Originally Posted by Jim in Seattle
I tried vertically stacking two old-style 4228's here and I saw no reception improvement over a single 4228. I can't say anything about the new 4228, although there is a website that offers ways to improve its performance and I haven't tried an HD-8800.
Two summers ago I did an old fashioned antenna shootout and tested old versions of the CM-4228 and CM-4221 against a Kosmic SuperQuad. I did it the 'poor man's' way, using a stepped attenuator. I'll look around to see if I can find the results. The 4221 won: my conclusion is that I live in an RF soup and the smaller the antenna is, the less multipath it collects. I didn't have a DB-2 at the time but way up high it works as well or better than all of the others for UHF (at my location). Its worthless for VHF.
ProjectSHO89 is correct. OTARD size rules are for the satellite dish only. When they started HD broadcasting I encountered this problem many times. I also posted on several other forums with people from all over the US running into the same thing. In every case the OTARD stood up. I've only had a few customers that ran into trouble with HOA's, initially, and once I showed them the website, I never heard back, and the antennas are still up and working.
As for the 4228's, they are not worthless for VHF high band. They're not great, either, but close in, they actually work fair. It all depends on the location and obstacles in the way. Looking at a VHF channel signal on the scope, the last 20% or so falls of rapidly instead of being nice and flat. It can still work if the level is decent and you're not fighting trees or buildings. I've used the 4228 in Ballard, Greenlake, Kirkland, West Seattle and similar areas. It's a good compromise where you want to mount the antenna on the side of a house or where ch13 is not too far off axis. A UHF/VHF yagi style is far better, but requires more room to mount. It's also more narrow in reception, which can be a good thing or bad. Depends again on what you need for the location.
Doing a shootout of any antenna without a meter/scope is tough. The attenuator test does give an indication of where your receivers minimums are for reception, but if you don't know what the real db levels are to start with, your really just testing your tuner. That's okay, it's just not a very thorough test. You will find which antenna works better for your site and tuner. To say that somebody would get the same results somewhere else is just not real.
There are so many other factors that come into play. It's also why there are so many designs for antennas. They all have their good and bad characteristics.
You also need to see what the signal looks like displayed on a scope. It's why going for gain specifications are not the holy grail. You need it, but trying to compare numbers on paper are just not real. You don't know how they tested them. And if you did, was brand A tested the same exact way as brand B.
And no one tests for how they react to trees or buildings or hills or steel roofs or miscellaneous wierdness in the real world.
Works great if you know what is going on when seen on the scope. It's very touchy. Vertical stacking gives very different results from horizontal. And quad arrays are really fun. Spacing between them is critical for what frequency you're trying to center it on. Distance between the couplers is very important, as well as the type of balun. And obviously, the type of antennas you're stacking makes a huge difference. Did I mention the little holes you can get (losing an entire channel when all else is fine) by just turning one slightly more, or moving it up or down too much?!
So, trying to figure out what works best for a particular challenge without being able to really see what's going on is very tough. Trial and error can be done, and can work. A good understanding of all the factors involved will help more.
As for your results with two 4228's not working well, my money is on your location being so hot, and the antennas having far more gain of everything (noise, mutipath, ground waves, harmonics, the neighbors barking dog), the signal was not only garbled, but the waveshape on the scope was all over the place. Using the little antenna got you far less of all that, and your tuner could deal with it.
I do all my shootouts the hard way. Drag around the latest one, try it against my known good ones, in every location, over many months and view it on my meter/scope. After a while, you get a good idea of what it can and can't do.
If I simply tested it out at one location, like home, I might get some idea, but not a true test.
Take all the "shootouts" you read about with a grain of salt. If done with good test equipment, and the setup is explained in detail (how far the transmitters were, what power they put out in what pattern, what frequencies, their height above sea level and the testing site elevation, terrain, temperature, time of day, etc) that's good.
Hearing what one person used at one location, without knowing all the rest of their facts, only says it worked for him. The same antenna might work for many people. Okay, that's worth looking into. If all the facts match up with your needs, great. Base your purchase decision from that perspective.
Yeah, yeah, waay too much coffee again.
We need to get together and tell tall tales!