If you’re planning you own TV aerial or satellite dish installation and require a particularly long length of coax cabling between your antenna and your TV, or if you want to connect your outbuilding/ shed etc., which may be some distance away with a reliable TV signal, read this article for all you need to know. In this blog I discuss maximum lengths of coax cables, signal losses and how to overcome these with things such as amplification. Without any further ado, let’s begin.
Minimum & Maximum Signal Strengths For TV/ Satellite Signals
To help understand the blog. It’s important to understand what the suggested minimum and maximum signal strengths when measured in dBµV. If you’re thinking maximum signal strength? It can get too strong? Yes, you read that correct and its very important to understand maximum signal loads.below are suggested minimum and maximum signal loads for each respective service. As long as the distribution equipment can handle it, you can exceed the maximum signal levels but you must not allow this to enter your TVwhen it's too strong, use an attenuator if necessary. It's very important that you do not let the signal drop beneath the minimum at any point, even if this will enter another amplifier later in the system.
Suggested signal levels
Satellite TV: Minimum - 47dB (ideally 52dB), maximum -80dB
DTT/ Freeview/ TV Aerial: Minimum - 45dB (Ideally 50dB), maximum - 80dB
Analogue TV: Minimum - 60dB, maximum 80dB
DAB Radio: Minimum - 40dB, maximum 70dB
FMRadio: Minimum - 60dB, maximum - 75dB
Coax Cable Signal Losses
Before we go any further and something that I’m sure you’re already aware of, is the longer the coaxial cable the more signal will be lost but why is this? If you can remember back to a your school science days and Ohms Law, you will know that a voltage drop along a length of a conductor directly relates to the length and size and that conductor. Fortunately, as TV aerial and satellite signals are converted in to the dBµV scale complex calculations are not required, providing that you’re using a correct 75ohm coax cable. Below are some typical signal losses of various types of coax cable. These are all good quality cables that are double screened with solid copper, centre conductor, copper screen and braid. Cables that do not utilise copper conductors will not perform as well in terms of signal performance. Single screened coax cables, which do not have a foil screen will perform significantly worse that below, especially at the higher frequencies and must not be used for satellite signals.
Cable Attenuation(db 100m) 470Mhz860Mhz 1350Mhz 2150Mhz
WF65 21.7 30 37.5 48.4
WF100 13.3 18.3 23.4 30.3
WF125 10.9 14.5 19 24.8
WF165 8.9 12.5 16 20.9
You can see from the above that there is a massive difference between WF65 cable, which has a 0.65mm centre conductor and is commonly used for Sky satellite dish installations or other satellite PVR’s that require two coax inputs, when compared to the larger cables sizes. The most extreme of these being the WF165 coax cable which has a 1.65mm centre conductor and a difference of nearly 28 dB attenuation over 100m at the higher frequencies used by satellite signals. Larger conductor coax cables exist still but these are very uncommon and cost quite a lot to purchase.
In reality “shotgun” cables will only be used for domestic environments and relatively short cable distances and WF165 cable will only normally be used on large communal satellite TV systems with very long cables lengths but you get the idea.
Cable Losses Increase With Frequency
The higher the frequency the signal on the coax antenna cable, the greater the signal losses will be. For example, a satellite LNB connection which typically operates between 950-2150Mhz (wideband LNB’s 300-2150Mhz) will lose more signal over cable distance then a TV aerial signal will which operates typically between 474-698Mhz (formerly up to 850Mhz). This is effect is even more if you wish to send DAB signals (215-230Mhz) or FM Radio signals (88-110Mhz) as these use even lower frequencies too. You will need to consider this before choosing the coax TV cable you will use. If you have a particularly long satellite cable run for example, it’s not a good idea to use a smaller conductor “shotgun” style cable.
Cable Length & Communal TV Systems
There are various types of communal TV systems, but the two most common are MATV systems which send a TV aerial signal to multiple flats and a IRS TV system which includes satellite signals. An MATV system will typically have one trunk cable and various taps with drop-in cables to each flat/ apartment, the trunk cable will then continue onto the next tap-off unit. The same can be true for an IRS system, which instead of 1 trunk cable will have 5 trunk coax cables. In both types it’s possible that the signal will need to travel down a long length of cable before it enters each flat/ apartment. This usually means that the trunk cables will be a larger conductor coax cable like WF125 or WF165 to help reduce cable losses. In both systems, it is common to have a launch amplifier at the head-end which will amplify the signals to very high levels so that this can be carried through the TV system. Of course in both systems, you will need to consider other factors relating to signal losses, like losses associated with taps, splitters and wall plates as well as other distribution equipment which may be required.
