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Old 6-Oct-2015, 7:29 AM   #1
NthrnNYker
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Antenna Recommendations ?

Greetings all ! Glad to be a member of TVFool !

I have a couple questions to pose to those far more knowledgeable than I concerning antenna recommendations (of course) and antenna grounding issues.

First off, Antenna recommendations …cannot achieve that without the requisite radar plot :

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...8e03ae5ccb4818

This will be a roof-top installation, about 32 feet in the air....fairly well surrounded by pine trees located about 100' away.

As can be seen, the majority of the usable stations are located in a southerly direction (SSW & SSE) separated by only 25 or 30 degrees or so. Stations in all other directions can be disregarded as reception looks to be impossible without extreme and COSTLY measures. Given the close proximity of the usable stations on that southerly directional line, would there be an antenna available ‘unidirectional’ enough to do without the added expense ($150++) of an Antenna rotator, yet ‘directional’ enough to pull in the marginal stations along those SSW or SSE directional lines ?

Second – I am well aware that in the antenna business…. Bigger actually IS better, all other things being the same. Although I am not totally adverse in spending a few extra bucks on a larger, more capable antenna…I don’t want to put a giant 16-foot monstrosity on my roof if I don’t have to and if good reception of the signals I CAN reach doesn’t call for it.

Thirdly, would the addition of a pre-amp be necessary to pull in those marginal stations along those SSW & SSE directional lines…or would the addition of such overload the signals more closer, more powerful stations ? That said, I only ever intend to have at most 2 tv’s hooked up to this antenna using at most 50 feet of coax to reach them.

Oh yes, I almost forgot …. It seems the channel distribution is relatively even across the board – about the same number of VHF vs UHF channels….It appears that I will need a dual VHF/UHF optimized antenna, am I correct ?

I was looking at the "HD Stacker" antenna from Denny's as an option for my site, but given the low-VHF channels in my area, I'm not sure this would be a good choice for my location -- any ideas ? Also, given that low-VHF channel, would it be a good idea to install an FM filter trap ?


Now on to the grounding questions…

Throughout my long contact with Time Warner, they have always grounded their cable entrance @ the closest available copper water pipe…even when I purchased my new home about 5 years back, and cable was introduced to the house for the very first time, Time Warner used the closest available copper water line. Since that time, I went over to DirecTv for a year or two (and the installer just used Time Warner’s grounding for their dish entrance). Now fast-forward to about a year ago. The deals that I had gotten from DirecTV had expired, and it made better economic sense to return to Time Warner…So, the installer comes to reinstall their cable, only THIS time they ignored the old grounding connection and ran a line to the electrical entrance to ground it there. I asked the installer about this, and his answer was a gruff “That’s how we do it now”. My question is this…would this be a regulatory change, or just a policy change ?

I ask this question because it seems the antenna technicians here on this site (and others) seem to be pretty adamant about placing the ground as close to the antenna as possible. Now, from where I will be installing the antenna, I would have to run a ground wire allll the way the length of the house (60+ feet) to the electrical entrance , whereas I can ground the antenna to the water main just inside the house from the installation (less than 10 feet)……. What path should I pursue ?

Thank you all in advance for whatever advice you might be able to provide…once again, I am glad to be here !

Karl

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Old 6-Oct-2015, 11:17 AM   #2
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You need a large all-channel antenna with a medium or high gain, low noise pre-amp. Expect the antenna to be 10' wide and 10-14' long. Aim it south at the Albany stations, you probably don't need a rotor.

The trees will likely be your greatest nemesis for reliable reception, particularly on UHF channels. Avoid them to the greatest extent you can.

You likely do not need an FM Filter, none of your FM signals are calculated to be particularly strong.

