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Old roof top Antenna - no Coaxial cable?

12-21-2011, 12:07 PM
I would greatly appreciate and tips or suggestions! I've wasted the morning trying to use Google and troubleshoot my antenna set-up but have found no answers.

I've recently moved and am trying to set up my old tv a to converter box and roof top antenna. (One of those big old ones.)

The previous owners last used Verizon Fios. I have no idea when the roof top antenna was last used or functioning.

As far as I can find there is only one wire coming from the antenna - it's a flat brown wire about 1/4 inch wide with four connection points. This wire comes down from the roof, into my basement and connects to one of those ancient boxes you'd use to adjust the direction of the antenna.

Any instructions I find talk about hooking up the antenna's coax wire to the converter box there doesn't seem to be one coming from the antenna.
I'm at a loss - I have searched the form with my limited tech vocabulary and was unable to find any other posts that could help.

Thanks for reading!

12-21-2011, 01:09 PM
Hi sionnach,

Welcome to the forum! It sounds like you twin lead cable going to your tv and you will need an special balun to attach to your tv (see first picture here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin-lead) These baluns are inexpensive and available at Walmart and other big box stores. Can you post a picture so we can verify? You'll need 5 posts before you can attach a digital image to a post.

For the long term, it would beneficial to replace the twinlead with regular rg-6 coax cable and inspect the antenna for rust, poor connections, etc.

12-22-2011, 06:07 AM
I read the post differently IDRick. I believe the flat wire is 4 wire cable to control the rotator.

It sounds to me like you do NOT have a coaxial cable coming into the house from the antenna. It would be a round cable about the diameter of a pencil. If you look very closely at it, it would likely have RG-6 or RG-59 embossed into the outer jacket.

That is the cable that carries the signal from your antenna to the converter box. The flat 4 wire cable doesn't carry TV signals, it only feeds power and direction info to your rotator.

So to get up and running- you need enough RG-6 cable to run from the antenna to your STB (set top box). You will also need a balun more than likely. A balun looks like this:


Both of these things are available at your local Home Improvement Center.

The Balun (AKA Matching transformer) connects to the antenna. There are usually two wing nuts or thumb screws on the bowtie shaped piece of the antenna. The RG-6 then connects to the Balun and carries the signal to your STB.

Small Engine
12-22-2011, 06:20 AM
The balum is also called a 300 ohm to 75 ohm transformer.

I hope this helps

12-22-2011, 11:30 AM
Good catch wmshay6, I did misread the OP. Thanks for clarifying.
Small Engine, thanks for adding the clarification of balun versus 300 ohm to 75 ohm transformer.

12-27-2011, 11:57 AM
Thanks everyone!

i definitely think you're right - this flat wire is feeding the rotator (sp?)

my antenna is on the west side of my house - in a strange turn of events i went sleuthing around to the east side and found a wire coming down from what looks to be some cable line running out to the street post. i hooked it up to the coax cable that was left from the previous owners cable service and then directly into my OLD tv (1987) no converter box and i'm NOW getting all of the basic channels. :yippee: the picture of one or two is only a little bit snowy - but is not a big issue for me right now. I'm sure once i work with the converter box I could get a clearer picture and perhaps more channels.

It's my guess that the wire I found is not connected to the antenna but is acting as an antenna itself?

Tower Guy
12-27-2011, 12:19 PM
It's my guess that the wire I found is not connected to the antenna but is acting as an antenna itself?

You're connected to the cable wire coming from the street.

It's easy to tell because digital over the air transmissions can't have snow and your old TV can't receive digital signals.

Small Engine
12-27-2011, 06:54 PM
Sweet deal for you sionnach :thumbsup:
I hope you try OTA someday.

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