Antenna Gain - Is it the ultimate measure of a better antenna?

JER

DTVUSA Member
#41
I suppose it boils down to the fact that on Internet everyone has a voice. You, me, the Joe next door, as well as our employers and yes our employers competitors are all allowed to voice their opinion with little or nothing in the way of filtering. This can be good or bad depending on who you are and how you look at it.

When I came to this forum I thought my insights into what drove Clearstream design might be interesting in light of the original topic of the thread and the fact that others were already discussing the Clearstream antennas in the thread anyway.

For what its worth, it has been my opinion for quite a long time now that, for DTV at least, Gain is NOT the ultimate measure of an antenna and that there are a lot of other factors that go into designing an antenna that performs well and is commercially successful. Through my posts I have tried to illustrate some of those considerations. I sincerely hope that the forum readers find such information useful whether they are looking to buy an antenna or design and build one of their own.

Of course, you made it plain as day in multiple posts that while you appreciated the innovations in the Clearstreams that you would still not recommend them for various reasons unrelated to performance. Since I work daily with and for the company you were deriding its only natural that I present my side of the story in an attempt to change your mind and to present a more balanced picture for the other readers. I'm sure you or anyone else would do the same if you were in my shoes.

It is my understanding that such discourse should not be a problem on the forums provided that party affiliations are made clear and the discussion is conducted in a civilized manner. I believe my posts have met those requirements.

For what its worth, I still welcome and appreciate your input on various antenna and reception issues and look forward to engaging with you on topics that readers may find more interesting than this.

Regards,

John
 

JER

DTVUSA Member
#42
I've seen the wind problem with both indoor and roof top antennas in the primary service area of multiple UHF stations. My location was only about 18 miles away and with line of sight to the towers. When the wind was really bad I observed severe picture breakup or lock failure on all available stations. This occurred with both indoor antennas as well as a large roof mounted Radio Shack combo antenna (can't recall model sorry). At the time I only had a few receivers available, mostly coupon boxes, to test. None of them seemed to reduce or solve the problem.

Your observation that reception was improved by switching to a lower gain antenna is interesting and it would be worthwhile to know if such a solution worked for others.

I'm no longer living in an area served by terrestrial broadcasts so I'm unable to do further receiver or antenna testing under such conditions.
 

FOX TV

Contributor
#43
Fcc should be getting part of the blame

Errors were made early on in the Clearstream marketing materials. To the best of my knowledge those issues have long since been corrected. If you check the Antennas Direct website I believe you will find that the Clearstream models are now accurately characterized. All companies make mistakes. The ones that want to continue correct them.

The horse you're beating is now dead. Antennas Direct is working to put into place systematic measures to ensure technical accuracy of its marketing materials so that it stays that way.
It seems that everyone who is critical of Antennas Direct or Clear Stream needs to look at a little history of the transition itself. If the FCC had done the right thing and designated DTV in the UHF band only, we would not be seeing all of these reception issues, and this blog about VHF versus UHF and marketing strategy would have no basis in point.

Instead, they chose to bow down to pressure and let the broadcast industry cry about loosing the VHF channels, even though VHF DTV was never tested thoroughly enough to prove its validity in DTV use, and now some stations (and possibly some antenna manufacturers) are paying the price for this problem.

Looking at how long it takes to develop a product and a marketing strategy, and trying to decipher the FCC's final band plan my have contributed to the marketing claims used by Clear Stream, as DTV was originally supposed to be all UHF.

Maybe this could also be the reasoning behind all of the DTV Answers promos that showed the "MAGIC BUNNY EARS", and associated the "MAGIC BUNNY EARS" delusional concept as a viable antenna alternative for DTV to the general public. Just because an RF signal contains digital data doesn't change the basic RF reception characteristics of that signal. (Except for the multi-path problem, which has nothing to do with propagation issues)

I despise the "CHINA SYNDROME" myself, and would much prefer to buy American built products IF THEY WERE AVAILABLE, but they are not available and we have to face the facts that this country has been sold out the the lowest bidder. At some point in the future, the world will be much worse off for destroying the innovation and individualism that this country once provided, which has not only made this country, as well as the world, a much better place in which to live.

