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Old 16-Dec-2011, 9:25 PM   #1
otadtvman
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Fracarro antennas & AbilityHDTV ULNA?

Has anyone had any experience with the Italian Fracarro antennas sold in the US by http://www.abilityhdtv.com/ or Ability's ULNA?
Specifically:
http://www.abilityhdtv.com/product-i...nna-pid57.html
http://www.abilityhdtv.com/product-i...nna-pid58.html
http://www.abilityhdtv.com/product-i...nna-pid65.html
http://www.abilityhdtv.com/product-l...pg1-cid42.html
http://abilityhdtv.com/info/antenna-...nd-all-abouts/

See also:
http://sigma.fracarro.com/download/d...ng_extraUE.pdf
http://sigma.fracarro.com/download/S...ure_eng_lr.pdf
http://www.fracarro.com/internationa...deband_BLV.pdf
http://www.fracarro.com/internationa...atalogo/16.pdf
http://api.viglink.com/api/click?for...13240666384475

1. How might the 3 ft Sigma6HD or the 8 ft BLU920F compare to the 7.75 ft 91XG?
2. How does the 4.9 ft BLV6F compare to the 8.3 ft YA-1713?
3. How does Ability's ULNA compare the CM-7777?

Thank you
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Last edited by otadtvman; 16-Dec-2011 at 11:29 PM. Reason: fixed links & typo
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Old 19-Dec-2011, 7:35 AM   #2
GroundUrMast
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Good for use in Western Europe

I have no first hand experience with these antennas.

The manufactures published performance data clearly indicates these are designed to perform well at frequencies above the US television channel assignments. (The US high-VHF band is from 174 MHz to 216 MHz. The US UHF band is from 470 MHz to 698 MHz) The peak gain is in the cell-phone/PCS band... too bad your cell phone isn't equipped with a 75 ohm F connection.

One of our on going problems here in the US is that many existing antenna designs are optimized for the pre-2009 UHF spectrum that included channels 52 to 69 (698 MHz to 806 MHz). This results in antennas that have less gain than would be possible if they were optimized to cover a narrower range of frequencies. (As I say this, I get frustrated at the FCC's decision to sell spectrum out from under the tax paying public. I long for the days when UHF antenna design needed to account for more bandwidth.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Televis...el_frequencies
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Old 23-Dec-2011, 5:48 PM   #3
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Gain versus length

Thanks for your reply. Agreed - there is not much of a selection for 14 to 51 or 7 to 51 antennas for the US market. Is an LPF-700 a recommended solution?

You're correct. Fracarro antennas are designed for European frequencies. However, gain versus length is an interesting comparison.

Comparing the Fracarro gain graphs to similar US model spec sheets (that unfortunately do not provide gain graphs):

VHF-hi = channels 7-13 (174 to 216 MHz)

UHF = 14-51 since 6/12/09 (470 to 698 Mhz)
Thoughts?
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Old 1-Jan-2012, 7:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundUrMast View Post
I have no first hand experience with these antennas.

The manufactures published performance data clearly indicates these are designed to perform well at frequencies above the US television channel assignments. (The US high-VHF band is from 174 MHz to 216 MHz. The US UHF band is from 470 MHz to 698 MHz) The peak gain is in the cell-phone/PCS band... too bad your cell phone isn't equipped with a 75 ohm F connection.

One of our on going problems here in the US is that many existing antenna designs are optimized for the pre-2009 UHF spectrum that included channels 52 to 69 (698 MHz to 806 MHz). This results in antennas that have less gain than would be possible if they were optimized to cover a narrower range of frequencies. (As I say this, I get frustrated at the FCC's decision to sell spectrum out from under the tax paying public. I long for the days when UHF antenna design needed to account for more bandwidth.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Televis...el_frequencies
Thanks for your reply GroundUrMast.

Your correct, the Fracarro's bandwidth extends well beyond what's now needed in the US. However, so do most of the current popular antennas sold in the US.

Current N. American Broadcast UHF: 14-51, 470 MHz to 698 MHz
BLU920F: 470 862 MHz
Sigma 6HD: 470 862 MHz
A.D. 91XG: 470 MHz to 806 MHz

Is the additional 56 MHz of bandwidth of the Fracarro antennas that significant compared to most US UHF antannas that extend to 806 MHz?

