Using Definitions for calculator:
The distance calculator is set up for a 36kW full power ATSC digital broadcast TV transmitter. Analog TV transmitters are in use worldwide and go as high as 58kW.
The Receive power is the amplifier’s ability to receive a strong signal from a local TV transmitter, without having interference. The CEA specification wants an amplifier that can receive a signal as strong as (-3.8dBm). This is where the receiver’s linearity is important. Linearity is the ability to amplify the signal of one channel over another adjacent channel without interference. The higher the linearity the more power the amplifier can handle, or in this case the closer it can get to a TV transmitter. If your amplifier cannot handle the power level you need to move farther away from the transmitter, resulting in a lower power reception threshold. A typical amplifier that does not meet the CEA specification can handle up to (-8.8dBm).
The antenna gain is set as 0dB which represents a UHF band channel with a small outdoor antenna or medium size indoor antenna. the antenna gain varies from -25dB of gain in small monopole antenna to +7dB for a 7ft rooftop antenna.
The frequency range goes from 45 MHz to 880 MHz, depending on the country, in the U.S. is goes from 45Mhz to 700Mhz. The 800MHz band was licensed to wireless carriers and is now used for 4G.
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The transition from analog to digital broadcast TV is a worldwide transition that will be completed by the year 2025. The main reason for the transition is to more efficiently use the spectrum and clear the way for additional wireless internet spectrum. The frequency range where the current broadcast TV resides is considered prime spectrum since the signals have the best propagation characteristics for long distance reception.Digital TV signals are not as robust as analog signals. Digital signals are more susceptible to interference and have a smaller coverage area. To make up the difference amplifiers are being added to receive more channels. The problem is amplifiers need the right balance of low noise, high gain and high linearity. Without the right balance you will end up sacrificing the total reception area by being either too close or too far from the TV tower.
This distance calculator was designed to help antenna manufacturers realize the saturation point when using a non CEA compliant amplifier. The larger the antenna, the more gain it has. The more gain, the father away you need to be from the local TV transmitter so it does not over saturate the amplifier. In general a CEA compliant amplifier (like Parsecs’ PT1201) cuts the saturation point in half and increase the overall range of the antenna. Retail customers want a plug and play solution and expect manufacturers to make a fool proof antenna. Unfortunately getting the most channels leaves manufacturers trying to find the right balance at the best cost. If antenna manufacturers switch to highly linear amplifiers in addition to low noise and high gain amplifieres (like Parsecs’ PT1201), TV antenna manufacturers can cut down the amount of returns at retailers due to over saturation and have a larger reception area that receives more channels.