Advice on 7 antennas (3 Antennacraft & 4 Winegard)

dave73

DTVUSA Member
#1
I'm looking for people who own (or owned) these 7 UHF antennas and how reception is on them. I'm not sure if I should get a UHF antenna that looks like an arrow, or one with 4 or 8 bay whiskers. For the Antennacraft antennas, I'm looking at either the MXU47 or the whisker antennas U4000 & U8000. In a way, I like the MXU47 because it has a VHF hookup on it, and already have plans to get the Antennacraft Y5-7-13 Hi-VHF antenna for the 2 VHF stations in the Chicago market.

For Winegard, It's either the HD-9022 & HD-9032 for the arrow type antenna. The other 2 Winegard antenna, I'm looking at HD-4400 & HD-8800. I don't know much about the HD-4400 & HD-8800, but the HD-8800 has me concerned that based on the estimated directional patterns that Winegard provides, makes that antenna garbage. Here's the link for the Winegard HD-8800 patterns. Here's the patterns for the Winegard HD-4400.

I'm just looking at those who have used any of these antennas I mentioned, and whether they'd recommend any of these antennas or not recommend them, based on their experience with reception. It would help even more for those who live in the Chicago market at getting Chicago UHF stations. With my current VHF/UHF combo antenna, I tend to have problems at different periods of time with select UHF stations: WCIU (RF 27), WMAQ (RF 29), WJYS (RF 36 and not that I care about this station right now), WCPX (RF 43, & this is not coming in right now for me), WSNS (RF 45), WLS-TV's main channel on RF 44, but have no problems with RF 7, & WTTW (RF 47). That's why I need a new antenna, & want to keep the VHF & UHF antennas separate (even if it costs more). Just remember that I'm only looking for recommendations on the UHF antennas as I already have plans to buy the Hi-VHF Antennacraft Y5-7-13 antenna for VHF stations WLS-LD (RF 7) & WBBM-TV (RF 12). Maybe someone has a better antenna than what I mentioned.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#2
Dave, I have the Y5-7-13 and the HD-9032, and can heartily recommend each one for your distance to the transmitters. Further thoughts:

• You'll want to mount the Y5 above your roof thanks to the low-power signal from WLS. According to an FCC filing early this month, the station has not installed its permanent RF 44 transmitter at Willis Tower. That's why you're not getting a signal on that channel. Until the UHF transmitter is installed and ready in a few months, WLS is broadcasting 7 kW on RF 7 from the Hancock Building. (That is a pretty weak signal: We have an RF 7 here, also an ABC affiliate, whose signal is about six times more powerful than that in my direction.)

• Don't worry if the UHF antenna lacks VHF connection terminals (for the record, however, both the HD-9022 and HD-9032 have them). Using these terminals implies a twinlead interconnection; practially speaking, twinlead is very difficult to secure against wind whipping. Once that cable starts flapping in the breeze, UHF reception is likely to flutter noticeably. Using two coax transformers, one at each antenna, and two short RG6 cables leading to a UVSJ combiner (the VHF and UHF connectors are self explanatory; "line" is for the downlead to your TVs), would be both much more durable in the elements and much less susceptible to these reception issues. The RG6 can be secured to the mast with no impact on signals, but the twinlead can't.

• While a lot of people have had good things to say about them, there isn't much justification for the MXU47, a U4000 or U8000. They don't perform as well as the 9022/9032, but they'll cost just as much, if not more, to buy and ship each one. Unless space is limited, go for the HD-9032, which is only a few bucks more than the 9022 shipped from most vendors.
 

dave73

DTVUSA Member
#3
Dave, I have the Y5-7-13 and the HD-9032, and can heartily recommend each one for your distance to the transmitters. Further thoughts:

• You'll want to mount the Y5 above your roof thanks to the low-power signal from WLS. According to an FCC filing early this month, the station has not installed its permanent RF 44 transmitter at Willis Tower. That's why you're not getting a signal on that channel. Until the UHF transmitter is installed and ready in a few months, WLS is broadcasting 7 kW on RF 7 from the Hancock Building. (That is a pretty weak signal: We have an RF 7 here, also an ABC affiliate, whose signal is about six times more powerful than that in my direction.)

