Need outdoor antenna help

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by astrohip, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

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    Outdoor antenna help. I've searched, but not found anything recent, or specific to my needs.

    I've got an external antenna hooked to one of my S3s, but I did it by mounting an antenna outside a side door, with a hole in the door for the coax to feed in. As you can imagine, my wife has given me grief over this for a couple years. Now that I have to do some unrelated wiring, I might as well do it right.

    I'm in Houston, about 12 miles from the antenna farms, and have a good line-of-sight with a very good signal. I plan on mounting the antenna on the roof of a two story house, about 30 feet up. Will be running RG-6 coax throughout the house, to five drops. What antenna do I want? I know in Houston we have both UHF & VHF channels, so I need an antenna that can handle both.

    Recommendations? And is there anything else I should be thinking about since I'm going to be re-wiring the house?

    Thanks!

    Stuart
     
  2. Rkkeller

    Rkkeller Well-Known Member

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  3. JWThiers

    JWThiers Smartypants

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    As long as you are rewiring, drop some ethernet cable as well.
     
  4. A J Ricaud

    A J Ricaud Active Member

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    You may want to go to antennaweb.org and see what type of antenna they recommend. The folks at the hidef forum will probably ask that you do this first so that they can recommend an antenna based on the results.

    There are a lot of good antennas available but you may want to take a look at this one. It works on both UHF and VHF frequencies and gives surprisingly good reception--plus it's cheap:
    http://www.monoprice.com/products/p...090102&p_id=4730&seq=1&format=3#specification
     
  5. astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

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    I've been debating this. I've got a wireless router (who doesn't), but as you say, this is my chance. I just can't figure out why I need hard-wired ethernet. :confused:

    Gimme a reason . . . :D
     
  6. phecksel

    phecksel Member

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  7. orangeboy

    orangeboy yes, I AM orangeboy!

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    If you use Netflix, you'll get MUCH better results with a wire than you would wireless.
     
  8. dagap

    dagap New Member

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    Considered putting the antenna in the attic. Just hang it upside down from a roofing stud. Out of sight and out of the weather, and easier to install IMO.
     
  9. vman41

    vman41 Omega Consumer

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    12 miles isn't very far, so I think any low end outdoor VHF/UHF antenna would work. I'd think with 5 drops, though, you'd want a distribution amp of some sort.
     
  10. astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

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    Question: I'm running five drops, but only plan on using 3 of them for the foreseeable future. Is using a 1>3 splitter better (signal-wise) than using a 1>5 and only using three of the outlets? IOW, is it the splitter that degrades the signal, or the actual runs hooked up to it?
     
  11. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    There are lots of them. First of all, wireless is not the most reliable medium in the world, and while it can be secured, wired networking is inherently secure. Secondly, wireless speeds are a small fraction of those available on a wired network, even with only two hosts. Thirdly, wireless requires a great deal of overhead. Finally, wireless is essentially half-duplex, and shares the medium among all attached devices. This means the end result is a wireless system rated at 200Mbps can generally deliver no more than a total of about 160 - 180 Mbps TOTAL, including ACK packets. Even a super-cheap 100M switch can manage a maximum throughput of about 180 Mbps (no more than 90 MBps each direction) on two hosts, or hypothetically up to 1000Mbps peak throughput on 5 hosts. A good 24 port Gig-E switch can deliver up to 24,000 Mbps total throughput if all 24 ports have 1000Mbps hosts hanging off them. Realistically, a home network probably won't exceed 3000 -4000 Mbps, but even that makes the very fastest wireless setup look pathetic in the extreme.
     
  12. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Both the splitter and the drops attenuate the signal. The loss through a passive device such as a splitter is called "flat loss", because it is relatively constant throughout the enitre spectrum. Cable, OTOH, has a much higher loss at higher frequencies than at lower frequencies. That said, the cable loss depends exclusively on the distance through the path from the source to the specific destination. This is a fixed value, because adding another drop going to receiver B does not change the cable loss between the source and receiver A. Generally speaking, most 3-way splitters are internally nothing more than two 2-way splitters, wiht one output leg of one splitter feeding the input leg of the second splitter. This being the case, there are two high loss legs whose attenutaion is about 7dB and one low loss leg whose attenuation is about 3.5 dB. There are a few 3-way splitters available with symmetrical outputs, giving a loss of about 5dB on all three ports. The next step up is a 4-way splitter, with a 7dB loss on all four legs, and then an 8-way splitter with a loss of about 10dB on all 8 legs. The losses on the splitter will be a bit higher at UHF frequencies than at VHF frequencies.
     
