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Guide to TV antenna installation

TV Antenna Mast Mounted Preamplifier

Questions and Answers

Will a preamplifier help or do I need a different TV antenna?

I currently have a Winegard  PR-8080 mounted in my attic.  I am receiving off-air HD channels on a DirecTV HR20-100 satellite receiver.  I also have the signal split to a HD TV tuner in my home theater PC.  I have about a 20' run of RG-6 from the antenna to the splitter and the DTV and PC are within 4' of each other.

Currently I get a lock on channel 43.1 (WFXB) with an 80-90% signal and channel 23.1(WHMC) with a 45-50% signal.  Channels 13.1(WBTW) and 15.1(WPDE) I get a minimal lock if I do not split the signal.  But still get frequent pixelization and audio interruption.  Will a pre-amp help this or do I need to look for a different antenna? 

My location information is ____________ Dr.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29588

Thanks for you help.  Your website provides the best information I have found on the Internet.


The stations you mentioned have reasonably strong signal at your location. Since removing the splitter does improve reception. Removing the signal splitter is a very good test to determine if a signal amplifier will help. If the signals improve when the splitter is removed is a sure indication a signal amplifier is needed.  I would certainly think a preamplifier is in order. Your best choice is the Winegard AP 8700 mast mounted antenna preamplifier. If you haven't already make certain the front of the antenna is facing NNW.

If you would like step by step detailed information on how to install a preamplifier or if I can assist you in anyway, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Best Regards,
Denny Duplessis 


I have a question for you and I hope that you can help me out.  I have an old radio shack TV antenna(UHF/VHF boom type).  I took if off an address that I use to live at.  Here is where I am at.

First off, I am about 45 miles from Cleveland, OH and I want to get the CLE stations via my antenna.  Yesterday, I set the antenna on the back deck to see if it even still worked.  I got zero VHF stations.  Which did not surprise me cause the channels that I was looking at was 2, and 10.  I did not think that I would get those channels.  Anyways, I was receiving the FOX (channel 31).  It was coming in about 50% on my Directv box.  I had no problem with that cause my antenna was one 7 feet or so off the ground.

Today I wanted to place that tv antenna on the roof.  I did.  I have about 100 foot of cable, with one coupler about 5 feet from the antenna.  Long story short, I am receiving channel 2 and that is it.  Yesterday I was getting some signal from over half the stations. 
Now do I in need of a pre-amp?  If so, what brand and model should I get? Or should I get once piece of cable to run the entire length?  I found it hard to believe that yesterday I was getting 50% for my FOX(31) and now today nothing. 
What would be your first move to correct this?  Thanks in advance for you help. 
Jon ___________
______________ Ave.
Newton Falls, OH 44444

Hello Jon,

A preamplifier will definitely help do to the signal loss created by the 100 feet of coax cable. Low VHF signals loose much less strength as they travel the coax cable and that's why channel 2 is coming in with the TV antenna on your roof. However, UHF TV signals drop fast as they travel the cable and the UHF signals are likely being lost before they can ever get to the TV.

Your best choice for a preamplifier is the Winegard AP 8700. If you intend on dividing the signal with a signal splitter then the AP 8780 preamplifier is a better choice. The AP 8780 has increased signal amplification for the UHF signals.

The coupler if it's a barrel connector is probably not effecting the signal. The biggest problem with this kind of connection outside is keeping water out. The best way I have found is with a waterproofing filler (dielectric grease). If it were me I would want one solid piece of good quality RG 6 solid copper coax cable.

If you would like step by step detailed information on how to install the equipment, or if I can assist you in any way, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Best Regards,
Denny Duplessis
TV Antenna Source 1-800-528-9984


Hello Denny,

We've spent a long time looking over your excellent website and we're pretty sure we need to buy a preamplifier.  Here is our situation: We have an HDTV with a large directional antenna in our attic. We have a single story house and the roof is plywood and asphalt shingles. The coax cable from the antenna to the TV is 50 feet long.

We do not receive channel 6 well.  (When scanning channels, the TV usually does not find 6-1.)  The other local (Philadelphia) channels come in pretty well (same direction ~185°).  Our signal meter on the TV indicates 40-82% reception for the non-channel 6 digital stations. 

Our zip code is 18960, on _________ Road, Sellersville, PA.

1.  Do we need to move the antenna to the roof or will the pre-amp make channel 6-1 (HD) strong enough for us to receive it? 

2.  Which pre-amp do you recommend for our situation?  Winegard AP 8700, the 8275, or something else?

3.  We plan to add another HDTV to our house soon.  This TV will require 150 feet of coax cable from the splitter.  Should we go ahead and buy a distribution amplifier, too (instead)?  If so, which one do you recommend?

