Question: Need help with antennas

dennismck

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
I’m in Somerset, PA. I have a Solid Signal Xtreme Signal HDB8X with a Winegard 8780 Preamp pointed at Pittsburgh (about 60 miles NW) and an Antennas Direct DB4E with a Wingard 8283 pointed at Johnstown (about 25 miles NE). The antennas are about 40 feet apart, and both are about 75 feet from the point in my basement where all five of my tv coax cables terminate.
I also have a Winegard HAD-200 Amplifier, a Winegard CC-7870 Combiner, and a generic 8-way splitter.
I get good signal with each individual antenna.
What would be the best way to put this system together to get the best combined signal?
 
#2
There is no simple solution to what you want to do. Combining two same band antennas pointed different directions most often yields poor results. Loss of signal in both directions. What you have proposed could get complicated. I would not want to try to guess how to design such a system while sitting here on line. A block level TV Fool report would help. The easy answer is 2 coax runs to each tv and an antenna switch at each tv. If I read it right the cc-7870 will only pass power to one antenna. I could make suggestions as to how I would try to do it. I would hate to try and guess what the out come would be, and I seldom get anything right the first try.
Steve
 
#3
I’m in Somerset, PA. I have a Solid Signal Xtreme Signal HDB8X with a Winegard 8780 Preamp pointed at Pittsburgh (about 60 miles NW) and an Antennas Direct DB4E with a Wingard 8283 pointed at Johnstown (about 25 miles NE). The antennas are about 40 feet apart, and both are about 75 feet from the point in my basement where all five of my tv coax cables terminate.
I also have a Winegard HAD-200 Amplifier, a Winegard CC-7870 Combiner, and a generic 8-way splitter.
I get good signal with each individual antenna.
What would be the best way to put this system together to get the best combined signal?
Wow! Did you buy all that equipment without any professional advice? I'm glad the HD8BX is getting you a clear signal, and hope it continues. The experts here are a little reticent when it comes to recommending something new. It LQQKS like it should have a very good price/performance ratio.

From what I've read, 40 feet should be far enough apart. The problem with combining through a conventional splitter is the signal will travel back up to the other antenna, then radiate back to the first antenna. Then you have multipath -- out of phase signals from each station confusing the tuner(s). Even 40 feet might not stop that. (Just talking off the top of my head. There are real experts here, with far more real world experience, and hopefully they'll chime in "Real Soon Now." ;) ) You also are going to lose a huge chunk of signal through the splitting process. The preamps help, but there are limits to how thin you can stretch a signal coming from 60 miles away.

Here's the (toungue in cheek) failsafe solution: Get two separate antennas for each TV and run two separate lines of coax from each all the way in to the receivers, and equip each TV with either an A/B switch or a secondary tuner (a converter box or a DVR). That's the way to jealously guard every dB of signal, but as you can see ... one heckova headache. :icon_beat:

WAIT! I bet it would be possible to set up an HTPC to be the tuner for at least 3 of those TVs maybe even all 5!), and use wireless remotes to the PC instead of switches. Chromecast anyone?? You'd need a professional to set it up I think, unless you're a super-geek. Might wind up spending more, but it could reduce the coax down from 10 lines to 2.

I have no experience with a setup like the above, just saying I THIMQ it should be possible.

I agree with Steve, we definitely need a TVFool report. TV Fool

Please enter your exact address, and the height of your antennae. Copy the link that appears toward the top of the report, and paste it into a message in this thread. If there's any way to reduce the complexity of your situation, somebody here will be able to figure it out with that report. TVF automatically hides your address, so no worries there.

Rick

What you can believe and conceive, you can achieve.
 
#4
Rick you do a lot better job of explaining than I do. In order to prevent reradiation of signal separate amplifiers will need to used before the combiner. Powering both amps could be a problem. From a generic tv fool signal levels vary greatly moving around town on the map. There is a real channel 8 to deal with it's close enough it might sneak in on a UHF antenna. Even distribution of signal on a 5 way split could be troublesome. If you put it all together and it works the first try great. Things never work that way for me. I've seen things work that shouldn't. I've seen projects fail that should have worked. Keep the bottle of excedrin handy.
Steve
 
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dennismck

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
Here's the TVFool report- TV Fool

If I can't get the combining problem solved, I would like your advice for setting up one antenna: Should I replace the preamp with the HAD-200 Amplifier, or use both; and if I use both, do I put the HAD-200 at the beginning or end of the run?
 
