EV's Recommended & Top Rated DTV Indoor UHF/VHF Set Top Antenna Review Round-Up Guide - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeVelocity View Post

Here is your list fajita. Which stations do you wish to receive? Which stations do you now receive? Which stations are giving you trouble with your current setup? Which direction does your window(of opportunity) face?

North facing window, but pointing a UHF loop east or south-east seems to get strong signals. Only a few trees in the way in that direction, apart from the window moulding (due east) and our own walls (south east).

Right now, for digital, we receive WILX, WLNS, WSYM, WKAR, and WLAJ. Including subchannels, that's actually 11 channels.

But, WLNS is the only station that has no dropouts. WILX, WLAJ, and WSYM come in tolerably, but I wish we could shore them up a little to lessen the stuttering effect. WKAR comes in at 50% or so and is hardly watchable, which hurts, because they have 4 subchannels.

Generally, I'd just like to give everything a boost. Optimially, I'd LOVE to be able to pull in WKAR PBS strongly.

After the transition, WILX is moving to VHF 10 and greatly lowering their signal strength, so a UHF/VHF combo would be preferred.
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post #62 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 08:03 AM
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Okay, after tweaking the CM4221, here's my thoughts. I basically placed the antenna away from my electronics on the other side of my living room in a coat closet. Previously from the RCA powered antenna I had a strength of around 65% - 70% for most channels with intermittent jitter.

Now the main channels with the CM4221 provide a solid 92% signal and the other stations around 85%. I am quite please with the performance and I can get the 8-1 (PBS) channel even though I believe it is a VHF channel. I am pretty amazed I can get that signal strength considering I probably am firing the signal through 5 apartment buildings.
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post #63 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
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I dont see your NBC affiliate moving from dual analog and digital transmitters of 316kw and 500kw, respectively to 14kw, excepting maybe as a transitional stage. So I would discount the power down completely.

My recommendations would be

DB2 plus Rabbit Ears with a switch for choosing between them, some RE & Loop units come with this switch integrated. (or possibly the Winegard HD-1080, but thats a monster) You can get the Rabbit Ears with integrated switch later, if you end up liking the DB2 better than the SS-3000.

Or maybe the Winegard SS-3000, which will give you decent VHF Hi. It has a low power amplifier, less than 10db gain, probably wont overload your tuner.

Maybe get them both and try them out, and keep the one that works best for you and sell or return the other. Didnt you come to that conclusion already?

Other plausible options....

Silver Sensor
Terk HDTVi
RS UFO
Terk TV-5

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post #64 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeVelocity View Post

DB2 plus Rabbit Ears with a switch for choosing between them . . .

Why a switch rather than a UVSJ? I have a DB2 + rabbit ears hooked to a PICO UVSJ and it has worked pretty well for analog. Will it not work for digital (when FOX returns to VHF 7)? Really don't want yet another wrench thrown into my setup. Thanks.
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post #65 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
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A combiner will work fine, too. :thumbsup

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post #66 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Basic non amplified RCA ANT110 & ANT111 RE & Loop antennas added.

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post #67 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deltaguy View Post

I would consider a separate review of good old rabbit ears. There's plenty of information about using them. For example, I've read the tips of the dipoles should be 32 inches apart for channel 7, 26 inches apart for channel 13. For some people, rabbit ears may be the only reliable source of reception after the transition. Yes, they may not get all channels with them, but some is better than none. Anybody selling vhf-hi rabbit ears yet? How tall would those be extended?

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Originally Posted by EscapeVelocity View Post

That is a great idea, deltaguy. Ill look into it. Any info you can share would be greatly appreciated. For some reason, Im thinking that the rabbit ears completely horizontal in oposite directions is best fro channel 2, but not sure?

Most instructions that I've seen tell you to extend the rabbit ears all the way and adjust them so that they are horizontal for low VHF. For high VHF, I think they say to shorten them by 1/3 and place them in a V shape. However, like everything when it comes to indoor antennas, it depends on your location. For both low and high VHF, mine seems to work best fully extended in a standard V shape.

