Recommendations for antenna amplifier

What model of amplifier would you recommend for use between the antenna and the Tablo?

@lewit57  It depends on how your antenna and wiring are installed, and what you are trying to correct.  In broad terms, there are two types of amplifiers:


- Pre-Amp:  This is usually mounted right at the antenna, at the start of your coax run.  The pre-amp is used to overcome signal losses that may occur due to a long cable run to either a TV, or to a cable distribution point (think wiring closet or smart panel).  The pre-amp ensures you maintain close to the original signal strength from the antenna, to the point at the end of your cable run.

- Distribution Amp: This is used to maintain signal strength when splitting the cable from your antenna to multiple devices.  Splitting your antenna run to two devices results in 1/2 the original signal strength going to each device.  Splitting to 4 devices, 1/4 of the original signal strength to each device, etc.  Distribution amp maintains what ever level of signal is at the point of distribution to each device you split it to.

This would be for a pre-amp. The signal goes straight from the antenna to the Tablo, and the length of co-ax is only about 15 feet.  Since you live in the Raleigh area, the only channel giving me fits with pixelation is WRAL-5, which ironically is the closest tower, but also the channel we watch the most. Want to invest in a good pre amp to see if it fixes the poor reception.

I used this one and I think Winegard is considered pretty good quality.


http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DQN3R9O/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I pick up WRAL 5 with no issues in Pinehurst.

I also have this distribution amp.

http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00133UTRC/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

@lewit57  The Tablo has an internal 4 way splitter (one for each tuner), so a pre-amp might help if that split is the source of your reception issue.  But check first that your antenna is positioned correctly as WRAL - CBS - Channel 5 is on the same tower as:

NBC 17
Fox 50
CW 22
So if you are receiving these with a good signal strength, your antenna should be receiving WRAL as well.  Have you played with antenna position / location?  What type of antenna are you using?
I receive all of these with the same signal strength of 95-100 (attic mounted UHF antenna) when aimed correctly.

Here is a pre-amp that many use successfully:
http://www.amazon.com/Winegard-LNA-200-Boost-Digital-Preamplifier/dp/B00DQN3R9O/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1422975006&sr=8-2&keywords=antenna+preamplifier

I don’t remember the model number, but part of the problem is that it is stuck out the 2nd floor window on the north side of the house, and the transmitter is due south of my house.  I could put it in the attic, but it is my understanding that being outdoors is more of an advantage than the gains from increasing the height.  Mounting it at the top of the roof outside is not a desirable option (perhaps the last resort).


Have not played with orientation of antenna because the reception is acceptable except on very rainy or windy days, which we have had an abundance of lately.

I will say that I do have an existing RCA pre amp, and I did a quick test of reception with and without the pre amp, and it did indeed improve signal pickup quality.  Just wondering if a better pre amp would improve reception further.

@lewit57 If an attic mount is a viable option for you, it would likely work better than having your entire house between the antenna and the tower.  You’ll just have the roof on the south side of your house blocking (which isn’t a problem in my experience unless you have a metal roof or radiant barrier), plus the higher the better.  


Have you looked at antennaweb.org?  
How far are you from the tower?  I’m 30 miles from that tower and literally get a perfect (or near perfect) signal on every one of the stations from that tower.
Reception is a line of sight issue, with the exception of reflected signals bouncing off of things.  Again, having your entire house between the antenna and tower isn’t ideal.

Many of us have used a HomerunHD and a iOS app to dial in the antenna position/angle.


http://genhelp.com/Generally_Helpful_Software/Signal_GH.html

http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GY0UB54/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1



I have the older model of this one and it is going on 8 years without a hitch!  works great for me


http://www.radioshack.com/radioshack-1-in-4-out-bidirectional-3ghz-cable-tv-amplifier/1500473.html#q=bidirectional%2Bsignal%2Bamplifier&start=1
Many of us have used a HomerunHD and a iOS app to dial in the antenna position/angle.

http://genhelp.com/Generally_Helpful_Software/Signal_GH.html

http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GY0UB54/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1



There is also an Android app for the HDHomeRun signal strength meter:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.zaren&hl=en
It works great and is VERY convenient to fine tune antenna aiming with some real data feedback - and not having to rely on someone telling you “a little to the left…no more right…no more left…”

I have the older model of this one and it is going on 8 years without a hitch!  works great for me

http://www.radioshack.com/radioshack-1-in-4-out-bidirectional-3ghz-cable-tv-amplifier/1500473.html#q=bidirectional%2Bsignal%2Bamplifier&start=1

If you want the Radio Shack unit, buy it soon, as it looks like they are about to close their doors for good…

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-02/radioshack-is-said-to-discuss-liquidation-as-part-of-sprint-deal
and
http://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-reportedly-in-talks-to-buy-some-radioshack-stores/

I live in Knightdale, so the towers are relatively close. Your point about the difference between the roof and the whole house is well taken. I will move it in the attic when the ambient temperatures are above 50 degF. 


Thanks!

I have a Mohu Sky 60 mounted in the attic. I just put it as high up into the peak as it would go on the end of the house closest to the towers.

I have the older model of this one and it is going on 8 years without a hitch!  works great for me

http://www.radioshack.com/radioshack-1-in-4-out-bidirectional-3ghz-cable-tv-amplifier/1500473.html#q=bidirectional%2Bsignal%2Bamplifier&start=1

If you want the Radio Shack unit, buy it soon, as it looks like they are about to close their doors for good…

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-02/radioshack-is-said-to-discuss-liquidation-as-part-of-sprint-deal
and
http://www.cnet.com/news/amazon-reportedly-in-talks-to-buy-some-radioshack-stores/

I’ve bought their stuff over the years since pre-Tandy days - when there was Tandy, and there was Radio Shack and the feds cried foul when the two decided to get married and we had Tandy-Radio Shack and as a result, TRS computers.

My roof antenna is pre-digital and it’s still working, through all the Iowa ice and blizzards and straight-line winds that at times exceed 60 mph.

Pre-Amp: Radio Shack’s In-Line TV Antenna Signal Amplifier with attic mounted antenna (works great!..sorry Radio Shack is going out of business)

Distribution Amp: Channel Master CM3414 4-Port Distribution
Amplifier for Cable and Antenna Signal
in network closet with Tablo connected with 3’ cable to CM.

What made the difference in signal strength, is when I moved the antenna to the attic on the wall closest to the Towers.

Also,  I used TVFool.com forum to answer my questions on antennae and amplifiers.  Lot’s of regional information listed on forum.

This is the one I use Winegard HDA-100 System Distribution Amplifier

I have about 40’ of cable coming from the antenna to the distribution amp and I have 50’ of cable running to the Tablo, 75’ of cable to 1 tv and about a 15’ run to a 2nd TV.