#6
Amplifiers should always be placed at the beginning of the run. Amplifiers should not be used if not necessary as they always add noise. Stacking amplifiers is seldom needed or recommended. You have a lot of fun toys to play with there. Some of us enjoy playing with toys. Others just want to watch tv. I think that should read HDA-200 amplifier. When I first read the noise figure of 4.5 db at maximum gain I went Yuck! That is one dirty amplifier. Then I read a bit more. It could be a useful tool to a person who understands what it is and how to use it correctly. That person would not be myself, but I could have a lot of fun and probably some frustration playing with it and learning.
Watching TV is just an occasional short lived strange side effect of being an antenna hobbyist.
Steve
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#7
Basically there is no way your going to get the signals from the two locations without two antennas, and the only real way to combine them is either an A/B switch or a Home Theater Personal Computer with two tuners (or two HD Homeruns). You may want to pick a market for particular TVs depending on the available programming (kids programming to kids rooms, etc.).
 
#8
Rick you do a lot better job of explaining than I do.
Thanks. I guess that's my role around here. Generously spreading around lots of shallow knowledge. :dunce:

In order to prevent reradiation of signal separate amplifiers will need to used before the combiner.
See now, I didn't even know that would help!

I've seen projects fail that should have worked. Keep the bottle of excedrin handy.
I hear ya. OTOH, I have a setup that shouldn't work, but does. (A 4221HD indoors catching signals 48 miles away through the roof and/or 25 feet of apartment building.)

Rick
 
#9
Here's the TVFool report- TV Fool

If I can't get the combining problem solved, I would like your advice for setting up one antenna: Should I replace the preamp with the HAD-200 Amplifier, or use both; and if I use both, do I put the HAD-200 at the beginning or end of the run?
dkreichen is one of those high powered experts I mentioned, so I'm glad he didn't dis my HTPC idea. But I have to inform you that your TVFool report is worse than I hoped. I can see what you're after with one antenna, but I don't see how that's possible while splitting to five sets -- with either one or two antennas.

I think you're going to need a pro with experience in HTPC setups to come out and look at your situation. Still, with the equipment you have it only costs your time to try and rig something up. (Like Steve said -- lots of Excedrin.) If you want to try that, I'd set aside the HAD-200 for now and hook the 8283 (since it has more gain on VHF) very close to the HDB8X pointed NW, and the 8780 very close to the DB4e pointed NE. You want as few splits as possible. If there's such a thing as a 7 way splitter, that's what you want. (Splitter inputs and outputs are interchangeable.)

But ... I don't see how this can get you more than three stations.

Whatever you decide, keep us posted!
Rick
 
#10
I’m in Somerset, PA. I have a Solid Signal Xtreme Signal HDB8X with a Winegard 8780 Preamp pointed at Pittsburgh (about 60 miles NW) and an Antennas Direct DB4E with a Wingard 8283 pointed at Johnstown (about 25 miles NE).
Dang it! I just noticed your TVFR doesn't match up well with this setup. The signals from the NE are the weaker signals, despite the distance, so you definitely want the stronger antenna pointing NE. Certainly that will be true with the splitting you want to do. But the HDB8X is the one that can catch VHF channel 8, just due to the large reflector. (VHF channels need larger antennas to capture the longer wave lengths.)

So now I'm thinking you should reverse the antenna directions I posted above and add a dipole to the DB4e for RF8. You can combine the DB4e and dipole with a UVSJ combiner, and this does not attenuate the signal like a regular splitter/combiner. Comes out like this:

HDB8X with the 8780 pointed NE
DB4E pointed NW with a dipole combined with UVSJ into the 8283

Only added hardware is the dipole and the UVSJ, plus whatever more coax you need.

But best guess is still only 3 stations.

Rick
 
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#11
I've read of some success using the HDB8X with each side of it pointed toward separate television markets. Separate amplifiers before the combiner were needed. I know such an arrangement would not work in this case. If you do have good signals from both of your antennas which is beyond what I would expect from looking at the TV fool report. Give it a try with the two antennas you have. There are a lot of things stacked against such an arrangement working. Multipath, signal fades, distribution loss, amplifier noise, basic installation mistakes, wrong antennas.
Let us know how it all works out.
Steve
 
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Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#12
:welcome: dennis,

UGH! All of the solutions above are good, so pick your poison as I had to. You have the advantage of having already established channels you can receive. Good job!

I am in a very poor location and I receive TV transmitters from two westerly directions, two easterly directions as well as a south transmitter and a transmitter to my north over 75 miles distant. It took me three years of 'commercially available' antenna testing, then home-brew antenna construction to get what I receive now and a third year to rewire my home with three coaxial cables feeding antenna multi-switches in 3 rooms (a 4th room is next).

Take a look in my photo albums here for some ideas. You may like my solution regarding coaxial cable wall plates.

Please chew over all the ideas suggested and let us know what you decide to do before you start the next phase of your project. Then, we can focus on you plan and help.

Jim
 
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dennismck

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#13
But ... I don't see how this can get you more than three stations.


Right now, with one antenna pointed NW towards Pittsburgh, I'm getting 15 stations, with
the weakest being WTAE digital channel 51
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#14
dennis,

If one of your antennas receives 15 stations, that can be sent on one coaxial cable around your house. If you are capturing other channels on a second antenna, those signals can also be distributed around your home by running a second coaxial cable to each room and using A-B switches. Not an elegant option but it works for me.

