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Old 06-08-2013, 04:07 PM   #16  
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Hi Pete! Great job!

Interesting on Day 1 that SNR was highest for the XG-91 on high VHF channels than the CM4228. Any thoughts why? Perhaps the higher elevation on the XG-91? Mclapp's work with DIY 4-bay's suggests that reflector width is critical for high vhf reception. A continuous width of 32 to 36 inches is needed. The old CM4228 meets this criteria but not the HDB8X which perhaps explains differences in VHF reception between the two panel antennas.

On day 1, the HDB8X picked up three UHF stations missed by the 4228 while the 4228 picked up one unique UHF station missed by the HDB8X. SNR's of stations received by antennas were generally within a DB indicating similar UHF reception (as you stated).

The Day 2 results were also interesting. As you know, an 8-bay typically has 3 to 4 dB higher gain than a 4-bay. Based on your testing, performance of the 4 bay dropped off more than one would expect with lost reception on several stations.

Awesome, thanks for doing the work and reporting!

All the best my friend!

Rick
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Old 06-08-2013, 05:08 PM   #17  
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Pete, can you talk a little about the 91XG in your study. It seemed to outperform the others...except where it didn't.
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Old 06-09-2013, 12:39 AM   #18  
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Default Adding to the confusion?

IDRick,

I should have made myself clearer! On day one (6 June) I was focused on comparing the HDB8X to the CM-4228. Both 8-Bay antennas were wired as described and unamplified. The HDB8X didnít show any High VHF response. Meteorological conditions were obviously good so the CM-4228 High VHF performance shined. Donít forget, it was all the stations I occasionally got with that thing last summer that started this whole OTA mess.

The 91XG has never shown any High VHF response either. As I said in the paragraph above the first chart, ďI also included measurements from my <1 year old Antennas Direct 91XG/Antennacraft Y10-7-13Ē. The High VHF SNR numbers in that column are from the Antennacraft Y10-7-13/PCT MA2-M feeding the VHF port on the UVSJ. Those two antennas along with my 10 element FM antenna are on the 40í tower. It is a completely separate antenna system that doesnít share anything with the HDB8X/CM-4228 including the cables that run through the walls.

In the 2nd day (7 June) table, the first column was copied over from the previous dayís testing. The single panel test with the combiner bypassed used the AP-2870 amp with the VHF input connected to an Antennas Direct FM band filter with its input open. While the VHF channels were checked, even with the amp, they didnít show any signal.

For the next test I connected both panels through the combiner and thatís when I lost most of my LA channels. I went back up and on the roof and connected the Winegard YA-1713 to the FM trap and reran the complete test, turning the YA-1713 to record San Diego & LA. Its on the same rotor as the CM-4228. Thatís where the High VHF numbers came from in that column. None of the UHF readings changed by even 1 dB on that second run.

The final column was just to compare the difference between using the AP-2870 and the PCT MA2-M. Since it only has one input, I just hooked-up the HDB8X.

wizwor,

Iíve had the CM-4228 for over 40 years. It has been stored outside on my patio roof since 1980 when I bought this house. Reception here has been so poor that everyone is on cable or now Satellite.

Last fall, I came across this forum, was intrigued, and decided to see what I could get with what I had. It wasnít real reliable but I was fascinated that I got anything at all.

I originally had the CM-4228 on the tower at ~32í AGL.

Going by Tigerbangs prescription, I eventually ordered a 91XG & Y10-7-13, added another 8í to the tower and started to play.

Because of all the first-rate 91XG reports and the fact that my CM-4228 was 40 years old I was expecting a big improvement. VHF actually did improve quite a bit but UHF didnít. Fortunately, the 91XG was mounted at the top of the mast.

While pretty widely separated from each other, all my San Diego channels and all my LA channels are within a couple of degrees of each other so once the antenna was aimed at a channel in one city it was good for the rest from that city.

I went through the 91XG channels and jotted down the SNR for each.

