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Bill7 08-26-2010 07:16 AM

Use of old Dish Net. cables for digital convert.
We finally made the switch, from Dish to regular TV. It was just getting too expensive (it was Dish or internet, and the family chose internet!). Our last day on Dish is Friday:( We have one Dish receiver and two TVs. Dish only wants the receiver and remotes back.

Anyway, my question: Is it possible to use the existing coaxial cable going from the dish (mounted outside on the deck) to hook up a digital antenna?

Or do I need two converter boxes? It seems to me it would be a wasted of neatly run cables, going to both TVs.

I think this is going to be harder on me than on the kids!


Mr Chips 08-26-2010 09:31 AM

You should be fine with the existing cable. most of the dish applications required a better grade of coax than cable, so you should be good. Take a look at your cable, if it's RG6 you are golden. if it's RG59 you might be ok, especially if you are not getting HD and don't have big flat screens

Convertor boxes will depend on your area, cable provider, and service you are subscribing to

Bill7 08-26-2010 02:37 PM

I am getting rid of service...

My service will be the converter box to receive the digital signal from the air waves. I guess I didn't clarify it well enough.

Is there an exterior antenna for the digital signal that I can hook up to the existing coaxial cables from the old Dish setup? Even if I have to buy two converter boxes, it would be great if I could use one exterior antenna (going to both TVs) by using the cables that are going from the dish to each TV. I am assuming an antenna outside would be better than an indoor one at each TV.


Mr Chips 08-26-2010 03:08 PM

OK, now I gotcha! I think you can still use one of those HDTV directional anteneas ( I'm not sure if anything changed when everything went digital last year or whenever it was that rabbit ears became obsolete)

The only potential problem is that the best reception is with the directional ones, so depending on where your dish is/was, it may not be the optimum spot to point it toward the broadcasting towers in your area.

Somewhere there is a website that you can put in your address and see which direction to point your antenea, as well as the best angles and such. The terk website might have a link, as they make/made those. If you live in or within 30 miles of a major city you are probably ok, if you are out in the sticks it might be more of a challenge.

the good news is your existing coax should be fine for this

onetec 08-26-2010 09:30 PM

Yes you can
The cable is RG6 and is great for antenna use. No satellite system uses RG59, but that would work fine too. Track it through and make sure there's not a satellite diplexer in place (it's what splits a satellite signal). If there is, you will want to replace it with a standard splitter (found at any box store). Beware that diplexers can look like splitters but they MUST be removed and replaced. The antenna that everyone refers to as an HD antenna is just a standard UHF antenna. You can determine what channels you can get and what antenna you need here:

Pointing, level, and reducing obstructions are all important.

Mr Chips 08-27-2010 06:30 AM


Originally Posted by onetec (Post 491829)
You can determine what channels you can get and what antenna you need here:

Pointing, level, and reducing obstructions are all important.

that's the one!!

Bill7 08-28-2010 08:30 AM

Thanks for the link.

It looks like "all" I need is the antenna. A good quality one like this
I will need to ground both the mast and the antenna, from what I can tell.

My options are to go roof top, or to add a mast to the deck where the old dish is. I can attach it to the deck with a large mast. Should be sturdy. Grounding would then be very easy, straight down, as opposed to along the roof, and hanging down.

The good news: if I get a quality antenna, and get the location correct, I should be able to pick up many stations.

Are the cheaper ones any good?


Mr Chips 08-28-2010 05:11 PM


Originally Posted by Bill7 (Post 492329)

The good news: if I get a quality antenna, and get the location correct, I should be able to pick up many stations.

Are the cheaper ones any good?

you could always just make one out of a 2x4, duct tape and some coathangers, this is DIY chatroom afterall

onetec 08-29-2010 12:18 PM

You don't need the VHF. That one seems very pricey. The size and configuration of the antenna is dependent on your distance to the towers. An over-sized or over-amped antenna CAN come in too hot, so try to get the right size.

The ground wire from the mast should connect to the cable's ground block. The ground block should be grounded to your main utility ground not more than 20 feet away and NOT be separately grounded.

Without expensive meters, antennas can be tricky, so be sure to go high and avoid any obstructions as possible and level, level, level.

Good luck!

onetec 08-29-2010 12:40 PM

By the way, I'm about to have a garage sale to get rid of a ton of low-voltage stuff including a number of UHF antennas. I have a "Winegard PR-8800 UHF 8 Bay TV Antenna ProStar High Definition 39 Element Off-Air HDTV Local Channel Digital Signal Aerial, 75 Ohm, RED ZONE, Part # PR8800". I also have 4 others that are differant brands that are in my loft, but will need to dig to get info on, if you have an interest. This one is rated at 35-60 miles. I also have connectors, tri-pod masts, tools, splitters, etc. Let me know what you need and I can save you a bundle.

The Cable Guy 01-05-2011 08:07 PM

Sorry to dig this one out of the grave, but have you looked into as an alternative? If the kids have a Wii, Xbox360, or PS3, or if you have a bluray player (only certain brands though), and you are running a wireless router, you might be shocked at just how much paid programming is available online for free (and ALL of it in an on-demand format as well...with absolutely minimal commercials in most cases). I had to cut the Dish off myself (started working for Comcast...), and for the interim, we went with playon to fill the gap. My child never even noticed that the Dish had been cut her shows were there (playon pulls from all over the internet, like Hulu, Comedy Central, Nat Geo, etc.).

Just an option to consider.

Mr Chips 01-05-2011 08:36 PM

i thought all you comcast guys get free cable anyway ( or at least that's what a comcast employee told me)

The Cable Guy 01-05-2011 08:56 PM


Originally Posted by Mr Chips (Post 563708)
i thought all you comcast guys get free cable anyway ( or at least that's what a comcast employee told me)

How about this one (REAL sore spot with I worked at Dish, I couldn't get good Dish service at my house (trees causing too many problems) I was forced to eventually subscribe to Comcast. I moved to a new house right around the time I left Dish and started at Comcast...and the development I moved into does not have Comcast available (with no plans on Comcast running service out here for another couple of years).

For as long as I have been installing for these companies, I have not really ever (aside from the few months I struggled with the Dish) been able to take full advantage of the free tv services offered by them (Dish were cheapskates about it though, they only offered a $30 discount per month on service...but still, it would have been cheaper than I was paying Comcast)!

So what do I have in my home now? Dish of course...and I pay full price. Story of my dam*ed

But to answer your question, Comcast does give free tv (including premium channels...HBO, Cinemax, etc.), free internet (12 meg package), and free phone to all their employees. Great perk if you can get it!

AllanJ 01-06-2011 12:01 PM

Don't get rid of your old antennas yet.

If you got really good reception years ago (old analog broadcasts) then your old antenna may work out well for your new TV. But if reception was marginal then then you will probably need a better antenna now.

Particularly if your reception used to be spotty, you might want to install a second roof antenna for the second TV. Again, another of your old antennas may work fine. When you need a splitter so two TV's can share the same antenna, there is a significant reduction in signal strength. For a 2 way splitter, each TV gets a little less than half.

Bill7 01-22-2011 09:20 PM

Just an update so you all don't think I have forgotten you:)
I haven't hooked anything up yet. Went with Netflix for now. Downside: No Packers vs Bears tomorrow.

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