• Don't worry if the UHF antenna lacks VHF connection terminals (for the record, however, both the HD-9022 and HD-9032 have them). Using these terminals implies a twinlead interconnection; practially speaking, twinlead is very difficult to secure against wind whipping. Once that cable starts flapping in the breeze, UHF reception is likely to flutter noticeably. Using two coax transformers, one at each antenna, and two short RG6 cables leading to a UVSJ combiner (the VHF and UHF connectors are self explanatory; "line" is for the downlead to your TVs), would be both much more durable in the elements and much less susceptible to these reception issues. The RG6 can be secured to the mast with no impact on signals, but the twinlead can't.

• While a lot of people have had good things to say about them, there isn't much justification for the MXU47, a U4000 or U8000. They don't perform as well as the 9022/9032, but they'll cost just as much, if not more, to buy and ship each one. Unless space is limited, go for the HD-9032, which is only a few bucks more than the 9022 shipped from most vendors.
Thanks for your recommendations. I will wait to hear from other people on what they have to say. As for WLS-TV on RF 7, I have no problems getting them with my current antenna. They're much stronger than they are on RF 44, or when they were on RF 52 (at least for me). My Winegard HD-1080 antenna works great for most stations, but I started having problems with WBBM-TV on RF 12. I don't know what went wrong, but that station started going in and out on that antenna, but WLS-TV on RF 7 was around 80-95% with that antenna. I however will need a bigger antenna to try & get a steady signal from WWME-LD (RF 39), as it broke up a lot on the Winegard antenna, but never picked it up on the existing Philips antenna. I learned the hard way that Philips makes some of the worst antennas, and not one good review on it for UHF (VHF ok though).

As for the VHF/UHF combiner, I already have this one from Antennas Direct, the EU385-CF that i bought a year ago. I didn't look carefully to make sure it was a general signal combiner. The general signal combiner I bought last week was this one from Winegard, the CC-7870. It works ok with the Philips antenna for now & the Winegard HD-1080 I'm using for WYIN.
 
#4
WLS currently simulcasts on RF7 and RF44. The RF44 signal has been up for many months from the Willis. They are building their maximized facility on the Hancock. The RF7 signal will go away eventually. At that point, only WBBM will be marooned on the high-VHF island for Chicago's full-service stations.


The AD EU385CF is a U/V diplexer, much like the commonly suggested UVSJ from Holland or Pico. The differences are that it passes DC on the UHF port and it comes in a nice weather-resistant enclosure.

Dave73,

Let's see your exact address TVfool plot so we have an idea of how much signal is expected in your area.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#5
How's the condition of your connectors and cabling outdoors? I have to ask because, at your distance to downtown Chicago, mounting these two antennas outdoors should yield sufficient signal strengths for glitch-free reception on at least one TV. As your post seems to suggest, the Philips really shouldn't be awful as a VHF-only antenna at that distance, and the HD-1080 should work better than that with UHF signals.

First, be sure to mount the '1080 above the Philips. They should be three feet or more apart, but many people fudge on this a little bit and they're not appreciably worse off for it. Next, take out the CC-7870 and install the EU385: Hook up the Philips to its VHF input connector and the HD-1080 to its UHF input. Then, spend a few days seeing how the antennas perform.

If there's little change and you're not certain how old the coaxial cable is, I'd consider replacing the downlead into the house before buying new antennas. Even the best antennas made can't push signals through a worn-out cable, and even the best cables tend to start wearing out after a dozen years or so out in the elements. (Coax installed inside the house will last much longer.)
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#6
WLS currently simulcasts on RF7 and RF44. The RF44 signal has been up for many months from the Willis. They are building their maximized facility on the Hancock. The RF7 signal will go away eventually.
The RF 44 simulcast is probably already gone given what the station has told the FCC. Here are the first two pages of the exhibit WLS attached to its May 27 request for special temporary authority:

ENGINEERING EXHIBIT WLS TELEVISION, INC.
ENGINEERING EXHIBIT IN SUPPORT OF A
REQUEST FOR EXTENSION OF SPECIAL TEMPORARY AUTHORITY TO
USE JOHN HANCOCK BUILDING ANTENNA AS AUXILIARY ANTENNA
CHANNEL 7 – 7.0 KW DA-MAX (DTV AVERAGE) – 410 METERS HAAT
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
ENGINEERING STATEMENT

Introduction

WLS Television, Inc. (WLS) is the licensee of WLS-TV, Chicago, Illinois. WLS
was licensed to operate NTSC analog facilities on channel 7 with an effective
radiated power of 55 KW at a height above average terrain of 515 meters. FCC
File Number BLCT-19820609KE describes the WLS-TV analog channel 7
facilities.

