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TV Antenna Signal Combiner/Splitter Question

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Wireaddict, Nov 8, 2017.

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  1. Wireaddict


    Oct 13, 2017
    I live in a deep TV signal deep fringe area (about 90 miles from most TV stations) & plan to "stack" 2 identical TV antennas as described on several websites. One of the requirements is to mount a TV antenna signal splitter between the 2 antennas & run identical lengths of coaxial cable between each antenna & the splitter & the splitter output is run to a preamp. In this case the splitter is serving as a "combiner". According to what I've read splitters & combiners are interchangeable but a TV antenna installer told me that they're not & that splitters are more lossy when connected as combiners. Does anyone know if this is true &, if so, the difference between them? Thanks!
  2. Bluejets


    Oct 5, 2014
    Why not use a higher gain antenna? Combine that with a masthead amp. Any tv antenna installer should be able to do a site survey or already know the area and give a recommended minimum. If for digital FTA it gets a little more important to have the right antenna as one now needs to contend with not only signal strength but signal quality (BER) bit error rate as well.
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2017
    Wireaddict likes this.
  3. kellys_eye


    Jun 25, 2010
    You can achieve what you suggest in either a 'generic' sense or a 'specific' sense - whilst the process of signal combination as described is valid, the efficiency of the solution can be marginal (to say the least) if using parts not specifically designed for the application.

    At TV reception frequencies signal losses are potentially huge and mismatching in even the smallest sense can ruin any supposed advantages. Kinks in cables, impedance mismatch, cable length, phase issues etc etc.

    If the splitter insertion loss is greater than the sum of two input signals then you're wasting your time anyway. Many signal splitters have an insertion loss of 3dB and more (-6dB and -12dB being more likely) - the loss works in both directions

    I'd be less inclined to try the signal combiner method than simply use an antenna with greater gain (more elements) but there would be a case for experimentation for sure....
    poor mystic and Wireaddict like this.
  4. 73's de Edd

    73's de Edd

    Aug 21, 2015
    Sir Wireaddict . . . . . .

    I tend to think that someones info or your research is oriented towards analog broadcasting of days past, in properly phase matched stacked antennas.

    My choice would be the best solo UHF antenna with a low noise mast mounted preamp right at the antennas terminals.

    ABSOLUTE minumal received signal loss that way . . . . with the top of the tower antenna preamp and the use of foam RG62 for the coax, in which, power goes up the coax and the amplified UHF signal comes down and is then stripped off at the power supply to feed all of the Tee-Wee's .

    You need to research to see if the channels 3-5-10 and 13 are, in actuality, operating on up in the UHF spectrum.

    In the DFW metroplex . . . that's 546 more miles further to the southwest . . .as the drunk crow flies.

    We have one local hang-er on-er that is still on hi band VHF channel 8 frequency, so I put on a dipole cut to channel 8 onto my otherwise all UHF spectrum antenna.

    Looks like St louis and even more so, fringe Kansas City reception would totally be pipe dreams.

    The reality distance is being from Memphis with its :


    73's de Edd
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2017
    Wireaddict likes this.
  5. Wireaddict


    Oct 13, 2017
    Thanks for the info; y'all probably saved me a lot of frustration & money! 2 years ago I bought the best deep fringe antenna the store had, a Winegard HD7698P antenna, RG62 coax & preamp with a rotor, rented a cherry picker & installed it atop a 32 ft. tower. Afterward I found that Nashville stations (about 90 miles east) didn't always come in (they probably would've in the pre-HDTV days with a weak but usable signal) so I've been considering adding another antenna & stacking them as I mentioned in the OP.

    Back in the early 1960s I read an article in a Popular Electronics magazine about stacking TV antennas for better reception. Of course, back then color TV was new & most stations were VHF & all were analog so phasing would've been less critical. I see where this can easily turn into a can of worms nowadays so I''ll be replacing it with a Winegard HD8200U instead. Thanks again!
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2017
  6. davenn

    davenn Moderator

    Sep 5, 2009
    keep in mind, stacking an identical antenna is only going to give you an additional 3dB and then you will loose all that in the combiner

    better with a single higher gain antenna and masthead amp as @Bluejets suggested in post #2
    This combo will give much more than 3dB gain and you wont have the losses
    Ohhh and make sure you use decent coax e.g. RG6

  7. 73's de Edd

    73's de Edd

    Aug 21, 2015
    Sir Wireaddict . . . . .

    At my prior posting time . . . . . there was one GOLDEN link that I absolutely couldn't think of, since I had only used it back at day one at onset of the digital changeover.
    Also, Nashville was not thought of as being one of your alternatively receivable sites.
    With either of the cities, being into the threshold of being fringe areas. No top of the set rabbit ears will be used at your house.
    You did not clue me in as if any of the 2-13 stations were still being used as Digitally operating frequencies or all are in actuality, operating on UHF frequencies. If so that is where the differences in your two given Wine-o-gard antenna models would come into play.
    Also you definitely would want to upgrade to the Wine-o-gard LNA200 antenna mounted preamp, with its . . . quiet . . . as a mouse peeing on a cotton ball . . . with its 1 db noise figure threshold.

    To get a ton of specific info . . . . go next to the site below and plug in your address, so that an area specific feedback, relevant to YOUR topographic lay AND antenna height in relation to the transmitting stations locale and ITS topo info can be correlated and sent back to you as a map and the expected signal strength specs .
    You will be initially interested in the left side of the pages TOOLS and TV Signal Locator.
    Additionally . . . . use the Callsign Lookup and Callsign List to answer my query about previously assigned Low or High band VHF assignments having also been cloned on up in the UHF spectrum.
    Or anything else antenna related, that you might want to further enhance your intelligentsia level with.

    REFERENCE SITE . . . . .

    ENJOY !

    If you do NEED to pick up a few Hi band VHF signals mixed in with your MOSTLY ALL UHF you might look into the Winegard custom HD stacker . But this is only if needing hi band VHF.
    Here is a writeup of ~19 antenna brand comparisons made on the same site as being simultaneously compared to it.

    73's de Edd
  8. Wireaddict


    Oct 13, 2017
    Thanks for the tip about the LNA200 amp, Edd, I'll put that up with the new antenna. Also, I'm using RG6 coax, not RG62 as I posted earlier.
    davenn likes this.
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