The difference of signal losses over coax cable length can be very problematic in large TV systems and long cable runs as you have to consider signal losses at different frequencies on the same cable. In large communal IRS systems which are what is usually installed in blocks of flats, the radio, TV Aerial and satellite signals are all combined together on the same cable. Over distance this can cause the higher frequency signals to become weaker in relation to the lower frequency signals. When viewed on a TV/ Sat spectrum analyser this can cause a visible slope on the signals which we call “sloping”.
Overcoming Signal Sloping
Overcoming signal sloping is very important as you may have a good signal on the services that use the lower frequencies and a very poor signal on the higher frequencies. There are a few things than can be done to resolve sloping. You could introduce the signals that carry signals on the lower frequencies at a higher level using an pre-amplifier or something similar, you could attenuate the lower frequencies down or most likely you would install equipment that allows you to adjust the slope. A lot of amplifiers and distribution equipment that are used for communal TV system will have slope correction built in or have an adjustable slope mechanism built in, this is usually done with a small screwdriver.
Amplification To Overcome Signal Losses
If you’re going to lose a lot of signal down a length of coaxial cable which could be cable resistance or losses associated with the TV signal splitters which can make your signal too weak causing poor TVreception, breaking up and pixelation. Fear not amplifiers can be installed to overcome this. It’s important when introducing amplifiers that you buy the correct type and install this correctly.
Install Amplifier Before Signal Is Weak
You want to install your amplifier in a location where the signal is still of an acceptable strength, before cable losses have taken effect. For conventional TV Aerial systems the best place to amplify a signal is up near the antenna usually using a masthead amplifier which can also be powered off the same connecting coax cable that provides the signal. You do not want to introduce an amplifier after the resistance from the cable length has caused to drop the signal too low, as the amplifier would be trying to boost something that is not there.
Careful Not To Overload Equipment
Every piece of TV aerial/ satellite equipment will have a maximum signal strength that it can handle and the signal level in your system should never be allowed to go beyond this as this could overload your equipment and cause poor TV reception, including loss of signal and pixelation. It could even damage the parts/ components of the equipment. If you need to amplify the signals to very high levels like is the case for communal TV systems, you will need a professional launch amplifier to do this which can carry a high signal strength through it.
Satellite Line Amplifiers
Simple satellite line amplifiers can be installed which has a sloped signal gain to remove sloping and are powered by the satellite receiver can be installed to overcome signal losses on long cable lengths. The problem with these though is if they’re installed too close to the dish, the signal will become too strong and if they are installed by the satellite receiver, the signal can be too weak. For this reason you will need to install the line amplifiers mid-way of the cable length, usually after 40-50m if using RG6/ WF100 type cable.
Consider Fibre Optic Cabling For Very Long Runs
If you have a very long distance that you need to send a TV signal, consider using fibre optic cabling instead which distributes the signal using light rather than copper conductors. This means that there is virtually no signal loss at all between optical transmitter and receiver. You will need to calculate the cost of the fibre equipment in your workings but I can assure you pulling a single fibre optic cable compared to five large coax trunk cables is significantly easier and takes far less time and you will not have the signal losses/ sloping to worry about!
As the fibre optic signal is virtually loss-less, with the right equipment you can send TV Aerial/ satellite signals over kilometres! The equipment required for terminating fibre optic cabling can be expensive but you can buy pre-terminated fibre optic cables which just plug in, I recommend erring on the side of caution and buying pre-terminated fibre slightly longer than you think you need as you don’t want to come up short. The excess can simple be coiled at either end. For your reference most fibre equipment for TV systems using single-mode fibre and FC/ PC connections.
How To Calculate Coax Cable Losses
As already mentioned, the dBµV scale makes working out coax cable losses very easy. You simply take the frequencies that you wish to carry down the cable. It’s a good idea to calculate your signal losses at the highest frequency to work out how much signal will be lost down a length of cable. The same process should also be performed for the lowest frequency and mid-range frequency to identify any potential sloping or signal imbalances in the TV system. To do this:
1-Find the highest frequency that you wish to carry through a coax cable.
2-Identify your required cable length.
3-Identify the signal attenuation per meter on the cable you have chosen (1mm coax is the standard)
4-Multiply the signal attenuation by the metre distance.
5-If the signal loss is too great, consider repeating this process for a larger conductor coax cable.