Forum member Tower Guy is the engineer for WRGB and is in your area, he can tell you more about specifics if he gets a chance to see this thread.
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Old 6-Oct-2015, 2:13 PM   #3
rabbit73
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Quote:
....fairly well surrounded by pine trees located about 100' away.
Yes, I see trees; attachment 1.
Quote:
would there be an antenna available ‘unidirectional’ enough to do without the added expense ($150++) of an Antenna rotator, yet ‘directional’ enough to pull in the marginal stations along those SSW or SSE directional lines ?
You can get the major networks from SSW, 205 degrees magnetic.
Quote:
I don’t want to put a giant 16-foot monstrosity on my roof if I don’t have to and if good reception of the signals I CAN reach doesn’t call for it.
The problem is with CBS, which is WRGB on real channel 6, a VHF-Low channel with long elements making the antenna wide. The next CBS down the list is a much weaker WRGB on UHF real channel 39 in a different direction.

There are 3 TV bands:
VHF-Low, real channels 2-6; longest elements making antenna very wide
VHF-High, real channels 7-13; medium length elements
UHF, real channels 14-51; short elements

The ratio between each band is 3:1 for the element lengths. If you used an antenna for VHF-High and UHF, it might pick up WRGB on real channel 6, but we can't guarantee that, which is why we have suggested an all-channel antenna like the Winegard HD8200U with a preamp like the Channel Master 7778.
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?p=hd8200u

You will need a long antenna to give you enough gain for the weak 2Edge signals at your location, even with a preamp helping.
Quote:
Also, given that low-VHF channel, would it be a good idea to install an FM filter trap ?
That could be a problem for channel 6, which is right next to the FM band, but I don't see any strong FM signals based on your estimated location near the Capitol District Dso, 6305 NY-9N, Hadley, NY 12835 (or is it Lake Luzerne-Hadley, NY 12835). Some FM filters affect channel 6, some don't. See attachments 2 and 3.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg NthrnNYkerTVFtrees.JPG (170.9 KB, 516 views)
File Type: jpg NthrnNYkerTVF FM est.JPG (114.0 KB, 532 views)
File Type: jpg TV CH6.jpg (63.4 KB, 536 views)
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Last edited by rabbit73; 6-Oct-2015 at 5:32 PM.
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Old 6-Oct-2015, 3:22 PM   #4
NthrnNYker
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Too many trees :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
Yes, I see trees; attachment 1.
Now, believe it or not, I recently purchased one of those 'el cheapo' 360 degree 'pre-amplified' chinaman antennas :


http://forum.tvfool.com/attachment.p...1&d=1444144874

for use in my pop-up camper when I do leaf-peeping camping trips (can't miss my Sunday football)....just for sh*ts and giggles, I threw it on a 8' pole and connected the thing to my laptop tuner - wow - almost all the red stations came in crystal clear except for one - WXXA (channel 7) -- although the signal strength meter showed the station call letters and pegged full strength, the output for the station was blank - I figured there was some sort of glitch in the 'pre-amp' - a drop-out for that frequency of some sort.

To be quite honest, before I tested that little antenna, I had not given thought to installing an antenna on the house -- I had figured that I was completely out of reach of any of the new HD digital signals (I had understood the reception properties were much less than the old analog SD signals)

Now I know different
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Old 6-Oct-2015, 3:46 PM   #5
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Your test sounds promising.
Quote:
My question is this…would this be a regulatory change, or just a policy change ?
The change is because water pipes are now often plastic.

The coax shield should be grounded with a grounding block that is connected to the house electrical system ground with 10 gauge copper wire for electrical safety and to reject interference. For further compliance with the electrical code (NEC), the mast should also be grounded in a similar manner to drain any buildup of static charge, but the system will not survive a direct strike.

Todd Humphrey doesn't speak for the NFPA that publishes the NEC code, but he has some ideas that are helpful. The local electrical inspector has the final say if you are willing to get him involved. Some inspectors are more friendly than others; a local electrician could tell you.

Satellite System Grounding
Part 2 - NEC Overview
Presented by Todd Humphrey
http://www.dbsinstall.com/diy/Grounding-2.asp

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Old 6-Oct-2015, 7:45 PM   #6
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CBS programming is also available on UHF by using 45-3; a sub channel of WCWN. Hence an HD 7698P would get everything except the WRGB sub channel on 6-2. (this TV)
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Old 6-Oct-2015, 8:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tower Guy View Post
CBS programming is also available on UHF by using 45-3; a sub channel of WCWN. Hence an HD 7698P would get everything except the WRGB sub channel on 6-2. (this TV)
Tower Guy -- Would that sub-channel of WCWN be the local affiliate WRGB ?

