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Old 4-Jan-2018, 10:03 PM   #2
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 244
Most of that high strength, long distance stuff is BS, IMHO. You can trust the big antennas from brands like Winegard, CM, Antennas Direct, and Stellar Labs. If the antenna is small, it probably won't work well at 60-80 miles, that's my two cents. I have heard that antenna performance can degrade over the years due to corrosion and other factors, so maybe 10 years is a good time for a refresh, especially if you have a convenient opportunity.

Do you need the VHF-Low capabilities of your 8200U? If you don't then switching to the Winegard 7698P would be a fine choice, or you could do a two-antenna setup for a little more horsepower. One antenna for UHF and one antenna for VHF-hi. For example, I have an Antennas Direct DB8e (UHF) and a Stellar labs 30-2476 (VHF-Hi) combined with a UVSJ and pre-amp (RCA-TVPRAMP1R does both). In my personal experience, the antenna combo I described performs about 3 dB better across the spectrum than the CM-5020, which I believe is Channel Master's equivalent to the Winegard 7698P... for what that's worth. I've never done a direct comparison of my setup to the 7698P or 8200U. Another factor to consider is wind load. I'm SWAG-ing that the wind load on the combo setup I have is at least 2X more than the 7698P or CM-5020. In my case, they are bolted to a tree so it doesn't much matter, but if they're on a mast, then it might.

If you do in fact need the VHF-lo, and want to refresh the antenna at this opportunistic time, Solid Signal also has a clone of the 8200U on sale right now for $70. It is called the HD8200XL. Based on its appearance, it *probably* performs the same as your 8200U did when it was new.

Last edited by jrgagne99; 4-Jan-2018 at 10:13 PM.
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