Maximum Length Of Coaxial Cable
As you can see from this article, that this is a difficult question to answer as there are multiple factors that effect how far you can send a TV signal down a coax cable. This includes quality of the cable, size of the centre conductor, the frequency that you wish to send down the cable, whether amplification will be introduced or not. If you were sending the signals down a 100m cable with a 2dB loss per 10 metres of the frequency you’re carrying, then if you send it down 100m of cable you will get 20dB loss. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re getting 75dB off of your TV aerial, but if you’re not in a good signal area and get less than 60dB then the cable length will be a problem and amplification will need to be introduced – or a cable with a larger cross sectional area of the centre conductor.
Tips To Overcome Cables Losses On Long Cable Lengths
The following is just the above delivered in a concise manner.
1-Use a good quality cable.
2-Add amplification where necessary, make sure this is installed in the correct manner.
3-Use a thicker diameter/ centre conductor cable.
4-Use fibre optics instead of coax for very, very long cable lengths.
Questions/ Comments In The BlogComments Section Only Please
If you have any comments or questions that have arisen from this blog, please only post them in the Blog Comments Section below. Please DONOTCALLOURTELEPHONELINES and PLEASEDONOT E-MAIL/ FILLINOURWEBSITECONTACTFORMS unless you looking to book in an installation or quote within Sussex or Kent. We do not have the staff or the time to offer free over the phone technical advise/ support so please do not call. I also do not have the time to privately answer individual questions over e-mail, if you send your questions this way it is most likely that you will not receive a response. That being said, I will help where I can and I hope you liked the article.
Until next time,
The maximum extension that may be added to the standard length of cable supplied with an antenna is 10 meters. Extensions are available in standard lengths of 5 and 10 meters. Longer extensions are possible, but such an extension must be installed by a qualified technician.Does length of coaxial cable affect antenna signal? ›
Yes, the greater the length of coax cable you use, the more signal loss you will experience.How long can a coax cable be before signal loss? ›
But once you get above 100 feet, things get tricky. The longer the coax run, the more loss and the more expensive it gets. The signal arriving at the receiver from anything longer than 100 feet of RG8X is probably going to cause trouble. Runs over 200 feet without amplification are only a dim possibility.How many cables can you run from a satellite dish? ›
With a Quad LNB you can run four cables from it, this could be for four separate satellite receivers, two separate PVR recordable versions, or alternatively one recordable PVR in one room and two separate satellite receivers in two more rooms.Can a TV antenna reaches 100 miles? ›
A number of companies claim that a TV antenna can receive signals from 100 miles away or more. These claims are simply untrue.Can an aerial cable be extended? ›
It's all you need to extend existing cords between the aerial outlet and your gadgets. So you can keep the clear picture and sound the way you want it. 10 metre cable with gold-plated connectors. Kit includes 1 coaxial connector, .Does thicker wire make a better antenna? ›
Thicker wire increases the "bandwidth" of the antenna, aka the "range" of frequencies it can receive.What coaxial cable has the least amount of signal loss? ›
Series 11 is the largest, has the least amount of signal loss over length, but is bulky, hard to install, and relatively expensive when compared to Series 6 coaxial cables. Series 6 is the most commonly used size due to the excellent trade off in price, size, handling and signal loss.Can a coaxial cable be used as an antenna? ›
No. Your coaxial cable is meant to send a signal from an antenna to your device. Instead, buy or build a proper antenna for the signals you wish to transmit or receive.How long is too long for a network cable? ›
Ethernet cable can have a length that is too long. The maximum cable length for copper twisted pair cables is going to be up to 328 feet (100 meters). Anything beyond this and you run the risk of your signal strength deteriorating. Even worse is that it might just not want to work.
As a general rule, you do not want to exceed 50 feet of coaxial cable (including RV wiring) between the receiver and antenna, since power is being transferred as well. Any longer than 50 feet may result in a loss of signal quality, and in some cases complete signal loss.Can you run 2 TVs off 1 satellite receiver? ›
Though it technically is possible to connect a second TV to your current satellite receiver it may not be worthwhile to do so. In order to connect two TV's to one satellite Receiver you would need to install an aftermarket multi-switch to your current receiver.Does a bigger satellite dish improve signal? ›
A larger dish may also be beneficial on the basis that it would pick up a bit more signal and give a better Carrier to Noise(C/N) or Modulation Error Ratio (MER) reading resulting in a more robust signal less likely to fail in the wet weather.Can a TV aerial signal be too strong? ›
If you are experiencing pixellation or picture break up, it may be that your signal is too strong as this often presents itself similarly to a weak signal. This is likely to happen if you live close to a transmitter. Attenuators can be used to decrease the incoming signal if it is too strong without distorting it.Do TV antennas work on line of sight? ›
Line-of-Sight & Proximity to Local Broadcast TV Towers
OTA TV signals are distributed via the concept of line-of-sight. This means ideal TV reception occurs when your TV antenna is in close proximity to the local transmitter towers and can 'see' them with minimal or no obstructions.