The post-transition channel 7 DTV construction permit, BPCDT-20080529AJS,
and the associated application for license, BLCDT-20090615AEE, describe the
channel 7 DTV facilities which authorized post-transition DTV operation from the
Sears Tower with 4.75 kW ERP and the non-directional former NTSC channel 7
antenna.

The special temporary auxiliary authority sought in this request for STA extension
proposes continuation of operation with 7.0 kW ERP DA Maximum as presently
authorized in BDSTA-20091124AIM. This outstanding STA specifies use of the
channel 7 antenna located on the John Hancock Building <emphasis mine>, which is the former WLS NTSC Auxiliary Antenna, as described in BXLCT-20070925AHQ and its associated construction permit, BXPCT-20040831ABV.

Extension of the outstanding STA is requested to provide continuity of DTV
service to WLS channel 7 viewers while construction continues at Willis Tower
(formerly called the Sears Tower). During the next few weeks, work is continuing to replace and upgrade the electrical and mechanical systems in the WLS transmitter room to support construction of the recently authorized channel 44 transmission system.

The ERP specified in this STA request, 7.0 kW DA-Max DTV Average, satisfies
the Commission’s rules for auxiliary operation based on the authorized channel 7
operating parameters contained in BMPCDT-20080529AJS, which specifies 4.75
kW ERP at 515 meters HAAT from the Willis Tower.

WLS Television, Inc.
Request for Extension of Special Temporary Authority
May 2010, Page 2 of 5

Continuation of this operation originally authorized in BMPCDT-20080529AJS is
authorized by BELDSTA-20100408ACD, which extended the operation
authorized earlier by BLDSTA-20091023ABZ. The outstanding STA facility
presently authorized at the John Hancock Building and the extension of identical
operating parameters as proposed does not cause interference that is greater
than the interference generated by the channel 7 facility that is captioned above
to any station.

WLS-DT will be moving its main DTV transmission to channel 44 as a result of
the Commission’s action in RM-11553. Because WLS plans to move to channel
44 as quickly as possible, construction of the WLS-TV facilities is underway in
the transmitter room in Willis Tower that has been and once built, will continue to
be the main WLS-TV transmitter facility.

During the construction of the final DTV facilities, in the interest of obtaining the
shortest build-out time, and to assure compliance with the Commission’s rules
regarding human exposure to radio frequency energy, a complete shut-down of
the WLS facilities at Willis Tower will be necessary for extended periods of time.

During this time, the use of an alternate facility, such as the present WLS-TV
facility in the John Hancock Building is required to maintain continuity of service.
Because of work that is scheduled to be performed at the Willis Tower during thenext few months, but particularly in the immediate days and weeks ahead, WLS respectfully requests an extension of the special temporary authority to operate
from the STA facility at the John Hancock Building for an additional six month
period.
Stations typically execute approvals promptly, frequently within 24 hours of confirming the decision. The FCC approved this STA request June 7. WLS also can't do any work at Willis until the RF 44 transmitter is dark to comply with RF exposure regs.

The AD EU385CF is a U/V diplexer, much like the commonly suggested UVSJ from Holland or Pico.
Got specs? I wanted to say the same thing but couldn't find any supporting information. Until AD publishes deeper numbers, it's prudent to suppose the EU385 is no better than a reversed splitter in this regard.

The differences are that it passes DC on the UHF port and it comes in a nice weather-resistant enclosure.
Tru dat.
 

dave73

DTVUSA Member
#7
How's the condition of your connectors and cabling outdoors? I have to ask because, at your distance to downtown Chicago, mounting these two antennas outdoors should yield sufficient signal strengths for glitch-free reception on at least one TV. As your post seems to suggest, the Philips really shouldn't be awful as a VHF-only antenna at that distance, and the HD-1080 should work better than that with UHF signals.

First, be sure to mount the '1080 above the Philips. They should be three feet or more apart, but many people fudge on this a little bit and they're not appreciably worse off for it. Next, take out the CC-7870 and install the EU385: Hook up the Philips to its VHF input connector and the HD-1080 to its UHF input. Then, spend a few days seeing how the antennas perform.

