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How To Test Antenna Connections

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Old 06-28-2010, 12:59 PM   #1
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Default How To Test Antenna Connections

Over this pass weekend I have lost all of my OTA channel reception.I went and bought new cable and took down the antenna and reconnected with all new connectors.I need to know what testing I can do with a OHM meter to make sure that it is not the antenna and mabe something else.What should I be reading on the continuity meter when checking the wire to the antenna. Should there be a resitance reading or a complete short ? Is there a voltage reading that should show comming from the antenna amplifier ?
I am not even getting my closest signal any more from the antenna,and that was one that I could get with out having an outside antenna. If you need corordinance I am located in Montgomery Co NY
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Old 06-28-2010, 01:39 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by cameojcm View Post
Over this pass weekend I have lost all of my OTA channel reception.
I am located in Montgomery Co NY
Reception in Montgomery County, NY varies significantly. If you're down by the river near Sprakers, you may get nothing. If you on the hill above Amsterdam, everything should be very strong.

The best technique for troubleshooting is to use your eyes and inspect everything. To use an ohmmeter suggests that you should test components one at a time.

The use of an amplifier adds complexity to the troubleshooting problem. If the amplifier has failed, the best way to test it is replacement. Yet, if the amplifier can be totally removed from the circuit, the strongest stations should still come in, proving that the amp has failed.
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:56 PM   #3
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I will agree with tower guy and I will add that to check the wire - you probably would want to make a dummy load and connect it up near the antenna and then check the impedance down at the television.

If there is no amplifier on either end, when you connect the dummy load, you will get a reading. When the load is removed, you should have little or no reading at all.

Most times it is not as simple as a broken wire.

I would suspect that if you did not tape all your connections that moisture got into the wire and is shorting it out.

If that is the case, the best thing to do is throw the old wire away and make all new wires and put anti seize or some other type of corrosion inhibitor inside of all the terminals and tape all connections.

I would also check the antenna balun. Chances are - it might have went bad.

A dummy load is nothing more then a terminal that you can connect to the end of the wire - probably a old piece of coax about 4 inches long stripped and twisted together would work, along with a barrel connector - so you could attach the dummy load to the coax without damaging the ends of the wire.

Does this answer your question?

The power injector side of the amplifier system - if you has one, usually runs on a voltage of around 20 - 24 volts. If you have power at the injector end and if you have power on the pre amp side, then the only thing that could be wrong would be the pre amp itself or the balun.

Again, this would all be if you have the right antenna and if the antenna was pointed in the right direction and it would also be weather dependent.
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:31 AM   #4
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Coax cable doesn't normally go dead, black and white, it's usually a long, slow death. My guess is either the pre-amp itself gave up the ghost or the amp power supply died. Easiest way, take the pre-amp out of line and connect a coax directly from the TV to the antenna...if you have at least one strong station that comes in this way, and it didn't come in with the amp in line, it's the amp or the power supply to the amp. You can also use your volt-ohm meter to check for voltage on either the power output side f-connector of the power supply going towards the antennas, or at the coax that is the down lead going towards the TV at the mast mounted pre-amp. If you check for voltage, meter on DC voltage, one probe on the center conductor, other probe on the ground side, the threaded portion of the f-connector....if I remember, it should be either 5 or 12 volts DC. To assure there are no dead grounds on the coax, disconnect both ends of the coax, set meter to resistance, and test from center conductor to ground/shield, as you did above, either end of coax, doesn't matter. There should be no resistence on the meter, if there is, there's a dead short between the center conductor and the shield, and that won't get you any reception at the TV, but if I was a betting man, which I'm not anymore, with the sudden, quick "no stations on my TV", my bet points at the pre-amp..and the simplest thing, make sure the pre-amp power supply IS plugged into the wall socket and the socket has power...
Additionally, I'll assume you were watching TV one minute and it was gone the next, that you weren't working on the antennas when this happened....this should rule out the balun and/or antenna...if you were messing with things at the antenna, or with a wrench on the balun, you might replace that balun, but I'd still start with taking the amp out of line.

Last edited by k2yi; 06-29-2010 at 04:55 AM..
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Old 06-29-2010, 07:29 AM   #5
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JB Mentioned this and I have to agree.

Change your balun.

It's the cheapest, quickest, most likely fix. Get a good quality one (Channel Master or Philips Outdoor (aka magnasonic)). This is one of the the most important components of your setup, yet is often overlooked. I live in deep fringe and have experimented/ tested MANY of these - a good one can make the difference. A bad one (or broken one), and you can get symptoms like yours. Give it a shot.
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