Splitter for OTA Antenna Signal

RussP

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
What is requirements for a splitter between the OTA and your TVs? There are hundreds of them out there. Some have frequency ranges on them etc. How do I know which one to buy?
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#2
Russ,

Splitters for OTA are probably available at your local hardware store and certainly at Home Depot, Lowe's or Fry's and they are pretty much the same from brand to brand. Although you don't need to pass low-band VHF, the low frequency limit is about 50 MHz and the upper requirement is about 700 MHz. However, if you plan to integrate security cameras or bird feeder cameras using a device like a Channel-Plus, it uses channels above the current Broadcasters limit of channel 51, so 800 Mhz as an upper limit would be required.

Beware, splitters work like multiple garden hoses on the same faucet: two hoses "divide" the water pressure (signal strength) in half, four hoses divide the 'output' to 25%. I suggest you temporarily reinstall your antenna and add your splitter to see if you lose channels: no other TV sets need to be connected to the splitter. If you lose channels or they begin to pixilate, you can drop your antenna, add a pre-amplifier and test again.

If ... you need a pre-amp it matters where you insert the power to run the amp: standard splitters will not pass power which means if you use a 'standard' splitter, you must insert power into the coax between the amp and your splitter.

Jim
 

RussP

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#3
Jim,

I have a Winegard SP-2054 40 - 2050 MHz Splitter RF Shielded. So if I understand you correctly I can connect to the IN of this splitter and use one OUT for testing and will get the same results as if I had 4 TV sets connected to it?

So I should lose the 7.5 DB per TV or altogether?

Because its passive does that mean the pre-amp can be placed any where?

Winegard 4 Way Splitter for VHF/UHF/FM HD 40-2050MHz(SP-2054)



75 Ohm 4 Way Splitter for VHF UHF FM HD. Cast metal housing with ground connection, indoor use only


•For coupling or dividing signals on 75 ohm coaxial line
•Splitter has F-type connections for RG-59, RG-6 or RG-11/U cable, connectors not included
•4 way line splitter, passes 5-2050 MHz
•Cast metal housing with ground connections
•AC/DC passive on all sides
•Splitter Loss: 40-950 MHz 7.5 dB 1000-2050MHz 11.0 dB
•Isolation Loss Between Tap: 40-950 MHz 22dB 1000-2050 MHz 22dB
•For Cable TV or TV Antenna
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#4
Russ,

Since you are splitting 4-ways, IF you need to use a pre-amp, that (indoor) splitter is a good choice although real signal strength losses are greater than claimed when divided 4-ways - which can be compensated for by using an antenna pre-amp -- but only if proven to be needed.

At home I split a channel from 75 miles away 4-ways with 110 feet of coax using no amplifiers. A 'clean' stream of digital data always beats a strong/noisy signal and the actual signal strength has little to do with the ability of your tuner to reassemble the data into a movie or your local newscast. You would be amazed how little signal "strength" it takes for DTV to work.

Go for it!

Jim
 
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jackdashack

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
What is requirements for a splitter between the OTA and your TVs? There are hundreds of them out there. Some have frequency ranges on them etc. How do I know which one to buy?
The one I bought from Lowes rated at 900MHz with the IN and 4 OUTS. If you go to Lowe's don't forget your veteran's discount if you are eligible. 10% is good~ :applause:
 
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RussP

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#6
I tried the splitter this weekend and it didn't appear as I lost any signal strength however I know that is not possible. There has to be some signal loss.
 