Reason I ask, I've been an aficionado of the local CBS News programs since Liz Bishop (and before her, Ed Dague) ... I would really hate to give up that channel 6 new programming I can't help it, I'm old and set in my ways

Thanks

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Old 6-Oct-2015, 8:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
CBS programming is also available on UHF by using 45-3; a sub channel of WCWN. Hence an HD 7698P would get everything except the WRGB sub channel on 6-2. (this TV)
Good catch; I missed that.
http://www.rabbitears.info/market.ph...&callsign=wcwn

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WCWN

It looks like it's the same, but it's SD not HD.

Tower Guy can tell you if it is the same.
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Old 6-Oct-2015, 8:55 PM   #9
NthrnNYker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
The ratio between each band is 3:1 for the element lengths. If you used an antenna for VHF-High and UHF, it might pick up WRGB on real channel 6, but we can't guarantee that, which is why we have suggested an all-channel antenna like the Winegard HD8200U with a preamp like the Channel Master 7778.
http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?p=hd8200u

You will need a long antenna to give you enough gain for the weak 2Edge signals at your location, even with a preamp helping.
That could be a problem for channel 6, which is right next to the FM band, but I don't see any strong FM signals based on your estimated location near the Capitol District Dso, 6305 NY-9N, Hadley, NY 12835 (or is it Lake Luzerne-Hadley, NY 12835). Some FM filters affect channel 6, some don't. See attachments 2 and 3.


Rabbit --- you quoted the Wineguard HD8200U --- is there a difference between that antenna and the Solid Signal HD8200XL --- looks to be the same antenna for 1/2 the price..... from the same source.

Also, you recommended the Channel Master 7778 pre-amp. From my understanding, the Channel Master 7777 offers higher gain and lower noise for just a couple dollars more.....but I also understand that the Channel Master 7777 is s more susceptible to overload from strong signals --- would that be an issue at my location ?

Thanks,

Karl


Karl

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Old 6-Oct-2015, 11:26 PM   #10
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45-3 is currently WRGB in 720p HD.
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Old 7-Oct-2015, 12:05 AM   #11
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Quote:
you quoted the Wineguard HD8200U --- is there a difference between that antenna and the Solid Signal HD8200XL --- looks to be the same antenna for 1/2 the price..... from the same source.
The HD8288XL is a clone. It says Made in America, but I have some doubts about its quality because I don't have any experience with it. You are certainly welcome to try it.

The point that Tower Guy was trying to make was that if you are happy with the local news on WCWN, you wouldn't need an antenna that covered VHF-Low, and would be able to use an antenna that was for VHF-High and UHF, which would be narrower. But, maybe you want to stick with an all channel antenna in case you do want channel 6.

Quote:
Also, you recommended the Channel Master 7778 pre-amp. From my understanding, the Channel Master 7777 offers higher gain and lower noise for just a couple dollars more.....but I also understand that the Channel Master 7777 is s more susceptible to overload from strong signals --- would that be an issue at my location ?
I was being cautious because Channel Master is cautious. They have had many returns of new 7777s from customers that should have ordered the 7778, because the 7777 does overload easily. That probably would not be an issue at your location after looking at your tvfool report and your fmfool report (post 3, attachment 2). I have not seen any tests that support the claim of a lower noise figure for the 7777.