The tower raises & lowers with an electric winch so it only takes me 40-45 minutes to pull 2 guy wires, lower the tower, swap the antennas and raise the tower back up and start taking a new set of readings.

Instead of an F-71, I used a short piece of coax to connect the CM-4228 to the 91XGís amplifier. Everything else in the system stayed the same. I then went through the same channels with the CM-4228. To my surprise, most of the SNRís were within 1 dB and none were over 2.

The tenths digit typically changes by a few tenths every second so I have to interpolate an ďeyeball averageĒ. Consequently, I donít think we should ascribe much significance to a 1 dB difference.

Bottom line I think I took around 30 readings and maybe 13 were higher for the CM-4228 17 were higher for the 91XG, but they only differed by a small amount (probably due as much to interpolation error as even a moderate performance difference). Had I left the CM-4228 in place I doubt I would have noticed a real world difference.

There was one difference between the two antennas that is worth mentioning. The CM-4228 has never received channel 43 (CBS 2.1 TV Fool -112.40) reliably, the 91XG usually does. The 91XG has never received channel 36 (NBC 4.1 TV Fool -107.40) reliably and the CM-4228 usually does. This anomaly followed both antennas when they were swapped between the tower and the push-up mast Ėgo figure.
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:54 AM   #19  
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Thank you for the detailed response.

Do you have pictures of your tower setup?
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:58 PM   #20  
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Default Tower Pictures

wizwor,

Here is the main TV tower with 91XG at the top, Y 10-7-13 in the center & Winegard HD6065 10 Element FM Antenna @ the bottom.



Here is a shot of the winch mast with the tower lowered. The tower base can be seen in the lower left of the picture in its vertical or tower lowered position.



This is the winch I use to raise & lower the tower.



This is the pushup mast with the HDB8X mounted below the rotor, the CM-4228, Winegard YA-1713 and a Cushcraft A44-10T 2 Meter beam at the top. The facing panel is pointed towards LA, the other one towards San Diego.



wizwor,

Please let me know if you can see the pictures? I looked from a different computer and the pictures didn't display until I logged in.

Last edited by Pete Higgins; 06-12-2013 at 07:25 PM.. Reason: Put pictures back
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:25 PM   #21  
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I can see the pictures. Thank you. I am very happy with my reception, but I am thinking of erecting a tower this summer. We save so much with OTA and I try to plow about half back into the experiment. The wife is OK with that (so far).

When I installed my antenna in the attic, I noticed that moving it a foot this way or that had a big impact on reception. Is this an attic thing? If not, how did you choose the location for your tower?
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Old 06-13-2013, 02:36 PM   #22  
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Default Hdb8x

wizwor,

Quote:
wizwor,
When I installed my antenna in the attic, I noticed that moving it a foot this way or that had a big impact on reception. Is this an attic thing?
It is probably an attic thing, but doesnít necessarily have to be. For example, when I had the HDB8X in my dining room I actually got one of the San Diego stations much stronger (due to reflection) pointing the antenna at the mountain due west of me (~260 deg.) than when it was pointed in the direction the signal comes from (~168 deg.). Pointed west, I couldnít get the other two San Diego stations at all. In your attic, your antenna is in a lot closer proximity to things that will disrupt its radiation pattern not to mention all the attractive reflective surfaces. Attics can act like an RF pin-ball machine. Also, things like vents or decorative siding can channel signal more strongly to some areas than others. While terrain and propagation anomalies can similarly affect reception, itís usually much less pronounced for an antenna in the clear. Plus you donít have the signal loss associated with penetrating siding & roofing material.


Quote:
wizwor,
If not, how did you choose the location for your tower?
See photos.