And the current administration is furthering that concept to a point that it may never be recoverable. America once ruled, but that is quickly being stripped away every time the Messiah makes another of his capitulating speeches on the world stage. He is a joke of a leader, and is being laughed at by the leaders of the free nations that were once considered our friends and allies, and a lot of them cannot understand how this inexperienced "Leader" even got elected in the first place.
 
Last edited:

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#44
I'm glad you brought up the bad weather issue.

I used to live in downtown Salt Lake City where all the transmitters are located on a ridge some 5000 ft above the city. It was amazing to me how, even with the very strong signal levels we had there, that digital reception would be affected by weather - especially high wind conditions.

I'm not a receiver expert but it seems reasonable that the problem may not be an antenna issue so much as it is a result of dynamic multi-path signal conditions (caused by swaying tree branches?) changing faster than the receiver multi-path canceling circuits can keep up. I recall one evening when we were having a really severe wind event (no rain actually) that I couldn't receive any channel reliably.

Any thoughts on that idea? Is this purely a receiver issue?

Has anyone tested various receivers under such conditions to see how they perform?

Is there a specification on a receiver or chipset that indicates how well it would cope with such conditions?

Is there something that could be done on the antenna (short of a "laser beam" pattern) that could help?

How well will mobile DTV will work if/when that technology is rolled out?
1. Certainly multipath can be dealth with somewhat in signal processing, but there are limits. But you can also cut down on multipath by tightening the beamwidth of the antenna.

2. Yes, but you have to search long and hard for the info of individual tests.

3. Not that I know of. Some are known to be better at multipath than others, relative to each other.

4. Tighter beamwidth, that is it, FWIU.

5. Im no expert on Mobile DTV.
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#45
Your observation that reception was improved by switching to a lower gain antenna is interesting and it would be worthwhile to know if such a solution worked for others.
JER, its a common solution for multipath to add an antenator into the line, the pupose being to reduce the level of the interfering multipath signal to levels that the tuner cannot decipher, while still maintaining the primary signal at levels the tuner can decipher.

The same can be achieved with a smaller antenna with less gain..... (decreases both signal and noise like inserting an atenuator above).

or a tighter beamwidth ie more side/back/top rejection which increases the signal to noise ratio.
 
Last edited:

JER

DTVUSA Member
#46
I had heard of this attenuator strategy before but never tried it in windy conditions. It would be interesting to see if it really helps solve the dynamic multi-path issue.
 

FOX TV

Contributor
#47
I've seen the wind problem with both indoor and roof top antennas in the primary service area of multiple UHF stations. My location was only about 18 miles away and with line of sight to the towers. When the wind was really bad I observed severe picture breakup or lock failure on all available stations. This occurred with both indoor antennas as well as a large roof mounted Radio Shack combo antenna (can't recall model sorry). At the time I only had a few receivers available, mostly coupon boxes, to test. None of them seemed to reduce or solve the problem.

Your observation that reception was improved by switching to a lower gain antenna is interesting and it would be worthwhile to know if such a solution worked for others.

I'm no longer living in an area served by terrestrial broadcasts so I'm unable to do further receiver or antenna testing under such conditions.


In our market with most of the transmitters are located on top of a 4,000 foot mountain, when the wind gets up to around 60 MPH or better, I have actually seen or old top mounted analog antenna move as much a 1 foot off center. It is hard to believe that the wind could effect an 8,000 pound schedule 80 pipe that much, but I have seen it many times.

That antenna is an Andrew UHF Slot antenna that is actually made from a section of schedule 80 pipe with slots machined in it for the inner conductor to radiate through the slots.

When analog was still on the air, I could tell when the wind was blowing hard on top of the mountain because of the video and audio breakup. I think that some of the wind issues we see could be related to the Broadcast antenna being moved around by the wind. It is likely that wind blown tree foliage could be a culprit too, but that does not explain the issues I saw with analog in the winter when all of the trees were bare, and the breakups and bad analog audio were actually worse in the winter when the winds blow stronger on top of the mountain.

Just my 2 cents worth on wind blown antennas and reception issues when the wind blows hard in this area.
 

JER

DTVUSA Member
#48
I'm sure the times that I noticed wind driven (no precip) reception issues in Salt Lake that the transmitters (elevation 9500 ft) were experiencing extreme conditions so that may have contributed to what I observed. Taken together, I suppose the dynamic multi-path and events at the transmitter could combine to really mangle things.
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#49
And the current administration is furthering that concept to a point that it may never be recoverable. America once ruled, but that is quickly being stripped away every time the Messiah makes another of his capitulating speeches on the world stage.
It's a shame when someone criticizes a president for something that was not his doing, yet will praise and support a company that takes advantage of cheap foreign labor and still charges a huge premium for their sweat shop products.
 