I have had good results with my 7777, but it was the older model that had a good reputation. When PCT bought out CM, closed the NC plant, and fired their talented engineers, they redesigned the 7777, but kept the same model number which really caused a lot of confusion. Our impression was that they retained the same model number to trade on the old 7777 reputation. They could have at least called it the 7777A.
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Old 7-Oct-2015, 4:32 AM   #12
NthrnNYker
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Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
The HD8288XL is a clone. It says Made in America, but I have some doubts about its quality because I don't have any experience with it. You are certainly welcome to try it.
Actually, with a little more research, I gather that WineGard manufactures both antennas -- from the administrator of the "Solid Signal" blog :

Quote:
Stuart Sweet - Administrator :

"That's a tough one. Being blocked by those hills stops you from getting most of the stations you should. If there's any hope at all it would be a tall mast, an antenna like this: Search: hd8200xl - Solid Signal and a rotator if you wanted to get stations besides the ones on Mt. Wilson. Here's a selection of rotators: Search: rotator - Solid Signal"

Customer :

" was researching the antenna based on your recommendation and another one, the HD8200U popped up as well. Is there any notable difference between the two? Also, Amazon states that many people bought a preamplifier with it, (Winegard LNA-200 Boost XT Digital HDTV Preamplifier) and some folks were able to attach it to their fireplace. Are these recommended at all? "

Stuart Sweet - Administrator :

"HD8200U is a very similar antenna. Both are made by Winegard, but our HD8200XL is made to our specifications to be larger and have more gain in the low UHF area where a lot of today's stations are."
http://blog.solidsignal.com/showthre...ld-You-Suggest


Quote:
The point that Tower Guy was trying to make was that if you are happy with the local news on WCWN, you wouldn't need an antenna that covered VHF-Low, and would be able to use an antenna that was for VHF-High and UHF, which would be narrower. But, maybe you want to stick with an all channel antenna in case you do want channel 6.
Well, I understood what he was saying....but, given that the dimensions of the two antennas are not that much different (same boom length, same height, but 1/2 the width on the HD 7698) I had to look at the range of each antenna see which one might better suit - since the overall VHF range of the HD8200 is 100 miles vs. the 60-mile VHF range of the HD 7698 -- and that they had similar UHF ranges and gain numbers....I thought it made more sense to go with the more powerful antenna for almost the same dollars. If I have to put a monster up on the roof, might as well go with the more capable monster, eh ?


(and I have the added bonus of being able to hook my home stereo to the antenna for excellent FM reception on the HD8200U)

Quote:
have had good results with my 7777, but it was the older model that had a good reputation. When PCT bought out CM, closed the NC plant, and fired their talented engineers, they redesigned the 7777, but kept the same model number which really caused a lot of confusion. Our impression was that they retained the same model number to trade on the old 7777 reputation. They could have at least called it the 7777A.
Ah, I was not aware of that ..... that said, did they keep the old design for the Channel Master 7778, or did they redesign that too -- and if so, would not the 7778 also suffer the same redesign issues the 7777 did ?

If there are production flaws in the design of the Channel Master series, are there pre-amps out there of comparative performance and cost by the likes of Winegard and/or other manufacturers ?

Sorry for talking your head off this evening

Karl

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Old 7-Oct-2015, 11:00 AM   #13
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My editorial on current pre-amps

I've tested most of the legacy and current preamps as part of my duties, so I do have a bit of a unique perspective on what's out there now and in the past.

Quote:
that said, did they keep the old design for the Channel Master 7778, or did they redesign that too -- and if so, would not the 7778 also suffer the same redesign issues the 7777 did ?
The CM7778 was similarly re-designed. The only thing the "old" and the "new" versions have in common is their name and their metal case. They are COMPLETELY different products now as compared to the "old" versions. I have not tested the "new" 7778, I own and am using a 7777 on my home system as I needed the 30 dB gain for a very extensive distribution system.

Quote:
If there are production flaws in the design of the Channel Master series,
There is no such flaw in the design, but in the marketing of the products if there is any "flaw" present, IMHO. The amps are completely competent for what they now are but they are not what their predecessors were. "FUD" has been and still is now in control.

Quote:
are there pre-amps out there of comparative performance and cost by the likes of Winegard and/or other manufacturers ?
The circuitry of the <$25 RCA is about an 80% clone of the "old" 7778. Inexpensively made and it sometimes shows although competent enough for the price point. Only dual-input amp in common availability including in-store at Menards (upper Midwest generally), otherwise ship-to-store at any Walmart.

