In the Basement

If It Ain’t Broke…

If you are lucky, your home has already been wired by the builder or your cable provider.  If you are very lucky, there is coax right next to your antenna and your television.  If you find a coax next to your antenna and your television, plug it in.  It might just work.  If you are unhappy with the reception, buy a commercially terminated RG6 cable and run it from the antenna to a television.  If this improves things, then your infrastructure is suspect.  If not, you may have the wrong antenna, the antenna location or orientation may not be right, or you may need to amplify signal more (or less).

Coupling Two Signals

Sometimes it makes sense to use two or more antennas.  For me, with two VHF stations to the north of my house and most of my UHF stations to the south, it made sense to put one antenna at each peak, but there are many other scenarios that would benefit from coupling antennas.  I’m not going to go into details.  I just want to present the possibility and throw out some terms that would facilitate further research.

There are many ways to couple antennas…

  1. A UVSJ splits or joins UHF signal and VHF signals.  If you couple a UHF/VHF antenna to a VHF antenna, only the VHF signal fed to the VHF input will exit the UVSJ.
  2. A splitter/combiner combines or splits all frequencies.  If you couple a UHF/VHF antenna to a VHF antenna, both VHF signals will exit the combiner.
  3. A solidstate coupler  combines or splits all frequencies.  If you couple a UHF/VHF antenna to a VHF antenna, both VHF signals will exit the combiner.
  4. An amplified coupler joins UHF and VHF signals.  If you couple a UHF/VHF antenna to a VHF antenna, only the VHF signal fed to the VHF input will exit the UVSJ.
  5. Ganging antennas can increase gain or shape beams.

Splitting the Signal: Mechanical Solution

Splitting signal to multiple televisions diminishes the signal available at each set.  An amplifying splitter will ensure sufficient signal.  I use an EDA-2800 eight port splitter.  You want to get a splitter with the ‘right’ amount of outputs since splitting weakens the signal at the set.  Be sure to terminate unused connections.

Splitting the Signal: Simple Solution

Simple.TV offers an alternative signal distribution solution.  With Simple, you plug the device into your antenna and distribute the signal via your home network.  Simple captures free-to-air broadcast TV or digital basic cable shows and streams them to up to five concurrently connected screens – computers, tablets, and set top boxes (like Roku).  Simple includes a DVR function and a program guide.  A typical installation would cost $150 for the Simple device plus $50 to put a Roku LT on each television.

Ganging Antennas: Simple Solution

The Simple device could be used to add channels without ganging antennas.  If you want to add an antenna for a fringe market, plug it into a simple and get those channels via a Roku.

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2 comments on “In the Basement

  1. In appreciate the hint that u gave above. I have Uverse right now and my 1 year special deal is up in October. Time Warner had their cable already hooked up on the side of the house and wasn’t being used, so now I have plans for it. Goes right up in the bedroom from their outside box and the inside cable is right next to my tv not hooked up and not being used. I wonder how well a Mohu Sky 60 antenna would work from the outside. I have a Mohu Leaf 50 hooked up from the bedroom close to the tv and it pulls in every network channel I need, but maybe this setup would do even better. What do u think? I’d have to put the Mohu Sky 60 in the ground next to Time Warner’s box.

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