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post #91 of 343 Old 12-07-2008, 01:55 PM
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Having used the box a bit and being able to compare it against the other two I can see some good and bad. The box is warm but hasn't locked up or caused any problems. The picture is absolutely beautiful in my opinion. It has a ton of features but some of them are a bit hard to access with regard to user interface. The remote is a bit wonky but if you realize the buttons have a bit of throw to them then it appears fine.

I can see why it elicits such sharp opinions. It is on the verge of having a lot of features but they don't quite mesh perfectly. It has a guide but it doesn't work quite the way you think it will. It has reminders, but not timer events. It has SVHS output which is beautiful but the interface is a bit ugly.

Still for $.01 I can't complain and it certainly is no worse than the RCA box.
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post #92 of 343 Old 12-10-2008, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by systems2000 View Post

The remote is far superior to the Zenith/Insignia. Those remotes are non-standard, smaller, & harder to read in low-light situations.

I agree and disagree.... I have both sitting side by side, and the zenith handles a wider angle and distance than the apex. BUT the button layout on the apex is a little more intuitive. For me, the pin point accuracy required for aiming the apex remote is a bigger PITA for me than the bad layout of the zenith.

Also, I do notice a SLIGHT green tint with the 502 when using Svideo (haveen't tried comp/rca) but it isn't a deal breaker for the unit. The Apex not allowing to rescann is the deal breaker for me though. The Zenith's rescan function is absolutely awesome.

The Zenith pulled in more channels, I believe due to my severe multipath issues (urban location, brick building). however, the apex did pullin one channel from much futher away that the zenith coudln't touch.

So in my experience and opinion?

Remote: total wash, zenith better range and angle, apex, better layout and usability.

Picture:
Sharpness: Apex
Color: Zenith

Features:
EPG: I prefer the simple Zenith guide, but this is completely preference.
Outputs: Apex, s-video, what was zenith/insignia thinking by not including this!?
Smart Antenna: Again, why did apex even bother if you can't rescan!? Retarded to even include it... no points for either box.

Reception: (tested with 4 different indoor antennas paired with both)
Apex: 14 channels, with best antenna pairing
Zenith: 18 channels, with best antenna pairing

Audio: Very close, but the Apex is superior.

Overall, if I could only choose one for my situation (urban multipath reception), I'm sticking with the Zenith, but If I moved to the burbs or country, I'd probably go with the apex due to the extra features, but because bottm line is I can live with a lousy remote and not having s-video but I can't live with out the 4-5 additional channels.
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post #93 of 343 Old 12-10-2008, 07:28 PM
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Just ordered this box from Tiger Direct. This is a gift to my mother for Christmas. It is too be hooked up to my old TV I gave her when I bought my HDTV this summer. She right now is just using analog. I hope it works good as reception in Brooklyn is kind of flaky. I can get most of the New York locals but not all of them. I only paid $49 with shipping.

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post #94 of 343 Old 12-10-2008, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
The Apex not allowing to rescann is the deal breaker for me though.

Read my prior posts. If it is enough like the 501, you can add channels, by simply enterning the physical channel number (43.1 for example).

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #95 of 343 Old 12-10-2008, 09:19 PM
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The DT502 is not the same as the DT250. I have both.
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post #96 of 343 Old 12-12-2008, 09:38 AM
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I know it's not the "same", but, as I said, "if it is enough like the 502" it should work.

Can you state it doesn't? Punch in a known actual physical channel number that is receivable, but wasn't in the orginal scan and post the result.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
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post #97 of 343 Old 12-12-2008, 04:08 PM
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Again, The DT502 returns an "Invalid Channel" result.

By the way, what is a 501?
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post #98 of 343 Old 12-14-2008, 06:54 AM
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Quote:


By the way, what is a 501?

Centronics ZAT501.
Not that there would be any chance of getting the two confused.

There are thousands of letter/number combunations. One would think these Chineese no name manufactures would come up with completely different model numbers so as not to confuse anyone even further.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
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post #99 of 343 Old 12-15-2008, 10:29 AM
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I've really enjoyed this tuner so far but unless I've read wrong, it has one feature missing that would just make it perfect in my view. I thought I would post here and see if anyone has "discovered" it or if I just missed it in the reading.

Is there a way to add a show to the reminder list from the full guide?

Great box with no color tinge (green or otherwise) that I have seen and the remote works great if you tip it down a bit. Most remotes allow me to point with a bit if elevation. This one works great if you point it down a bit.
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post #100 of 343 Old 12-15-2008, 09:33 PM
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The only place I've been able to use the reminder option is while in the "Simple Guide" view.
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post #101 of 343 Old 12-16-2008, 03:23 PM
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One quick question. Is S-VHS on 502 much better than the composite output of Zenith? I'm considering buy one of the two for my old projector having 800*600 resolution. Thanks!

