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boosting a cable signal


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18 replies to this topic

#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Todd Alexander

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Posted July 10 2003 - 05:49 AM

I bought a cable signal booster (pretty good one) and was wondering where the most ideal placmanet would be for it? Should I find the closest point of source, near where it enters the house? Should I boost it right before it gets split? Boost it right near the TV?

Thanks.

#2 of 19 OFFLINE   JamesHl

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Posted July 10 2003 - 08:05 AM

Boost it before the splitter, stick it up there in your attic or wherever.

#3 of 19 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted July 10 2003 - 08:09 AM

As far up-stream as possible. If you put the amp near the end, you are giving the amp a weak signal to start with, and any noise/errors in the signal will be amplified as well.

Some other advice:

- Go through every break in the coax and un-screw the connection. Make sure the center wire looks clean and is not dull-brown. If it is dull, cut the end and attach a new F connector.

- Tighten ALL the connectors with a wrench a half turn or so past finger tight. The number one cause of poor quality signals/service calls is loose "F" connectors.

- Make sure all the outputs of splitters are filled or terminated. You can buy a small package of "Termination Resistors" from Radio Shack for about a $1. Screw these into any un-used outputs from splitters.

- After doing all the above, if your CATV signal is still poor - call your local CATV office. Chances are they have a broken amp or a poor wire upstream from you. They will bring out instruments to check the signal strength and solve the problem. The last time my CATV signals started getting bad, it was traced to a jumpper wire on top of a pole behind my house that squirrels had been chewing at. Only some CATV stations were affected, not all so I never would have guessed this was the problem.

#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted July 11 2003 - 12:10 PM

What SteveAR is talking about is un-terminated outputs from a splitter. You can buy "Termination Resistors" that screw onto the unused ends for about $1 at Radio Shack for a pair. The un-terminated outputs causes reflections which you can see as ghost/fuzz on your display.

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   SteveAR

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Posted July 11 2003 - 12:18 PM

While the unterminated splitters can certainly be a cause of feedback and signal loss, I was actually referring to the un-terminated ends of cable elsewhere in your home. Every room in your home that has an unused cable drop, and newer homes have many built-in, is a source of feedback contaminating the entire system.

#6 of 19 OFFLINE   LewB

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Posted July 12 2003 - 01:27 AM

A friend of mine was using an amp and the cable co. turned off his service ! Seems that the amp was 'reflecting' signal. They made him get rid of the thing.
Do what the others here have already said, check all the connections. If there is still a problem, see if the cable co. will come out and verify that the signal coming into the house is OK.
Why do you want to add an amp ? Did something change, or has your signal always had problems ?

#7 of 19 OFFLINE   Todd Alexander

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Posted July 12 2003 - 07:46 AM

thanks for all the replies. I put the amp in the attic, right before the line gets split into 5 directions. Right not, I am only using 2 of the 6 connections in the house. I'll go to Radio Shack and get the termination resistors and put them on the unused outlets and see how that works too.

The amp did help, but it is not perfect IMO.

The reason I got the amp is because many of the chennels, especially a few dozen late in the lineup (50-75) have excess fuzz. The amp helped clear up the mild fuzz in the 30-50 range, but the late channels still have some.

Perhaps the Term. Res. will finish the job.

Thanks for all the advice.

#8 of 19 OFFLINE   LewB

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Posted July 12 2003 - 08:48 AM

A couple of other things to check come to mind:
1) Are you using RG-6 cable or RG59. RG-6 is supposed to have less signal loss in the upper frequencies.
2) Check the splitter(s), make sure that they say that they pass at least 1GHz (usually marked 5-1000MHz). If any of your splitters say that they only pass 900MHz, chuck 'em !
Let us know how things progress.

#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted July 12 2003 - 04:08 PM

Quote:
Right now, I am only using 2 of the 6 connections in the house. I'll go to Radio Shack and get the termination resistors and put them on the unused outlets and see how that works too.
Better yet, just get a two-way splitter and disconnect the unused outlets. Then you won’t need any resistor caps. Loose the unused outlets and you may not even need the amplifier.

