Why doesn't this work the way I think it would work? (room-to-room extension of HD antenna via coax)

CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄ƷDer Millionendorf- Icrontian
Okay so, we haven't had cable TV service for a long time, and there are very few things we actually miss about it, but one of those is the ability to watch the ball drop on Times Square live on New Year's Eve. Luckily, that's on a broadcast station, so we can just get it for free over the air!

We got an HD antenna from MicroCenter for 8$ and hooked it up to the TV's Coax port, and voila! We've got like five and a half channels. We weren't able to get Cincinnati's ABC affiliate for to watch the ball drop, but if I put the antenna in just the right spot, we got Dayton's ABC affiliate, which is farther away, but whatevs, we got to see the ball drop alongside commercials for used car lots in Dayton.

So, that worked fine, but we're in the basement, and I figure that's interfering with the antenna getting any more than a few channels, and since we've got it now, I might try to get more channels out of it. Well, I've got this network of coax cable running all over the stupid house, and I don't have any service from the cable company, not TV or internet.

So, I ran a cable from the coax port behind the TV in the basement to the TV's coax port, then I attached the antenna to a port on the second floor, near a window, where the reception is certainly better. I have the TV check for channels: 0 channels found.

Why did that not work? What am I thinking about wrong here?


  • ThraxThrax 🐌 Austin, TX Icrontian
    Those points may not be connected within your home. They're probably separate runs from the outside box.
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin Icrontian
    edited January 2014
    option 1: there may be some directional splitters in the house that make it impossible

    option 2: every splitter between the antenna and the tv imparts a loss (usually 3dB = 1/2 power) on the signal. you can imagine that could quickly drop the signal far enough to not get any reception

    option 3: antennas are directional, maybe you just didn't have it pointed in the right direction.
  • GHoosdumGHoosdum Icrontian
    edited January 2014
    It could be that the coax port you used is on a separate leg than the TV in the basement, or that there is too much cable (distance) between your antenna and your TV for the signal to be clear enough for HD reception. Signal drops by distance and with each splitter in the system.

    There's likely to be a splitter installed in the box from the cable company outside your house. If you're trying to use the antenna with the existing coax wiring, you'll want to connect your antenna to the splitter's input, and may even need a signal amplifier at that point if the runs are too long or if it is split too much. Alternatively, you could attach to each output from the splitter until you find the one that runs directly to your basement TV, eliminating the splitter entirely as an issue.

    Based upon your OTA reception report, if you can tune WLWT(NBC) and WCET(PBS), I'm surprised you can't also tune WCPO(ABC).

    //edit: didn't see the other three replies when I started typing, but yes, what those guys said. ;)
  • RyanFodderRyanFodder Detroit, MI Icrontian
    My parents had this happen. They did the following:

    1) Put endcaps on all non used coax outlets on the network. They were getting a lot of signal lose through the uncapped ports.
    2) There was enough splitting happening that they had to buy an amplifier like Shwaip said.

    Good luck!
  • BandrikBandrik Elkhart, IN Icrontian
    I agree with the above. Find the original source feed cable that goes into any splitters, and use an amplifier if need be.
  • BobbyDigiBobbyDigi ? R U #Hats ! TX Icrontian
    I can't help but troubleshoot....

    Have you hooked up a TV to the antenna at its upstairs location to rule out the location?

    Happen to have a longer cable to run to test and narrow down distance as an issue?

    Does a TV hooked into any other outlet (maybe closer?) in the house give channels?

    *The findings of these test may or may not be useful.

  • BlueTattooBlueTattoo Boatbuilder Houston, TX Icrontian
    Everyone has good advice. I have an antenna in the attic that is connected to the TV through the builder’s cable system. In my house, all cables are single runs to a box outside, with one going onto the attic and others to various rooms. You’ll have to determine how your house is wired. The AntennaWeb site can help you figure where to point the antenna. In the attic, I connected an outdoor antenna to the cable leading outside then, from there, used a two-way splitter to direct the signal to the den and bedroom. We get great reception from most Houston area stations since most have their antennas in the same area. I later added a powered signal booster to try to pick up a couple of stations that aren’t in that direction. It didn’t help much. The antenna has been working this way for 24 years.
  • CBCB Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ Der Millionendorf- Icrontian
    Lots of great advice/comments! I'll go in better armed when I play with this thing again. :D
  • RyderRyder Kalamazoo, Mi Icrontian
    See the attached pics of the amplifiers that have been powering my folks TV's. They work just fine with the new digital signals also.
  • drasnordrasnor Starship Operator Hawthorne, CA Icrontian
    If you have line splitters, verify that they're all capable of at least 900 MHz and remove/replace if not. This will minimize losses on digital OTA signals. Maybe worth getting a signal tracer to try to find where all that cable goes.
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