I live in a 1 Edge "red" reception area per tvfool.com and 25 miles from the transmission towers. All of the HD channels I wanted were high UHF channels broadcasting in the same direction. This required a single (uni) direction outdoor antenna.
I purchased an Antennas Direct 43XG Uni-Directional UHF Only Antenna because of its high gain. (It's 4 ft long but not as ugly as traditional VHF antennas - there is the 91XG with a bit more gain but a few feet extra in length). I took off the satellite dish, used its mast that was already attached to my roof, as it was already in a good location, and ran a grounding wire down to my electrical outdoor meter mast to which my former telephone and cable boxes were also grounded to. Aimed the antenna towards the towers using the signal strength meter of my Tivo HD to find the strongest direction - literally had to aim within just a couple of degrees. The signal came great (versus nothing at all with any type of indoor antenna) and using about 10 feet of cable. But adding 125 ft of 75 ohm RG6 coaxial cable with a splitter - the db dropped considerably and I barely got signal and with lots of pixelation. Time for a Pre-Amp.
I considered the more popular and twice the cost Pre-Amps, but decided to go with this one. Unfortunately, it does not give you specs for db noise, and no where is it found on the box or instructions. However, it claims ELN (extremely low noise) circuitry and has a UHF db gain of 22. It also has high gain for VHF and allows for dual input along with an FM Trap if needed.
A Pre-amp is simply an outdoor amplifier versus an indoor distribution amplifier. The idea of a pre-amp is to add enough db at the source, to allow this cleaner signal to travel farther. Amps don't increase the actual performance of an antenna as whatever you get in terms of signal with the antenna is what you get. Amps just help compensate for cable runs and splits. Only thing you have to be careful with is sending too much db down the pipe, over-powering your receiver (plenty of sources explaining the science behind the db strength and the amount you need).
A Pre-amp does not require any extra cable or electrical to be run to the mast as you use the supplied power inserter and connect inside the house (prior to any splitter) to feed the electrical current back through the coax to the pre-amp on the mast. In my case the power connection was after 100 ft of cable.
Bottom-line, it worked great. During the marathon of watching the Olympics we rarely had pixelation, but maybe every couple of hours a one second jitter. All-in-all I'm happy with the product. It worked and I now have free beautiful DVRd HD TV using the right antenna, this pre-amp and a TiVo!
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