Thursday, September 22, 2016

Quick guide to antenna wiring using existing cables

This guide primarily assumes two things.

  • You have/had cable TV
  • You want to keep your cable internet
The general way to switch from cable to antenna are as follows.
  • Find what your antenna choices are from entering your address in TVFool
  • Buy or make the antenna and put it in your attic or outside pointed toward your stations
  • Run the antenna to a near by amplifier
  • Run the amplifier to the input of the closest splitter
  • Change the direction of your other splitters
  • Directly wire your modem to your incoming cable provider
  • Scan for channels on your TVs
There is not much else to this. I have provided pictures of a typical setup and how it will look after it is rewired. I have also provided a picture including an unbalanced splitter for improved signals.

Some things to note:
  • Most antennas will work for signals that appear green on TVFool, don't buy magic antennas
  • An antenna is an antenna. There is no such thing as a HD or digital antenna. All that matters is VHF-hi and UHF
  • Don't forget the elevation of your antenna as it can drastically change results on TVFool
  • If you have stations in multiple directions you may have better luck pointing the antenna toward the weaker stations and see if it still grabs the strong stations
  • A preamp (one input/one output) offers the best flexibility. Distribution amplifiers are amplifiers and splitters combined. You can't change the splitter later.
  • You can make your own unbalanced splitter by using two 2-way splitters. Its the same result.

The solution below is ideal. The unbalanced splitter reduces the over amplification to the near by TVs while preserving the signal to the far TVs.

The solution below is ok. The near by TVs get over amplified by the balanced splitter but the far TVs suffer a 30% power loss. The unbalanced splitter is a much more ideal solution. Tip: You can make your own 3-way unbalanced splitter by chaining two 2-way splitters. The second splitter in the chain is the weakest and should go to the near TV. The first splitter has the stronger signal for reaching the basement splitter.

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