function of "control box" on lava and Boostwave type antennas

#1
I just replaced on of those low-cost supposedly long-distance antennas with a used Radio Shack yagi antenna.
The "new" antenna didn't produce a signal until I put the "control box"/rotor control unit back in line. I'm puzzled. Does this "control box" have some kind of signal amplification function? It's a rotor control, and that worked fine on the old unit. My questions are: (1) what is the non-rotor function of that little control box; and (2) why would it enable a signal from the replacement antenna?
The control box unit I'm referring to looks like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/252395848585?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

Thanks! This forum has been greatly helpful in the cable-cutting to DTV process.

Patrick PH
 
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#2
I just replaced on of those low-cost supposedly long-distance antennas with a used Radio Shack yagi antenna.
The "new" antenna didn't produce a signal until I put the "control box"/rotor control unit back in line. I'm puzzled. Does this "control box" have some kind of signal amplification function? It's a rotor control, and that worked fine on the old unit. My questions are: (1) what is the non-rotor function of that little control box; and (2) why would it enable a signal from the replacement antenna?
The control box unit I'm referring to looks like this: http://www.ebay.com/itm/252395848585?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK:MEBIDX:IT

Thanks! This forum has been greatly helpful in the cable-cutting to DTV process.

Patrick PH
This looks like the control box on my cheap-o antenna. I'm guessing your antenna looks like this? If not that, it's perhaps similar?

A lot of these antennas are built in China and designed for Chinese television, which operates at higher frequencies than US. I can hook it up and receive the higher UHF channels without much difficulty, but lower-channel UHF and VHF-hi both need amplification for my tuners to pick them up (and forget about picking up VHF-lo). This box is both a rotor controller and a power input for the built-in pre-amp. I found this out when I hooked up an external pre-amp to the antenna only to find that it didn't work at all! When I removed the external pre-amp, the little light on the antenna came on and boom! I had signal.

This also means that if you have any splitters between the control box and the antenna, they have to be able to pass power through them (so, not just any old splitter will do). Not having any of those, I had to crawl into my attic and wire-up the amplifier behind the splitter so that power could get to the pre-amp.

You're able to get a number of stations with this type of antenna if it's working properly and you're not too far out from the broadcast centers (I scanned 91 channels from about 25 broadcasters recently with mine, but I'm 17-21 miles from the broadcast towers in Atlanta, with all of them in the same general directions, and many of them scanned but aren't viewable). However, there are antennas available for only a little bit more that work better for US broadcast stations and work better from farther out. When I have an opportunity, I'll be replacing mine with something more appropriate for US television.
 
#3
Thanks, Atlanta. My experience was similar to yours, though I didn't know about the pre-amp aspect of the control box, nor was I aware of the Chinese TV frequencies. That helps explain some of the performance I experienced.
These problems are what led me to accept my neighbor's offer of a free yogi antenna -- a big one, at least 12 ft. in length; a long boom. I'm pretty sure it's a Radio Shack antenna, with a rotor. I have it on a pipe that I can rotate 180 degrees, so that I can point to the two primary clusters of antennas (Eau Claire and Minneapolis/St. Paul). There is a rotor on the mast, but I need to find the appropriate rotor. I think a used Radio Shack rotor control is what I need/

What I don't get is why the "new" antenna didn't get a signal until I put the little pre-amp control box back in-line. I though I could go directly from the big antenna to the TV. Do you have a clue about that? If I need a pre-amp, perhaps I can find a better one. Do you have any clues about this?

Thanks for your comment.
 
#4
What I don't get is why the "new" antenna didn't get a signal until I put the little pre-amp control box back in-line. I though I could go directly from the big antenna to the TV. Do you have a clue about that? If I need a pre-amp, perhaps I can find a better one. Do you have any clues about this?

Thanks for your comment.
I'm not sure about that. I wouldn't expect your new antenna have that issue if it's a large Yagi, as you describe. Pre-amplification helps with weaker signals, but strong signals shouldn't require it. Maybe some of the more knowledgeable folks here can educate us! Post your TV Fool report here so that we can take a look.
 
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