For those who want a smaller antenna for windload or appearance concerns, it would be interesting to know how 3-ft Sigma 6HD compares to the 7.75-ft 91XG?

I too have been asking when we would see 7-51 VHF-hi/UHF or 14-51 UHF antennas since the begining of the DTV transition.
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Old 3-Jan-2012, 8:09 PM   #5
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UHF = 14-51 since 6/12/09 (470 to 698 Mhz)

GRAPHS COMPARISONS:
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Old 3-Jan-2012, 9:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otadtvman View Post
Is the additional 56 MHz of bandwidth of the Fracarro antennas that significant compared to most US UHF antannas that extend to 806 MHz?
Typically, a higher design frequency that extends the top end of a broadband UHF array's bandwidth sacrifices gain at RF channel 14.

Quote:
Originally Posted by otadtvman View Post
I too have been asking when we would see 7-51 VHF-hi/UHF or 14-51 UHF antennas since the begining of the DTV transition.
Here are two from Antennas Direct: DB2e and DB4e.
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Old 3-Jan-2012, 10:30 PM   #7
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Hi Dave,

Thanks for the reply.

Yagis:
I've read many excellent reports on the tilt-able 91XG: 11.8 dBi (~9.65 dBd) @ 470 Hz

The Fracarro sigma 6 & 9HD look appealing due to their respectable gain and smaller size - Less conspicuous & less wind-load.
  • Sigma 9HD provides 14 dBi (~11.85 dBd) @ 480 Hz
  • Sigma 6HD provides 13 dBi (~10.85 dBd) @ 480 Hz
Bow Tie:
I understand the new DB2/4e are designed for 14-51, which is excellent. Kudos to AD!
DB4e: "Boresight gain"(?) 11.68 dBi (~ 9.53 dBd) @ 470 Hz

When will they rescale the 91XG? (I suspect ADTech is probably very tired of this question. )

We live about 45 miles from DC & Balt and the majority of our reception is unfortunately 2edge. Additionally, a wall of very tall 30-yr old spruce trees stand between us and DC. When it rains 4.1 (RF 48) is very problematic due to multipath interference caused by the wind blowing the wall of evergreens - our biggest challenge. Harrisburg, Lancaster, & York PA are also possibilities.

Windy ice storms are also a possible in our area.

Which uhf antenna is best suited to our conditions?
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Old 4-Jan-2012, 4:29 PM   #8
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This is all offered in the spirit of being helpful...

You need to post a TVFool report to get definitive help.

A summary of what I've seen so far:

Yes, the Fracarro's published gain, as determined by their modelling, is a bit better than antennas like the 91-XG. published gain, as determined by AD's modelling.

No, there's not been any independent modelling of the Fracarro yagis.

Will the Fracarros hold up better to the elements than others? No one really knows, yet.

Does X, Y, or Z property of the Fraccaros make them better for you? This is a tough call. Post your TVFool analysis to see what your antenna gain requirements are. At that point, we can help you in the cost/beneft analysis.

Eventually, you need to buy something. All of us at a distance don't have any direct experience with the Fracarros, so we can only give you suggestions.

Last edited by Dave Loudin; 5-Jan-2012 at 9:33 PM. Reason: Tweaked for tone
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Old 4-Jan-2012, 5:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Loudin View Post
You need to post a TVFool report to get definitive help.

Yes, the Fracarro's published gain, as determined by their modelling, is a bit better than antennas like the 91-XG. published gain, as determined by AD's modelling.

No, there's not been any independent modelling of the Fracarro yagis.

Will the Fracarros hold up better to the elements than others? No one really knows, yet.

Post your TVFool analysis to see what your antenna gain requirements are. At that point, we can help you in the cost/beneft analysis.
Thanks for your very helpful summary. Here is my TVFool report.
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Old 4-Jan-2012, 7:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Additionally, a wall of very tall 30-yr old spruce trees stand between us and DC.
Can you consider a tower installation that would put an antenna above the trees?

