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Old 12-17-2013, 08:37 AM   #46  
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Originally Posted by Pete Higgins View Post
Slab,

I have one of the $59.99 HDB8Xs & am very pleased with it. However, I dont believe it will allow the movable panel to rotate 193 deg. without extensive modification. I had to shorten the mast bolts to get it to turn 123 deg. for my installation. You may be able to reverse the movable panel brackets so the build starts out with the panels @ 180 deg. and then swivel for the extra 13. Mine is on my tower so cant see if it looks possible today. Call or email Solid Signal to confirm this before you order one.

On the other hand, it looks like the Antennas Direct DB8e will provide the panel rotation required. Solid Signal had the DB8e on sale recently for $74.99 so if you can find it on sale that would make installation a lot easier for only $15.00 extra. Call or email Antennas Direct tech support to verify DB8e panel rotation capabilities. Not sure I would recommend it if its going to cost an additional $100.00. They have a customer service tech that regularly posts on these forums as ADTech. He would be your best source of reliable information on their DB8e.

What I said about 4-Bay vs. 8-Bay and re-radiation loss in post 37 should apply to either antenna. From my experience with the HDB8X @ 193 deg. panel to panel alignment you should have enough front to back ratio to prevent signals from one market from interfering with signals from the other market. Additionally, your LOS signals look to be strong enough to incur the aforementioned losses and still provide a watchable signal without adding a pre-amp. Wish I was as lucky. I would still recommend keeping the distribution amp.
Am I correct in saying the DB8e will not pick up any VHF stations? If that is the case would I need to combine the DB8e UHF antenna with a VHF antenna or my current C2-V-CJM ClearStream 2-V or would I be better off with a lesser UHF only antenna (since I really just need UHF in one direction and VHF in the other)?

Thanks for the input. You guys have all forgotten more about this stuff than I know.....
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:34 PM   #47  
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slab,

The DB8e is a UHF antenna. I don’t own one so I can’t say how much response it has to high VHF. My 40 year old Channel Master CM-4228 actually has pretty good high VHF response but from what I’ve read most other 8-Bay’s including their new “HD” model don’t. Since you already have one of Antennas Direct antennas you should really call and talk to them about the best path forward with what you have.

If you’re VHF & UHF stations come from different directions, that really makes a case for separate antennas pointed in the appropriate direction. You can combine them into a single down lead with a UVSJ or dual input amplifier, if you decide to use an amp.
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Old 12-18-2013, 08:42 PM   #48  
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If you are in a strong VHF signal area the UHF antenna should pick up some VHF radiation and work, but it is not designed for VHF and will not get any positive gain from antenna design, just random RF.
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Old 12-21-2013, 03:33 AM   #49  
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Default DB8e on VHF

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Originally Posted by slab View Post
Am I correct in saying the DB8e will not pick up any VHF stations? If that is the case would I need to combine the DB8e UHF antenna with a VHF antenna or my current C2-V-CJM ClearStream 2-V or would I be better off with a lesser UHF only antenna (since I really just need UHF in one direction and VHF in the other)?

Thanks for the input. You guys have all forgotten more about this stuff than I know.....
the DB8e has a PCB balun and (from a Canadian forum posted by "ADTech")

>> And finally, here's what our UHF PCBs (as used on DB2, 4, 8, & C4) look like.
>> Note that this is 1 dB/div rather than the 2 dB/div on the previous plots.
>> Very efficient on UHF, but brutal for VHF.



0 dB reference is the MIDDLE line (fourth line up from bottom


Not sure whether replacing the pcb balun with eg a channel master balun would help vhf
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Old 03-11-2014, 02:30 PM   #50  
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Default Solid Signal HDB8X High VHF Response

When I did my initial HDB8X testing, I concentrated on comparing my HDB8X against my Channel Master CM-4228 and my Antennas Direct 91XG. The focus was on 8-Bay UHF signal quality comparisons and utilizing each 4-Bay panel to receive different markets (San Diego & LA). At that time I didnt observe any HDB8X High VHF response.

I subsequently moved the HDB8X to a satellite J-pole & RCA 10W707S rotor mounted to the leg of my Amateur Radio tower. I last used it to compare my PCT MA2-M, RCA TVPRAMP1R and Winegard LNA-200 amplifier performance.



Yesterday I dropped my TV tower to extend the mast and add a second 91XG. To catch the news while I researched mast options I hooked in the HDB8-X. To my surprise High VHF RF channel 7 (7.1) was clearly received. This morning I did a High VHF and partial UHF spectrum scan to quantify its High VHF performance.