FOX TV

Contributor
#50
World economy

It's a shame when someone criticizes a president for something that was not his doing, yet will praise and support a company that takes advantage of cheap foreign labor and still charges a huge premium for their sweat shop products.

It's also a shame when someone criticizes a small company like antennas direct for trying to exist in a world where 90% of "AMERICAN" companies do the same thing. Where were all of the components in the computer you used to reply to this forum made???? I guarantee it was not the good old usa, but I bet you won't be throwing it away any time soon just because it was made overseas in a "sweat shop" to use your words.

Antennas Direct is suffering the same fate that 90% of the once great American companies have over the past 15 years or so, and that is trying to be competitive in a "WORLD ECONOMY".

The current administration is a bunch of cheats and liars. Did you watch any of the Presidential debates? DO you remember all of the promises made? Can you tell me which one or any of those promises they have actually made good on? Exactly NONE !!

The current world situation my not be of his doing, but he is sure not doing anything to help improve the situation, and that is change you can believe in.

I did not start out here to criticize any company, user, or politician, but when the conversation leans political, I am not afraid to express my opinion on that topic too. All I was saying is that their C series antennas work well in high Multi-path situations, and the tapered loop design is very innovative and works quite well. There are many companies that use off shore manufacturing, and that is the way of the world today.

When the sweat shop workers can finally afford a roof and 3 square meals a day, do you think they complain when their lives have actually improved over what they used to have? I would bet they are happy to have what the have. A hard days work never killed anyone did it?

Hard work and innovation made this country great. Do you like Government taking your hard earned wages and giving it to someone who thinks the government owes them something, and is to lazy to get out of bed in the morning and go to work?

A lot of people think that the Bush administration is responsible for the DTV transition too !!
 
Last edited:

JER

DTVUSA Member
#51
If we all really stop and think about it, I believe we will come to realize that the current situation isn't the result of any one particular president or political party or company or industry. Instead, its the collective result of decades of voting (or in many cases not voting) by ALL Americans.

When I say voting, I don't just mean the votes we cast at the ballot box. Each and every time we buy a product or service we are VOTING! The results of that daily election are abundantly clear: The vast majority of Americans have, for a very long time now, voted for cheaper products; regardless of what fraction of their total value (not just manufacturing) was created here in the USA.

At this point, I'm sure someone on this forum is thinking that they are surely not in that majority because they go out of their way to buy 100% American made products - regardless of how much it costs - every time they make a purchase. To folks in this small minority I ask: Please tell me how your run your companies? My companies they say? I'm not a business owner. Oh, but yes you are. Don't you have a 401k or IRA with stock and mutual funds? Now, tell me did you or would you vote your shares to keep manufacturing or engineering or a call center in the US if it meant you didn't get as good a return your hard earned dollars? Based on what I've seen on Wall Street for the last 50 years I'm guessing that the answer is NO and you voted in your own greedy self-interest. Why not? It wasn't you that was getting hurt when all those jobs got moved overseas, or was it?

Ultimately the blame for this situation belongs to the person each of us sees in the mirror in the morning when we get out of bed. With that in mind perhaps we can all step down from our respective soap boxes and engage in a meaningful dialog on how and why we should change things. In the meantime its probably best if we put our stones down too. You see we're all living in the same glass house.
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#52
It's also a shame when someone criticizes a small company like antennas direct for trying to exist in a world where 90% of "AMERICAN" companies do the same thing. Where were all of the components in the computer you used to reply to this forum made???? I guarantee it was not the good old usa, but I bet you won't be throwing it away any time soon just because it was made overseas in a "sweat shop" to use your words.
I wouldn't have bought that computer in the first place if the seller was charging 5 times the going rate of what similar models cost, like Antennas Direct does with those Clear Stream Antennas.

And which part of "a company that takes advantage of cheap foreign labor and still charges a huge premium for their sweat shop products" do you not comprehend?

The idea behind foreign labor is to lower the cost of the products we here in the USA buy.
Antennas Direct is using cheap foreign labor and charging outrageous prices far and above what their competition does and I ain't supporting any business that does that.