A: For the best performance, we typically recommend placement of your TV antenna at the highest point available to you and with a clear line of sight to the broadcast towers to minimize the possibility of obstructions between your antenna and the broadcast towers it is receiving signals from.Is a long antenna better than a short antenna? ›
A good long-range antenna may have a maximum range several times greater than a short-range antenna. That's because long-range antennas are designed to pick up weak signals, and their shape and structure let them pick up even faint signals as long as they have a direct line of sight to the tower.
The Clearstream 4Max is a very good antenna for a rural area and built for those serious about getting the most OTA channels possible with the best reception. Since it can also pick up UHF and VHF signals, it boosts the available TV channels that can be received.How can I increase my antenna range? ›
Reset Your Digital Tuner
- Disconnect the coaxial cable from your TV.
- Run the channel scan on your TV.
- Turn off and unplug you TV and/or converter box.
- Reconnect all connections.
- Do one more channel scan.
Wrapping aluminum foil around an antenna increases the antenna's conductivity and surface area. It will then boost the signal received by a television. That works perfectly. Because most antenna wires are thin, this method works.
Does grounding a TV antenna improve reception or just reduce the chances that it will be struck by lightning? It does neither. No difference in reception.How do I extend my TV aerial cable to another room? ›
Install the coaxial coupler by hand. Simply slide the coupler into the cord you're extending and turn it clockwise until the threading catches. Continue turning the coupler until it won't turn any further. You do not typically need tools for this.How many times can you split an aerial cable? ›
Once an aerial is fitted and has a good signal coming in, it will, depending on the actual strength of that signal, be able to be split into two or more outputs, sometimes as much as six without any amplification, again that is dependent on the strength of the signal coming in.At what height should aerial cable be? ›
Try to mount an aerial at least two feet, and preferably three feet, above any roof line.Which is better copper or aluminum antenna? ›
With copper being twice as conductive as aluminum and 6 times more conductive than steel, it makes an excellent choice as an antenna material.Which cable is best for antenna? ›
Coaxial cable designed for domestic television should be 75 Ohm, with RG-6 coaxial being ideal for TV. The best coaxial cable for HDTV is RG-11. This type of cable offers a higher gauge than others, which provides more space for signals to transfer.Is higher or lower antenna gain better? ›
On an open and flat highway, a high gain antenna will be better… 3 dB, 6 dB, etc. If your desired coverage area is hilly then a ¼ wave omnidirectional antenna will be better. The other type of gain is directional and is important for base stations.Does splitting coaxial cable weaken signal? ›
Any time a TV signal is split, it will encounter insertion loss that will weaken the signals distributed beyond the splitter. If you experience signal issues while using a splitter, you may need to install a distribution amplifier or a preamplifier.How can I improve my weak cable signal? ›
- Install Your Aerial Outside. ...
- Install The Aerial Higher Up. ...
- Install A Higher Gain TV Aerial. ...
- Align Your TV Aerial For Peak Reception. ...
- Install A Masthead Amplifier. ...
- Remove Splitters – Install Distribution Amplifiers. ...
- Install Good Quality Coaxial Cable. ...
- Install Good Quality “Screened” Wall plates.
The satellite cable is higher grade (ie, thicker), but the impedance of both is 75 ohms, so you can use satellite cable for Freeview, but not the other way round.
Coaxial cable, also known as coax cable, is the cable type used in antenna cable assemblies. This cable is uniquely structured to provide efficient transmission of radio frequency signals due to its high level of shielding that protects transmitted signals from external electromagnetic interference.Is coaxial cable the same as aerial cable? ›
Coaxial cable, also known as TV aerial cable or coax, is primarily used to carry video and data signals from an aerial to a device such as a satellite dishes or television. This is due to the well insulated conductor wire which prevents frequency interference.What are the rules regarding cable length? ›
A cable length or length of cable is a nautical unit of measure equal to one tenth of a nautical mile or approximately 100 fathoms. Owing to anachronisms and varying techniques of measurement, a cable length can be anywhere from 169 to 220 metres, depending on the standard used.Does network cable length affect speed? ›
Length is one of the many factors. To answer the question, if the length of the Ethernet cables has anything to do with the speed of the connection – yes it does. The Cable run limitations of ethernet cables in your network have a direct impact on the speed of your internet connection.How long can a cable line be? ›
Composite RCA - 100 feet (regular); 250 feet (with extender)
Being analog, the image quality can degrade at longer lengths but the loss is not noticeable at 100' or shorter. It is possible to go up to 300' with a regular cable, but the quality level will vary.
