Question: Newbie seeking advice


Ok. I took the plunge and bought an antenna setup. What I have is a Winegard HD-8800 that's currently at 30 ft with a channel master 9521A rotor, along with a Winegard AP3800 pre-amp. I'm contemplating having the mast increased 5 feet, so I've taken that into account on my tvfool report -

TV Fool

I know that this antenna is specifically a UHF antenna, the person I had install the setup said that this would be the best setup since I only have 3 or 4 vhf channels I would want to get. I am able to get all but WBBZ which is a low power station, (real 7, disp 67.1) I have good signals coming from almost all the other UHF except for WBXZ (real 17) and WBGT (real 46). I'm thinking about trying to go for the Syracuse and Toronto channels in the gray sections, but so far I've had no luck when DXing. So I guess my first question is what can I do to boost the UHF for the weak channels without washing out the stronger ones? Perhaps an inline UHF adjustable amp?

Also I'm a bit unclear on how the box for the antenna rotor works. I understand that I can store channel and coordinates, but if I use my regular TV remote to tune to said channel, with the rotor automatically turn to that pre-programmed coordinate, or do I need to use the remote for the rotor box and the TV remote as well?
You will need to run separate remotes for the TV and rotor to start with, but I'm also quite certain that a learning remote could be programed to run both the TV and the rotor. There is going to be a learning curve in programing a learning remote, and it may still take a few more keystrokes than what you probably want even after you get it programed. You still have to wait for the antenna to turn.
In most locations it is very unlikely that signals in the lower red or grey on a TV Fool report will ever be received reliably. You are already using a preamp using another amplifier on top of that will most likely just create more problems.


When you say "learning remote", is that just your typical replacement you'd find at walmart for example, or is that something different?

Being that the preamp is a VHF preamp, there would be problems using a UHF amp? Possibly overlap or loss of signal?
A learning remote can be programed to memorize the function of each individual key from a working infrared remote for any device, and transfer that function to the key you choose on the learning remote. The simple universal remotes do not have this feature, but work strictly by manufacturers codes, and often times will not control all functions on the chosen device even when you find the correct code. Sometimes correct codes for all devices can not be found. The only problem I've ran into using a low cost learning remote is when I have a device that uses an RF remote then your out of luck. While I'm quite happy with a low cost learning remote that I did some very time consuming custom programming on. There are others that use some very high dollar remotes.
You might benefit some from using a dual band preamp. You made me do my homework and look up the model of amplifier you have. I at first had overlooked that the amplifier in use is VHF only.
I have been accused of hating amplifiers. I feel that I simply am aware of all of the problems that can be caused by an incorrectly chosen and poorly installed amplifier in systems where the use of an amplifier is often times of little benefit, or not needed. While I understand how the choice of components being used at your location could work. Using a VHF amplifier to overcome high SWR problems on the feed line presented by the use of a UHF antenna pressed into VHF service on a couple of channels. It is a very unorthodox way of doing things. The main purpose of a preamp is to overcome feedline loss. In this case feed line loss caused by very high SWR at VHF frequencies which with digital signals can result in total signal loss. Amplifiers do not magically pull more signal out of the air. That's the job of the antenna. If the noise figure of the amplifier is lower then the first stage of amplification in the receiver, or the feed line loses are high an amplifier can help. I've seen the use of an amplifier help in cases where I didn't think it would, but I also have wasted far too much time and money on amplifiers that were totally unneeded, or produced insignificant results.
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