Obviously you want to support them and that's your choice.

A lot of people think that the Bush administration is responsible for the DTV transition too !!
I love DTV and don't think anyone would be surprised to hear that it wasn't bush or president cheney's idea.

BTW, The only goal of that administration came from cheney's PNAC group and that goal was a big flop too, thank goodness
 

JER

DTVUSA Member
#53
I wouldn't have bought that computer in the first place if the seller was charging 5 times the going rate of what similar models cost, like Antennas Direct does with those Clear Stream Antennas.

And which part of "a company that takes advantage of cheap foreign labor and still charges a huge premium for their sweat shop products" do you not comprehend?

The idea behind foreign labor is to lower the cost of the products we here in the USA buy.
Antennas Direct is using cheap foreign labor and charging outrageous prices far and above what their competition does and I ain't supporting any business that does that.
I find it interesting that you want to criticize a small US based company that uses off-shore manufacturing but yet has engineering, design, marketing, sales, distribution and headquarters in the US and keeps profits in the US and pays taxes in the US.

For me its a 240 mile round trip to the nearest Best Buy so I don't get there very often. The last time I was there though, I don't recall seeing very many TV's and DVD players that were 100% engineered and manufactured in the US by US based companies. If you have such a thing at your place please let me know make and model numbers because I'm in the market for a new flat panel LCD TV. Thanks! ;)

As for the supposed high cost of Clearstreams: You might want to consider that Antennas Direct needs to charge more for Clearstreams to off set the costs of innovating new designs here in the US. Investing in R&D is a gamble. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes not. A lot of companies don't do any R&D. They can sell for less, in some cases a lot less. The Clearstreams are new and innovative. Should they not command premium over garden variety rabbit ears?

You may also want to consider that prices are often increased to meet margin requirements set by big box retailers. Their power is enormous and even big companies are made and broken by the kinds of deals they cut with them. If you are a small company you are at their mercy.

Lastly, you may want to simply think about supply and demand. In a free market a company has the right to charge whatever it wishes for its products and services. If the market supports those prices so be it! There's no rule that says a company must lower its prices. They only have to lower them when the market doesn't support it. Last I checked Clearstreams are selling well so the market supports the price.

The reason over seas labor comes into play is to not just to ensure low prices but to ensure profits can be made at prices the market will support, and that the whole enterprise is worthwhile from a ROI point of view. Remember, "if there's no margin there's no mission" and everyone goes home.

I'm not sure about everyone else, but I'd just assume go back to talking about antennas in this thread. If the rest of you want to continue talking politics let's move it over to the appropriate category. Thanks!
 
Last edited:

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#54
I really appreciate you comments here JER, very sensible.

Emotions are running high these tumultuous days.


If you are serious about recs on an LCD TV with some support for US workers/businesses, let me know.

Vizio
Syntax Brillian
perhaps
Westinghouse
 

JER

DTVUSA Member
#55
I was fortunate to interact briefly with Darwin Chang, CEO of Westinghouse Digital, about 5 years ago. Darwin is a great guy. Funny and really smart! Anyway, in so far as I know, I don't think their operation is fundamentally that much different (US base with lots of interaction in Asia.) I purchased some of their smaller TV's during that time to so that I could get a better understanding of their products. They worked just fine. I haven't spoken with him lately though and I hope their operation is prospering.

I've seen Vizio in the big boxes. I'm unfamiliar with Syntax Brillian. I'll check into both companies though should I actually get to the point of buying a bigger screen.

Its ironic that I spend a lot of time working on antennas to improve TV reception yet hardly ever watch TV myself. I moved to Moab, UT about 6 months ago. We're in a remote deep valley with massive mountains on the east side of town. There are no translators and, as near as I can determine, its impossible to get a DTV broadcast signal here. On the flip side, the lack of signals means that I get more work done. Its also been really handy when I need to do noise figure testing of pre-amps - there's no need for a screen room! :)
 

FOX TV

Contributor
#56
sweat shop products

I wouldn't have bought that computer in the first place if the seller was charging 5 times the going rate of what similar models cost, like Antennas Direct does with those Clear Stream Antennas.

And which part of "a company that takes advantage of cheap foreign labor and still charges a huge premium for their sweat shop products" do you not comprehend?

