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      Previously asked TV antenna questions of the day

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Question:  I live in metro Atlanta (_______ St. NW, Duluth, GA. 30096). I've considered dropping cable in favor of OTA programming. I know that Atlanta has 10 or so digital channels that have very high signal strength in my area. I live in a 3 story townhouse (35 feet ground to gutter) that has a stand up attic. My question is about antenna placement. I recently had 6 inches of foam insulation installed in the attic (roof decking and gables. How will spray foam insulation affect my TV signal if I decide to place a TV antenna in the attic?I assume the EZ HD TV antenna would work fine if placed it outside. What about inside the attic? Would upgrading to the HD Stacker antenna produce significantly better results? What other things would I need to purchase to provide a suitable signal to 5 TV's?

Answer:  The foam should have little affect if any on the TV reception. The things you have to look out for are metal, brick, foil insulation, masonry, etc.... See Antenna Attic Installation. The EZ HD TV antenna should work great in the attic at your location as long as there's no building materials as mentioned above in the SSW direction to the transmitters. At your location the antenna should be installed aiming SSW at about 225 degrees on the compass. To supply 5 TV locations you will need a signal splitter and a distribution signal amplifier. Since no one makes a 5 way signal splitter I recommend a 6 way splitter. Cap-off the unused splitter output port using an F terminator. To counteract the effects of dividing the signal with the signal splitter use the HDA 100 signal distribution amplifier. Install the HDA 100 within a 50 foot coax cable run from the TV antenna on the antenna side of the signal splitter. The amplifier will boost the signal from the TV antenna and compensate for the signal reduction introduced by the signal splitter. BTW. You'll find that there are about 40 channels available at your location. Most TV stations provide sub channels. For an example, in your area PBS will offer channels 30.1, 30.2, 30.3 and 30.4 for a total of 4 channels. The number of channels each TV station offers varies from station to station. Customer reports from the Atlanta area indicate that there are about 40 channels available.



Question:  I want to install a preamplifier. The coax cable length from the TV antenna to the location where I can install the preamplifier power supply is about 125 feet. How long can the coax cable length be from the preamplifier on the pipe near the TV antenna to the power supply I plan to install in my basement.

Answer:  As you probably know the preamplifier power supply (included with most preamplifier's) injects low voltage electricity into the coax cable. This voltage travels through the cable to the preamplifier and provides the operating power to the mast mounted preamplifier. The distance the electricity can travel through the cable from the antenna mast mounted preamplifier to the power supply (usually located indoors) will vary from one preamplifier brand to another. Also, cable length will vary according to the quality of the coax cable in use. I'm familiar with Winegard or Channels Master preamplifier and my rule of thumb is as follows. If the coax cable in use is "RG 59" I suggest no more than 150 feet of cable length. For "RG 6" 250 feet of cable is acceptable. Especially when the "RG 6" cable in use is solid copper. Here's a tip! To determine if coax cable is copper clad (steel coated with copper) or if it's solid copper use a magnet. If the magnet is attracted to the cable the cable is copper clad (steel). If there's no attraction the cable is usually solid copper.



Question:  Can I use one TV antenna to supply multiple Televisions in my house? I have six TV's that I would like to have get signal.

Answer:  Yes, you can. In fact a TV antenna can supply hundreds even thousands of TV's from a single antenna. A signal splitter is used to divide the signal to each TV location in your home. There are various sizes of splitters. The splitter has a single input with multiple outputs. In your case you need a 6 way signal splitter to supply 6 TV's. A splitter has one input and multiple outputs. In your case you need a 6 splitter. One input and 6 outputs. Connect coax cable to each of the splitter outputs and run the cable to each TV location. The TV antenna alone may not have enough signal power to provide a strong signal to each location. The more times the TV signal is divided by the splitter the weaker it becomes. You can counteract the signal loss created by the splitter by installing the proper distribution amplifier before the signal splitter on the antenna side of the splitter. The distribution amplifier will boost the signal and compensate for the signal reduction introduced by the splitter.



Question:  I was just wondering if I would put an TV antenna in the attic can I run the cable to the cable box on the side of my house? Because I have the connectors in the house so I don't have to do a bunch of drilling and put holes in my house.

Answer:  That is one of the easiest and a correct way of doing it. TV antennas in the attic do not require grounding. However, because the coax cable will run on the exterior of the house I recommend that the coax cable be grounded at the location near to where it re-enters your home. You can do this by installing a ground block and grounding it to a proper ground such as a ground rod via ground wire. Some signal splitters have a ground wire connection and the coax cable can be grounded by grounding the signal splitter to a ground in the same manner as the ground block. The signal splitter becomes the ground block and grounds the coax cable. When the signal splitter is grounded a ground block is not needed.



Question:  I was just wondering why I get much better reception from my old analog TV with converter box and rabbit ears antenna (VHF and UHF) than I can get from a new digital TV with the same TV antenna. Under the old set up I could get 26 digital channels that are in my area. With the new digital TV and same antenna, I'm lucky to get 12 of those channels and only a few of those come in clear without breaking up. The channels I don't get at all with the new digital TV tend to be the hi VHF stations (channels 8, 10, 12 in my area). I'm in an apartment so I need to use an indoor TV antenna.

Answer:  Unfortunately not all TV tuners are created equal. The likely cause of the problem is the TV tuner in the converter box is better (more sensitive) than the tuner the manufacturer built into the new TV. Most manufacturers don't provide tuner specifications so you don't know what you're getting until you get the TV home. If the rabbit ears antenna you are currently using is not amplified I suggest you try an amplified rabbit ear style TV antenna. The amplifier will boost the signal strength coming from the antenna and that may help.



Question:  Denny, I have TV stations located in a few different directions, will the EZ HD TV antenna pick up those stations? Here's my address, please let me know: _____________. Here is the TVfool's (limk) database with stations I'm suppose to receive. Some stations are many more miles than 50. Is there a TV antenna that will get those far away stations listed on TV Fool?

Answer:  The issue with TV Fool is they list some channels that can't be or are very hard to receive, Most channels that TV Fool has listed in the Grey color can't reliably be received with any TV antenna. Those channels listed in Red can usually be received with a high gain directional antenna. I guess the real issue is not TV Fool its people don't read the chart below the displayed channel results or don't understand it. There's a color chart listed below the channel chart on TV Fool. It states the following. Grey: These channels are very weak and will most likely require extreme measures to try and pick them up. If you want to receive those channels listed in Red and maybe a few listed in Grey it will require the HD Stacker antenna, the HDP 269 preamplifier and the 9521A rotor. Note: That most of the channels listed in the Grey color are repeat networks that will primarily have the same programming as those channels listed in Green and Red. 

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