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TV Antenna Preamplifiers and Distribution amplifiers

 


In weaker signal areas a quality preamplifier will almost always improve TV reception.

A preamplifier is mounted to the mast and amplifies the signal coming directly from the antenna. The advantage to this is the signal is amplified at its strongest point when it comes off at the antenna. However, many times in strong signal areas a preamplifier is not needed. If the signals are reasonably strong and the coax cable run from the antenna to the TV is relatively short (50 feet or less) and goes directly from the antenna to the TV (no signal splitters in line) you will likely not need a preamplifier.

A distribution amplifier is usually mounted indoors and is used when supplying signal to multiple TVs. Install the distribution amplifier on the antenna side of the signal splitter. Distribution amplifier's do very little good installed near the TV input. 

When to use a preamplifier

  • To improve reception in weaker signal areas.
  • When the coax cable run from the antenna to the TV is longer then 50 feet.
  • Many times when a signal splitter is installed within the antenna system a preamplifier will help.

When not to use a preamplifier

  • When the TV signals are strong. Strong signals may overdrive the preamplifier and possibly the TV tuner itself causing reception problems.

Strong signals and multiple TV location.

  • If your location is in a strong signal area and you will divide the signal to several TV locations you will likely need signal amplification. Use a distribution amplifier in strong signal areas not a preamplifier. install the distribution amplifier within a 50 foot cable run from the antenna. Install it on the antenna side of the signal splitter. By placing the amplifier further from the antenna you will reduce the likelihood of signal overdrive.
  • In strong signal areas use the HDA 100 distribution amplifier when a 2, 3, or 4 way signal splitter will be installed with the longest cable run from the splitter to the furthest TV is 75 feet or less. If any cable runs from the splitter to the furthest TV is greater then 75 feet use the HDA 200 amplifier.
  • If a 6 or 8 way splitter is installed use the HDA 200

Weak signals and multiple TV locations

  • The number of times the signal is divided and how long the coax cable runs are will determine proper amplification.
  • In weaker signal areas when a 2 way signal splitter is installed with a total coax cable run of 50 feet or less from the antenna to the furthest TV use the AP 8700 preamplifier. If the coax cable run is longer then 50 feet but does not exceed 150 feet from the antenna to the furthest TV use the AP 8780 preamplifier.
  • When a 3 or 4 way signal splitter is installed and the cable run from the antenna to the furthest TV doesn't exceed 100 feet use the AP 8780 preamplifier
  • When a 6 or 8 way signal splitter is installed it is best if you install both a preamplifier and a distribution amplifier. Use the HDP 269 preamplifier when the coax cable run between the preamplifier and distribution amplifier is 75 feet or less. Use the AP 8700 when the cable run from the preamplifier to the distribution amplifier is greater then 75 feet up to 150 feet. In conjunction with one of the preamplifier above use the HDA 100 distribution amplifier if the coax cable run from the signal splitter to the furthest TV is 50 feet or less. If the coax cable run is greater then 50 feet from the splitter to the furthest TV use the HDA 200 distribution amplifier.
  • Install the distribution amplifier ahead of the signal splitter on the antenna side of the splitter.

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Additional Resource

Design A TV Signal Distribution System
The most important element of a TV antenna system is the antenna and a close second is the signal distribution system. The distribution system transports the TV signal from the antenna to the TV.

 

Still have questions about signal amplifiers?