jackdashack

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
I tried the splitter this weekend and it didn't appear as I lost any signal strength however I know that is not possible. There has to be some signal loss.
Russ, I am less than your average knowledge on this stuff. But I have the 4 way hooked up however I do not have all the terminals filled as you do. And I see no loss, actually gain but that might be because we (mrlewp here is my brother, he is the more brilliant in this) my brother and I exchanged the original cable out for new quad cable with gold ends. Here is a bad photo. Sorry for the orange (poor lighting) and the flare (basement windows) And of course all the cable now RG6. Got rid of all 58 and 59. The new quad cable (the grey on coming in) I believe, if I'm not mis-speaking, has several shields of braided to help filter out surrounding interference. We also grounded the antennae better to eliminate the possibility of static buildup, which interferes with picture, I hear, and can attract lightning, I hear. I am newb at this. So my statements cannot be set in stone. I only have these experiences to share. Jack ":-{D

hookup.jpg
 
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#8
Jack,

I think you're right, you saw increased signal loss due to older cabling. With your new cabling, you have a much better signal and probably a lot less noise. And it looks like your power insertion is the same Winegard unit I got. With my antenna I only needed the inserter since it comes with its own built-in pre-amp, but I think I'm going to end up replacing that plastic Chinese piece of garbage this summer. It's fine for the most part, but I have a couple of VHF stations that it's not really designed for. I went ahead and put the Boost XT pre-amp on the pole (3/4" galvanized pipe - 1" outer diameter) in my attic for future use.

Anyway, I'm having an issue with my existing, heavily degraded RG-59, and the 300-Ohm cabling the cable/satellite company installed back when. I've ordered the supplies of quad-shield RG-6 to replace that (along with a new keystone jack and F-type port, since I plan to move one of the ports) just as you have here. That should be here by Friday. Maybe when all that's finally done I'll be able to pull in all or at least most of the 91 channels I scanned on Saturday when I had the Chinese piece of crap hooked directly into the TV and was holding it up with my hand (virtual channels, there were about 30 or so broadcast stations). Unfortunately, probably I won't get to work on it this weekend. :-/

Fred
 

jackdashack

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#9
Good business Fred! Although I'm new I could follow most of what you said. You are way up there on the knowledge scale. I'm just above entry level. 91 channels! WOW! Now I know from TVfool, I think, that I have no where that many even available. Maybe if I take into account 100 miles I could get up to that but they'd be 55 miles and further. But I'm about at my max good receive at 55 miles. I have the EZ from Denny's Antennae and I purchased the amp and power unit from him. I talked to him and it's a great place to do business. However, I take a laid back approach to viewing. I have plenty to view. Yes, I could go up and go bigger and get more. But a lot of them would be redundant channels. So why? Where are you? In a city. lol I am on the Delmarva Peninsula. About 1 hour East of DC. I have Philly about 50 miles North. A sparce few in NJ. Some in Baltimore and DC. I have no luck with DC channels. Salisbury MD South about an 45 miles but not much there. So I am about where I need to be. I view crystal clear channels. All the big networks and their sub channels. 4 of those MHz Channels. So I'm happy. Supplemented with my Roku and what I can Chromecast I have all the choices for viewing I need. I'm going to get my brother here in the group, mrLewp, to view what you said. He's in Gainesville FL and he's really gotten into OTA. Everyday tweaking and making his own antennaes. Thanks for all the great information! Cheers! Jack ":-{D

IMG_20160411_094938.jpg IMG_20151007_100324.jpg
 
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Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#10
I tried the splitter this weekend and it didn't appear as I lost any signal strength however I know that is not possible. There has to be some signal loss.
Russ,

Unless you have a Commercial Grade signal meter, you have no way to know the signal levels: the 'meter' on your TV screen is a signal quality meter, not a signal strength meter.

Jim
 

jackdashack

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#11
Russ,

Unless you have a Commercial Grade signal meter, you have no way to know the signal levels: the 'meter' on your TV screen is a signal quality meter, not a signal strength meter.