  13. orangeboy

    orangeboy yes, I AM orangeboy!

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    Question: How big of an impact is a 3.5dB loss? I know it's a relative question, considering how strong a signal is to begin with, but if you had an optimal signal and passed it through a splitter that caused 3.5dB of loss, could you retain 95% of the signal? 75%?
     
  14. astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

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    lrhorer...thanks for the info. Very interesting! I've already called the installer and asked him to run CAT6 to all the coax drop locations.

    Good question! I should have a very strong signal, only being 10-12 miles from the antenna farms. And I'm using a decent antenna. So what affect will these splits have? Will I need to amplify?
     
  15. hefe

    hefe Rebus Philbin

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    A loss of 3 dB is 1/2 the power.

    If you think about it, it makes sense. You are dividing the original signal in half to send to two devices. So each leg has 3 dB of splitting loss. The extra ~ .5 dB is insertion loss from the signal passing though the physical device.

    In reality, with the signal levels most of us deal with, splitting once is probably no problem. Even 4 ways may not present a problem for many. But if you are dividing a signal more than once, and have any significant length of cable to traverse, I think it's a good idea to have some sort of distribution amplifier. And the best place to put it is as close to the antenna as possible where your signal to noise ratio is the highest.
     
  16. hefe

    hefe Rebus Philbin

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    At that distance, you may not have to. But I can't say for sure, there's no guarantee where RF is concerned. In my 20 years of dealing with wireless communications, I've seen it good where it shouldn't be, and bad where it shouldn't either.

    I have an outdoor antenna in my attic. I am 41 miles away from Chicago's stations. I installed the antenna, and ran the cable to the basement, split it there, and run 4 drops to devices in the house. I did it without an amplifier at first to see what I got. Some of the lower freq channels were pretty choppy, so I put a 10dB amp in the attic. Everything is pretty good now. I get an occasional blockiness on channel 7, but not too often.
     
  17. Rkkeller

    Rkkeller Well-Known Member

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    I am antenna only and have been thru this recently. If I can say anything from going thru 3 antennas and trial and error, its get an outdoor antenna and mount it up high if you can.

    Small amplified antennas can work, I had a great indoor Terk, but nothing locks the signal in and gives the best reception in cloudy/bad weather like an outdoor antenna.
     
  18. JWThiers

    JWThiers Smartypants

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    IMO, wireless should only be used if there is a reason not to use wired. I think this way because, wireless is generally slower (variety of reasons) and depending on the amount of data flying around your wireless network it can saturate the wireless side. wired you don't have this issue as much. Security, wireless does not stop at the walls of your house. Someone can get into your network from down the street. Simplicity, with wireless you have one more thing to troubleshoot if you have network issues. Reliability, Speed can be affected by things as mundane as a microwave oven, cordless phone or even the weather.

    Don't get me wrong I am using wireless right now, but If I were rewiring the house, I'd put at least 2 ethernet ports in EVERY room except the bathroom (I'd only put 1 there).
     
  19. oViTynoT

    oViTynoT Obvious Forum Lurker

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    TANGENT Alert...

    I work for a big enterprise where I'm a network architect. About 15 years ago, we were retrofitting a remodeled part of a building in Houston with Cat5e cabling. We had a bunch of scraps laying around, and on a lark, I took a jack box with about 5 feet of cable coming out of it, went into the mens room, and stuck the wiring through a hole in the wall behind the pipe chase.

    About a week later, the support staff got a trouble ticket that that drop wasn't working...

    People do strange things in the "connected world..."
     
  20. astrohip

    astrohip Well-Known Raconteur TCF Club

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    As I mentioned above, I did decide to run ethernet cabling to all my coax drops. One thing I had forgotten about, since I use it so rarely, is MRV from TiVo. My transfer times are horrendous, and I've never been able to figure out why. A 30 minute HD OTA program can take 10-12 hours to transfer:mad:. Maybe with hard-wiring I can get that down to almost real-time speeds?

    I went with a Channel Master 2016 VHF/UHF Outdoor Antenna. It appears to be an excellent antenna for use when one has a reasonably decent signal.

    Thanks to JWThiers for giving me the kick-start to run ethernet.
     

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