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TV Antenna Preamplifier Installation. 
Posted by Denny Duplessis

What is a TV antenna preamplifier.

The TV antenna preamplifier consist of two parts. The unit that installs near the antenna is the amplifier. The second part that installs indoors is called the power inserter or power supply.  The indoor unit requires an electrical outlet. 

The function of the preamplifier is to boost the signal being delivered from the antenna. The additional boost will overcome the signal attenuation between the antenna and TV(s). Longer cables runs and signal splitters increase the attenuation. The reason It's called a preamplifier is because the amplifier is located before the attenuation occurs. 

LNA 200  mast mounted TV antenna preamplifier TV antenna preamplifier power inserter
LNA 200 mast mounted preamplifier LNA 200 Indoor preamplifier power inserter

What's the difference between a preamplifier and distribution amplifier? 

The only difference between a preamplifier and a distribution amplifier is the location of the amplifier. Preamplifiers are installed near the antenna. Distribution amplifier are installed indoors on the antenna side of the signal splitter or before a very long cable run..  

Preampliers are the best choice to enhance reception performance. Understand, a preamplifier doesn't improve the performance of the antenna. It improves the performance of the antenna system. 

How does a preamplifier get electricity to operate? 

The power inserter included with the preamplifier injects low voltage electricity into the coax cable that leads up to the preamplifier near the antenna. In turn the preamplifier boost the TV signal and sends it back down the same coax cable that is supplying the operating voltage coming up.

Do not install a signal splitter in line between the mast preamplifier and the indoor power inserter. If the signal splitter is located between the mast preamplifier and the indoor power inserter it will interrupt the flow of electricity to the mast preamplifier and the preamplifier will fail to operate. If a signal splitter is in use it should be located on the TV side of the power inserter. See diagram below.

How to choose the proper preamplifier. 

Too little amplification will cause a weak signal at the TV. Too much amplification can overdrive the TV signal.  Too little or too much signal, both cause the same issue, poor TV reception.  The LNA 200 preamplifier > is my choice for best preamplifier. It provides a very low signal to noise ratio and provides a signal gain of 20 decibels (dB).

If my system needs more amplification due to multiple TV outlets

I prefer to add a distribution amplifier in line just before the signal splitter on the antenna side of the splitter. The other option is to use a preamplifier with more gain. However, the higher the amplifier signal gain is the lower the signal input capacity of the amplifier becomes. If the input capacity of the preamplifier is surpassed the amplifier will malfunction. The LNA 200 preamplifier has incredibly high signal input capacity.  If more signal gain is needed to supply a larger antenna system my choice for best performance is always two lower gain amplifiers with low noise and high signal input capacities rather than one high gain preamplifier located near the antenna. See: Long Range TV Reception >

Reception starts at the antenna. 

Assuming you're starting with a good antenna. The antenna must provide a usable signal to start with. If it doesn't an amplifier won't help.  It does little good to amplify a bad signal. All you end up with is an amplified bad signal.

What type of signal amplification do I need for the best performance? 

If the antenna system consists of one coax cable leading to one TV or if a 2 way signal splitter is in use the LNA 200 preamplifier > is the best choice to enhance the performance of the antenna system.

If the antenna system consists of a 4 way signal splitter or larger up to 8 output ports in addition to the LNA 200 preamplifier install the LNA 100 distribution amplifier > in line just before the signal splitter on the antenna side of the splitter. 

The proper order of things for best performance.

  • A. Antenna output to mast mounted preamplifier input.
  • B. From the mast mounted preamplifier output indoors to the preamplifier power inserter.
  • C. From the power inserter to the TV input.
    • a. If a 2 way signal splitter is in use go from the preamplifier power inserter output to the signal splitter input and from the splitter outputs to the TVs. 
    • b. If a 4 way splitter or larger is in use go from the preamplifier power inserter to the LNA 100 distribution amplifier > input and from the LNA 100 output to the signal splitter > and then to the TVs. 

Contact me > if you need further assistance choosing and installing a signal amplifier.    

Additional resources.   

Designing a TV antenna signal distribution system >

Maximum performance from your antenna system >

Basic TV antenna system wiring diagram. 

TV antenna system wiring diagram

More fact based information can be found at Product and knowledge support >