Question: Help upgrading my antenna in California Central Coast

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#21
James,

To try for KCBS (43) I'd put a tiny DB-2 or your current antenna WAY up in the air. A couple years ago I ran a DB-2 55 feet above ground level and I was able to capture two low-power channels almost 90 miles away from me. I suggest a DB-2 because it was designed when TV channels still went from 14 to 69, so it is probably better suited for channel 43: secondly, it is very light weight and has little wind resistance. Here's a link to an image from Google: http://www.summitsource.com/images/products/pdfANDTV2.jpg

Jim
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#23
James,

Thirteen bucks is a great price for a DB2. It is a very well built antenna but please understand it is somewhat obsolete because it was intended to receive TV channels up to 69 ... and channels 52 through 69 are now dedicated far more important cell phone selfie-photos.

I raised mine (I have two of them) 55 feet during perfect weather with no wind on a 50 foot telescopic antenna mast (like a car antenna) with a rotor on top and a ten foot mast in the rotor. A completely crazy setup and only for testing. By the way, a DB2 is a terrific antenna to use when camping, if you have a battery powered DTV. I have one mounted on a telescopic fiberglass 'paint pole' originally intended for painting ceilings that works well in the field for testing and for camping: it is a decent mid-band UHF antenna --- if located high enough above ground level.

I use three telescopic masts at my home and they are available in two-section (20 foot) three, four and five sections. (Link) Channel Master Universal 50 ft. Indoor/Outdoor Telescoping Mast-CM-1850 - The Home Depot I have seen these roof-mounted but I prefer to have the base on the ground and guy wires are necessary.

Jim

PS If you read the link it says indoor-outdoor ... is that a joke?
 
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#24
I like the idea. It sounds like something I'd try. I'm a certified antenna nut and have a bone pile of Winegard, Channel Master, and Antennacraft aluminum to prove it. The idea of small, lightweight, low cost antenna, antenna on a tall mast is very appealing to me. Things like switched antenna systems, and dual tuners do not bother me at all, but I often get a very negative response from others on the forum when I suggest things that are proven to work.
Jim
Thanks for your second post on the subject to clarify things.
DX chasers and antenna nuts look at all of this a bit differently.
The experience we gain from signal chasing can be put to practical use by others.
I'm not certain about now, but MFJ (AKA Mighty Fine Junk. I love MFJ products.) use to sell some reasonably priced fiberglass mast that would get you 40 feet, and might stay up for a day in calm weather. Quick Google search it is only 33 feet. Right now I'm in an airport restricted area as best I know the rules it limits me to 20 feet above the existing structure before I need FAA involvement. I do know they occasionally come by and measure our trees. I am right next to an airport. Yes air traffic does cause OTA Video drop outs.
There are quite a few things on the current Channel Master web site that really stretch ones imagination.
Steve
 

jamesm113

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#25
Yikes. I think those might some long term projects for me. I have powerlines within 50 feet of where I could raise an antenna. But for $13, I just might pick up one of those DB8's next time I'm by a Walmart.

Had a question about the FM traps. I hooked up the coax cable to my receiver's FM antenna jack. With 1 radioshack FM trap, I get 13 stations loud and clear in stereo-only mode (88.7, 89.5, 89.9, 90.3, 91.9, 92.9, 93.7, 97.5, 98.3, 99.9, 101.7, 103.3). With 2 back to back radioshack FM traps, I get 3 stations in stereo-only mode (88.7, 89.5, 89.9). But if I use mono mode, I get those same 13 stations + other faint ones, even with 2 FM traps.

What's the goal of the FM traps? I think it's clear I need one that filters out the low 88-90 MHz range better than the radioshack ones, but how much do I need to obliterate the FM signal?
 
#26
On a FM receiver you are not likely to obliterate the FM signal from a strong local transmitter. What you are trying to do is weaken the second harmonic of the strong FM signal enough that it does not interfere with a weak high VHF TV signal, or in some cases overload an amplifier.
Steve
 

jamesm113

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#27
Thought I'd give an update.

I added some hardware cloth to the UHF reflector on the 7698P, and I managed to pull in KCBS on most nights, but I suspect the hardware cloth is hurting VHF reception.

I'm looking at upgrading to a better pre-amp, the RCA had too many issues with signal overload across all channels. I currently have the Winegard Boost XT. It overloads on one station KTLA (UHF 31, which I suspect is caused by neighboring local UHF32), and I get better results with no pre-amp.

The 3 pre-amp options I'm looking at are-
* Kitztech KT-501 . P1dB of 23dBm. Noise figure of .85dB
Ultimate TV Antenna Signal Booster, TV Amplifier, HDTV Booster! Guaranteed!

