very limited reception--help please

#1
TV Fool


I get 4, 8, 12, 18, 20, 26--only two of which are at all dependable reception. I have an old atenna to which a Radio Shack U-75R was added to the top of the mast. The original is actually 2 quite large antennas consisting of arms and loops. Coax cable running to an Archer 2-way amplifier.

According to TVFool, I should be receiving more? In a futile attempt to get 4, 6, 8 last fall, my antenna was turned east. Can anything be done to get dependable reception here? A close neighbor has a much newer UHF/VHF antenna and basically get the same reception.

Thanks. Severe rain/wind storm here last night and, of course, no TV weather stations--I need to do something.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#2
Well first to be blunt, the U-75R (I used one myself) is a great antenna for UHF channels, but it's range is limited to about 40 miles.

Except for KWKB and KIIN, the rest of the stations are a good distance away.
WHBF may be a lot cause being its on Channel 4 and low band digital doesn't work that well. But it may be good enough to try.

KCRG and KWWL are on high band VHF and probably receivable, along with KWKB that is close.

So if 4 comes in most of the time, then it's worth building for it, since it appears to be your only CBS alternative. KGAN is a good distance away for CBS also.

You probably need as big of an all band antenna as you can buy. Something like a Winegard HD 8200U High Defintion Platinum VHF/UHF/FM Antenna (HD8200U) | HD8200U [Winegard] or a Channel Master CM 3671 Deepest Fringe Crossfire Series Antenna (CM3671) | CM3671 [Channel Master]

I personally prefer the Winegard Winegard HD 8200U, as not only made in USA but are in Iowa. Stand behind their antennas with excellent customer support. You could call them on the phone 800-288-8094 and ask sales which antenna and amp that Hans (engineering) recommends for you. Tell him the antenna and amp I suggested. I am not sure Hans knows me by Piggie, but Andy that works there knows me by that name.

Also Radio Shack amplifiers are not known to cut the mustard period. Unless it's one of very new Winegard amps sold by Radio Shack.

With KWKB being so strong at your house, the biggest amp you should run is the Winegard AP8700 Chromstar 2000 Series VHF/UHF Pre Amplifier (AP-8700) | AP-8700 [Winegard]
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#3
Sounds like you're near the "digital cliff" with those stations: A tweak here and there should bump up signal strengths and improve reception.

How old is the coaxial cable you're using? Even top-quality coax installed outdoors tends to begin wearing out after a dozen years or so. If what you're using is older than that, consider replacing all of it with RG-6 coax.

You probably need a new amplifier. RS/Archer amps tend to be very noisy; high noise levels drown out weak digital TV signals. And that's if the amp is working right! If the Archer amp is very old, it may be malfunctioning, which would also block signals. Replace it with a Winegard HDP-269 pre-amp (made by a fine company in Burlington, BTW), which is much quieter than just about anything made for RS. The good news is that RS now carries this pre-amp online and in company O&O stores.

How are you combining signals from the antennas? Their outputs must be combined onto one coax cable, since the Winegard pre-amp has only a single input.
 

suzzie

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#5
i was haveing bad reception and installed the Channel Master 7777 pre amp and it fixed it rite,:cheer2: i gainned 30 more viewable channels without tweeking grand total of 40 channels. i highly reconmend the cm 7777 amp.
Just a recently educated sugestion,hope it helps.
suzzie:bigband:
 
#6
Thanks for the replies. Yes, the coax is older and could be replaced. It appears to be all the RG6 kine. The amplifier you are recommending mounts to the antenna, correct? The Archer I mentioned connects to the outside lead and then sends one cable upstairs and one to the downstairs set--what should be there then?

My "guys" (and I do appreciate them going up on this old high roof) did choose to use an old flat wire to connect the Radio shack UHF to the older antenna (I assume it is VHF) even tho Radio Shack had sold me a cable and connector. Is that a major problem?

I'm a little confused as to whether you are saying a new antenna or other tweaks first. Or new antenna with tweaks? And how many channels (dependable) I could expect. Three channels is just not acceptable. Is TVFools green, yellow, red not to be believed?

Appreciate your patience, this is very over my head. Just do not want to "beat a dead horse" either.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#7
A lot of older amps only have 300 ohm inputs. Most antennas except the new Winegards have 300 ohm inputs. So if an amp has 300 ohm inputs, and the antenna is 300 ohm, the LOWEST loss will be flat lead from the antenna to the amp.

If you used RG6 to connect this type of set up, it would require a balun at the antenna and a balun at the amp. And there goes 2 db of signal before it ever gets in the amp.

Now this may be against everything that is common knowledge, but actually amps with 300 ohm inputs get more signal from the antenna to the amp, if it's a short piece of twin lead or draped correctly.

For example if you have a 300 ohm input amp, with an antenna on the rotor, you mount the amp between the antenna and the rotor. Draped with a small drip loop and 3 feet of line the lose to the amp is over a db less than an amp with a 75 ohm input. 3 feet of twin lead had just about zero loss. If you have a balun on the antenna there goes about a db at least at UHF. The cable is normally short enough the loss might be .1 db. But then each F-fitting on the end of it is about .1 db. So it adds up. Just 4 feet of RG6 with connectors on both ends adds at least 0.3 db of loss. 3 feet of twin lead the loss is so small it's hard to measure.

Then consider putting on a cheap Radio Shack or Walmart or Dollar store balun. They can go over 1.5 db at UHF. Add the coax loss and you just lost almost 2 db before the amp, in 4 feet of cable.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#8
Thanks for the replies. Yes, the coax is older and could be replaced. It appears to be all the RG6 kine. The amplifier you are recommending mounts to the antenna, correct? The Archer I mentioned connects to the outside lead and then sends one cable upstairs and one to the downstairs set--what should be there then?

My "guys" (and I do appreciate them going up on this old high roof) did choose to use an old flat wire to connect the Radio shack UHF to the older antenna (I assume it is VHF) even tho Radio Shack had sold me a cable and connector. Is that a major problem?

I'm a little confused as to whether you are saying a new antenna or other tweaks first. Or new antenna with tweaks? And how many channels (dependable) I could expect. Three channels is just not acceptable. Is TVFools green, yellow, red not to be believed?

Appreciate your patience, this is very over my head. Just do not want to "beat a dead horse" either.
Don M's suggestion above is probably the best idea. First buy a good preamp. Him and I are fairly sure you will see an improvement from just that.

Mount it at the antenna. Then there is a power box that comes with it that you put inside. After the power box you can split the coax off to two TVs.

If the coax needs to be kept outside where it is split, there is a splitter that you can power an amp through on one side, Winegard CC 7870 2-Way Antenna Joiner Coupler (CC7870) | CC-7870 [Winegard] First this splitter mounts outside if you need to keep the coax going to the two TV's outside. I can be mounted on the TV mast. Then the TV that is feed with side 1 you put your power supply for the amp and it will work.
 
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