The scans were conducted using a Software Defined Radio (SDR) fed by a 2-Way splitter that also feeds the Hauppauge tuner. Both devices should have seen essentially the same signal strength & quality.

TV Fool lists my average High VHF signal strength almost 20 dBm stronger than what I can anticipate on UHF. As expected, the HDB8X performed much better on UHF than VHF. Whats surprising is that it was able to pull out three of my four 1 & 2-Edge High VHF signals at all. My Hauppauge HVR-1800 tuners require an SNR > 15 dB to even register SNR. Thats why even though you can see channel 11 (11.1) and 43 (2.1) in the scans, the SNR meter reported 0.

Bottom line, if your High VHF channels are stronger than -75 to -80 dBm you may not need a separate High VHF antenna.
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Old 05-15-2014, 01:58 PM   #51  
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Default More on Solid Signal HDB8X High VHF Response

Ive been playing with my antennas again and couldnt help but notice that my HDB8-X 8-Bay Bow Tie received RF channel 7 (7.1) almost as well as my 10 element Antennacraft Y10 7-13 and occasionally received channels 9 & 13 also. The Y10 7-13 is mounted at the top of my TV towers mast @ 42 AGL. The HDB8-X is mounted on an old Direct TV J pole bolted to the side of my aluminum amateur radio tower @ about 24 AGL (see previous post). Both antennas are turned by rotors and were peaked for best SNR on channel 7 although the HDB8-X showed a much broader high VHF radiation pattern. TV Fool lists all 4 high VHF channels as 1 or 2-Edge for my location.

Conditions this morning were such that channel 7 was the only HDB8-X high VHF channel I could decode with my Hauppauge HVR-1800 tuners. None the less, my software defined radio spectrum analyzer saw all four of the LA high VHF signals.

On channel 7, the HDB8-X only exhibited about a 2.5 dB less signal strength than the Y10 7-13. As can be seen from the graphic, HDB8-X high VHF frequency response appears to get progressively worse as frequency increases, deviating by ~19 dB near the high end of channel 13. If anything, I would have expected just the opposite result.

Since I first got the HDB8-X its shown much poorer performance on RF channel 43 (2.1, CBS) and much better performance on RF channel 36 (4.1, NBC) than either a single or my dual 91XGs. Ive also noticed that when I switch between the HDB8-X in its current location & my two tower mounted 91XGs the HDB8-X shows better SNR numbers for 15 of my 19 channels, often yielding channels that cant be decoded from the 91XGs.

Winds here all week have been blowing @ 45-55 MPH with frequent gusts in the 60-70 MPH range so I havent been willing to drop my guyed TV tower. As soon as the winds die down I plan to mount the HDB8-X in place of the 91XGs to see how that changes my reception picture.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Y10 7-13 to HDB8-X Level Comparison.jpg (38.6 KB, 14 views)
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Old 05-20-2014, 02:09 PM   #52  
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Default Compared (2) 91XGs to HDB8-X from same location

Because of UHF reception differences noticed between my two TV tower mounted 91XGs and my J pole mounted HDB8-X (that was just hung off the side of my amateur radio tower) last week I mentioned that I wanted to try the HDB8-X on the TV tower.

Daytime temperatures in my area last week were in the high 90s and low 100s most of the week with wind gusting between 60 & 70 MPH. When the temperatures finally broke and the wind died down, the smoke from fires in San Diego had the air quality so bad AQMD was warning everybody to stay indoors. Yesterday, I was finally able to work outside, drop the tower and remove both 91XGs, and install the HDB8-X.



Before I dropped the tower, I peaked the antenna alignment and measured the SNRs for all the UHF channels received by the dual 91XGs. I then ran out to the garage and switched (coax switch) over to my Ham tower mounted HDB8-X, peaked it and measured the SNRs from it.

I realize that this isnt a fair comparison. Two 91XGs should yield better performance than a single UHF antenna and in fact they did. When I compared the upper 91XG to the lower one I got the same SNR results. When I combined them, I got anywhere from the same result to as much as ~2.5 dB improvement depending on channel number. Either a single or the dual 91XGs gave me more reliable reception of RF channel 43 (2.1 CBS) than the HDB8-X but struggled with RF channel 36 (4.1 NBC). The HDB8-X on the other hand did well on RF channel 36 (4.1 NBC) but struggled with RF channel 43 (2.1 CBS), and seemed to pull in several more channels (although Id have to learn multiple foreign languages to understand most of them!).