The offering from Winegard (LNA200S) was made as idiot-poof as possible and that shows in lab testing. Their noise figure claims are for the underlying semiconductor devices but fail to include the deleterious effects of all the front end filtering and the diplexer. Their overload claims appear to have been take from the absolute maximum values (more=device destruction) rather than from actual performance. The internal dual amplification path keeps UHF and VHF signals from mixing in the amp but I've had two samples in which the VHF path died for no apparent reason. It does have the advantage of being the only pre-amp available in a national retail store chain (Home Depot). If you absolutely need a preamp TODAY, get this one.

From my employer's offering, our PA18 offers a very low noise figure (usually well under 2 dB) but overloads too easily making it useful for weak-to moderate signal areas only, something it excels at. My quick and dirty rule for our customer service folks is that if the TVFool plot shows "green", the PA18 probably isn't going to be usable at that location. Our newer Juice and its predecessor CPA19 are the most overload-resistant pre-amps to come across my workbench so far with decent noise figures. However, the Juice is currently out of stock (should be available again by Thanksgiving) and the CPA19 has been discontinued for awhile.
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Old 7-Oct-2015, 11:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ADTech View Post
The CM7778 was similarly re-designed. The only thing the "old" and the "new" versions have in common is their name and their metal case. They are COMPLETELY different products now as compared to the "old" versions.

There is no such flaw in the design, but in the marketing of the products if there is any "flaw" present, IMHO. The amps are completely competent for what they now are but they are not what their predecessors were. "FUD" has been and still is now in control.

If you don't mind my asking ---- 'different' doesn't always mean inferior. What is different between the old versions of the Channel Master series of Pre-Amps and the newer redesigned version of their Pre-Amp products than raises eyebrows ? Are the interior solid-state components of inferior quality than that of the former products ? Are the output specs more than marginally different between the old line of Channel Master products and the newer, redesigned products ? Is it merely issues with the exterior components being of inferior quality (ex : Waterproofing, mast-mounting longevity, etc) ?

I must admit, I am drawn to the Channel Master line of products because of their reputation -- but not so much that I would accept a product that might fail a few years down the road when there are other products out there of comparable quality.

Karl
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Old 7-Oct-2015, 11:38 AM   #15
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Quote:
What is different between the old versions of the Channel Master series of Pre-Amps and the newer redesigned version of their Pre-Amp products than raises eyebrows ?
The main difference for the user is that the old 7777 and 7778 had separate inputs for VHF and UHF antennas. The new versions have a single combined all-channel input.

Our eyebrows were raised by the way CM marketed the new versions, by retaining the same model numbers as if to trade on the good reputation of the old pre-takeover versions. They also gave a lot less technical documentation for the new versions which sounded like marketing claims instead of engineering test results. This approach by PCT really turned us off to the point that we were reluctant to even suggest using the new versions because of the lack of reliable lab test results and the marketing approach that lacked the integrity that Channel Master previously had. As ADTech said, FUD was being demonstrated by PCT.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_...inty_and_doubt

After the CM redesign, Winegard also reduced their preamp line, so we have been forced to suggest CM preamps because there are now fewer good alternatives.
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Old 7-Oct-2015, 11:48 AM   #16
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The main difference for the user is that the old 7777 and 7778 had separate inputs for VHF and UHF antennas. The new versions have a single combined all-channel input.
Ahhh, that explains it. Thank you....

That said, for my purposes then, that is an non-issue given that I have no need for a dual-input pre-amp as the antenna I am tending towards is a combo UHF-VHF design ---- unless of course the minds that are meeting here in this forum agree that I have need for separate VHF/UHF antennas at my location -- do I ?

Karl

(once again --- thank all of you guys for your input)
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Old 7-Oct-2015, 12:12 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by rabbit73 View Post
The main difference for the user is that the old 7777 and 7778 had separate inputs for VHF and UHF antennas. The new versions have a single combined all-channel input.