In my opinion, the most important factor when it comes to rabbit ears is the length of the dipoles. I have both a Terk HDTVa and a Terk TV1 which have about 40" dipoles. Many of the older and/or cheaper rabbit ears that I've either seen or tried only have about 30" dipoles. I have one digital station on channel 11 that is impossible to get with the shorter dipoles. It could be a fluke, but when it comes to antennas, bigger is usually better.
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post #68 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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fajita, I think that getting a DB2 and about 15 to 20 feet of 75ohm coax cable is your best bet. Id try that first. Get the extra cable so you can experiment with the location. You can see that bmwuk had great success with his CM4221 even in the closet. Im betting you will have great success too, with a DB2.

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post #69 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Rick, thats great info. How do you like your Terk TV-1 and Terk HDTVa?

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post #70 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeVelocity View Post

Thanks Rick, thats great info. How do you like your Terk TV-1 and Terk HDTVa?

I'm still kind of on the fence about the HDTVa. If you had asked me a couple of months ago, I would have recommended it without hesitation. The reception is VERY good under the right circumstances. It is designed to pull in distance and/or weak signals, and thus, it is very directional.

Many people have been unimpressed with this antenna primarily, I think, because it is so directional. In many areas, people have signals coming from more than one direction; in which case, this is not necessarily the right antenna.

I do have a major complaint about the HDTVa. The VHF dipoles are severely restricted in their range of motion. In my area, most of the UHF stations are in one general direction, but I have one VHF station in a slightly different direction. Because the VHF dipoles do not have 360 degree movement, it is impossible to position the antenna to pull in all of the stations at the same time, so I ended up buying a second HDTVa and combined the two signals. This works but is not acceptable for most people.

Recently, I purchased a Terk TV1 and a Radio Shack double bowtie and combined them for use in my bedroom. The reception with this setup is almost as good as the two HDTVa's but not quite primarily because I don't have an amplifier attached. However, I think I like this setup better because I can focus the antennas completely independently. I might try adding an amplifier later if I have problems with signal strength.

Based on my observations, the TV1 and HDTVa (powered off) perform pretty much equally for VHF reception. The HDTVa edges out the Radio Shack because of it's more directional nature. However, both of them perform well.

All of this information is subjective since it is based on visual observation of both analog and digital reception. Unfortunately, I don't have any equipment at the moment with a signal meter, so I don't have any concrete numbers to validate those observations. I'm hoping to pickup a couple of digital converters soon and do some experimenting to see how the signal strengths compare between these two setups. I'll get back to you later on that.
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post #71 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Honestly, setting the dipoles and loops and placement of indoor antennas was always more of an excercise in voodoo for me.

Rick, thanks for sharing your observations. Id like to test out one of those Radio Shack Double Bows, sometime, for sure.

Does that Terk TV-1 have a UHF loop? The reviews Ive read on it seem to indicate that it does. [scratches head]

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post #72 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 04:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeVelocity View Post

Does that Terk TV-1 have a UHF loop? The reviews Ive read on it seem to indicate that it does. [scratches head]

It comes with a separate UHF loop. The kind you would attached to an older TV with two screws. I've never been a big fan of loop antennas. They are incredibly difficult to adjust. My experience has been that you adjust it, take your hand away, and the picture goes to pot. The TV1 also comes with a 300ohm to 75ohm adapter so that you can connect it to a TV that only has a 75ohm (RF) input.
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post #73 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 04:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Ah! So thats it.

This Terk TV-1 might be right up fajitas alley, to join with his DB2, should he go that route. Are they built pretty well?


PS - Im surprised there hasnt been more criticism of "the list," and its associated commentary.

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post #74 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeVelocity View Post

Are they built pretty well?

Absolutely! In my opinion, both the TV1 and the HDTVa are extremely well built. I've seen some complaints on Amazon about the HDTVa, but I think that's mainly because it has a tendency to tip over very easily which could cause it to fall and break.

I've also tried the TV3 just for kicks but was not very impressed with its performance. I'm just not fond of that style of antenna. As I said before, loops are difficult to adjust and the dipoles on that one are more difficult to adjust. I think it has to do with how far apart they are. It just takes more space (which I didn't have) and patience to get them adjusted.