If there's little change and you're not certain how old the coaxial cable is, I'd consider replacing the downlead into the house before buying new antennas. Even the best antennas made can't push signals through a worn-out cable, and even the best cables tend to start wearing out after a dozen years or so out in the elements. (Coax installed inside the house will last much longer.)
I will eventually be replacing the cables to the antennas. That will be done when i replace the antennas. As for suggesting that I keep the Philips antenna and use it for just VHF, then move the Winegard antenna & use it for UHF; I'm not about to make that change, then turn around & take it down again to change out the big Philips antenna for an Antennacraft Hi-VHF antenna & either an Antennacraft or Winegard UHF only antenna. I struggled to get the antenna I already have up, due to the weight of the antenna, plus the weight of the galvanized poles I screwed together, & mounted the antennas on that pole. Now as for Winegard HD-1080 antenna; that antenna will remain as the antenna for WYIN since it's the only station not in Chicago. Using only 1 antenna and having that pointed toward Chicago resulted in WYIN dropping out a lot, due to their signal being in the null of the antenna.

Anyway, here's the chart of all the stations I'm supposed to get according to TVfool.com. Now as for WLS-TV on RF 7 & Rf 44, I'm hearing people as far away as Dekalb & Kankakee getting WLS-TV on 44 better than on 7, but people who live closer to Chicago have better luck with 7 than 44. I do check both from time to time and for me, 7 is still stronger than 44. Supposedly, WCHU-LP may end up getting RF 7 after WLS-TV vacates the channel, & would be at 4.75kw power from the John Hancock.
 

Attachments

Piggie

Super Moderator
#8
Dave I am not in your market, but I can say Don't recommendations are excellent. I talked to Hans at Winegard about comparing the HD9095 and HD9032 though the specs are slightly different are very much the same in the real world, day in and day out of reception just in case you looked at the 9095. So why do they even make the 9095? It works great side mounted to a triangular tower. Also Hans said the 9032 could be mounted below a VHF with the mast going all the way through the antenna with no problem. On VHF I am prejudice to the YA1713, and like a few others on this and other forums have noted it does shine a little better on the high end of the band such as 12 and 13.
 
#9
Got specs? I wanted to say the same thing but couldn't find any supporting information. Until AD publishes deeper numbers, it's prudent to suppose the EU385 is no better than a reversed splitter in this regard.
I tested several of them myself in my own shop using a spectrum analyzer w/ tracking generator. It's a diplexer, not a splitter. As diplexers go, it's not at all half-bad.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#10
Dave,

Would you mind posting the (actual) link to your TVFOOL result? Perhaps it's because of my my browser, but I cannot see a reasonably sized image. Thanks in advance,

Jim
 

dave73

DTVUSA Member
#11
Dave,

Would you mind posting the (actual) link to your TVFOOL result? Perhaps it's because of my my browser, but I cannot see a reasonably sized image. Thanks in advance,

Jim
I didn't realize this size reduced the size of the image. I didn't reduce it myself. Anyway, as long as the link doesn't expire, here's what the chart shows. TV Fool . I'm not about to provide my actual address to this board. I can tell you that LeSea stations: WHNW-LP 18 & WHVI-LP 24 are still analog. So those don't count for digital at this time. Even if they were in digital, I'm not gonna get antennas to get those crappy stations.

Dave I am not in your market, but I can say Don't recommendations are excellent. I talked to Hans at Winegard about comparing the HD9095 and HD9032 though the specs are slightly different are very much the same in the real world, day in and day out of reception just in case you looked at the 9095. So why do they even make the 9095? It works great side mounted to a triangular tower. Also Hans said the 9032 could be mounted below a VHF with the mast going all the way through the antenna with no problem. On VHF I am prejudice to the YA1713, and like a few others on this and other forums have noted it does shine a little better on the high end of the band such as 12 and 13.
The only reason I won't go with the Winegard HD-9095 is because all the weight is in one direction. My pole can't handle uneven weight. Also for VHF antenna, the YA-1713 is bigger than what I really need for VHF. I had considered the YA-6713, but solidsignal.com doesn't sell it. I can get WLS-TV on RF 7 & WBBM-TV on RF 12 with my current antenna. VHF is still strong enough to get in my neighborhood that I don't need a big VHF antenna. UHF is what needs to be a bit bigger than what I currently have, due to some of the UHF stations being weak (especially WCPX, which I mainly watch for Ion Life, & at times, WTTW & WCIU). I especially need a bigger UHF antenna for WWME-LD & for whenever WMEU-CA goes digital, & when WBBM-TV gets their translator approved for RF 26, though I get them on RF 12. Now if I had a tower, then I wouldn't worry about the weight of an antenna weighing one side down. I however can't afford a tower. Even if I could, it's not allowed in my neighborhood, due to the height being too close to power lines. So 25 feet off the ground is the maximum I can go without my antenna being near the power line. Yes, my antenna is up well past my roofline.
 

