Automate Setting of The Gen 4 Onboard Amplifier

I am about 40-45 miles away from the antenna farm to the south of me and 60 miles away from those to the north. My antenna is a Clearstream 2V that works quite well. I have a 26db amplifier between the antenna and the splitter that feeds my legacy quad and the gen 4. The splitter has a 4db loss. I get as many as 88 channels, including the ones 60 miles away, when the weather conditions are just right but get a consistent 77 of the most powerful channels to the south. There are numerous low power, 15kW or less, about 20-25 miles away that I have no chance of receiving.

I don’t know how much gain the internal amplifier has but I keep it turned off. People in some areas can have a mixture of strong and weak channels coming in. Conditions can be such that the amplifier has to be off for the strong channels to keep from overdriving the receiver but has to be on to get the weaker channels.

I suggest using the internal signal strength measurement to control whether the amplifier is on or off for each channel. When tuning a channel, turn the amplifier off and measure the signal strength. Turn the amplifier on if the signal strength is below a certain threshold and leave it on until changing to another channel. This can possibly increase the number of channels that can be received by improving reception of marginal channels.

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That’s an excellent suggestion, I turned mine off and personally do not need it (spoiled, all stations we want broadcast within about 25 miles) but yeah, with broadcast television the signal strengths can vary quite widely.

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I don’t think I need to also figure out if a signal issue is due to some auto-adjustment of amplification.

They can always make it so the on/off decision is yours. I however would prefer automation for this reason: ON, some high power, 1 megawatt, channels are not detected during the channel scan, OFF some low power channels are not detected during the channel scan. Channels not detected during the scan won’t show in the guide. Both high power and low power channels can become intermittent due to changing atmospheric conditions and the state of the amplifier.

I want every viable channel to show up in the guide. That, to me, suggests that each actual channel be tested during the scan with the amplifier on and off to only determine if the actual channel is viable enough for the virtual channels to be in the guide.

Keep in mind that there are 2 tuners and a amplifier for each. Hopefully the switches for the amplifiers are independent and not ganged. Turning the amplifiers on in setup leaves the question of independence open. If the amplifiers are independent then doing the amplifier on/off test when tuning a channel can be done without interfering with the other tuner.

Did tablo say there were 2 amplifiers or, what I would think is cheaper, one amplifier with a splitter delivering 11 dB gain to each tuner? Wouldn’t the amplifier adjustment need to be made every time you select a channel?

This appears to be a “if come” wish. If it comes true for $100 or less let me know.

Where did you get 11dB gain for the amplifier?

As I mentioned, step 1. determine the viability of each actual channel during the scan just to put it in the guide. Step 2. determine the state of the amplifier when tuning to a channel.

Now for the rf front end considerations. I didn’t want to get into this much detail. The tv front end is not so simple that you can get by with just one broadband amplifier. VHF consists of 2 distinct frequency bands. Each band is tuned by properly selected inductors and capacitors that feed it’s own amplifier and mixer. UHF could be broken down to multiple bands as well with it’s own amplifiers and mixers. Considering VHF only, one person can be tuned to a low VHF channel, channels 1-6 and another person can be tuned to to one of the high VHF channels, channels 7-13. Just VHF alone requires 2 amplifiers, mixers and phase locked loops. Add in UHF and it’s requirements then we end up with a lot of amplifiers, switches, mixers and phase locked loops.

Based on that, I am convinced that there are at least 2 combinations of front ends for low VHF, high VHF and UHF.

Of all components there, the amplifiers, which can be as simple as 2 transistors, take up the least amount of real estate.

The product description. I usually try to read it before I buy a product.

And how much software will be required. And how much will it cost to develop, test, maintain, enhance, and support?

Built-in Antenna Amplifier:
  • 11dB gain per tuner
  • 75 Ohm impedance (input and output)
    Can be turned off if using external amplifier

I didn’t get a chance to read up on it since I was one of the original beta testers. I concentrated on the interface to Roku and Android mobile.

Software is simple. It boils down to decision making. It only works if the switches are independent and not ganged. Ganged switches are a problem when someone is watching a low sognal level channel that requires the amplifier and someone puts the other receiver to a channel that works best without the amplifier. That user will turn the amplifiers off thus killing the signal to the other receiver.

I’m not going to get into the software details except for saying that most of the needed routines exist. The routine to toggle the amplifier switches will have to be changed to treat each as individual switches.