I have one difficult to get VHF station that I had no problem getting with the HDTVa or the TV1 that I just couldn't get with the TV3. If I had played with it longer, I might have gotten it to work, but I just didn't have the patience at the time. Maybe I'll give it another try when I get my converter boxes.
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post #75 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 05:37 PM - Thread Starter
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I have the MANT510 here. Ill give it a testing tonight with my Vizio GV42LF. Im not holding out much hope for it to do well. Im way out in the jungle. Ill try it at my friends house closer to town, when I can.

I also just won a Jensen TV-931 and a RS 1668, to test out.


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post #76 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 06:42 PM
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EV: Thanks for the advice... I actually picked up a Philips PHDTV3 "Silver Sensor" at Target today on a whim (while returing another antenna to a store and giving my bud back the antennas he loaned us). Haven't had any time to mess with it, but just sitting on the window sill with the amp on I'm getting better reception of WLNS, WLAJ, and WKAR, slightly worse reception of WILX, and equal reception of WSYM. Also pulls in WZPX in Battle Creek that the rabbit ears / loop couldn't. It isn't watchable, but it's still impressive.

I guess that's another endorsement for the Silver Sensor line.

I'm going to fuss with it and see if I can situate it up higher... I'm optimistic. I'm tempted to order an HD-1080 or DB2 anyway, just to see if I can lock in WZPX... this antenna trial-and-error stuff is a weird sort of addition.
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post #77 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 06:59 PM
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Just an observation on rabbit ears you guys try V for victory take your fingers and do a V for victory now tilt them out at about a forty five degree angle upward.. Try your rabbit ears in a similar position aimed toward the station. A widish V as well maybe about 90 degrees wide.
Good luck.

John
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post #78 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fajitamosaic View Post

....this antenna trial-and-error stuff is a weird sort of addiction.

Primitive hunting instincts....the thrill of the hunt. Its not about whats on TV, but what else is on TV.

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post #79 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fajitamosaic View Post


After the transition, WILX the NBC affiliate will move from UHF57 at 500kW to VHF10 at 14.77kW (that scares me...).

Don't be scared thats a normal power level for a VHF Hi Channel. :P

A kilowatt gets you a lot more bang for the buck when the frequency is so much lower.
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post #80 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
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MANT510 picked up my 2nd alternate market PBS station at real channel 44 and 27kw at 23 miles no problemo. Recognized all other channels but couldnt bring them in, the ones at 45 miles, I got a picture pip on one of them.

Pretty nice setup. Stable stand. Nice long VHF dipoles. I didnt check analog or VHF yet.

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post #81 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey johnied, thanks for the rabbit ears dipole aiming tip!

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post #82 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 10:25 PM
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Just thought I'd mention, too, that for un-amped, traditional-style VHF rabbit ears/UHF loop models, Radio Shack's have always been very good.

Usually better than the Walmart RCA/Philips ones.
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post #83 of 3319 Old 06-16-2008, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rick313 View Post

It comes with a separate UHF loop. The kind you would attached to an older TV with two screws. I've never been a big fan of loop antennas. They are incredibly difficult to adjust. My experience has been that you adjust it, take your hand away, and the picture goes to pot. The TV1 also comes with a 300ohm to 75ohm adapter so that you can connect it to a TV that only has a 75ohm (RF) input.

Do I understand correctly that the supplied UHF loop is completely separate from the Terk TV1? It seemed as though some amazon.com reviewers used the TV1 rabbit ears for UHF DTV with some success, which would be counterintuitive to say the least.

I closely compared the RCA ANT110 and Terk TV1 at Fry's, my impression was the Terk's supplied UHF loop is completely separate. Could someone clarify?
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post #84 of 3319 Old 06-17-2008, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seatacboy View Post

Do I understand correctly that the supplied UHF loop is completely separate from the Terk TV1? It seemed as though some amazon.com reviewers used the TV1 rabbit ears for UHF DTV with some success, which would be counterintuitive to say the least.

I closely compared the RCA ANT110 and Terk TV1 at Fry's, my impression was the Terk's supplied UHF loop is completely separate. Could someone clarify?

Yes, the UHF loop included with the TV1 is a completely separate antenna. It's the old style loop that would have attached to the back of older analog TV's via UHF screws on the back of the set. Picture a silver wire in the shape of a circle with hooks on the ends.

