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Anyone know about tv masthead amplifiers?

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by swee'pea99, 17 Jul 2017.

  1. swee'pea99

    swee'pea99 Legendary Member

    We're deep in a valley, and have always had major problems with weak signals, so I fitted a masthead amp a few years back. Recently I've had to change PVRs, and the new one is struggling: it comes up with a picture, then freezes. I got a new masthead amp, but it's made no difference.

    I've decided step one is to move the amp from its current position - maybe 20 feet from the aerial - to the aerial itself. The only remaining question being, which amp do I install? The old one, which I've noticed is 27db, or the new one, which is 13db? Anyone have any idea?
     
    Drago likes this.
  2. Drago

    Drago Guru

    First off, check your antenna is pointing bang on target, is in good condition. Find out where the transmitter is and use a map and compass to aim it accurately, or a field strength meter if you're feeling flush.

    Water ingress into the coax can be a problem, so if the coax is any real age replace it with decent low loss 75ohm.

    Use decent quality connectors, soldered on. Wrap all connectors and junction box lids with self amalgamating tape.

    27db is a huge amount of gain, and I'd question whether it really makes that. Too strong a signal can overland a receivers 'front end' anyway, so start with the less powerful amp and work from there.

    Good luck.
     
    swee'pea99, Dan B and raleighnut like this.
  3. ColinJ

    ColinJ Hillfinder General

    It sounds like you are trying to make the most of a bad job, and sorry - I can't answer your question!

    I think the ideal solution would be to switch to satellite, providing that somewhere on your property gets a clear view of the patch of sky where the satellite is located (look at other people's dishes to see where they are pointed).

    You don't have to go with SKY - Freesat is excellent and, er, FREE! That is what I use in my new home. The previous tenants had left a SKY dish and I bought a Humax Freesat HD PVR to use with it. No subscription fees, excellent picture quality and very reliable reception. (I have only lost signal once in 2 years and that was during an incredibly heavy thunderstorm.)

    You can buy a dish for about £35 and install it yourself, or pay more and get a pro to do it. Freesat PVRs can be bought for under £200 - for example, the updated version of the model that I bought is £179 at Richer Sounds. PS If you go that route, I recommend that you pay £17.90 for the 6 year extended warranty, make a note of the expiry date, and cash it in for a full refund in the final month if you haven't used it! :okay:
     
  4. Lee_M

    Lee_M Über Member

    What Colin says. Freesat is great. I have 3 pvrs spread around the house now, no fees and no multiroom charges.

    Add Netflix and eurosport and you still save £100s per year over sky and there are no difficulties with reception
     
    the_mikey, swee'pea99 and ColinJ like this.
  5. mjr

    mjr Wanting to Keep My EU Citizenship

    You don't even have to go Freesat. Unbranded receivers may give better bang per buck and can work with a antenna motor (was £100 last time I bought one) to give Eurosport (in German) and RAI Sport (in Italian) for a one-off installation cost for the forseeable.
     
    swee'pea99 likes this.
  6. OP
    OP
    swee'pea99

    swee'pea99 Legendary Member

    Thanks for that. I tick most of those boxes - I even got a field strength meter when I was setting the thing up. I'll follow your advice and see how it goes with the 13, trying the 27 only if that doesn't work out. I had read about this overloading you can get with an over-meaty amp, but didn't actually manage to find out what this 'overloading' might look like. How would I know if I was overloading?
     
    Drago likes this.
  7. Drago

    Drago Guru

    I'm not so sure with digital TV. With an analogue signal you'd see interference, hosting, blurring, that sort of thing. I think with digital it might be the visual equivalent of DAB interfence, freezing, big blocky pixels etc.
     
    swee'pea99 likes this.
  8. OP
    OP
    swee'pea99

    swee'pea99 Legendary Member

    Hmmm, that's very interesting. Because like I say I just discovered that it's a 27db amp (I fitted it maybe ten years ago, so I had no idea) and since I changed from my old CRT telly to a new LED one, six months ago, I have been having a certain amount of freezing/pixellation type stuff going on. Maybe when I get the 13 installed it will all settle down and play nice. Maybe.

    I should have said, BTW, thanks to others who responded. I may end up being forced down the sat route, but I'd rather take the least-hassle/least-cost route if I can. Which for the moment looks like being the 13 db mounted on the mast. Then if that doesn't work, the 27 db on the mast. Then if that doesn't work, lots of sobbing, wailing, gnashing of teeth, then take it from there.
     
    Drago likes this.
  9. Drago

    Drago Guru

    if you've a decent interweb connection you can use an Android box to watch Free view etc.
     
  10. Mort

    Mort Interstellar Overalls

    If you live in a trough you'd be daft not to go Freesat. It's a lot less faffing about with amps and stuff. Install dish. Add X output LNB. Install X devices.
     
    Last edited: 17 Jul 2017
  11. Tim Hall

    Tim Hall Guru

    Location:
    Crawley
    Does your TV have, buried in the menus somewhere, a signal quality whatsit? Mine (Samsung) shows signal strength, signal quality and BER, as well as multiplex number and all that stuff.
     
  12. slowmotion

    slowmotion Quite dreadful

    Location:
    lost somewhere
    Don't worry about too much gain from your antenna and/or amplifier. You can reduce gain by wiring an attenuator into the coax download cable. They cost about £3.
     
  13. ColinJ

    ColinJ Hillfinder General

    As I hinted at though, it depends what side of the trough you are on! There are households round here that are very tight in against steep hillsides which block off the satellite signal. Some of them probably don't have line of sight to the local TV masts either!
     
  14. OP
    OP
    swee'pea99

    swee'pea99 Legendary Member

    I've just tried and I can't find any such. It's a samsung smart tv, but I can't find a menu under settings that tells me. I do have one in the humax digibox tho' - it reports strength of 67% give or take, for all channels, but 100% quality, again for all. I should say, this is downstairs - it's upstairs that I'm having problems.
     
  15. Tim Hall

    Tim Hall Guru

    Location:
    Crawley
    On my Samsung click the menu button on the remote, then support, self diagnosis, signal information.