General discussion


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.


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To me

It sounds like your in a dead zone. Digital channels you get them or your get nothing. 290' run it very long, and you would need more then one in line amp, about one every 100'.

You have hardwood trees there???

For the most part, besides the long run cable, you have done what you need to try to get the channels. I would get a short 25' coax bring the omni antena in to the house just to test. Does your tv have a signal strangth meter??? If so keep an eye on it, put it on a digital channel that you know you can get, find the spot that has the strongest signal, when you find that hot spot then scan for other channels. Also make sure too try placing the antenna low on the ground or almost touching the ceiling, you never know...Your just testings to see what you can get at your house and keep an eye on that on screen strangth meter if you have one.
After the test and if it shows that you gets channels xyz and then take note what is outside, like is there a big tree and if you move a foot to the left you loss the signal.
Also find out where your broadcast towers are and what channel you should be getting in your area... I will get you website in a second....
If you have lots of trees, you may want to pick the tallest one closest one tree and then pay a tree guy to it stall the anntena up it at the very top.

Yes some tv's have better tuners then a box. I have just had one of my tv's hooked up to an antenna (a Sony) directly hooked up, I would get about 22 digital channels with my omni antenna and half the channels are broadcast 120-140 miles away, same antenna same spot hooked it up to my dishnetwork dvr I loss more then half the channels.

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Here is the website
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Is it me...

...or did antennaweb suddenly become a spam magnet asking for so much personal information(?) What happened to all the channels listings/locs that were previously freely viewable w/o having to enter your info??


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zip code?

Are you anywhere near Crandon, WI? I believe my friend had a similar experience until he added sufficient amplifier(s) to his cable run adjacent to his property. It is unfortunate that unlike analog you don't get any snowy picture but only a blank screen w/ DTV Sad. I'm actually going to be up in the woods near St. Germain/Eagle River next week. Based on proximity to the transmitter I would say this area is not as bad for reception though, given the fact that all the trees up there will still likely be a constant issue Wink.

FWIW, the site actually makes it easier to find out what stations you should be able to receive based on location. Here's the link:

You might actually be able to recive more granular help on the 'how to' part of your amplification/reception issues if you visit one of the specialized satellite/antenna/dbs/highdef forums. Here's one I would check out-


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fringe area broadcast reception issues

Having exhausted all obvious routes to achieve hdtv broadcast reception, I am now considering purchasing a new TV to eliminate the cconverter box.

I purchased the best and largest antenna with the most elements to replace the existing 25 year old Channel Master antenna/preamp coupled with the best yagi uhv antenna that Radio Shack then had to offer. Before tearing off the old system, I hooked the Digital Stream converter box and results were surprisingly good seeing the gov't web site said not to plan on receiving HDTV signals at my zip code. With this I was excited, since all espert (?)advice was to rip all the old RG5x, preamp out and toss the old 35# channel master antenna off the roof and replace it. So I went to work running new quad RG6 with the
new antenna and 26db gain preamp adjusting it to max signal strength on the best channel and the results were very disappointing when compared with that of the old system laying in a heap on the lawn. With not a cloud in the sky and early morning atmospheric conditions (recalling my 1963 antenna theory)between my 2 story roof and the 2 nearest nest of broadcast stations (one 60 miles, the other 90 miles distant)things work fine but deteriate as the morning wears on to evening.

Next step was to add the old uhf antenna to the pole in the new uhv/vhf antenna which did not improve the 60 mile reception when pointed at the 60 mile sweet spot, but did bring in the 90 mile nest of vhf and uhf channels when pointing the single uhf antenna to the 90 mile sweetspot, leaving the large uhf/vhf antenna pointing at the 60 mile of both worlds (remembering from experience to ignore the antenna plot when adjoining 2 antennas) but only able to pull the vhf stations in the evening, and none if rain showed on the radar between me and the distant broadcast antenna nests.
So, I am investigating tuner sensivity with the converter box and TV manufacturers and models. So far, no factual data, but good reviews on the DataStream converter box, and only one comment from a web site review from someone matching my quest for fringe reception and found encouraging results from a Samsung 46" LCD.
So, before I take the plunge into a new TV (this time with and ASTC tuner and not relying on the salesman's word 2 years ago, "yes sir, this set is all digital..."), can someone give me some fresh ideas "besides get a tower".

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