ClearStream C5

re_nelson

DTVUSA Member
#1
Although mentioned in several other threads, I thought it worthwhile to launch a new topic concerning the ClearStream C5 from Antennas Direct.

I've seen a smattering of favorable comments about it here and elsewhere but would like to hear from those who have tried it in real world conditions. I know that EV cites the C2, also in the ClearStream family, in his favorites list.

Such a small footprint (no wider or longer than yardstick and merely 11.5 inches deep) would seem to hinder performance on high-VHF although the gain figures look good. But those aren't necessarily the true measure of just how well an antenna captures usable RF.

My reason for soliciting opinions is that I'm contemplating the C5 to join my attic ``Antenna Farm'', now consisting of an Antennas Direct 91XG (for UHF), an AntennaCraft Y5-2-6 for low-V, a Winegard YA-1713 facing north for channel 12 some 61 miles distant and a homebrew folded dipole for other local high-Vs (both of the latter connected through a channel 12 JoinTenna).

My intent is to replace the homebrew rig with a compact C5, presuming it lives up to its claims, thus this request.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#5
Antennas Direct designed the C5 exclusively for channels 7-13, Aaron. Ken Nist's work over at hdtvprimer.com demonstrates that the C2 and C4 weren't designed for those frequencies (though the C4 might work with strong signals on 11, 12 and 13). Antennas Direct added the C5 and a combiner to their lineup to address this deficiency.
 
#6
Was the C5 designed for the VHF spectrum too?
As Don already pointed out, yes, that is its primary application - channels 7-13.

As a bonus, it does fairly well on UHF although it's not marketed for UHF. Based on my test measurements, it has a varying UHF response of anywhere from around -5 dBd to +5 dBd depending on the channel. Low points include somewhere around channels 14 to 20, around 30-33, and again somewhere around the high 40s. I'd have to see if I can find my test notes from last summer. The UHF response isn't flat enough to suit them so they really don't mention UHF reception with this particular antenna. If you have million watt UHF stations and 10-30 kW high VHF in your area, it's probably fine on the UHF side out to easily 35-50 miles with a decent signal path.

I wish I had tried it on my UHF stations when I was out in the woods last November. Didn't think of it at the time... I might play with it again when it warms up and I get the chance.
 

SWHouston

Moderator
Staff member
#7
I'm really looking forward to hearing how the C-5 works with existing UHF equipment.

I hate to be a doomsayer, but, is there any anticipation for any "ghosting", via the ability of the C-5 to receive (some) UHF ? Or, would it be pointed it in a different direction ?

Have a good Day ! :)
S.W.
 
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#8
I'm really looking forward to hearing how the C-5 works with existing UHF equipment.

I hate to be a doomsayer, but, is there any anticipation for any "ghosting", via the ability of the C-5 to receive (some) UHF ? Or, would it be pointed it in a different direction ?

Have a good Day ! :)
S.W.

It's not really "some UHF". It's UHF with varying levels of reception. If you think about it, it's worst UHF performance is still better than a lot of other antennas that were intended for UHF reception. For some context, look at the UHF gain charts on the WH FVHD30. Worst and best figures on both antennas for UHF is about the same although the "shape" of the curve is quite different.
 

rabbit73

DTVUSA Member
#9
Scientific Experimentation

Thanks for the link to your C5 experiment; I found it very interesting. Good job on a well-documented post.
Congratulations on your Sencore 1454. It looks like it's very useful and fun!
Object of this discourse has been to demonstrate the something a bit unconventional shouldn't be dismissed because it's "wrong" (in conventional wisdom) because IT MAY HAVE A CHANCE OF WORKING.
How true!
I'm always surprised by people who tell me that I shouldn't try something because it will not work. Often, they haven't tried it themselves. There is no scientific progress without experimentation, and the heart of experimentation is "Let's try-it-to-see-if-it-works."

I have been doing antenna experiments since I was 8. What I have learned is that you SHOULD try it to see if it works!
 
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#10
rabbit73,

Thanks for the comments. I was trying to get through their thick heads that antennas don't only "see" on the bore-sight of their best reception, they can also be used for off-axis reception (including off the back lobe) if you understand the parameters of the antenna under question. As it happens, it appears that I've played with that particular antenna more than anyone else on any of the forums (probably all put together). I got one of the earliest units they got in so I could do some work out at my sister's farm so I've probably had one about the longest of anyone.

Yes, that 1454 is a nifty playtoy. Trip landed a 1456 back a month or two and it sounds like it's his new best friend...

I was told that Sencore had an ad campaign a couple of years ago titled "Seeing is believing..." that demonstrated to antenna installers just how important a spectrum analyzer can be to successful installations. It's has certainly helped me numerous times.
 

Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#12
Yes, that 1454 is a nifty playtoy. Trip landed a 1456 back a month or two and it sounds like it's his new best friend...
Just a note for rabbit73, I feel it's important to point out that it was actually ProjectSHO89 who referred me to the 1456 in the first place. Without his recommendation, I wouldn't have bought it. He had his 1454 first. :)

And yes, it is like my new best friend. Just today I finally got WVPT-DT2 indoors with the bowtie, thanks to the analyzer! Yay! :D

- Trip
 
#13
Thanks for the note, Trip.
Just today I finally got WVPT-DT2 indoors with the bowtie, thanks to the analyzer! Yay!
Being able to measure the signal to find the best antenna location DOES make a difference!

Well done with your weak CH11 signal!
 
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Trip

Moderator, , , Webmaster of: Rabbit Ears
Staff member
#14
Being able to measure the signal to find the best antenna location DOES make a difference!

Well done with your weak CH11 signal!
It took the VHF bowtie, CM7777, a bunch of stuff stacked up to the right height on the air conditioner unit, and the analyzer all put together to get the 68% signal it settled on. I found that the blinds in the window knocked the signal down by 10 dB by themselves, so opening the blinds helps, then the right position in the window gets the rest.

Of course, if I can watch WVPT-DT2, I can't sleep in my bed or use the heater/air conditioner! So, I continue to not have it regularly, but at least I know that it is possible. Perhaps next year in my new apartment which will be even higher up... :)

- Trip
 
#17
rabbit73,.....
Yes, that 1454 is a nifty playtoy. Trip landed a 1456 back a month or two and it sounds like it's his new best friend...

I was told that Sencore had an ad campaign a couple of years ago titled "Seeing is believing..." that demonstrated to antenna installers just how important a spectrum analyzer can be to successful installations. It's has certainly helped me numerous times.
Thanks for the "Seeing is believing..." clue. With it I was able to find the document:
http://www.sencore.com/uploads/files/AnalyzeTVRFSignals1.pdf
 

re_nelson

DTVUSA Member
#18
Small in size (and weight) but BIG in performance

This review starts with a TV Fool report at my location in a far north Dallas suburb with very favorable reception characteristics:

TV Fool

The VHF facilities are:

WFAA/RF-8, 40.3 miles at 196 degrees (45 kW/512 m)
KTVT/RF-11, 40.4 miles at 194 degrees (23 kW/520 m)
KXII/RF-12, 61.5 miles at 359 degrees (36 kW/546 m)
KFWD/RF-52, 39.9 miles at 196 degrees (13 kW/546 m)

Unlike ProjectSHO89, I don't have a Sencore so all I have is the signal quality meter on a Sylvania LC195SLX which I connected directly to the antenna with a 12 foot run of RF-6, without any preamp. Like his report, I performed my testing outside on a warmish (63 degrees) winter night with no tropo active and a partly cloudy sky:

I Think I need a 7 to 13 Antenna, Plus - High Def Forum - Your High Definition Community & High Definition Resource

The test setup consisted of an 8 foot wooden step ladder allowing me to easily strap a Winegard YA-1713 or the ClearStream C5 to do an A/B comparison. The step ladder was taken out to my front yard (with a LOS view toward Cedar Hill to the south for WFAA, KFWD and KTVT) and later to the back yard (1-Edge toward Madill, OK to the north for KXII).

When the C5 arrived, I was surprised at how light and small the box was. Although the dimensions and weight are on the Antenna Direct website, until the package was in hand did I really grasp just how small the footprint was.

The executive summary is that the small mass of the C5 translated to big performance. In all cases, the Sylvania signal quality meter was identical (97%, the maximum reported by that television) with the C5 as with the much larger YA-1713 on all of the VHF facilities when aimed in the same direction.

The only difference I noticed is that when aimed south, the C5 did deliver a stronger reading from KXII on the backside (37%) than the YA-1713 (30%).

I'm very impressed with how well the C5 performed especially considering how comparatively small it is. The appearance (which is an important consideration nowadays) also has a good WAF and it will keep peace with the neighbors, the OTARD rules aside.

My only criticism is the lack of additional published specs here:

http://www.antennasdirect.com/pdf/C5-assembly-instructions.pdf

The graph of the gain and the S11 lossage ought to be supplemented by figures for the beamwidth and the front-back ratio.
 
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JER

DTVUSA Member
#20
I've been working on technical sheets for the various antennas in the AD catalog. The sheets will have polar plots, gain vs frequency, VSWR vs frequency computed using X-FDTD solver as well as measured curves when available. This has been a background project and I've been absolutely buried with other work so its been taking longer than it should. I'll try to get them posted on the web soon though. Hang in there!
 
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