The maximum extension that may be added to the standard length of cable supplied with an antenna is 10 meters. Extensions are available in standard lengths of 5 and 10 meters. Longer extensions are possible, but such an extension must be installed by a qualified technician.Can a satellite dish act as an aerial? ›
You cannot use a dish as an aerial, though people have ways of repurposing an old Sky dish. Their version of repurposing is to make the satellite dish the mount. You can take out the LNB and attach your clip-on aerial there. Your coaxial cord will run from the TV aerial and not the dish itself.Does length of coaxial cable affect signal? ›
Does Length of Coaxial Cable Affect Signal Loss? Yes, the greater the length of coax cable you use, the more signal loss you will experience.How do I get Freesat in two rooms? ›
To get Freesat in more than one room, you'll need a Freesat box or a TV with Freesat built in for each room you want to watch Freesat in, attached to a single satellite dish.How many TVs can use the same antenna? ›
The number of TV outlets that can run off one TV antenna is theoretically unlimited, as long as the antenna has been set up correctly from the start to give a quality signal.
Because rents are high and salaries aren't, many families living in poverty are doubling and tripling up in apartments. There's often enough money scraped together to pay for a satellite TV contract, said Karen Pushaw, a staff member of St. Francis Inn Soup Kitchen in Kensington.How can I make my satellite signal stronger? ›
- Remove surrounding shrubbery or other obstacles. ...
- Add a satellite in-line amplifier. ...
- Move your satellite dish closer to your home. ...
- Ask your service provider if you need to reposition your satellite dish. ...
- Ask your service provider about switching satellites.
A TV aerial has a distinct advantage over satellite dishes when running to multiple TV's as the signal can be split to feed extra TV's. So if you had 4 TV points around your home you could bring all the cables back to a central point, fit a splitter and your aerial signal cable and that will feed all of your TV points.How far can a coaxial cable transmit? ›
Coaxial cable can be cabled over longer distances than twisted-pair cable. For example, Ethernet can run approximately 100 meters (328 feet) using twisted-pair cabling. Using coaxial cable increases this distance to 500m (1640.4 feet). For LANs, coaxial cable offers several advantages.How far can a signal travel through a cable? ›
Through UTP or STP cables, signals can be transmitted over a distance of 100 m (328.08 ft.) only. This behavior occurs because signals attenuate during transmission through the UTP cables. Attenuation refers to the dissipation of the power of a transmitted signal as it travels over a cable.What is maximum distance for network cable? ›
The maximum length of a Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet cable is about 295 ft. (90 m), plus up to 16 ft. (5 m) of patch cable on either end, for a total of 328 feet or 100 meters. Beyond this, the signal begins to degrade, reducing the speed and reliability of the connection.How far can you run coax cable from a cell booster? ›
“What can the maximum cable lengths be?” In general, WilsonPro recommends keeping the cable lengths at or under 100 feet total from amplifier to any antenna.Can you run TV coaxial cable next to electrical? ›
Don't Run Coax Too Close to Electrical Wiring
Electrical lines can cause nasty interference in coaxial cable. So keep coax cables as least 6 in. away from electrical cable, even if the cables are separated by wood or other building materials.
Installer said just bury coax directly in ground about 4 - 6 inches deep (said just turn ground up with spade, place cable in, then replace dirt).How far can I run 2.5 mm cable? ›
2.5mm, 3.5mm (also called headphone cables), and ¼” audio cables have a maximum distance of 150' on average. Off-the-shelf, standard audio cables will be rated with 150' in mind.
Single-mode fibre can go as far as 40 km or more without hurting the signal, making it ideal for long-haul applications.How long is the maximum cable length of the horizontal channel? ›
The maximum distance for horizontal cable from the telecommunications room to the telecommunications outlet is 90 meters (295') regardless of the cable media used.Do coaxial extenders degrade signal? ›
Too many extenders do degrade the signal quality.Do antenna cables carry electricity? ›
By their very nature, aerial cables carry a current. TV aerials work by capturing radio waves from the air and transmitting them through a coaxial cable down to your television set. Through this process, the cable is using alternating current electricity, a higher frequency than your mains electrical supply.Should I run my coax cable through a surge protector? ›
Don't run it through a surge protector, it will cause ingress in your lines. Your coax line will already be grounded so it would be redundant anyways.