Have a good day~~~
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post #102 of 343 Old 12-16-2008, 04:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jun View Post

One quick question. Is S-VHS on 502 much better than the composite output of Zenith? I'm considering buy one of the two for my old projector having 800*600 resolution. Thanks!

systems2000 will probably be here later to give you some insight as he has several of the units but I would think the S-Video is going to give you a better picture.. Before going with the Apex DT502 though you might want to re-read some of the previous posts on the DT502 (I think some people are reporting a green tinge via S-Video on the DTT502..).

(I've got a Zenith DTT901 that I'm very happy with, and do not have a Apex D502 (yet) so I have nothing to compare it with, Sans a old Samsung SIR-451T HD tuner.. Zenith DTT901 is light years ahead of the SIR-451T)


One thing that scares me about the D502 is it being a off-name-brand with the reviews on the CompUsa / TigerDirect sites not talking favorably about the unit-
(Several posters saying they've had units die after a short period of time.)

While that may not be a valid concern due to the low numbers of reviews, the Zenith DTT901 being manufactured by LG Electronics, and being marketed under the both the Zenith and Best Buy Insignia brands gives me more confidence in the DTT901 "lasting", all things being equal.

Another plus for the Zenith DTT901 is it IS available locally thru Kmart @$49...

Buying locally is mighty handy in those cases you may need to exchange the unit both within the 90-day warranty period, and afterwards..

PS: BestBuy has the Apex DT502 so that may be a option for you if buying locally is a concern....

As a suggestion buy BOTH a DT502 and DTT901 WITHOUT the $40 NITA COUPON and see what box works best for you. Once you have ascertained what box you like best take them back, and re-purchase with the coupon...


.
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post #103 of 343 Old 12-16-2008, 08:52 PM
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Jun; It's S-video, not S-VHS.
S-VHS is a video recording format. Not the same thing.

Y/C video is usually better than composite depending on the monitor (size & quality) and your eyes (trained or not).

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #104 of 343 Old 12-16-2008, 09:57 PM
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post #105 of 343 Old 12-16-2008, 10:15 PM
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Your last link is dead.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #106 of 343 Old 12-17-2008, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jun View Post

One quick question. Is S-VHS on 502 much better than the composite output of Zenith? I'm considering buy one of the two for my old projector having 800*600 resolution. Thanks!

It's been said by people that have had both that it's equal.

If you really want something with s-video that's better than the Zenith, the CM-7000 is a no-brainer (in fact, it has the #1 rated PQ pretty much universally).
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post #107 of 343 Old 12-17-2008, 11:44 AM
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The thing about all these boxes is that none are being made by first tier folks. I mean they are $40 boxes for goodness sakes. Everyone who is turning them out are the same folks churning out your $40 DVD players instead of your $100 DVD players. All of them have good points and quirks from what I have seen.

So far my Insignia manages to pick up my weakest channel (KCOP) with no break up while the Apex has issues every 5-10 seconds. This is from using the 4 bay YouTube antenna that I built with it stuck in a window though and both would be fine with a real antenna. I like how I can get quick information about the actual program I am watching with the Insignia but the lack of guide beyond NOW/NEXT is limiting at times and the picture is not as good in my opinion.

The PBS channels have been showing some shows about various destinations, I think they are called Journey to... and the name. They are just fantastic looking. That was one area where the APEX really did great. Clearly it isn't HD but is it the best looking 480i I have seen from a converter box. Since I am not a regular watcher of television, I do not know the schedule and the full guide really helps me here.
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post #108 of 343 Old 12-23-2008, 08:05 AM
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I stopped by CC last night and found that they are now carrying the DT502. My local store had two dozen.

If you leave the CECB's on all the time, the only difference for recording, between the Dish products, DT502, & the Zinwells, is that the Dish products and Zinwells do repeat events.
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post #109 of 343 Old 12-29-2008, 10:15 AM
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I'm interested in the Apex 502 because it has S-video and can work with a smart antenna. I'm planning to use it with my Series 2 TiVo, which has an S-video input.

So far, no one has yet discussed what the digital captions look like on the Apex CECBs. (The digital captions on the Channel Master are very small even when set to the large size, so I'm looking for a CECB with S-video that will handle the digital captions much better.)

Digital captions are supposed to look clearer and sharper when S-video is used---could someone please report what they look like when set to the large size, using the "as broadcast" or default font?

Also, how do the analog captions look?

By the way, recording programs on TiVo with digital captions enabled makes the captions "open." I can then transfer certain TiVo programs to my computer using Tivo's software, if I wish to do so, and the captions will be visible. Currently, there's no other way to see TiVo programs on my computer with captions---TiVo hadn't created a way to decode captions from the TiVo recordings on the computer.

