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So I need to split the cable coming down from the aerial into 3 outlets. What's the best way of doing this?

I was thinking of using a 4-way splitter:

4-way splitter

Would this be the best way with minimal signal loss. If worst comes to worst what booster unit do you recommend? ideally I prefer if I don't have to get onto the roof. We don't have the proper kit for it.

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Don't buy the cheapest splitter you find. The cheapest models often have the highest signal loss. –  mikes Sep 21 '12 at 18:22
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Look at the DB rating on the splitter itself. You want the smallest rating possible (it's usually -ve -3 is better than -7) –  Chris Cudmore Sep 21 '12 at 18:29

3 Answers 3

Well, if you are going to split it 3-ways, buy a 3-way splitter not a 4-way. I agree with the comment from Mikes about buying a more expensive model if possible.

I would avoid a booster at all costs - power boosters add noise to the line - so yes you get a higher signal, but its noisier.

As far as minimizing signal loss, here are the top items to keep in mind:

  1. Keep runs as short as possible
  2. Don't splice cables together - always use a single continuous run (where possible)
  3. Buy a high-quality RG6 cable. Quad Shield (usually you will see RG6-QS on the cable) provides the most shielding and helps reduce interference
  4. Use high-quality compression fittings instead of crimped connectors (Thomas & Betts Snap-n-seal is my product of choice). Also make sure you install them correctly (end of internal plastic insulator flush with the inside of the fitting, ground braid properly folded back, cable stripped correctly, no nicks in wire, etc.).
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Just to amplify what Steven has said, and add a couple of things.

A splitter is correct. Get one that does not have spare outlets, as that will cost you a loss of signal. (You can add terminator caps on unused ports. I don't know how well they do.)

Get a good splitter. Cheaper ones will lose signal, and for a few dollars more, why not? Amazon sells them.

You can tell the difference between RG6 and quad shielded RG6 cable. The quad shielded is better, but costs more.

If you will add your own connectors on the cable (thus not buying pre-made cable) then learn how to do so. Avoid nicking the center copper, as this will cost signal. A poor job at this point will cost you signal.

By the way, be careful, as some quad shielded RG6 uses a steel core with copper cladding on the core. Less expensive, but not quite as good.

Whether you need a pre-amp is a question of where you live. We need that amp badly, but we live so far away the signal is sent via airmail. :) If you will add an amp, you will need to climb on the roof, as the amp will strengthen the signal coming from the antenna.

Note: you can do as I have done, and have multiple antennas. In fact, we have a small farm of 4 antennas (soon to be 5), all carefully multiplexed together, sitting inside our garage attic. While this costs some signal, it protects the antennas from weather damage.

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Use a distribution amplifier if you're doing more than a two way split off an antenna. Your digital TV will thank you for this. The conversion to DTV in this area brought out how sensitive this method is to signal fluctuation and snow/rain storms. Passive splitters just don't cut it.

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