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TV Reception in Rural Areas.
Posted by Denny Duplessis

Now that the TV signals are all digital is good TV reception in rural areas possible?

The simple answer is yes it is. Good quality free to air TV reception using a TV antenna is available to over 98% of the population in the United States.

What antenna and equipment will be needed to obtain good quality rural TV reception at your location?  

Assuming you are located in a rural weak TV signal area and you want the best possible reception we recommend the following advice.  

Choose a TV  antenna for rural weak signal areas. 

The antenna must have sufficient signal gain to capture the signal and hold it. There are very few antennas on the market that are truly designed for rural TV reception.

For rural weak signal area reception we always recommend the HD Stacker antenna >.  No antenna on the market offers better performance when receiving weak rural TV signals. If you live in a rural America like me, you'll like the HD Stacker antenna. 

Mast mounted preamplifiers improve TV reception. 

Just because the antenna is receiving a good signal you still need to get the good signal present at the antenna down to the TV. For the absolute best performance in rural signal areas the closer the amplifier is located to the antenna the better. 
This is why we always recommend a mast mounted preamplifier > for rural weak signal areas. 

A preamplifier is a two part unit. 

The mast mounted portion mounts near the antenna  and is where the signal amplification takes place. The preamplifier power inserter (included) provides the operation power to the mast preamplifier via the coax cable. The same coax cable that brings the TV signal down from the antenna carries low voltage electricity up  to the mast mounted preamplifier.

A jumper coax cable of 3 to 4 feet connects from the antenna output to the antenna input of the mast preamplifier.
The coax cable that leads into your home called the down lead is connected to the output port of the mast preamplifier and ran down into the home.

The down lead cable runs indoors directly to the preamplifier power inserter included with the preamplifier.
From the power inserter you can run directly to the TV or to a signal splitter and then to multiple TVs. 

The coax cable between the mast preamplifier and the indoor power inserter must be direct.
No signal splitters in line between the mast preamplifier and the indoor power inserter or the operating voltage will be interrupted by the splitter and the preamplifier will fail to operate. 

The preamplifier will boost performance by amplifying the TV signal before it travels the coax cable.

This why we always recommend a preamplifier in rural areas where signals are weak. It mounts and amplifies the TV signal near the antenna where the signal is at it's strongest.

We recommend the LNA 200 preamplifier > for rural TV reception. The LNA 200 provides excellent signal sensitivity and a very low signal to noise ratio.

The proper order of equipment is as follow.
1. Antenna to mast preamplifier.
2. Mast preamplifier to indoor power inserter.
3. Power inserter to TV or signal splitter and then to the TVs.

Supplying multiple TVs in rural weak rural signal areas.

Supplying multiple TVs requires the use of a signal splitting device called a signal splitter >. Signal splitters cause some signal loss called insertion loss.

The more times the splitter divides the signal the greater the loss becomes.  It doesn't matter if the TV is on or off the signal loss still occurs. To compensate for this loss we recommend the use of a distribution amplifier.

The LNA 200 preamplifier suggested above provides plenty of signal amplification to easily drive the signal through a 2 way (two TVs) splitter. In stronger signal areas up to 4 TVs.

When using a signal splitter with more than two outputs we recommend using a signal distribution amplifier in addition to the LNA 200 preamplifier.

The LNA 100 signal distribution amplifier > is an excellent choice. The LNA 100 amplifier installs in line just before the signal splitter on the antenna side of the splitter. Between the preamplifier power inserter and the signal splitter This unit is perfect to get the extra signal boost needed when supplying multiple TVs in rural weak signal areas.

Getting the best rural TV antenna reception. 

Now you know what equipment is best what else can you do to insure good TV reception in weak signal areas?

Choosing the TV antenna location for best results. 

Usually in weaker signal areas the TV transmitters are at a greater distance or obstructions in the signal path or both.

Either way the antenna elevation above ground may be a key factor. Elevating the antenna can remove obstructions in the signal path or at least reduce the affects of  the obstruction. 

The curvature of the Earth will be a factor 
cause the Earth curves the further you are located from the TV transmitter the more important antenna elevation will become.

The immediate TV signal path should be considered when choosing the antenna mounting location.

For an example: 

At one possible antenna mounting location there is a tree, building or hill in the signal path to the TV transmitters.

At another mounting location very little if anything is in the signal path. This location is the best choice. 

Choose the least obstructed location for the installation of your TV antenna. 

The further away any obstruction is located from the antenna the better. 

I hope this information is helpful so you can get the best rural TV reception possible. If you're curios if a TV antenna will work for you feel free to submit an antenna recommendation form here >. 

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