Our eyebrows were raised by the way CM marketed the new versions, by retaining the same model numbers as if to trade on the good reputation of the old pre-takeover versions. They also gave a lot less technical documentation for the new versions which sounded like marketing claims instead of engineering test results. This approach by PCT really turned us off to the point that we were reluctant to even suggest using the new versions because of the lack of reliable lab test results and the marketing approach that lacked the integrity that Channel Master previously had. As ADTech said, FUD was being demonstrated by PCT.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_...inty_and_doubt

After the CM redesign, Winegard also reduced their preamp line, so we have been forced to suggest CM preamps because there are now fewer good alternatives.
Unfortunately, that is the case occurring in more and more products nowadays....companies of the past were more than happy to share test results and specs with their customer base and tech support personnel...they were quite proud of their products -- and they expected them to last for years and to be repaired by competent technicians in the field....but today with the increasing 'disposable' mentality so prevalent...they figure, why bother with repairs ( and the need to provide adequate documentation to tech staff) -- it's cheaper to just purchase another unit.

It's sad, but there it is.

Karl
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Old 7-Oct-2015, 1:20 PM   #18
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Quote:
unless of course the minds that are meeting here in this forum agree that I have need for separate VHF/UHF antennas at my location -- do I ?
No
Quote:
but today with the increasing 'disposable' mentality so prevalent.
I don't mind the disposable part, what with the high cost of labor for repairs, and the rapid advances in technology, but I do mind the misleading claims made by marketing departments. And I do want to know if that unit is the right one for me before I purchase it.

In particular, mileage figures for antennas are useless except to compare antennas in the same series. What is important is the signal strength and the quality of the signal path as shown in the tvfool report. It is possible to have a very poor quality signal from a transmitter that is less than 10 miles away if there is a hill in the way. That problem is common at the US-Canada border because of the escarpment.

And the term "Omnidirectional" has caused us endless hours grief because the hopes of a user have been raised to unrealistic heights, thinking that he can use just one antenna aimed in just one direction to get excellent reception of all channels in all directions. If there were such a magic antenna, the CATV systems wouldn't need to do this:

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Old 7-Oct-2015, 1:54 PM   #19
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I don't mind the disposable part, what with the high cost of labor for repairs, and the rapid advances in technology, but I do mind the misleading claims made by marketing departments. And I do want to know if that unit is the right one for me before I purchase it.
As well I know -- which explains my presence here on this site If there weren't so many wild claims, I (and people like me) would have no need for expert advice -- we could make our own comparisons We the consumer public -- think that since this is something the experts do for a living and deal with these components each and every day - they would share with us the benefits of that experience - as you have

That said, these marketing ploys have long been a fixture in the audio/visual field --- case in point -- even as a child 50 years ago, there were always wild and unrealistic claims for signal to noise ratios, stereo separation, etc etc in hi-fidelity audio components ...Those marketing ploys have gradually spread beyond audio and now have spread into video. Disappointing, but not entirely unexpected.

Karl
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Old 7-Oct-2015, 2:04 PM   #20
rabbit73
Retired A/V Tech
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: S.E. VA
Posts: 2,736
This is what the specs looked like for the OLD 7777 in the CM 2007 catalog:



catalog
http://www.bentonelectronic.com/disk...L%20MASTER.pdf

I was able to verify those specs when I did tests using some old model 7777s connected in cascade (series) to simulate strong signal overload.
http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/1597002-post3490.html

Now, all we have that we can trust are the tests done by ADTech and others with the proper test equipment. Here are some overload tests done by ADTech:

AD Eclipse antenna with no preamp:



With Winegard LNA100 preamp showing moderate overload. The weakest signals are damaged first, because the rising noise floor from spurious signals created by IMD (Intermodulation Distortion) reduce their SNR:




With Solid Signal Blade preamp showing serious overload:



With a good quality overload tolerant preamp:

Attached Images
File Type: jpg CM Titan 2 specs.JPG (52.7 KB, 1766 views)
File Type: png 4 of 7 (2).png (32.4 KB, 1433 views)
File Type: png 7 of 7 (2).png (33.3 KB, 1859 views)
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Last edited by rabbit73; 7-Oct-2015 at 5:45 PM. Reason: add OLD for 7777
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