Do I need an amplifier, and what would you recommend?


We just cut the DISH cable last weekend and we are currently using an indoor homemade bowtie antenna. It works amazingly well, and brings in almost every normally available channel. The only channel we are having trouble with is channel 9.1, 9.2, and 9.3. They come in and out and can't get much more than 50 out of 100 signal. The other stations are stable and between 85-100 out of 100. Would I benefit from an amplifier, and can you recommend one? Here's my tv fool link. Thanks, Ed

TV Fool
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An amplifier should be looked at more as a last resort instead of the first tool in the kit to grab. An incorrectly selected and, poorly installed amplifier is more likely to create then solve problems. The purpose of an amplifier is to reduce feedline loss. An amplifier does not magically pull signal out of the air that is the job of the antenna. Most installations do not need an amplifier.
What kind of bow tie antenna did you build? I've built quite a few bow tie antennas single bow ties of different designs, 2 bay, and 4 bay. Are you using a reflector?
Experiment with antenna placement and aiming. Check all coax, and connectors for continuity, and shorts.
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Steve thanks, The antenna I built is almost identical to this one in the youtube video. A 4 bay, made with a 2x4, coat hangars, and I just happen to have 2 old oven racks I used for the back/reflector, and I bought the coax transformer at Walmart. Channel 9 is just a bit strange because it seems it should come in better. The location of the antenna might be an issue, located in our bedroom closet, but the cable run is fairly short, to our advantage. You recommended to me a couple of outdoor antennas in the past, a Stellar labs bowtie and a yagi, and I still might pull the trigger on one. I already have a perfect tripod and mounting pole already on the roof, but the cable runs would be long.

We have 3 TVs and I was thinking of getting an indoor antenna for each set, rather than messing with rooftop installations and long cable runs. Is that a good idea and is there an indoor antenna that you could recommend? Would the Stellar Labs bowtie 30-2425 or yagi 30-2155 work indoors too? Thanks, Ed
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Fringe Reception

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:welcome: edweather

Try your setup without the amplifier, then move the antenna around (up, down, right, left, forward and backwards) until you find the sweet reception spot.



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Keep in mind that you can probably use the Dish mount and wiring to mount an outdoor antenna. All your desired channels are to the south, and satellite dishes are all mounted pointing south.
You can build a lot better 4 bay then that one. Here are a few links to look at.
I really don't like watching how to videos, but they are sometimes useful.
Here is a photo of the last 4 bay I built. It was taken down and just placed on the test stand out back. It's not perfect, but it worked quite well. It's a 10"X9.5" M4. 2012_05200185.jpg The mountain peak 30 miles in the back ground is where the 300 watt UHF TV signals come from. Line of sight.
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I think my antenna building days are behind me, at least for the moment, but those are some great videos, and they might come in handy in the future. That's a beauty that you built. For now I'll either stick with what I have or purchase one. I'm assuming your suggestion of the Stellar Labs 30-2425 still holds? My farthest cable run from the antenna will be about 50 feet.

Mr Pogi, that's a good suggestion about using the old DISH mounting pole.

Thanks, Ed
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For the price at your location I'd still suggest the Stellar Labs 30-2425, or Stellar Labs 30-2155.
Be careful of coax stress placed on the PCB balun.
The balun is the matching transformer that is used at the antenna to connect the coax to the antenna. Most of the manufacturers have went to a printed circuit board balun in a little plastic box. It seems from my reading that most of the manufacturers have also had problems with them.
OK, so you are talking about physical stress, like the coax pulling or torquing the balun? Am assuming I can use a zip tie or something to keep the stress to a minimum.
It's all good now, the Stellar Labs 30-2425 came in, and I stuck it out on the DISH pole and immediately grabbed 24 digital stations, and one analog station. Thanks all.
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