Which is better for increasing DTV Reception

DoubtingDTV

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#1
I have an 8 element outdoor antenna that I've been messing around with to get a better picture for a couple of channels. Our main problem is that sometimes during the day, we get a flickery reception and a few "No Signal" reports from our converter box.

I've read about boosters on here and I've also read that 300 ohm flat lead cable isn't as good as RG6. Which would be more beneficial to do first? Replace the cable or add a booster? I'm not working with a big budget here so I'm hoping to not spend a lot.

My television is located approximately 30' from our antenna with 50' of flat lead cable between the two. I'm using a Magnavox converter box.
 

Jim1348

DTVUSA Member
#2
Forget about the amplifiers for right now and concentrate on getting brand new RG-6 coaxial cable. Do not use the flat lead cable anywhere in the installation. You will find that RG-6 is more expensive than the RG-59, but it is worth the price difference in my opinion because of improved shielding. Only re-consider getting an amplifier if the coaxial cable replacement doesn't take care of the problem. To put it in perspective, the signal goes through the cable. but if the signal isn't great in the fist place, there is little value in amplifying it. You also may want to shop around a little bit for your 50 foot run of cable prices can vary somewhat from store to store.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#4
When you replace the cable, your antenna will need a "balun," also known as a coax transformer, to adapt the antenna terminals for use with coax. You probably have one now behind the converter/TV set. It can be re-purposed if you know that it's rated for both indoor and outdoor use. If you're not sure about the rating, go ahead buy a new one. They only cost about five bucks.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#5
DoubtingDTV,

Jim1348 is spot on: odds are changing to a good quality coax will make a world of difference. Also, an Engineer on the Seattle Forum recommends to avoid Radio Shack coax because it is more lossy and leaky than other brands like Belden.

It would help us if you posted a link to your TV Fool report and if we knew more about your antenna including its height.
Jim

PS Don_M is also spot-on!
 
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Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#6
Agree with everyone that the twin lead should go first. On a more positive note, the 8-bay antenna was a great choice. The 4-bay antennas kick ass but the 8-bays can kick even more ass.
:)
 

MikeC

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#7
I have an 8 element outdoor antenna that I've been messing around with to get a better picture for a couple of channels. Our main problem is that sometimes during the day, we get a flickery reception and a few "No Signal" reports from our converter box.

I've read about boosters on here and I've also read that 300 ohm flat lead cable isn't as good as RG6. Which would be more beneficial to do first? Replace the cable or add a booster? I'm not working with a big budget here so I'm hoping to not spend a lot.

My television is located approximately 30' from our antenna with 50' of flat lead cable between the two. I'm using a Magnavox converter box.
I agree with everyone about good quality coax and a balun.

Another couple of points that are often overlooked are:
1) Make sure your antenna can't "see" anything that's likely to produce electrical arcing; e.g. air-conditioning systems.
2) DTV receivers can be susceptible to overloading and present similar symptoms to too low a signal. The overloading can also be caused by analog signals! Many people here in the UK have had to attenuate their antenna feeds to get rid of problems.

Regards,
Mike
 

gary350

DTVUSA Member
#8
Thank you. Found this FAQ too in support of your response that basically says that there will be no signal degradation until about 100' of cable. Coaxial ("Coax") Cable FAQ
I bought a box of RG-6/U 75 ohm 25 ft coax cable for $29.95 at Radio Shack Sunday. I didn't shop around so I don't know if this is a good price. The box says dB losses in the cable per 100 ft is, 2.1 at 100 MHz, 3.1 at 200 MHz, 4.4 at 400 MHz, 6.0 at 700 MHz, 6.9 at 900 MHz.

The cheapest balun or antenna matching transformer at Radio Shack is $15 the only thing they have is 300 to 75 ohms in 3 versions and 3 prices.

You might want to check prices other places I bet you can find the same stuff cheaper some place other than Radio Shack.
 
#9
Thank you. Found this FAQ too in support of your response that basically says that there will be no signal degradation until about 100' of cable. Coaxial ("Coax") Cable FAQ
That FAQ is flat out wrong.

At the highest channel of interest around 700 MHz, even a decent quality RG6 will attenuate by nearly 6 dB. A 3 dB is a loss of 50%, another 3 dB is another 50% of what is left over. When computing loss budgets for the distribution system, use the worst case data.

30 bucks for 25' is a pretty steep retail price....
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#10
The cheapest balun or antenna matching transformer at Radio Shack is $15 the only thing they have is 300 to 75 ohms in 3 versions and 3 prices.
The "300- to 75-ohm version" is what's needed to match a 300-ohm antenna to standard 75-ohm coax cable. This is RS's matching transformer rated for both indoors and outdoors. Perhaps they were out of stock when you visited the store. Whatever the case, $15 is outrageous for a balun!
 

bebop

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#11
I bought a box of RG-6/U 75 ohm 25 ft coax cable for $29.95 at Radio Shack Sunday. I didn't shop around so I don't know if this is a good price. The box says dB losses in the cable per 100 ft is, 2.1 at 100 MHz, 3.1 at 200 MHz, 4.4 at 400 MHz, 6.0 at 700 MHz, 6.9 at 900 MHz.

The cheapest balun or antenna matching transformer at Radio Shack is $15 the only thing they have is 300 to 75 ohms in 3 versions and 3 prices.

You might want to check prices other places I bet you can find the same stuff cheaper some place other than Radio Shack.
Sounds too expensive. I got a 50' of the same cable for about $14 at Lowes (white) since I needed it right away. But I should have went here for it:
Monoprice.com RG6 coaxial cable

Also I got a balum (matching transformer) at Radio Shak here in Idaho for less than $6. They had two for sale, one black not fancy, and the other gold and was about $8. I could have found it cheaper here (if I needed a few), but I don't know about the quality - I imagine okay:
Summitsource.com -- Steren 200-500 75 to 300 Ohm Matching Transformer
 
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gary350

DTVUSA Member
#12
The "300- to 75-ohm version" is what's needed to match a 300-ohm antenna to standard 75-ohm coax cable. This is RS's matching transformer rated for both indoors and outdoors. Perhaps they were out of stock when you visited the store. Whatever the case, $15 is outrageous for a balun!
If you have a 75 ohm antenna then you need a 75 to 75 ohm balun. I have a 75 ohm antenna and I leave off the balun and it works better with no balun at all.
 

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