I already had a large aluminum tower mounted to my patio roof in front of my chimney and the push-up mast at the south end of the house. I picked the only place I had left where the antennas could be rotated and not hit each other. I did try the CM-4228 attached to the front leg of the aluminum tower and couldnít notice any difference as I moved it up from 4í (13í AGL) to about 12í (21í AGL). Keep in mind, I can only measure SNR and as was pointed out to me in another forum, no or small changes in SNR can mask relatively larger changes in signal strength. From my days helping install TV antennas 50 years ago, location was dictated by where a push-up mast could be reasonably mounted & guyed and where the coax (back then twin-lead) could be run into the house.
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Old 06-15-2013, 04:28 AM   #23  
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Thanks for posting. I was looking at something like this...

http://www.dxengineering.com/parts/d...commendedparts

due to my fear of heights.
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Old 06-15-2013, 12:55 PM   #24  
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wizwor,

I believe what you are looking @ is a “vertical antenna tubing kit” intended to be used for constructing an amateur radio vertical antenna, not for supporting other antennas.

I think something like one of these is more what you are looking for:
http://www.summitsource.com/advanced...escoping+Mast+

Because of shipping costs, try finding one locally.

I have mine attached to a tilt-over roof mount base that swivels and is held to the side of the house with aluminum wall brackets. I think the whole thing came from Radio Shack 30 - 40 years ago.


Last edited by Pete Higgins; 06-15-2013 at 01:22 PM..
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:53 PM   #25  
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thank you again.
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:00 AM   #26  
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Hello all,

I've been watching this thread with great anticipation. I'm glad to see that our Xtreme Signal antenna compares well to the other antennas used.

We know that there are are as many different needs for antennas as there are antenna users. That's why we introduced the Xtreme Signal line. We wanted to offer a high-value alternative to some of the other antennas out there.

Rather than violate the rules and try to turn this into an advertising post, let me just say that we're here for the antenna community and please post questions or PM any time.

Thanks,

[email protected]
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:05 PM   #27  
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Default Solid Signal HDB8X

Solid Signal,

I know that profiting from product sales makes your input problematic but if it doesnít violate forum rules I would appreciate your inputs and I think they could be beneficial for all. I, admittedly, am not equipped to do rigorous or even ďscientifically validĒ performance testing.

For example, when I tried to use the HDB8X to receive San Diego on the fixed panel and Los Angeles on the movable panel (~123 deg. separation), I lost almost all stations. A BS/MS EE on another forum suggested isolating each panel from the other through RF amplifiers and explained the logic behind that approach. I didnít have two identical amplifiers, so since San Diego stations are typically stronger I connected a Winegard HDP-269 to that panel and an AP-2870 to the LA panel. His suggestion worked really well. Itís a pleasure not to have to run to my rotor control box and wait while the antenna turns. If you have the technical expertise on staff this type of input would be invaluable to forum members.

In the process, I discovered that the HDB8X combiner passes power through each port, so I was able to mount both amps between their respective BALUNís and the combiner and use a single coax for power & signal. Again, sharing this kind of knowledge would be valuable for the community.

From my experience, your HDB8X antenna is a well-engineered design at a very competitive price point. Thank you.
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Old 06-18-2013, 01:54 PM   #28  
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Thanks. We take this forum and all our online reviews very seriously and really appreciate the feedback. Feel free to send PMs through this forum and I'll reply as quickly as possible. I don't know if forum rules allow me to publish an e-mail address or link to an outside site, so PMs are probably better.

As for your particular situation, that's probably what I would have come up with as well and it's obviously a solution that works, that's the most important.

Please do keep the feedback and questions coming!

Last edited by Solid Signal; 06-18-2013 at 01:58 PM..
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Old 06-20-2013, 09:45 PM   #29  
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I just wanted to make a quick post to show how I have the HDB8X configured for multi-directional reception. At my location, I really need the extra gain of an 8-Bay vs. a 4-Bay but when the signals arenít faded this configuration seems to work very well Ėwithout a rotor. When they are even my CM-4228 & 91XG tend to drop in & out.

http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...1dda169109ca5c

As you can see from my TV Fool report, RF channel 26 @ -15.6 dBm (and an FM station on 99.9 @ -13.4) would severely overload my pre-amps., but all the rest of my San Diego (~168 deg.) and LA (~292 deg.) stations are 1 & 2 edge @ -85 dBm and below. Thatís why I added the NF-471 notch filter that rejects off-air UHF TV channels 24 to 29 and the Antennas Direct FM Band reject filter to the AP-2870 LA panel amp.