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post #110 of 343 Old 12-29-2008, 10:49 AM
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Confirmed:
You can NOT add digital channels that aren't in the scan (unlike the orginal 250),
Blacks have a green tint.
Most noticeable durning movies and 'fades to black'.

Between the two, they make this box useless. Most of the cheap 'toy' sized boxes will let you add channels.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #111 of 343 Old 12-29-2008, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

Quick review:

You can NOT add digital channels that aren't in the scan (unlike the orginal 250) making this box useless,
Blacks have a green tint.

Both are dealbreakers!

Logically, using a smart antenna *should* make a difference in being able to scan all the available channels. The main reason for having a smart antenna in the first place is that not all the channels in a given location can be picked up well if the antenna is oriented in one direction.

So I'm curious----have people who have correctly used a compatible smart antenna with either box still found that the box won't pick up all the available channels in the area----or does the smart antenna actually do a good job of picking up all of the available channels so that it isn't necessary to add any additional channels?

Otherwise, do people know of other converter boxes with smart antennas that do have the capability to add a channel manually?

Dana
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post #112 of 343 Old 12-29-2008, 09:02 PM
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Since there aren't any "Smart Antennas" that are capable of 70+ miles of reception, I haven't tried them. I do have a test site, located on Tuscarora Ridge, where I'm tempted to test one.
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post #113 of 343 Old 12-30-2008, 10:21 AM
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(I first posted this on another thread, but thought I should also post it here because it might help a few others.)

I have been making measurements of digital signals with my Sadelco 719E signal level meter (SLM) for about a year. Even though it is calibrated for peak reading of analog signals, I have found that it is very useful for making comparative measurements of antennas and digital signals.

I would like to have a new SLM that is designed for digital signals, but it is not now in the budget. But what about the people that don't have either? I keep thinking of a poster who lived close to the transmitter towers and had an attic antenna. He was having trouble receiving signals. Was it that the signals were so strong they were causing overload because they only had to go thru wooden siding or were they too weak because they were blocked by aluminum siding or an aluminum foil vapor barrier? I made some signal measurements with my Sadelco SLM and compared them with my Apex DT502 to see how it would do as a SLM. After the antenna, I used a switched attenuator (actually 2 in series) with 3dB steps (as in the Kelvin link in my signature) going to a splitter and then to the DT502 and the SLM; first in a strong signal location:
Code:
Attenuator    Quality    Strength    dBmV       dBm     
   dB            %           %

   0            100         84       +12.5      -36.3
   3            100         84       +9         -39.8
   6            100         83       +6.1       -42.7
   9            100         83       +2.9       -45.9
  12            100         83       +1.4       -47.4
  15            100         81       -2         -50.8
  18            100         78       -4.9       -53.7
  21            100         74       -8.5       -57.3
  24            100         69       -12        -60.8
  27            100         65       -15        -63.8
  30            100         61       -18.5      -67.3
  33            100         59       -20.5      -69.3
  36            100         54       -24        -72.8
  39            100         51       -27        -75.8
  42            100         46       -30        -78.8
I next added a preamp to simulate a very strong signal bringing it up to +36 dBmV, but the DT502 signal strength never went any higher than 84%. I was also looking for signs of overload, but didn't see any. I would have to drive about 100 miles round trip to pick up an extremely strong signal, but it doesn't seem worth the trouble right now. The ultimate test of a tuner would be to see how it would handle a very weak signal when other very strong signals are on the band. That's for another day.

and then in a weak signal location:
Code:
Attenuator    Quality    Strength    dBmV       dBm     
   dB            %           %
   0            100         59       -18.3      -67.1
   3            100         55       -21.8      -70.6
   6            100         50       -25.0      -73.8
   9            100         44       -29.0      -77.8
  12            100         42       
  15             67         33        
  18             30         18
  21              0          0   Dropout
I was able to test a 2nd DT502, and the results were similar: It maxed out at 87% strength at +2.2 dBmV with an increasing signal, and held 100% quality down to 51% strength just below -30dBmV with a decreasing signal.

It looks like the DT502 can be used as a SLM. Its tuner is even more sensitive than my SLM.

If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.
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www.megalithia.com/elect/aerialsite/dttpoorman.html
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post #114 of 343 Old 12-30-2008, 12:16 PM
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Interesting data Rabbit! I have a DIY 4-bay antenna in my attic. Adding a reflector increased the signal strength reading on my two lowest strength channels 5 to 6% (readings before and after with APEX 502). Based on your second table, I increased the gain by 3 db. The modeler who designed the DIYer has routinely observed an 3db increase with field testing (reflector vs no reflector). Results appear to match well!
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post #115 of 343 Old 12-30-2008, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IDRick View Post

Interesting data Rabbit! Results appear to match well!