A wireless idea would be to use a converter box on one of the antennas and feed its output to a Terk LeapFrog and send one channel at any given time all around your home, but it would be SD not HD. Amazon.com: leapfrog terk

In spite of mixed reviews, mine works well enough so I can feed it with my DVR and watch a movie next door.

Jim
 
#15
Right now, with one antenna pointed NW towards Pittsburgh, I'm getting 15 stations, with
the weakest being WTAE digital channel 51
You mean to all five receivers?? Also, are you counting stations or channels? Each station, e.g. WTAE, represents about two and a half channels on average.

If you're really getting 15 separate stations clearly on 5 different sets, with all those 2 edge signals coming from great distances in several directions, and it continues consistently for several days, then you should find out what kind of magic dust they sprinkled on that antenna! If WTAE is the weakest, then some of them must be VHF station, or else coming from very wide angles.

It's the splitting to five sets that has us concerned. I wouldn't have too much trouble believing 15 stations to a single receiver.

Rick
 
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dennismck

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#16
You mean to all five receivers?? Also, are you counting stations or channels? Each station, e.g. WTAE, represents about two and a half channels on average.

If you're really getting 15 separate stations clearly on 5 different sets, with all those 2 edge signals coming from great distances in several directions, and it continues consistently for several days, then you should find out what kind of magic dust they sprinkled on that antenna! If WTAE is the weakest, then some of them must be VHF station, or else coming from very wide angles.

It's the splitting to five sets that has us concerned. I wouldn't have too much trouble believing 15 stations to a single receiver.

Rick
Sorry , I can't count. I'm only getting 12 stations (29 including subchannels): KDKA, WTAE, WJAC, WWCP, WPXI, WQED, WINP, WPCW, WPMY, WPCB, WPGH, and WBGN (digital channel 16)

A dumb? question: Does splitting the signal 5 ways only weaken the signal if all 5 receivers are being used at once?
 

Jim5506

DTVUSA Member
#17
Coaxial cable is analogous to a water hose you only have so much flow and each time you split it each side gets 1/2 of the input whether the TV is on or off.

Splitting the signal 5 ways would probably give you three lines with 1/4 signal strength and two with 1/8th signal strength.

If your input signal is robust enough there should be enough signal at each TV to work.
 
#18
Sorry , I can't count.
Perfectly alright. Thanks for the clarification.

I'm only getting 12 stations (29 including subchannels): KDKA, WTAE, WJAC, WWCP, WPXI, WQED, WINP, WPCW, WPMY, WPCB, WPGH, and WBGN (digital channel 16)
Man, my empirical fudge factor of 2.5X seems to work PDG!

A dumb? question: Does splitting the signal 5 ways only weaken the signal if all 5 receivers are being used at once?
Can't possibly be a dumb question, since I asked the same thing about a year ago. :becky: The answer, unfortunately, is no. The signal is weakened even if NO receiver is attached to the splitter. In fact, even if the splitter is capped off it makes no difference. Each single split reduces signal by a minimum of 3.5 dB. With a five way split, I think there are different types of splitters and different proportions, but however you slice it, it's going to make your TVFR look pretty bleak, unfortunately.

That's why we're coming up with all these exotic solutions like an HTPC. But like I say, it costs very little to try something simpler first.

Best,
Rick
 

KrissB

DTVUSA Member
#19
I understand very well about the questions being asked! lol As for me as well (but I'm currently seeking these answers) as to Rick asking a year ago.

Just like most forum posts here, many good options, and many answers to be found hidden in plain site! I would have to agree, the multiple coax cables seems to be something MANY seem to want to avoid! Oddly, I've not seen a mention of a Rotor, not that you could regain certain signals again using a guessing gauge electronic knob!

My scenario is very strange, but I guess I'm fortunate to have Antenna farms much closer than some! I have built a very big 2 bay antenna and faced it in the same position as a very small piece of junk antenna does better for some reason! :\ So about the "Some things shouldn't work, and some should..." My case a junky antenna works better than my many many days of Frankantenna (Frankinstien word robbing) making! Fortunately lightning has not struck... Yet...

My thoughts concern the splitting, cable runs, and signal. As stated 3.5db per split 3.5x5 = 17.5 db loss. Does the amplifier resolve this possibly? Combining the antenna's I heard cuts each antenna's db by 1/2? Again the amplifiers may again be resolving this issue? I think I'm getting a migraine already! lol Then how do you figure in Amplifier noise? Subtract more db from the system? Nevermind, I wouldn't want to see the book of papers showing these figures! But maybe someone would like to see it on paper in simple form. I think there are many variables to consider. Guessing for this to work like it is, minimal values would be considered for these variables, however that may get one's hopes up! :\

If it works, don't fix it!!! If it don't... Fix it! lol (with this I say) I hope it works!!!

KrissB
 

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