A difference of less than 3 dB is approaching 'hair-splitting' in many reception situations. The effect of the large trees you've described will not likely be swept away with a small addition of antenna gain.

In the end, I agree with DL, you'll need to buy something and install it. As the great Muppet Yoda said, "Do, or do not. There is no 'try.'"
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Old 4-Jan-2012, 8:56 PM   #11
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A tower that tall is not in the budget. Balt. (42 mi.), Harrisburg (65-68 mi.), Lancaster (59 mi.), & York (59 mi.) are the alternatives if DC becomes problematic due to the trees. We have a rotator. The trees currently are only an issue during a storm or perhaps when they're wet.

Agreed, I'm not interested in 'hair-splitting' small gain difference either. That's "A lot of heat for not much light." We just need sufficient gain for our goal of reliably receiving all networks.

Is there a uhf yagi that resolves multi-path interference more effectively than the average? If so, that may help with the tree issue during a storm.
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Old 5-Jan-2012, 6:18 AM   #12
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My personal experience has been that for deep fringe applications, the combination of an XG-91 and a Y**713 is the pinnacle of consumer grade antennas. Those antennas have narrow forward beam patterns compared to panel and LPDA designs.

If I'm fighting multipath, I look to a narrow beam, high gain antenna. On the other hand, If fluttering foliage is the problem, I look to alternate mounting options and/or my chainsaw.

Please don't be offended, I get the sense you hope for someone to step up and give you a money back guaranty or, you know in your gut that the solution is to get over or around the trees.

I can't offer to buy an almost new Fracarro and I already own an XG91.
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Old 5-Jan-2012, 8:43 AM   #13
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See answers within your quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundUrMast View Post
My personal experience has been that for deep fringe applications, the combination of an XG-91 and a Y**713 is the pinnacle of consumer grade antennas. Agreed, they're received excellent reviewas.

If I'm fighting multipath, I look to a narrow beam, high gain antenna. Agreed.
On the other hand, If fluttering foliage is the problem, (No, evergreens - Spruce to be exact) I look to alternate mounting options and/or my chainsaw. Our backyard neighbor may be offended by the chainsaw approach.

Please don't be offended, I get the sense you hope for someone to step up and give you a money back guaranty (No thanks) or, you know in your gut that the solution is to get over (again, too $$$ - see Spruce quote below.) or around the trees. That is the plan. We have a rotator:
Quote:
From post #11: Balt. (42 mi.), Harrisburg (65-68 mi.), Lancaster (59 mi.), & York (59 mi.) are the alternatives if DC becomes problematic due to the trees.
I can't offer to buy an almost new Fracarro and I already own an XG91. I'm not suggesting you do so.
Quote:

The Norway Spruce can grow 2-3+ feet per year their first 25 years under good conditions, in heavy or poor soils they may average 1 foot per year. Soil, moisture, and adequate sunshine is everything to a plant and its growth rate. On a perfect weather year, and no competition from grass or weeds, we have seen over 6 ft of growth in one year! This spruce if given sufficient room to grow will easily grow to over 100 feet tall and be 40 feet wide with spreading branches at the base and will live over 100 years. This is not a tree for a small yard!
Despite my best efforts, I have not found anyone that owns one of their compact Sigma 6 or 9 HD UHF antennas or their BLU-920 (8' L) - most similar to the 91xg.

So there's probably no chance I will be able to find someone who has tested the two against each other.

The 91XG (7,75' L) is obviously a known performer - no risk.

The Fracarro Sigma are apealing due to their much smaller size (3' or 4.25'L) - less conspicuous & less wind resistance.

Per Sigma 6HD brochure:
Quote:
The original design of the new aerials patented by Fracarro, allows a particular directivity (with the maximum reduction in interference) and a maximum gain (17dBi*) and is also high throughout the whole reception band.

The gain acheived is comparable with an aerial twice its length!

*Sigma 9 HD - 18.5dBi
If I go this route it appears I may be the US guinea pig.