Thanks for the confirmation using your 502. I appreciate that!

If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.
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www.megalithia.com/elect/aerialsite/dttpoorman.html
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post #116 of 343 Old 12-30-2008, 04:26 PM
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Does anybody know if this box emulates a cableTV boxes' remote control codes?

I'd like to use it with S-VHS recorder that has a IR Remote Blaster. I'd assume I couldn't automatically record subchannels, but it would be great if you send two digits and have it automatically change to the main ".1" channel.

TIM

P.S. Can it remember different zoom settings for different channels? I'd always like to record channel 2.1 zoomed to 4x3 but channel 4.1 I record as letterbox.
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post #117 of 343 Old 12-30-2008, 04:26 PM
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Rabbit, there was additional confirmation that I failed to nention in my earlier post. I have three strong UHF stations that registered between 81 and 84 in the attic. None of these stations increased in signal strength after adding a reflector. Great job!
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post #118 of 343 Old 12-30-2008, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dotheDVDeed View Post

Does anybody know if this box emulates a cableTV boxes' remote control codes?

I'd like to use it with S-VHS recorder that has a IR Remote Blaster. I'd assume I couldn't automatically record subchannels, but it would be great if you send two digits and have it automatically change to the main ".1" channel.

TIM

Are you wanting to change the channel on the DT502 with your S-VHS recorder? The DT502 only has a reminder function that only works if the unit is left "ON."
Quote:
Originally Posted by dotheDVDeed View Post

P.S. Can it remember different zoom settings for different channels? I'd always like to record channel 2.1 zoomed to 4x3 but channel 4.1 I record as letterbox.

It has a global setting.
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post #119 of 343 Old 12-31-2008, 06:28 AM
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rabbit73; Go to flea-bay and search for a Tektronix RFM151 SignalScout. I have seen them sell for as low as $200.
New, 10 years ago, they sold for $2,000 to $2,500! I have two.

Analog SLM's just don't make the grade anymore. I tried a (very common) Sencore 1453 meter, but returned it. Very small display and bulky to hold.
If you want a current model, I would recomend the Sadelco Display Max 800. The (other common) Trilithic Model Two does NOT have a OTA channel allocation table, only CATV, making it useless.

Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way.
The Internet is no place for streaming video.
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post #120 of 343 Old 12-31-2008, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

rabbit73; Go to flea-bay and search for a Tektronix RFM151 SignalScout. I have seen them sell for as low as $200.
New, 10 years ago, they sold for $2,000 to $2,500! I have two.

Analog SLM's just don't make the grade anymore. I tried a (very common) Sencore 1453 meter, but returned it. Very small display and bulky to hold.
If you want a current model, I would recomend the Sadelco Display Max 800. The (other common) Trilithic Model Two does NOT have a OTA channel allocation table, only CATV, making it useless.

Thanks for your suggestions about what models to consider, and what models to avoid. I had considered the Sadelco DisplayMax JR 2000 or the DisplayMax 5000 with BER option if there was anything left of my tax refund.

How would they compare with the Model 800 which, I think, doesn't do BER? BER is important to me because it seems to be a more sensitive indicator than signal level for aiming an antenna when multipath is involved. And, if I had a digital SLM with BER I could connect it and the DT502 to a splitter and assign more accurate numbers to the percentage values on the signal Quality AND signal Strength bars. I DO like the Model 800's spectrum analyzer display of a digital channel that shows how the power is distributed over the channel's bandwith. If there were a notch in the channel level that was caused by multipath, and causing increasing BER, it would show up in the display.

My intent was to find a way for the average guy with a DT502 to figure out if his signals were either too weak or too strong when he was having trouble. That is why I posted my test results, crude as they are, on this thread in the first place. If he added an inexpensive adjustable attenuator he could reduce a signal to dropout to estimate his margin above the noise level and fully utilize the advantage of having a box with 2 signal bars: http://search.solidsignal.com/?q=att...1.x=14&I1.y=14
If he could use his DT502 to find the best "hot spot" for his antenna, compare antennas, aim an antenna using the strength bar, tweak the aim with the quality bar, and watch digital TV on his analog set, all for about $10.00 and a coupon, what more could he ask for?

I realize that my analog SLM is very much out of date, but it's better than nothing, and more than what most other posters have available to them to solve reception problems. I, and others, have still found it useful:
www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1084674

If I were to rank the equipment that I would like to have it would be, from most expensive to least:

1. Spectrum analyzer
2. Digital SLM with BER
3. Digital SLM
4. Analog SLM
5. CECB with a signal quality bar AND a signal strength bar

I am now in category 4. and 5. and would like to move up to 2. or 3.

If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.
Lord Kelvin, 1883
www.megalithia.com/elect/aerialsite/dttpoorman.html
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