The idea behind foreign labor is to lower the cost of the products we here in the USA buy.
Antennas Direct is using cheap foreign labor and charging outrageous prices far and above what their competition does and I ain't supporting any business that does that.

Obviously you want to support them and that's your choice.



I love DTV and don't think anyone would be surprised to hear that it wasn't bush or president cheney's idea.

BTW, The only goal of that administration came from cheney's PNAC group and that goal was a big flop too, thank goodness


It looks like you missed my point again. I was not talking about price when I mentioned your computer. The "Sweat Shop" point is the one I was trying to make, as that seemed to be your major talking point in the previous post.

No matter how much we hate the Mexican / China connection, we cannot avoid it. How about posting a list of those loyal American companies that still produce goods in this country, and that you patronize and maybe some of the others including me may just jump on your bandwagon.

We cannot control the situation, but I will state that no one asked the American people about the free trade agreement, and if they had, would anyone have realized just what it meant in terms of this countries future?

And if the future could have been known about the effects of free trade, would we have tried to prevent it from happening, or would we fall into the same trap we are in now in terms of the price of cheap goods? Is it time to start addressing the topic of this thread which was originally antenna gain and start helping people with reception issue instead of politics?
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#57
Yeah, from what I understand, the Westinghouse crew are former Princeton Graphics (famous computer monitor brand) guys....a group of them, engineers or something.

Westinghouse had some good value panels early on with good performance, however, I dont know what they have been offering of late.

Vizio was started by William Wang, who started, owned, and ran Mag Innovision (famous computer monitor brand). After some misfortune, he ended up heading Gateway's plasma panel business, then created Vizio. Vizio has been a top 3 seller of flat panels (plasma and lcd) but now only offers LCD (still a top 3 seller in North America). They continue to have nice quality products, on the less expensive value side of the market, and top notch post sale warranty service.

Syntax Brillian (Olevia brand name) was even more US oriented actually assembling units here in the states, however they went bankrupt, but seem to still be around, so I dont know what has changed in reorganization, now. They had a couple of top notch units, especially the 747i (and 742i which never materialized I think) which had the best processing available at the time or now for that matter SiliconOptix HQV Realta. However it didnt have world class black levels, and had a quirk of a heavy glass front panel in from of the LCD (the main drawback of that being reflections).

Id still pick up a 747i today. But I own 2 Vizios, 42" LCD.

Of the 3, Id go with Vizio, for best combination of performance and price and quality these days.
 

Tim58hsv

DTVUSA Member
#58
Is it time to start addressing the topic of this thread which was originally antenna gain and start helping people with reception issue instead of politics?
Agreed.

What I'd like to see is a re-release of that old, legendary to the point of being almost mythical Radio Shack 15-624 2-bay antenna.

http://www.summitsource.com/ was selling them via Antenna Craft up till about a year ago but the RS 15-624 is no longer available from there or anywhere else that I'm aware of.

I own one of those and that dude picks up WWHO from 54 miles away without any drop-outs what so ever.

What I'd really like to see is for some enterprising company to take the same design and turn it into a 4-bay or better yet an 8-bay antenna. Heck, with an 8-bay version of the RS 15-624 I could be sitting here in Ohio watching the Fishing Network out of Puget Sound, Wa.

OK, that last bit was a big exaggeration (mythical) and only for laughs but that is a great UHF antenna and the potential of a 4 or 8-bay version of it would be interesting to say the least. And the RS 15-624 is right around 20% smaller than other 2-bays.

Here's a pic of the one I have planted in my attic.

 
Last edited:

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#59
PS - I think William Wang had a stint at Princeton Graphics as well.

Here is a good article on him and Vizio...

via Inc. Magazine...

How I Did It: William Wang, CEO, Vizio

When the founder of TV-maker Vizio--soon to be a $2 billion company--says it’s not about the money, believe him. Surviving a fiery plane crash gives a man some perspective.
 
Last edited:

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#60
I have had several of those units Tim.

The older versions are better quality. The bowtie sheet metal is thicker and much much less prone to bending damage, which never straightens out nicely. Furthermore the feed lines are thicker. Even earlier models have thick wire feedlines and not the flattened sheet metal ribbons.

A modern redesign would benefit from larger bows. But the old Channel Master vintage models are worth seeking out with the stouter bows and wire feedlines.
 

Similar threads

Top