Fringe Reception

Super Moderator, Chief Content Editor
Staff member
#12
Dave,

I tested a Winegard HD-9095 (a photo is in one of my albums here) and I was not impressed BUT I shipped it to Piggie and he may have an entirely different opinion of the same antenna.

Thanks for your TVFOOL report: from day one, that website conceals actual addresses or locations.

I have two different plans for you: your report said 25' elevation above ground. I assume that's a few feet above your rooftop, so it would be easy to add an antenna rotor (rotator) to the plan. I would try a screen-type antenna like an old-style Channel Master 4221 or 4228, or EV's Kosmic Super Quad.

If you want to avoid using a rotor, try any of the same three without their reflector screens pointing North-ish. I predict good or awful results do to potential multipath reception without the reflector (blocked by the rear) screens.

I would first establish your NNW, NNE and South channels. Then go after the ones off to the sides. Twenty-five feet above ground is probably the bare minimum height you will need.

Honestly Dave, I wish my TVFOOL report looked as promising as yours is. Keep us posted!

Jim
 

dave73

DTVUSA Member
#13
I live in a mobile home, and 25ft. above ground is more than enough above the roof. For all the channels I want to get with my antennas, I'm only concerned about the following stations:
WLS-TV on RF 7 & 44 (hope RF 44 doesn't break up on me when I do get the new UHF antenna).
WBBM-TV on RF 12 (and maybe RF 26, if it gets approved)
WYIN on RF 17 (the only station I'm interested in getting in that isn't transmitting from Chicago)
WGN-TV on RF 19
WYCC on RF 21
WCIU on RF 27
WMAQ on RF 29
WFLD on RF 31
WWME-LD on RF 39 (even if this station is also available on WCIU PSIP 23.1/26.2)
WCPX on RF 43
WTTW on RF 47
WPWR-TV on RF 51 (when they have something worth watching)

Now I didn't list WJYS on RF 36, WGBO-DT on RF 38, WSNS on RF 45, WXFT on RF 50 because I don't understand Spanish to watch 3 of the stations & don't like all the infomercials & the sermons on the other stations. So I could care less if I don't get those 4 stations. As for the other stations, South Bend stations are fringe coverage & vary from day to day. So I'm not worried if I don't get them. Those aren't priority to try & pickup. I'm not interested in getting the LeSea Broadcasting translators (even if they were digital). I will keep you all updated once I make a decision on which UHF antenna to get. I forgot to include a Channelmaster antenna in the possible list, the 4228HD.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#14
Hey, Dave: For performance, price and value, stick with your original list of antenna candidates instead of going with a model like the 4228HD. CM's 4228A, discontinued two years ago, was considered by some to be the best mass-market UHF antenna sold. It also offered fairly good performance on channels 9, 11, 12 and 13. The 4228HD, while still a fair choice as a combo antenna, doesn't measure up to its predecessor thanks to certain design flaws. If you'd like to consider high-performance combo antennas (i.e., models that do channels 7-69) in addition to the band-specific separates discussed earlier, either Winegard's HD-7694 or AntennaCraft's HBU33 would be suitable choices for your location. The shipped prices on either are quite a bit lower than the 4228HD, too.
 

ChocLab

DTVUSA Jr. Member
#15
Don, you are one of the few posters I've seen who favors the Winegard 9032. Can you tell more about your experiences with it? I've tinkered with the original CM 4228, the Winegard PR-8800, and the Channel Master 4248 yagi. I always had good luck with the 8800 -- most of the channels I'm after are under physical channel 41 -- but wondered if the 9032 would be even better. Winegard claims it would be, of course, but HDTV Primer's graphs have the 8800's net gain as quite a bit higher, so it's confusing.

Thanks for any info!
 
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