This morning (about the same time as yesterday) I peaked the HDB8-X alignment and measured the SNRs for all the UHF channels it received. As can be seen from the Excel chart below, by moving the antenna I actually lost channel 33 that I had previously and picked up a new one that I hadnt been able to receive (channel 50). By & large, however, I still received most of the extra channels only previously seen with the HDB8-X.



Only time will tell if what Im seeing today is representative of a true performance difference or the result of propagation anomalies with my 1 & 2-Edge LA signals.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg HDB8-X to (2) 91XG's on TV Tower SNR Comparison.jpg (54.5 KB, 22 views)
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Old 05-21-2014, 06:00 AM   #53  
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Great work Pete!! Just love your set-up & envious of that FM antenna. What kind of range does the 6065 see under normal conditions? What kind of tuner(s) do you use for FM?

Unfortunately great FM antennas are now a thing of the past
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Old 05-21-2014, 06:48 AM   #54  
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Nice reporting!

BTW, have you ever tried the 91XGs stacked horizontally instead of vertically? Side-by-side would better approximate the pattern of the 8-bay.

Quote:
Unfortunately great FM antennas are now a thing of the past
You can still buy the 6-element AntennaCraft for $30 but it's pretty lightweight, much like their old combo antennas sold through Radio Shack. Winegard discontinued their large FM antenna. Antennas Direct has a very sturdy 3-element unit.

Last edited by projectsho89; 05-21-2014 at 06:57 AM..
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Old 05-21-2014, 11:54 AM   #55  
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hoopitup2000 & projectsho89,

Thanks for the compliments, I try. In fact my wife often says Im very trying!

The FM antenna is a Winegard HD-6065 10 Element FM Antenna aligned with my high VHF & UHF TV antennas so I kind of know where the rotor is pointing them. It feeds the VHF side of an RCA TVPRAMP1R amplifier set for separate inputs with the FM trap off and the UHF input terminated in 75 ohms.

I have an early 60s Sansui model 1000 A (all tube type) AM/FM stereo receiver, a Fisher FM-871 AM/FM stereo synthesizer tuner and a JVC R-X 80 digital synthesized stereo AM/FM receiver. I also have Hauppauge HVR-1800 ATSC & clear QAM TV/FM tuner cards in several of my computers and lately Ive been using my new Software Defined Radios (SDRs) with a program called SDR Sharp (SDR#) which gives a spectrum & waterfall display and has quite good sound when fed through a quality audio amplifier to decent stereo speakers.

Unfortunately, I have FM stations arriving from 14 deg. all the way around the compass to 350 deg. The HD-6065 beam pattern is narrow enough to exclude most of them. I generally leave the FM receivers connected to the TV antennas, which generally yields 360 deg. coverage for about 60-70 % of the stations. To get some of the weaker LA (53 miles) and most San Diego (76 miles) stations I switch (I use lots of coaxial switches) to the Winegard HD-6065 and point it. It really deserves its own mast & rotor but Ill never buy another one of the current 3-Wire models. They constantly go out of calibration. You can point my 50 year old Radio Shack and RCA rotors in the blind and they are dead-nuts on every time. The one on my push-up mast has been there since 1980 and the only repair was to splice in a new length of outdoor control wire.

I just bought my second 91XG a couple of months ago & put it up, so, no Ive never tried them in a horizontal stack. I was looking to increase gain primarily on RF channel 43 (2.1-3, CBS) and (hopefully) cut down on multi-path (mostly ground bounce) by narrowing the vertical beam width. I sit in the shadow of Box Springs Mtn. and have to point over it to receive LA but am wide open to the sides & rear. The horizontal beam width of a single 91XG is already pretty narrow so I didnt think tightening it further would be advantageous.

