Amplifier Recommendations

Actually, RF Propagation has so many variables that it is almost an arcane art. Sites like tvfool/ antennaweb are only giving the vague generalizations. You need a lot more math and data to actually predict signal levels on a given day at a given position (RF Modeling software)

Not to mention the fact that a sense of the problem goes a long way to finding a solution…

I guess the best advice one can give is try a combination of locations, antennas, preamps, distribution amps, cables, etc. and see what works for the situation. A trial and error thing that sometimes gets resolved quickly or sometimes can take a long time. And if nothing works, blast Tablo :laughing:

not necessarily. a knowledgeable person, with the right data, can get a good idea as to what the problem is likely to be as well as some potential methods to resolve the issue. The biggest value I see with sites like tvfool is that they give good data in regard to terrain obstructions and distance. For example I saw elsewhere (I think maybe this forum) there was a user who had large variations in SQ due to atmospheric conditions, even though he was relatively close to the broadcast towers. He wanted to amplify more, but the correct solution to his issue was increasing the HEIGHT of his antenna and REDUCING signal levels. (In this case multipath interference).

And these issues are specific to BROADCAST, not Tablo. Blame the current technology behind OTA. (Although the promises are that “ATSC 3.0 will be better”)

So many variables to consider from weather to obstructions, to rf interference etc, etc. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone commented that every time his dog farts he loses the signal.
I do believe that sheer height above ground level is your best ally all things being equal.
I’ve got my compact yagi antenna roof mounted some 35 ft above ground level and my reception is gangbusters. Fortunately all signals originate from same location here which is my reason for the unidirectional yagi antenna. Also helps minimize extraneous rf and multipath distortion I’m told.

35 feet above ground is not always possible. Congress and the FCC have mandated that antennas cannot be prevented from being erected by a homeowner. But that regulation applies to only 15 feet above roof level which HOAs enforce in subdivisions.

Preamps also apply in rural settings in which someone may erect a tower to mount an antenna 75 feet in the air but the broadcast tower could be 70 miles away. A signal attenuates with distance and in this case the receiver needs the assistance of a preamp.

Then there are condo and apartment dwellers.

BTW @CraigRoyce I had a Research Comms preamp and lost it after two years due to a lightning storm in the vicinity. They are susceptible to electrical volatility and people lose them. $200 down the friggin drain! Never again. Besides their 0.4 NF is now equaled by the Kitz 200 at half the price.

Hah serves you right for buying British rather than American! Glad Tablo is good ole Yankee pride :flag_us: red, white & blue.

Hear ya. The key here is 35 ft above GROUND level. The antenna is mounted just 10 ft above ROOF level.
I’m approximately 45 miles from transmitter towers. My present set up is feeding a simple unamplified 2 way splitter. As mentioned before, reception is gangbusters. Prior to that I went thru some half dozen indoor antenna’s with and without amps with crappy results. Companies like Mohu have no shame. Charging $60+ for a product that cost them pennies to produce.
My outdoor yagi cost half that. Sorry for folks who are unable to bypass that kind of ripoff.

Sorry CR, I’m afraid that accolade goes to our Loyalist neighbors to the North.

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Have you ever torn apart and peered inside one of those flatwave antennas? You’d be surprised what’s inside them. They are hardly “advanced technology” as they claim. There is a website where someone made one of them out of plexiglass and copper tape for a few bucks. In essence they are no different than a simple two bay bowtie that Radio Shack used to sell in the 50’s and 60’s for 5 bucks (and that little sucker was damned good for its size). I remember 20 years ago someone coming up with a slight mod to it that turned it into a great little antenna. Just when RS stopped selling it so we raided every RS store looking for any leftovers in their stock rooms. One guy stuck it atop a 20 foot pole and raised it up outside to get good reception.

There are some condo and apartment buildings that allow you to place an antenna on their roof and run a cable to your apt\condo for OTA.

Yes I read that article as well as some other ingenious homemade antennas based on a good understanding of RF propogation. You can check them out on You Tube.

Re your comment on condos and apts. One good roof mounted antenna feeding an amplified distribution network could service a slew of apt or condo dwellers with solid TV reception. Unfortunately there’s little incentive ($$$) for apt owners or condo associations to do that.

Brilliant! I think this is the most cracking thread on this forum. Cheers to you all for sharing your experience and wisdom.

Live in an apartment in Boston with six towers no more than five miles away. Problem is my apartment is on the opposite side of the building from the towers. Can’t bolt huge antenna to outside of brick building, but management will allow ‘small unobstusive’ antennas to be secured on window ledge. Can anyone recommend an antenna that fits that description. I have googled the web, but for every one that has a good review there is another negative review. Thanks in advance.

That’s a tough one - being on the opposite side of the building and away from the line towards the broadcast tower. In that position you might try an omni-directional antenna that picks up signals left and right, front and back - like the Channel Master SMARTenna 35/50. It just might also pick up valid reflections.

I would also try it with an inexpensive preamp (such as the Winegard LNA-100 or RCA TVPRAMP1R mentioned above) if the reception the omnidirectional picks up is marginal even though you are close. In your situation you might need two things to solve it - antenna plus preamp. Those two preamps BTW have overload protection to prevent overdriving the signals.

The Channel Master SMARTenna 35/50 is stylish enough to be mounted outside and comes with a mounting bracket.

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One person I know, living in an apartment, attached it to his ceiling since it can be placed horizontally.

Now don’t take me seriously (most folk don’t) but I did do something outlandish living in a condo one year. I built a Gray Hoverman (pretty large - 30" by 23") and stuck it in a closet. Couldn’t see it when the closet door was opened because it was disguised by pants and shirts and suits hanging there. Being on the 19th floor of the building we were pretty high up. Amazingly the GH brought in the signals darned well even though we were like you on the opposite side of the building away from the towers. When we sold the condo, the new owner was thrilled to have OTA and kept the antenna in the closet. That is my “coming out of the closet” story…:sunglasses:

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Now there’s nothing wrong with that…:wink:

Thanks Guys!

Craig- I could try your idea but the bride would hang ME out the window.

Remember when you go out the window to hold an antenna :grin:

My dad used to use me as an antenna extension in days of yore - the good ole golden days of TV top rabbit ears.“Stand there and touch one of the arms of the antenna,” he’d say. “Yup there’s the signal.” Mom would say, “How long you expect him to stand there - the program is an hour long!”

They could have brought you a chair…and a book…