Since you own the YA-1713, have you seen these Amazon reviews? - #1 #2
Are their comments about build quality accurate?
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Old 5-Jan-2012, 5:25 PM   #14
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Absent body language and tone of voice, my previous comments could be read more than one way. Please be assured, I don't desire to offend you or your neighbors. You're in a tough spot. I wish I had a simple and inexpensive answer, but I don't. If I offended, please forgive me.

Quote:
Since you own the YA-1713, have you seen these Amazon reviews? - #1 #2
Are their comments about build quality accurate?
Though the expectations of both reviewers may be high, I won't contradict either. To be fair, I would expect competing consumer grade products to be reviewed in a similar manner by those reviewers if they are being consistent and objective. Given the dramatic cost difference, I expect consumer grade antennas to bend more easily than commercial grade antennas.

I used "Y**713" to refer to both the Antennacraft and Winegard 10 element H-VHF Yagi products. I presently own an Antennacraft Y5713. Here in the Seattle area, I've come across both brands of the 10 element version and have concluded they are generally comparable in build quality. Though some will argue the merits of one or the other, I don't see enough difference to join in a debate. The integral balun used by Winegard can often be a plus. But if you need to gang or stack, I'd prefer the 300Ω balanced output of the Antennacraft which would allow me to use quarter-wave-length sections of 450Ω balanced line as the interconnecting phasing line.

It's not a direct comparison, but my recent purchase of a Winegard HD8800 has been disappointing. I had to run to the hardware store to replace missing machine screws which could and should have been packaged better... and had simply fallen out of the box during shipping. There is no anodizing or other coating on the aluminum parts, so corrosion will be a problem a bit sooner. (To be fair, the Antennacraft is not anodized either.) The electrical performance of the HD8800 has been significantly less than lesser antennas, including a crudely built DIY 4-bay w/reflector. At present, modification of the combining harness is a 'back-burner' project (after some reading over at the Antenna Development section of digitalhome.ca).
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Old 5-Jan-2012, 8:02 PM   #15
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No problem GroundUrMast.
Quote:
You're in a tough spot. I wish I had a simple and inexpensive answer, but I don't.
I'm glad you understand the complexities of our location. Agreed, there is not a simple or inexpensive answer. However, I would be very pleased with a solution other than a never-ending subscription fee for TV that is also taxed!

Thanks for sharing your detailed experience with the Y**713 yagis and the HD-8800. It sounds like a sad state of affairs for consumer grade antennas - Even from Winegard!

Have you seen this Antennacraft Y10-7-13 review?

I suspect they are attempting to cut costs to compete with the majority of antennas that are made in China - the land of lead painted children's toys, toxic petfood, and even lethal generic IV heparin!

At least Fracarro Sigma antennas are "completely made in Italy."
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Old 5-Jan-2012, 8:30 PM   #16
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Fracarro antenna owners?

Are there any forum members who would like to share their experience with Fracarro Sigma or BLU-series antennas?
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Old 5-Jan-2012, 10:13 PM   #17
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How about a quick cost/benefit analysis?

Fracarro Sigma: 13 - 16 dBi gain; compact design, sturdy (?); 4 year warrentee; $130*

AD 91-XG: 12 - 17 dBi gain: long, extensive use in Canada and the northeast US; limited lifetime warrentee; less than $60*.

If I were you, I would buy the 91-XG for your UHF needs.

*Shipping not included!
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Old 5-Jan-2012, 10:35 PM   #18
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Yes, if cost is the primary consideration, the 7.75' L 91XG is obvious choice.

However, the 3' L Sigma 6HD will be less prone to wind & ice damage.

Which is better at resolving multipath interference - our biggest issue?
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Old 5-Jan-2012, 10:53 PM   #19
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Well I put in the note about the use of the 91-xg in cold, windy places to give you a feel for that. Plus, AD will work with you if something breaks.

I'll bet that multipath performance between the two will be similar. AD posts the antenna pattern at frequencies throughout its beamwidth while Fracarro posts only one. At some point, you can't fight physics - I'm pretty sure the Fracarro's patterns will vary in the same way.
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Old 6-Jan-2012, 2:01 AM   #20
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I will let you know as I continue to gather information on our application and comparison info on Fracarro vs. 91XG.
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