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Preparing for OTA

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by jba115, Nov 7, 2006.

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  1. Nov 7, 2006 #1 of 12
    jba115

    jba115 Godfather

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    When I had my HR20 installed, I left the off-air antenna and cabling up running into a Samsung 160, so I'd be able to continue to receive OTA until it was activated on the HR20. When OTA is activated (this month?), can't I just run the cable currently going to the Sammy into the HR20? Or does the new dish eliminate the need for the antenna requiring me to run the OTA cable from the new dish into the OTA input on the HR20?
     
  2. Nov 7, 2006 #2 of 12
    PoitNarf

    PoitNarf New Member

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    If you want to receive an OTA signal on the HR20, you'll need to connect the OTA antenna. You can split this OTA signal between multiple devices if need be (mine OTA is split between my TV and HR20). The dish is not able to receive OTA signals on it's own, only satellite signals.
     
  3. Nov 7, 2006 #3 of 12
    spidey

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    is RG59 ok cable for OTA HD signals or should I go with RG6? Any concerns on how many splits?
     
  4. Nov 7, 2006 #4 of 12
    hasan

    hasan Well-Known Member

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    RG/6 is so readily available, I'd use it. If your RG-59 is old (> 5 years), replace it with RG-6, if it's not a lot of extra work for you.

    As far as splits:

    1. How good is your signal without splitting?

    2. How big is your antenna? (A large antenna pulling in a big signal is fine for splits).

    3. How long is your cable run (loss is a function of length and it is NOT recoverable by ANY kind of amp inside the house. You can make up for cable loss by putting a moderate (not high) gain preamp of perhaps 12 dB at the antenna. It should have a rated noise figure of no more than 3 dB, preferably 2 dB. If you have too much signal already, adding any kind of amplifier will make things worse, not better.

    Keep in mind each split is 3 to 4 dB loss...that means you are literally chopping your signal in half. Lets say you get a good signal and have a fade margin of 10 dB. If you split it once, you are down to only a 6 dB fade margin. Split it again and you are down to 2 dB. Any fluctuation of signal strength more than +/- 2 dB will cause drop outs/pixellization (loss of signal).

    Be careful with amplified distribution boxes (inside the house), if you are tempted to go that way. Most of them have terrible noise figures (poor sensitivity) and end up amplifying as much noise as signal. The proper place for an amplifier is at the antenna, then split from it in the house. Ampifiers designed for outside use will have better design and also lower noise figures.

    Go to antennaweb.com and see what they recommend (they have a calculator to input data into that will tell you what you need).

    In my situation, I'm 27 miles from the tower complex. Their towers are at 2200' and my elevation is 1135'. That is a VERY good RF Path...most are not that good. I have 40' of RG-6 feeding a medium sized antenna on the peak of the 2nd story of our home. I have 3 splits at the back of my home theater rack: TV, HR20, Panasonic DVD/Hard Disk based recorder.

    On my system, a signal level of 3 out of 10 is about as low as I can go without getting drop outs. My signal levels, 10 being the maximum (after the splits):

    ABC: 6 to 7
    CBS: 10
    Public TV: 10
    NBC: 10
    FOX: 7
    CW: 6

    When the leaves come out, I lose 1 to 2 signal level points on ABC, 1 on Fox and 1 on CW. CBS, NBC and PTV stay full scale.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. Nov 7, 2006 #5 of 12
    jba115

    jba115 Godfather

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    Thanks. So, just to be double sure, I was correct to leave the antenna and cabling up and need only take the cable out of the Sammy 60 and connect it to the OTA input on the HR20... correct?
     
  6. Nov 7, 2006 #6 of 12
    PoitNarf

    PoitNarf New Member

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    yes
     
  7. Nov 7, 2006 #7 of 12
    ajwillys

    ajwillys Godfather

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    I know you weren't asking me those questions, but any chance you could help me out? Here are my answers

    1) Hovers around 85-95 out of 100 depending on the channel
    2) I have Antennas Direct DB4 Antenna
    3) Cable run is about 15 feet



    I'm wondering what signal I can expect if I split the signal 2 or 3 times and what would I need to do this (passive splitter, amplifier, etc...)
     
  8. Nov 7, 2006 #8 of 12
    hasan

    hasan Well-Known Member

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    Excellent antenna: 4 bay bow tie, and the gain spec is at least within reason (not excessively inflated). 15' feedline is good for very low loss.

    Your signal levels are quite good, I would expect you will be able to use a passive splitter (try to get one of good quality, not some cheap piece of junk).

    The only question is where is the antenna w/r to the equipment...at only 15' away it could pick up quite a bit of noise as you move it back and forth ...no matter, easy to experiment. (assuming it is inside)

    Make sure you get a splitter that shows its specs (how much loss)...the ones that are not labled are highly questionable (but still could be ok).
     
  9. Nov 7, 2006 #9 of 12
    spidey

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    I use straighshooter a small box on outside of dish. today run OTA to my old RCA HD receiver. Was going to split it 3 ways one to each HR20 one to the OTA and get rid of the diplexors. I am in NW raleigh and all channels come in great however with wind and rain do get some fade outs etc. Wasnt really planning on recording the OTA just want to view the CBS and Fox HD signals and than the weather stations and extra PBS stations ( those i might record ). Will see if splitting works without the outside amp since I really dont have pwoer outlets anywhere near the antenna
     
  10. ajwillys

    ajwillys Godfather

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    Thanks for the info hasan!

    My main tv/equipment is in the bonus room above the garage and the antenna is on the other side of a half wall. I can make the antenna further away from the equipment if noise seems to be an issue. I didn't even think about noise, but I will experiment a bit.

    That's good to hear that I can use a passive splitter. I really only want to split so that I can have one going input going straight to the tv and one going to the HR20 (once tuners become active).
     
  11. hasan

    hasan Well-Known Member

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    I have mine split similarly, for the same reason...it gives me one more "choice", and when I want the best video quality (which is OTA-HD), I can get it. Now....hopefully the next update (which is the one I've had "targetted" for OTA for about a month now) will enable OTA and we can begin troubleshooting those kinds of difficulties.
     
  12. Marcia_Brady

    Marcia_Brady Legend

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    Nov 25, 2005
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