Jim
Jim, I take your word that the signal strength is a misnomer. It's quality right? Then those silly engineers should put signal quality instead of signal strength. My Insignia has in the MENU>CHANNELS>SIGNAL STRENGTH. It's in percentages but only moves from 0-25-50-75-100 percent in relation to what you see on the screen when you hit INFO. If INFO says 3 bars, go to the menu and strength and it's going to be 75%. Never any place else. 1bar 25%, 2bars 50% and so on. But I do use that strength meter successfully to jog the rotor and get zoned in on the channel if there is a little pixelation. Cheers! Jack ":-{D
 
#13
Jack,

I'm really not all that knowledgeable. If I were, I'd never have bought the plastic Chinese piece of crap! But I have been playing with OTA for about two years now, and joined this forum in January. Just reading all the threads, helping out people like you (where I can) and reading the replies from guys like SWHouston, Fringe, and FOXTV have helped me learn quite a bit.

Good luck with your setup! You may be looking at a bigger antenna pretty soon. I've got a house in the mountains that it looks pretty much like we're either going to need a gigantic antenna, or we'll have to get (gasp!) cable TV. I know our location has two mountains in the way of either Atlanta or Chattanooga. Chattanooga looks more likely than ATL, but our neighbor is going to try to pull in some stations from his house. I'll know more when he gets his rig up and running.

As for home, yes, I'm about 17-20 miles from most of the broadcast towers in Atlanta, and even closer to PBS and some low power transmitters. It's the 9th largest media market in the U.S., so there's plenty of TV out here. I discovered about a dozen or so stations are actually audio-only, and some are silent, but that's still almost 80 TV stations with a cheap antenna held up 7 feet off the ground!
 
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Fringe Reception

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

Run an antenna survey at your mountain home, start a new thread on the Forum and we can get started. If the location is viable we will make antenna suggestions, then you can look on your local Craigslist and you might find one cheap!

Jim
 

RussP

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#16
I was not going by any meter or signal strength for that matter. I am going with what I see on my TV screens. Which was no difference after the splitter was added. When I have a good signal I can get clear picture with no tiled images and pick up one of my favorite channels which is ION on 56.1. The weird part is I have to point more to the West than I expected to get the most stations and best reception. I still get the antenna farm from the South East well also with the antenna halves point in the same direction all straight and flat. That is not what my TV fool report shows. It suggests one antenna farm more south west (Syracuse) and the other south east (Utica) if I am reading it correctly. I need more testing were a want to place my new mast that I constructed. Does anyone now how trees affect your signal? Hard to tell now because there are no leaves on the trees yet by me.
 
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#17
Leaves have an effect, but it's not as pronounced as cables and wires, buildings, or the full mass of tree trunks or the ground. I'm starting to notice some pixilation on channels that I got great signal on all winter, and a majority of our trees are now full of bright green leaves. Another reason I want my antenna up in my attic, or on the roof if it becomes necessary.

I still am getting great signal most of the time. I've just noticed that there are more interruptions and periods of moderate pixilation than in the past, and stations that were already weak signals drop out more.

Any object with mass has the potential to reflect, refract, or absorb electromagnetic energy. That's why getting higher up is so helpful: The higher you go, the fewer objects there are between you and the broadcast tower.
 

RussP

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#18
Thanks for the reinforcement on that question. I guess I already knew the answer just wanted to see what others thought. I am guessing that is why my test setup is working so well right now because it is in the center of my property away from all the tree lines. Where I wanted to put my permanent setup is much closer to the tree line. I am going to have to rethink that as I can't get high enough to get over them. It would have made for a much shorter cable length but I am sure the trees are going to be a problem.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#19
Oddly, I completely lose reception of my ABC station when the trees lose their leaves. Its a full-power transmitter within one mile, but its a 1-edge signal. I live in an area prone to multipath and I assume the leaves are dampening the offending reflected signals, from spring through autumn.
 
#20
Best thing to do is test in the area you want to put it, and see what you get when it's there when the leaves are in. Then you'll know roughly how it will perform. Just put it up on a 2x4, or some electrical conduit, or PVC pipe temporarily while you test. I had my Chinese piece of crap up on a 10ft aluminum conduit driven a little over 1ft into the ground the very first time I used it (base of the antenna was about 8ft 8inches up). That was a great test.
 

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