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#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Todd Alexander

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Posted July 14 2003 - 12:32 AM

Well, so far not too much of a difference. The booster helped a little bit, I didn't notice any difference after terminating the unused connections at the splitter. I will try Wayne's advice using a 2 way splitter and if that doesn't do the trick, Adelphia is getting a call.

I did check the splitter I had and it said 5-1000MHz, so that was ok.

Thanks all,
-Todd

#11 of 19 OFFLINE   SteveAR

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Posted July 14 2003 - 03:45 AM

Todd:

I still think you should try terminating the unused ends (ie. open jacks) in your home.

#12 of 19 OFFLINE   Todd Alexander

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Posted July 14 2003 - 04:45 AM

Well, I did (to an extent) The source of the cable came from the attic, split to 5 areas. I removed 3 of the cables from the splitter and terminated those ends (on the splitter). The only remaining cable was one of two in the living room. One was being used, the other was not, so I capped the unused one. I did not cap the other rooms because they were not getting a feed at all.

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Todd Alexander

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Posted July 15 2003 - 12:13 AM

Get this.... I went into my attic and was going to put the 2 way splitter on when I thought I would try and just skip the splitter all together (for a test). I took the incoming line, boosted it and sent it straight to my living room. It looked just as good/bad as when it had the 5 way spliter on, so the incoming cable must be underpowered.

I'll have to call Adelphia and hope they'll agree.

#14 of 19 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted July 15 2003 - 03:01 AM

I'd advise you to leave the splitter out so you have a straight-shot when Adelphia comes out. This will remove the signal-loss-due-to-the-splitter concern.

The cable guys have instruments and will check signal strength on several channels. They are usually good about finding/fixing things.

But at least you have done your due-dilligence to make sure it's not your house wireing.

#15 of 19 OFFLINE   Todd Alexander

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Posted July 15 2003 - 03:31 AM

Bob, leave out the splitter or the booster? I assume you meant the booster.

#16 of 19 OFFLINE   Ashley Seymour

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Posted July 17 2003 - 03:50 PM

The cable guys have instruments and will check signal strength on several channels. They are usually good about finding/fixing things.

For years I had lousy reception and tried booster, better cable, etc. I finally gave up when DTV became available and I saw the picture. It was only when I found HTF that I learned that he cable co. could have helped cure the problem. I guess if you don't have access to satellite you are at the mercy of the cable co.
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#17 of 19 OFFLINE   LewB

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Posted July 18 2003 - 12:22 AM

I was having problems with lousy cable reception for a long time also. I did everything I could think of and still no joy. I gave up and got the cable company to send a guy out to try and help me figure out the problem. I waited a long time to do this since they told me that if the problem was found to be with my stuff, they would charge me a hefty sum for the service call. Anyhow, the guy hooks up his tester to my incoming cable line and tells me the signal is low. He changed the wire from the pole to the house and gave me better quality splitters than I had been using (I had been using the 900MHz types), VIOLA ! All was well with my cable TV. Since the problem was theirs, there was no charge for the service call. Hope your cable guy fixes whatever the problem is.

#18 of 19 OFFLINE   Bob McElfresh

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Posted July 18 2003 - 02:51 AM

Quote:
Bob, leave out the splitter or the booster? I assume you meant the booster.

Nope. The splitter, but you should take out the amplifier as well.

When you start tracing a low-signal problem you look at every break/split upstream from the television. When you split a signal, you get roughly 1/N ammount of voltage (where N is the number of outputs). It will be the first thing the technician suspects is the problem, seconded by the amplifier.

You want to give him a straight-shot, no breaks/devices in the wire. This will make it quicker to determine that the problem is outside the house and not the home-owners's fault (and avoid a charge as LewB pointed out).

#19 of 19 OFFLINE   Todd Alexander

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Posted July 21 2003 - 12:44 AM

Just to followup with you all. The guy came out on Saturday and played around with the cable box outside for a bit and came back inside. I told him I had a splitter in the attic, which he hooked up his gizmo to and said the lower channels had a "14 over 1" signal, meaning it was good. But he did see a loss in the upper channels, so he put a service call in to have the line outside get replaced. He said they were using a RG-6 line and would have a RG-7 line run in its place. That should take care of the problem. I'll know for sure in a week.

Thanks for all the help and suggestions.





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