TV Masthead Amplifier

How to Install a Signal Amplifier for Digital TV

A signal amplifier or signal booster can help you get better Digital TV reception if you’re in a low signal area or you have a large number of DTV outlets in your house. Here’s how to install one.

TV Masthead Amplifier
TV Masthead Amplifier(grey box on the pole)

For a detailed discussion of TV signal amplifiers, see All About Digital TV Amplifiers.

What you need

You’ll need a DTV suitable signal amplifier. I recommend GME Kingray amplifiers. You’ll need to make sure you have the correct type of amplifier for your area. Some areas use VHF, UHF or a combination of both. If you get a wideband VHF/UHF amplifier you should be covered for both situations.

Item Where to buy Notes
Kingray MDA20H VHF/UHF amplifier with PSK06 PAL Injector
Suitable for all areas
Buy on eBay This amplifier is suitable for VHF and UHF and comes with a power supply that plugs into a normal PAL TV socket. The amplifier is also available in VHF or UHF only versions for areas with only one band used for broadcasting. You can also get an F type power injector if this suits your installation.

For more info about amplifiers see All About Digital TV Amplifiers.

Cutters Find side cutters on eBay 4.5 inch is a good size, or you can use the cutters on a large pair of electrician’s bullnose pliers.
Rotary Coax Stripper Find Rotary Coax Strippers on eBay I recommend a 3 blade model that handles RG6 and RG59.
Compression Tool or Hex Crimper Find a Compression Tool Kit on eBay

Find Hex Crimp Tools on eBay
You can use either a hex crimper with crimp F connectors or a compression tool with compression F connectors. I recommend the compression tool
RG6 F Connectors – Compression or crimp Find RG6 Compression F Connectors on eBay

Find RG6 Crimp F Connectors on eBay
Choose the type appropriate to your tool. You may be able to get them as part of a kit.
Cable Ties – 200m Find Cable Ties on eBay A cable tie to affix the amplifier will usually come packaged with the amplifier. You’ll need additiona cable ties to secure the cable. 200m is a good size. Use black cable ties as these last longer in the UV light from the sun.

See the DIY Digital TV Tool Guide for more info.

Procedure – Installing the DTV Masthead Signal Amplifier

  1. Check to see if there is enough slack cable between your splitter and the antenna to be able to loop in and out of the amplifier on the masthead(see video).
  2. Remove any cable ties holding the cable to the pole.
  3. Cut the antenna cable about a metre away from the antenna. I usually mount the masthead amplifier halfway up the pole. This will leave enough cable to loop up and into the amplifier.

    Cut the cable near the bottom of the pole
    Cut the cable near the bottom of the pole
  4. Affix the masthead amplifier to the pole with a cable tie (usually supplied with the amp).
    Insert the cable tie through the mount attachment
    Insert the cable tie through the mount attachment

    Tighten the cable tie around the pole to affix the amplifier in place
    Tighten the cable tie around the pole to affix the amplifier in place
  5. Open the cover of the masthead signal amplifier and identify the input and output. You may need to remove the metal cover inside, or consult the packaging.
    Sealed metal box inside the amplifier
    Sealed metal box inside the amplifier

    Amplifier case opened, showing input and output markings
    Amplifier case opened, showing input and output markings
  6. Terminate both ends of the cut coaxial cable with F connectors.
  7. Connect the input and output. The input is the cable coming from the antenna, the output is the cable going to the TV sockets and/or splitter.

    Connect the input and output cables
    Connect the input and output cables
  8. Close the DTV signal booster cover and re-attach the cable to the pole with cable ties. Be sure to seal the roof entry hole again.

    Finished masthead amplifier install
    Finished masthead amplifier install

Procedure – Splitter and Power Supply Installation

A power supply must be connected via a TV socket to feed power up the cable to power up the masthead signal amplifier. Most splitters for Digital TV will only pass the power from one of the outlets to the antenna. Splitters that pass power via all ports are usually marked as such, in which case you can use any socket to feed power to the amp.

If you have only one TV socket and there is no splitter, you won’t need to worry about this part.

  1. Check the splitter to identify which socket is connected to the cable that goes into the power pass port. The power pass port on the splitter can be identified by a line that goes from the outlet to the antenna input.

    4 Way splitter showing powerpass port line marking
    4 Way splitter showing powerpass port line marking
  2. If necessary rearrange the cables on the splitter so the power pass port is connected to a socket in a convenient location.
  3. At the socket the power pass is connected to, plug the “to antenna” plug of the power injector into the socket. Plug the TV fly lead into the “to television” socket of the power injector.

    Kingray PSK06F Power Injector
    Kingray PSK06F Power Injector
  4. Plug the plugpack into a power outlet or power board and turn it on.

    Kingray PSK06F Power Injector Plug Pack
    Kingray PSK06F Power Injector Plug Pack

After doing this you should have a TV signal at all sockets in the house.