Antenna Attenuators

If you suspect a problem with overdriving your Tablo (especially when using an amplifier) Solid Signal has a sale on in-line attenuators that can let you mix and match as you desire.

I had to use them on my system to prevent overdriving my distribution amps with the output from my antenna amp.


I had an assortment of attenuators on hand, so I ran a series of tests that might interest others.

Basically I inserted attenuators at the antenna input of the Tablo and recorded results with various levels of attenuation.

I noticed in cases of GREEN dots I always saw 5; I never saw any other combination of GREEN dots. On weak signals I saw either 1 or 3 RED dots; no other combination.

Here goes:

00 DB Attenuation - 31 channels - all channels 5 GREEN dots

03 DB Attenuation - 31 channels - 30 channels all 5 GREEN dots, one channel 3 RED dots

06 DB Attenuation - 31 channels - all channels 5 GREEN dots

08 DB Attenuation - 31 channels - all channels 5 GREEN dots

10 DB Attenuation - 31 channels - 30 channels all 5 GREEN dots, one channel 3 RED dots

20 DB Attenuation - 31 channels - 30 channels all 5 GREEN dots, one channel 3 RED dots

30 DB Attenuation - 30 channels - all channels 5 GREEN dots

40 DB Attenuation - 28 channels - 22 channels all 5 GREEN dots, three channels 1 RED dot, three channels 3 RED dots

50 DB Attenuation - 22 channels - 13 channels all 5 GREEN dots, nine channels 3 RED dots

60 DB Attenuation - 7 channels - 5 channels all 5 GREEN dots, two channels 1 RED dot

My conclusion is that I have a high OTA channel signal strength at the antenna input at my Tablo. Since I have not seen any bad video recordings I am concluding the Tablo is not being negatively influenced by the high signal strength. The fact that good signals were observed even with 30 DB attenuation (except for one super-weak station) tells me I have at least 30 DB of reserve signal available.

Based upon my observations I do not see a need for attenuation at the antenna inputs of the Tablo, although they may be helpful in cascaded amplifier situations like mine, to prevent the antenna amplifier from over-driving the distribution amplifier, or to prevent a large local signal from overloading the antenna amplifier itself.


I had one station overdriving my Tablo - all the others others needed the amplifier from the antenna. A 3dB attenuator did the trick to stabilize everything.

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Rsieben - as I read your posts it is possible the strong signal was overloading your amp rather than the Tablo. Is that correct?

From my recent observation if the incoming signals are “clean to begin with” it seemed the Tablo could handle a 30 DB rise in signal strength with no change in the signal strength indication.

It is also possible your amp needed the resistive load of the 3db attenuator to stabilize. It would be interesting to know the R + Jx input impedance of the Tablo. It might be too high to provide a stabilizing load to some amplifiers.

I suppose it’s possible the signal was overloading the amp and not the Tablo. I don’t have a way of measuring at what point the signal was too strong. The amplifier is built into the antenna cable so my options were to unplug the power to the amp (weaker stations went away, strong station was ok) or add the attenuator after the amp, which kept the signal strong enough for the weaker stations but stabilized the stronger station. I’m roughly 30 miles with line-of-sight from all the TV stations antennas (they share a centralized tower) so I was a little surprised that one station was that much stronger than the others. It was the chief engineer at the stronger station that recommended the attenuator to fix my issue.

What is the proper way or tool to use for correct signal going into the Tablo? I fear that a station or two is too overpowered. What do I do to test/fix / buy the right thing to resolve my issue?

I believe more information should be supplied before expecting a rational suggestion from the readers.

1). Describe your overall antenna system ( type and location of antenna; amplifier (if used), splitters (if exist).

2). Describe the symptoms that cause you to suspect Tablo overload.

3.) Invest in a few cable attenuators that you can use for testing to see if reducing the antenna signal input improves reception.