Home audio & video forum: FRINGE AREA HDTV RECEPTION ISSUES HELP!!!

by: Dimwittedmoose51 July 22, 2009 2:15 AM PDT

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FRINGE AREA HDTV RECEPTION ISSUES HELP!!!

by Dimwittedmoose51 - 7/22/09 2:15 AM

We have a cabin in Northern Wisconsin that like 80 miles from the Green Bay transmitters, 80 miles from Wausau, and a good 60 miles from Rhinelander. With the old analog system, we could use a hi gain Channel Master antenna(like 10' long and very heavy, have it mounted on a 12' pole and go out and manually turn the antenna in the direction that we needed; a shade tree installation, but it only needed 50' of RG 6 cable to get decent reception. The TV is a 10-15 yr old Analog Sony and our reception area is WAY down in a hollow by a lake. Other folks living lower to the lake than we do can get some stations with a rotator and signal amplifiers using the DTV converter boxes.

After getting up there this summer and planning on upgrading the TV reception, I added the converter box and changed nothing else. Basically, we got no TV signal. My first question is:

1. Does the HDTV system require a stronger signal than the old analog system?
2. How much signal loss do you get with using an HDTV converter box? This model is a Zenith.
3. Would buying a moderately priced digital TV(we're only up there maybe 3 weeks out of the year) improve rection compared to the converter box?

This summer I took an Antenna Direct HDTV antenna up there to replace the Channel Master and although it was supposed to be omni directional, it didn't perform any better than the Channel Master using the same 50 ft. of coax. Not being satisfied with that, I carried both antennas and the TV and converter box up the hill about 50 feet(vertically) and ran the channel scan with the same 50' of coax cable and now could get 11 or 12 channels with either antenna. With that revelation, I set out to install the Channel Master on a 20' pole on the higher ground and use a rotator for directional control for the signal and planned on returning the new antenna to Best Buy and get my money back. I even added an additional 100' of coax to the experimental installation and definitely lost channels, but not all of them with the longer line involved. Total coax length of the permanent installation is about 290'( 250 of the RG6 Quad shielded cable and another 40'of Quad Shield connected via a gold plated twin male threaded coupler and compression connectors designed for use with this cable.

I get everything hooked up and the rotator doesn't work(used 3 runs of 18 ga. automotive wire hoping it would handle the elements and the long length better than the cheapo 20 ga. rotator wire sold in the stores. Bottom line is that there was NO signal showing up with the new set up after running the converter signal scan and adding a simple 12db in line amplifier didn't improve the situation at all. So now, I go to the local Hardware store and buy a $150 Digitenna DUV-DF specifically designed for 80 mile fringe reception. It weighs about 1/5 of what the Channel Master does, but it pulled no signal either.

My final questions have to deal with where to go from here. The same hardware store sells an $80 Winegard signal amplifier, but it requires the preamp be hooked up to the antenna and the electronic parts kept inside the cabin. It worked moderately well with the 50' cable installation, but we deemed it on worth the money. I think it was model 8275 or something like that.
1. Even though scientific method wasn't used in the strictest sense here, I appear to have a problem stemming from the long cable length. Do any of you folks out there have suggestions on which antenna amplifier(s) I should be using and would a distribution amplifier be used.? we're only using one TV in this system. As I understand it, the amps should not increase the snowy effect of the old analog systems, but if I add one amplifier(high quality unit and high signal boost) and that doesn't work, can I add another and expect to have multiple boosters in line and have positive results? Lastly, God forbid, there's a flaw in either the short or the long run of Quad shield coax, how would I test the cable with a V/ohm meter to see if ANY signal was getting to the tuner?

Thanks for wading through this long post, but I wanted to make sure everyone knew what I had done so far.

DM&FS

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