New preamp or not?

I’m getting closer to perfect (for me) reception. What I’ve done recently:

  • Replaced the RG6 with RG6-Quad, really made a difference on reception, especially with come of the weaker channels. I now scan at 51 vs 46, but not really concerned about that, the additional channel is HSN and its affiliates, not something I care about. But, the other channels are coming in stronger, though there is still some dropping due to weak signals on three of the channels (WTAE [ABC, RF27], which is reportedly one of the hardest stations to pull in; WQED, which switched to the VHF band to get more money [PBS, RF4], and WPXI [NBC, RF23]).

  • The cable is a commercially made one, prior one was one I created using compression fittings and RG6 left behind by the cable company.

  • Grounded the antenna and the cable. Not sure if this had any affect, but at least it’s now legal.

  • Reduced the length to just what I need (15’ from antenna to ground conductor, 6’ from ground conductor into the house and Antop pre-amp).

Next question is about the preamp. The Antop (BigBoy 400) preamp is inside the house (at least I am assuming this is the preamp), it’s not made for outside installation. The cable comes into it, it plugs into the wall electric, and it connects to the Tablo (Quad). According to Antop the preamp is either off or it’s on at 33db gain, I have it turned on.

Watching different videos about preamps they all place them right at the antenna with no more than a 6’ cable. the preamp (all seem to tout 30db gains) connects to power and to the cable that goes into the house. Here are the questions I have:

  • would this setup be better than what I have?

  • are the power cords long enough to reach into the house? It doesn’t seem smart to plug them into an outdoor outlet being exposed to weather and outside conditions 24/7.

If I did go with this setup I would swap the current 6’ and 15’ wires to keep the run as short as possible and still limit the antenna-to-preamp cable to the 6’ max.

Your Antop preamp is located inside of your antenna. What you see inside is a power inserter to power the preamp. Your current installation is probably better than what you might get with an external preamp.

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Okay, thanks. Then what I am getting is probably the best I can get. The antenna is mounted on the chimney, the top of which is 15’ from ground, the poles (2 5-footer) extend 8’ above that, giving me a total height of 23’ from ground. I tried 3 poles for a max of 28’, but that seemed too shaky, and I don’t have the ability (or legality) to run wires to stabilize the mast. I might be able to use another pole to gain, maybe another 2’, but not sure how comfortable I am with how high I can safely extend the antenna.

I am considering a Winegard or ChannelMaster similar to this:

But, I’m not sure if that would give better reception. Though at this time it is a moot point since both company’s products are pretty much out of stock.

I replaced my yagi style antenna (which is what you referenced) with the Antop AT-400BV for several reasons. The main reason was that I have two large tree near the back side of my antenna and during severe storms they would break off the antenna rods and possibly change the direction my antenna was pointed. I have been fairly happy with the Antop antenna until my local broadcasters started making changes to accommodate ATSC 3.0. Since then my ABC station which is broadcast on actual channel 7 has had a lot of pixelation. I don’t know if a yagi style would solve my reception problems or not, but I’m sure I’d still have the problem with the trees, so I’m staying with my Antop antenna.

Yeah, I have three stations that are broadcasting in 3.0, fortunately they are still broadcasting in1.0 as well. From what I’ve read the tuner is more an issue than the antenna, not sure if my Tablo will work with 3.0.

Unfortunately your existing Tablo will not work with ATSC 3.0. The good news is that ATSC 1.0 is going to be around for a minimum of 4 to 5 years and your current antenna will work with ATSC 3.0.

My current problem with my ATSC 1.0 signals is that due to changes made by the broadcaster to install the new ATSC 3.0 antenna it has degraded the ATSC 1.0 signal.

Current Tablo products do not support ATSC 3.

Hopefully there will be an upgrade path for current users. I understand there is an hdhomerun that is 3.0 compatible.

Yeah, it’s called buy a new one.

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