Last night we watched the channel 2 news off the HDB8-X and this cloudy, overcast morning its booming in with an SNR of 21.9. Usually on days like this I couldnt even get it to register. Channel 36 (4.1 & 2, NBC) which I almost never got from a single 91XG and rarely got from the dual 91XGs is coming in @ 19.8-20.8 so it seems like Ive gained a lot on CBS and lost a little for NBC. Last night I had channel 38 (30.1-6, ION) max out the signal strength meter on my Samsung UN46 B8000 and this morning its SNR is a steady 27.1.
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:35 AM   #56  
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Originally Posted by projectsho89 View Post
You can still buy the 6-element AntennaCraft for $30 but it's pretty lightweight, much like their old combo antennas sold through Radio Shack.
Yes, I have one of these & it's works well, especially once modified to address it's mediocre Front to Back ratio. Unfortunately all the large 10 footers like Pete has are a thing of the past
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Old 06-23-2014, 11:10 AM   #57  
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Solid Signal has the HDB8-X on sale today for $49.99 + $10.49 shipping to my location in southern California. Since my first one only cost $60.04 delivered, for $0.44 more, this one should work even better!

My intent is to vertically stack the second HDB8-X with the one shown in post 52 and compare dual HDB8-X performance to my dual 91XG's.

Time will tell.
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Old 06-29-2014, 08:54 PM   #58  
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Default HDB8-X damaged & defective testing on hold

Well, my new HDB8-X arrived yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, there was a hole in the end of the box and two of the reflector rods were bent and the tubing was kinked. They come double boxed so Im pretty sure that was shipping damage.

Three of the element pairs on one of the panels were loose and wouldnt lock down. Almost like the square aluminum tube they clamp over was too large or the plastic standoffs were molded undersize.

Sent Solid Signal an email this afternoon so well see where we go from here? They have a customer service rep. a few miles from my house so Im hoping I can drop the damaged antenna off to him and theyll send me another one.

Obviously my dual HDB8-X testing will be on hold until I can get this straightened out.

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Old 07-01-2014, 09:36 PM   #59  
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Default Update on HDB8-X damaged & defective testing on hold

All,

Id be lying if I said I wasnt disappointed when I couldnt get started putting up my new HDB8-X on Sunday. After spending $14.93 to return my $22.80 RCA TVPRAMP1R preamplifier I figured this monster would probably cost as much to return as I paid.

I got a real shock when I received the following email this morning from Sarah who does Tech Support & Customer Service for Solid Signal; I am emailing you to advise you that we will be sending out a new replacement antenna. Tracking will be sent to you once it ships Basically, Solid Signal is replacing the damaged antenna at no additional cost to me.

They are not making me hassle with FedEx or even pay return shipping. What a difference from Summit Source who wouldnt stand behind a <$2.00 defective power inserter on an almost $200.00 supply order when I was getting ready to put up my first antenna. If I need it and Solid Signal has it they will definitely get my business.

Hopefully, by the end of next week Ill be flying dual HDB8-Xs
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Old 07-09-2014, 03:20 PM   #60  
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Default Update on HDB8-X damaged & defective testing still on hold

All,

Well, as promised, Solid Signal didnt waste any time replacing my damaged HDB8-X antenna. The new one arrived via FedEx a little before three yesterday afternoon. The box was a little squished and torn but when I unboxed the antenna there wasnt any damage. Assembled it (under the air-conditioning since it was still 99 deg. outside) yesterday after dinner and thought Id be putting it up early this morning before our temperatures climbed back into the mid to high 90s. No such luck!

I always try to do a scan and measure SNRs before I make any changes. This morning by 9 AM it was already getting hot and the humidity was abnormally high. When I started checking the SNRs on the UHF channels Im most interested in improving I couldnt receive several of them. My Hauppauge tuners need an SNR in the 15-16 dB range to even decode a signal. 2.1 (CBS), 4.1 (NBC), 5.1 (The CW) and even 7.1 (ABC) off the VHF antenna didnt even register. I rechecked at 11 AM and all were there (see the attacked plot). Unfortunately, it was already in the mid 80s and climbing fast. At my age Im starting to get dizzy climbing on the roof and tower in this kind of heat. Not sure which is worse, trying to work dizzy or my wifes wrath when I come down looking flushed?

As can be seen by the graph, in just a two hour time period, there was a 3 dB (CBS) to 14 dB (RF channels 28 & 29) change in signal strength. The red trace shows the difference in dB between the 9 AM & 11 AM scans. With propagation conditions changing that rapidly Id have no valid basis of comparison. No changes to the system were made during the two hour time period. Im guessing that as the sun lowered the humidity there was less signal absorption and hence the better outcome @ 11AM. I think my experiment will be on hold awhile longer while I wait for propagation to stabilize and the high temperatures to pass.



I posted the above scan in my Google drop box to hopefully provide a higher resolution graphic. If this works out well, let me know and Ill continue the practice for the more detailed drawings.

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4AM...FnU0stQk0/edit
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