Thank you very much, Vicki B.


Channel 6 is broadcasting their digital signal on the UHF frequency band. Each station is broadcasting their digital signal on a separate channel and within the signal data stream is instructions for your TV tuner to display it as 6.1 etc... I think a preamplifier is your best bet and here's why. Every foot of coax cable that the signal must travel through causes the signal to become weaker. The higher the channel frequency the more strength the signal will loose as it goes from the antenna to the TV. A preamplifier amplifies the signal at the antenna before this signal loss occurs counteracting the effect of the cable loss. Your best choice is the HDP 269 TV antenna preamplifier. This unit is capable of high signal input and won't cause signal overload, more is not always better. If additional amplification is required to supply the 150' cable run you mentioned a distribution amplifier such as the Winegrad HDA 100 on that line as it comes out of the signal splitter is the best way to go.

I'm assuming you have the narrow end of the antenna pointing south.
I certainly would try the preamplifier before I moved the TV antenna outdoors. Even if you do have to move it you will still benefit from the preamplifier.

If I can assist you further, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Best Regards,
Denny Duplessis
TV Antenna Source 1-800-528-9984


Mr. denny

I looked on the net everywhere for info on antenna related info. You my friend have a great sight. If you see any reason that this set up will not work for my area, please let me know. I just want to receive the best signal, money not an issue. Thanks for the great information and very reasonable pricing. Scott

1. HD Stacker antenna
2. AP 8275 preamplifier
3. 2 way signal splitter

Hi Scott,

Thank you for the kind words, we really do appreciate them.
My only concern is your preamplifier choice. There is a channel 7 NBC not to far from your location. Looking at your order it appears you will be splitting the signal once with a 2 way splitter.

I'm concern that the AP 8275 may overload the TV tuner input capability. VHF signals such as channel 7 loose very little strength as they travel the cable when compared to UHF signals. I think your better choice is the Winegard AP 8780. This preamplifier has less amplification on VHF where it is not required and the same amount as the AP 8275 on UHF.

This will prevent any possible overload issues and still provide you with the same reception. Thank you for the order and take care.

Best Regards,
TV Antenna Source

Hey Denny,

Thanks for checking that out for me. What ever you think I need here will be fine with me. Do I need to change the order, or will you take care of that for me? Both TV's are within 50' of the antenna. I can't tell you how much I love your site. It is the only one I found that really tries to help and not sell.

What is the advantage of the HD 7082P antenna with a preamplifier over the 7084P antenna without the amp? Just looking at the numbers, it appears to me that the 7084P could reach most of "my" broadcasters without any additional help.

Also, do I need to go back with the 20 foot mast height?  I'd really rather only put up 10' or so if that would be adequate.

I only want to put this thing up once (and make it as maintenance free as possible), so I'm trying to get it as close to "perfect" as I can without breaking the bank.


Howard, To determine if the HD 7084P antenna will perform as well without a preamplifier, as the HD 7082P antenna will with the preamplifier, will all depends on the length of the coax between your antenna and TV and if you will be using a signal splitter.

Using a preamplifier does not make the TV antenna work any better. What it does do is overcome the signal loss between getting the signal from the antenna to the TV. If you have more signal loss getting the signal from the antenna to the TV then the HD 7084P has signal gain above the HD 7082P, then the HD 7082P with the preamplifier will perform better then the HD 7084P will without.

The higher numbered channels have more loss per foot then lower numbered channels do.

Here are the signal losses for a couple of stations in your area.

Channel 17 TBS will loose about 4.5 dB of signal per 100 feet.

Channel 69 CW will loose about 5.7 dB  of signal per 100 feet.

The line loss can be reduced or increased by the percentage of the cable length. For an example channel 17 will have 2.25 dB loss with 50 feet and 9 dB loss with 200 feet.

2 way signal splitter has 3.5 dB insertion loss
3 way signal splitter 1 port 3.5 dB, 2 ports 7.5 dB loss
4 way signal splitter all ports 7.5.

These signal splitter losses occur whether you have a TV connected or not, it, called insertion loss.

The HD 7084P has an average dB gain on the UHF band of 13.22 dB.
The HD 7082P has 12.17 average dB gain.
A difference of just over 1 dB.

After about 20 feet of cable with no splitter and without the signal running through any devices inside such the HD 7082P with preamplifier will outperform the HD 7084P without.

So I guess that is why I'll take the HD 7082P with the preamplifier over the HD 7084P without preamplifier almost every time.

Of course the HD 7084P with a preamplifier is best.

If you have further questions just ask, I'll be here.


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