Intro: Enhancing TV Reception
Sometime ago I did an Instructable on a TV Antenna Upgrade. After upgrading the antenna I still had the old Antenna and it worked reasonably well. Before I installed the new antenna I did some testing on the old one with the Preamplifier I had purchased with the new antenna. The new Preamplifier improved the performance of the old Antenna by 15 - 25% based on the signal strength meter on the TV. Our house is located about 45 miles away from 2 cities with broadcast towers. We had the new Antenna pointed towards one of the tower groups. I figured I could use the 2nd antenna to receive channels from the other location. This Instructable will guide you through the process of adding a 2nd antenna and combining the signals.
Step 1: Materials Needed
I already had two antennas. Here are the components I used to upgrade the 2nd antenna and combine the signals.
Antenna Preamplifier with power Inserter.
Coax Crimping Pliers and Connectors to make up coax cables.
Terminator caps to optimize signal strength.
The diagram illustrates my existing layout to give you an understanding of how my system and components were laid out.
Step 2: Optimize Existing Signal
We are located in the fringe areas of some of the stations we currently receive. I wanted to optimize the existing signal. One thing I read was to cap any unused coax connections with a special terminating resistor. I was able to find these on Amazon. I had the TV on a station that was breaking up and coming in very pixelated. I went through the house and put these caps on all of the unused coax outlets. It cleared up the pixelation and the signal strength improved about 15%. It made me a believer. Now that the signal was improved inside the house, I was ready to add the 2nd antenna.
Step 3: Add Preamplifier to 2nd Antenna
As I mentioned earlier, I already had a 2nd antenna. In order to improve its performance, I added a Preamplifier to it. The preamplifier is mounted up by the antenna. A short coax from the antenna goes into the preamplifier and a coax leaves the preamplifier and goes to your receivers. In my application, I have a coax from each antenna / preamplifier system go down to the basement.
Step 4: Final Connections
In the Basement there is a cable from each of the antenna systems. Each system requires a Power Inserter. This device provides power to the Preamplifier. I also have a signal combiner that will combine the signals from the 2 antenna systems into one coax cable. I have done some research and there seem to be a lot of opinions on these devices. What worked for me was a device specifically made to be a signal combiner. It was around $8.00 from Amazon. I had an existing Power Booster that I used. The schematic diagram shows the final layout of my system. I tried the Signal combiner and Preamplifier in different configurations, but the final setup shown on the diagram worked well for me.
Step 5: Results
With the 2nd antenna, we went from 19 to 35 channels. The addition of the terminating caps / resistors cleared up the reception on a couple of the channels. I am really satisfied with how this turned out and I hope you have the same success!