Piggie

Super Moderator
#3
Please take this kindly, you have been sold out by marketing campaigns. I really don't like AntennasDirect that builds the ClearStreams, but Monster Cable is even worse on more marketing than substance in their products.

However that said, the CS4 may very well suit your needs, after all it is an antenna and one of the better ones they make (though way over priced).

I plugged in your zip code to TVFool.com and did a plot based on the center of your zip code with an antenna height of 20ft. TV Fool

Exact address or better yet locating your house on a google map is much more accurate, the above plot does reveal on thing. There are some very strong signals near your home.

WMAR and WUTB both show signals so strong they would overload the most tolerant pre-amps on the market mounted at the antenna. Most likely the effect would be losing weaker stations if one were installed.

However you have a very large distribution system, with a larger one planned.

You may need a distribution amp down inside the house.

You really need a TVFoolplot or I am guessing.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#4
:welcome:


You need a pre-amp for three TVs when all are more than 100 feet from the antenna, let alone five TVs, but not the CM 7778. It is very likely to overload since seven of Baltimore's stations are within 8 miles of your ZIP code. The Winegard HDP-269 is tailor-made for situations like yours. While not impossible to overload, it is very difficult to do so.
His TVFool plot, based on zip code would over load an HDP-269 for sure with just dipole at 20 ft by several db.

He would be best to put an small preamp like an HDP-269 indoors ahead of the splitters.

But any purchases made without an address based TVFool plot would be foolish, pun intended.
 
#5
Well, I got the clear stream 4 for $70, so I didn't consider it to be too bad of a deal. I understand there are better antennas, but I did want something relatively small and it seemed like a good compromise between performance/size/price.

I was somewhat kidding about monster stuff - I own virtually none of their products. I was just wondering if there was any difference, between a $10 splitter and a $30 one assuming they were rate for the same mghz and same db loss.

I apologize for not giving the address. 2908 mayfield ave, 21244.
I do indeed have some close stations. Also, consider that the C4 has a 70 degree spread and I have it aimed at the DC stations.

I was worried that what you are saying may be the case. Any recommendation would be much appreciated. If the consensus is that a distribution amp is a better solution, I will take it. Or maybe I should be happy with what I have, 8 stations with good strength, 8 with normal strength, and 7 with poor strength.
 
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#6
Also, since you mentioned WMAR and WUTB, I thought I'd let you know what their strength is the way I have the antenna pointed. WUTB is very strong, WMAR is more mid-range strength.

My strongest stations are:
WDCW
WUTB
WDCA
WJZ
WBAL
WJLA
WRCD
 
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