A couple of things to note are that:

1. I am powering both amps. through the two panel signal combiner that came with the HDB8X.
2. The NF-471 completely removes RF channel 26 @ -15.6 dBm with the LA panel pointed right at that station and the amplified & unfiltered San Diego panel thatís rotated ~123 deg. is also completely rejecting KVCR. I wasnít expecting this. This panel does bring in RF channel 30 (KPBS @ -96.3 dBm) from San Diego with an SNR in the mid 20ís.
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:02 PM   #30  
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Default Two Antenna Test (1- CM-4228, 1-HDB8X)

As I said in my last post, “At my location, I really need the extra gain of an 8-Bay vs. a 4-Bay”. My reasoning being that the theoretical 3 dB of additional gain (~ doubling the signal power) would help compensate during the signal fades that always seem to interrupt the evening news.

Because it’s the only device I’ve found that will pass power to two amplifiers over a single coax, I queried Solid Signal about purchasing an additional HDB8X Frequency Mixer. They currently don’t list them for sale, but generously offered to send me one (@ no cost) from an antenna damaged in shipping (Thank you Stuart).

I wanted to reconfigure the test installation to raise the HDB8X above the rotor to the same height as the CM-4228 so I could align its pattern for best SNR but unfortunately I can’t bring down my pushup mast by myself. When originally implemented I had two sons, a teenager and a college student, living at home to help. Now, one lives in Oregon and the other retired last year and lives 60+ miles away. Undaunted, I revamped the test configuration as shown below:




As with previous testing, I “bump aligned” the CM-4228 for best SNR on LA RF channel 36 (4.1 KNBC @ -107.4) and using its alignment as a guide, aligned the HDB8X as close as possible to the same direction. (This makes the assumption that as mounted, both antennas have the same radiation pattern –which may or may not be valid.)

After everything was in place & hooked up, with both antennas pointed towards LA, I measured an SNR of 24.7-25.3 for RF channel 36 (4.1 NBC). I also measured an SNR of 30 (as high as my meter registers) for RF channel 26 (24.1 KVCR) the -15.6 dBm PBS station 3.5 miles from my house and in line with all the LA stations.

Next, I rotated the CM-4228 towards San Diego, stopping @ ~168 deg. As the CM-4228 turned I noticed 2-3 dB fluctuations in SNR. I “bump aligned” the CM-4228 for best SNR on San Diego RF channel 40 (39.1 KNSD @ -95.2 dBm). I went back and measured an SNR of 23.1-23.4 for RF channel 36 (4.1 NBC). Interestingly, having both 8-Bays pointing the same direction added an additional 1.6-1.9 dB to the SNR. As with previous testing, with the 8-Bay turned away from my local station, it showed no back lobe response.

This afternoon, UHF signal-to-noise ratios from both LA & San Diego were 20 dB or greater and appeared about the same as a single 8-Bay when aligned with a rotor. More importantly, with a sample size of one afternoon, my San Diego news station dipped from an SNR of 24.9 this afternoon to a low of 18.5 around 6:20 PM. It had been dropping into the low 15.x’s where signal was lost. Tonight it’s holding @ 18.9 and error free.

If I wanted to design a system from scratch to feed UHF to multiple TV’s without the inconvenience of turning a rotor to view different markets, I’d be real tempted to order one or two HDB8X’s & two HDP-269’s depending on how much antenna was need for a given location. Of course that’s predicated on a source of power passing signal combiners becoming available. Solid Signal -Hint, Hint.

Last edited by Pete Higgins; 06-27-2013 at 10:42 AM..
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