* Research Communications 9263 . P1dB of 20.4dBm, Noise figure of .4dB
Pricing and puchasing inforation for low noise 0.4 dB NF HDTV preamplifiers

*AbilityHDTV DataWaveRF "ULNA/INT". P1dB of 22.8dBm, Noise figure of .4dB. I think this is no longer in production though.
http://www.abilityhdtv.com/product-list.php?pg1-cid42.html

Any other pre-amps options I should be looking at?

For comparison,
The RCA has a P1dB of 10dBm, and I wasn't able to find a noise figure. The Winegard boost has a P1dB of around 15-18 and a noise figure of ~3dB.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#28
... I currently have the Winegard Boost XT. It overloads on one station KTLA (UHF 31, which I suspect is caused by neighboring local UHF32), and I get better results with no pre-amp. ...
James,

Many years back in the analog days I monkeyed around with a variety of amplifiers, attenuators and notch-filters and most of that experience is obsolete in the digital TV world. I now live within less than a mile from four, one megawatt ERP TV transmitters, so I have no need and little experience with modern pre-amplifiers or amplifiers. All of those transmitters are located a couple blocks apart from each other and they are on adjacent RF channels 47 and 48 and a third is on RF channel 50: my TV tuners have no issues with those adjacent channels.

Secondly, I took one of my battery-powered portables to the 7-11 quickie-store located one block from one of the above transmitters and this (cheap) $40 set also had no problem with the 'alleged' adjacent channel concern. Back in the analog days adjacent channel interference was real but from what I have experienced, digital tuners couldn't care less.

I think you answered your own question: your pre-amp is wiping out KTLA-31.

Solution: you could install an A-B switch (and coax) to bypass the pre-amp when you want to receive 31 and you wouldn't have to turn off the pre-amp - just let it be. It would require a 'tee' fitting on the input connector of the pre-amp, coax bypassing the pre-amp going to an A-B switch, coax from the pre-amp output going to the A-B switch, so you can choose the amped on non-amped signal that feeds your home. Channel Master has a remote-controlled A-B switch that would be perfect for this.

Jim

PS I wish I had SWHouston's graphics software so I could draw this up.
 
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#29
I can only repeat from memory what I've read else where about current amplifiers on the market. The low noise Kitztech, and Research Communications amplifiers are very pron to failure from static discharge, such is the nature of the very low noise transistors in them.
While I don't have them in front of me I can chase down specs on the RCA TVPRAMP1R. An Antennas Direct employee has done extensive bench test of many amplifiers, and posted the results else where on the internet. The RCA is not bad. It's a slightly improved copy of the old CM7778. The RCA has some know quality control problems. The new Winegard amps do not meet claimed specs. While they are not bad they don't live up to the claimed specs.
I don't think there is an amplifier built that is not going to have overload problems at your location. Your amplifier overload problems come from KPMR at 67.4 NM, KEYT at 59.6 NM combined with the other strong nearby signals there is not an amplifier built that will not have problems.
There is no easy plug and play solution to what you are trying to do. There are No Magic amplifiers.
Steve
 

jamesm113

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#30
Good to know about the remote A-B switch. Right now, I get better results with no pre-amp, so I'm not running one right now. But that might come in handy if I find a pre-amp that actually aides reception.

I did try two RCA pre-amps. Both had similar results - I suspect due to the low P1dB #.

Here's the links I found about the RCA pre-amp-
https://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=13530 (indicates it's similiar to the CM7778)

RCA TVPRAMP1R Preamp: A Technical Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews (states P1dB of 10 for UHF and 15 for VHF)

There's also a little bit of a discussion of the Antenna's Direct Juice, Winegard Boost XT and RCA preamp here (with some bench test's) - Antennas Direct New Clearstream Juice Preamp - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews

KPMR and KEYT are both on the backside of the antenna. KZDF (VHF 8) and K10PV (VHF 10) are giving me the most troubles because they are 32 degrees to side of my antenna and adjacent to channels I want to receive (7,9,11). I'm able to get 13 from LA pretty consistently throughout the day.

The Winegard was close to working with no overload issues. KTLA-31 was still still coming in, just too many artifacts.
 
#31
Remote-controlled coax A-B switches are not as widely available now as they were a few years ago. The only ones I've come up with in my recent searches are from Antennas Direct, and left over discontinued Radio Shack ones on Amazon, or eBay. Radio Shack discounted them out real cheap. At $40 it puts them in the same price range as using separate tuners depending upon input options on the TV, and output options on the after market tuner. Low cost HD tuners are now widely available. I'm not certain how any of this might play into a solution for your situation.
Steve
 

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