I believe the reviews that you're seeing on Amazon are from people just connecting the TV1 directly to their HDTV without using the UHF loop. It is possible to receive UHF signals this way. Heck, I've heard that if you have a strong enough signal, you can just use a coaxial cable and get reception. It just isn't the ideal method for most of us.
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post #85 of 3319 Old 06-17-2008, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
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That is what had me confused as well, the Amazon reviews plus the fact that the claim is that it was a UHF antenna and had a loop, which clearly isnt the case in the picture. I guess if a paper clip works then so will Rabbit Ears for Digital UHF if the signals strong enough.

Im still gonna recommend em for their use as VHF rabbit ears in combination with uhf only antennas for those that will need VHF Hi.


I see that Philips offers a Rabbit Ears only solution too, the MANT075. Anybody eyeball it. How does it compare with the Terk TV-1?

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post #86 of 3319 Old 06-17-2008, 09:36 AM
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6 phone books later and I gotta say, I'm really impressed with the Philips PHDTV3 Silver Sensor. So far, it has been the only amped antenna to pull in stronger signals than our old RCA ANT120b loop/dipole.

Set in the same spot, the PHDTV3 was a slight improvement. After lifting it 2-feet higher thanks to the phone books, I'm getting 80-90% strength on every local channel. WILX NBC still has dropouts... the signal is erratic... but I'm not going to worry about it since a) they're less frequent than before, and b) that station is moving to VHF in 2009 and I'll be rockin' the rabbit ears for it.

It's even pulling in distant stations, albeit with too many dropouts, that I never thought we could get. WZPX Ion in Battle Creek Ion is 25 miles away. WAQP is 44 miles away! They stutter too much to be useful, but there they are.

I can only imagine lustily how good this thing would be if we lived on the 1st floor and not the basement level.
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post #87 of 3319 Old 06-17-2008, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Good on you, fajita! Try your old loop at that location. It sounds like you found a "sweet spot."

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post #88 of 3319 Old 06-17-2008, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Possible DB2 killer?


Quote:
Antennas Direct’s Clearstream2 Antenna Available for Pre-Order

St. Louis-based antennas maker Antennas Direct announced its new, ultra-efficient, compact, digital TV antenna, ClearStream2, will arrive June 30. Orders are being taken now.

ClearStream2 is Antennas Direct’s latest model of digital TV antennas, which are optimized specifically for the 2009 digital conversion.

“The ClearStream2, which is the first in a series of ClearStream DTV antennas, is unmatched in size and performance,” said Antennas Direct President Richard Schneider. “Demand for ClearStream2 is high because of its strength, reliability and small form.”

The first DTV antenna created with the latest simulation software and test equipment, the ClearStream2 is designed to receive digital, over-the-air broadcasts, with a range up to 50 miles. Its wide, 70-degree beam width allows it to capture signal from towers spaced far apart, and its patented, tapered-loop design is 50 percent smaller than previous models.

continued...

http://news.ecoustics.com/bbs/messag...81/495599.html



Quote:
Outdoor Long-Range Digital TV (DTV) Antenna


The first in a series of compact, highly efficient antennas designed and optimized for 2009 frequencies associated with the DTV transition.

The ClearStream 2 antenna represents a new breakthrough in size and unmatched ultra efficient design and gain. Advanced design software allows these 10" x 20" antennas to be smaller and more powerful across the entire DTV spectrum offering consistent high gain. With the efficiency of the C2 you can have range and power normally found in antennas up to 5 times the size in a compact and attractive form. The C2 delivers TV signals from widely located broadcast towers and offers flexible aiming characteristics with an extremely wide beam width of 70 degrees.
Range: Up to 50 Miles
Gain of 10.2 dBi
Consistent gain through the entire DTV channel spectrum
Totally new engineering for post-2009 DTV frequencies
Great for indoor, outdoor and attic use
Dimensions: 20”H x 10”W x 5”D

http://www.antennasdirect.com/C2-Cle...V-antenna.html


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post #89 of 3319 Old 06-17-2008, 12:28 PM
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I've been looking at the teaser for this antenna on their site for months. It's still just UHF, right?
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post #90 of 3319 Old 06-17-2008, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is what johnied has to say about it.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnied View Post

Goodness thats one UGLY antenna. :P

On a serious note I sure would like to see the innards of those loops.
I bet they are similar to Winegards SS 2000 with its fractal elements.

Just thinking out loud.

John


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