Freevision FV-HD30 Antenna

TVTom51

DTVUSA Member
#1
Been seeing a bunch of advertising on different AV forums (especially AVS) about this antenna. Honestly, I don't really see any reason to pay more than $15 for an indoor antenna. Best results I ever got was from an unamplified set of rabbit ears.

 

IDRick

DTVUSA Member
#3
We'll have some test results soon. Piggie is testing one and I will be as well. My results won't appear until after Christmas. IMO, the FreeVision is a bit overpriced but has a much smaller form factor than most vhf/uhf antennas. Other pluses are: can be used indoors or outdoors and it can be painted to better blend in with the room decor. Won't cost much to return if it doesn't work for my son's apartment so I'm giving it a go... :)
 

EscapeVelocity

Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
#7
Thanks Rick!

Looks like Winegard got some new Marketing Blood over there. Check out the fancy new colorful graphics and there full line of current production antennas.

Winegard HDTV Antenna Home

Comments...

Interesting the color code assignments given to particular antennas. Quite a few Purple area antennas?

Looks like the Satellite advertizing with the network symbols at the top of the page. Very smart.

Good to see the 7000R still hangin in there.

My favorite Winegard antenna of the 76** series line is the 7694p.
 

Don_M

DTVUSA Member
#8
IMO, the FreeVision is a bit overpriced but has a much smaller form factor than most vhf/uhf antennas. Other pluses are: can be used indoors or outdoors and it can be painted to better blend in with the room decor. Won't cost much to return if it doesn't work for my son's apartment so I'm giving it a go... :)
It's also small enough that it could be tacked up in the back of a closet or cabinet and be completely out of the way... but then, Jay could do the same thing with his DB2... :grin:

I'm with TVTom on this one: That price point is DB4 / 4221HD territory -- antennas which probably offer at least comparable VHF performance and knock-its-socks-off UHF performance. <rant> Seems like that company has been inching closer and closer to a certain competitor's marketing paradigm ever since John Winegard passed away four years ago. </rant>

Sorry 'bout that, Rick. Sometimes Mr. Cynic slips his collar, runs away fast and wakes up the whole neighborhood with his barking before I catch up to him again :becky:
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#9
Thanks Rick!

Looks like Winegard got some new Marketing Blood over there. Check out the fancy new colorful graphics and there full line of current production antennas.

My favorite Winegard antenna of the 76** series line is the 7694p.
EV, I can tell you from inside information that it's not new blood but a new project. Same engineers and marketing team. There will be a few more to follow. They would not tell me when or if bigger or smaller but similiar antenna are in process (or so I am told by the horses mouth, director of marketing there).

If you look at , well sort of, the line this follows. The Square Shooter, which as much as I love their antennas, I never in a million years ever recommended one of these and told many to junk it and get a real antenna. Even though it received VHF to a degree (not well), the VHF and UHF reception was not in the same plane, so if you have VHF that was not super strong, you had to tilt the square shooter about 45 degrees to get the best compromise for VHF and UHF. Not a smart engineering move.

Then the HD-1080. It was huge improvement just in the fact both UHF and VHF were in the same polarization! :mad:) The HD-1080 did about as well as any 2 bay on UHF but was not much better than rabbit ears outside on VHF, even though the specs on it were much worse. In my opinion the HD-1080 preform much better on VHF than it's specs, but still nothing to brag about.

Though untested by everyone I know the FreeVision appears to have solved the VHF gain. Note it uses a loop on VHF. I know what Winegard was shooting for with this antenna. It's not a fringe antenna by any means. They market it as no more than 30 miles, which to me is a lot closer to reality that a lot of marketing claims by all companies over the years.

I said then what market are you trying to reach or what niche are you trying to fill ?

They are shooting to fill those that have marginal reception on rabbit ears, with break ups in particular on VHF or stations that are almost usable. The gap we have all seen with people that had a station flash cut to VHF. Or a market where they can easily receive all the UHF with rabbit ear / loop but VHF is marginal.

They felt this niche was largely unfilled and I agree. All of us on all forums have seen this over and over. Indoor works on all by VHF or the VHF is constantly breaking up on VHF. We see their TVfool report and the VHF is up there in the 40 db NM range but they can't decode it consistently.

The antenna was not designed for someone whose VHF is 20 points or so below what it takes to decode on their meter. Those people need a yagi pointed at the VHF station.

DISCLAIMER. I do not know the gain of this antenna but was recently asked to guess. I would say from looking at it , it's in the 3 to 4 dbd range on both bands. This is purely a guess from looking at it. I have seen no specs on the antenna. Pattern or projected gain or Front to Back, nothing.

Here is why I guess that. The loop for VHF if it were a quad would be 2.15 db stronger than a dipole (rabbit ears). The reflector has to help. A two element beam (driven and reflector) often add 2 to 3 db over just that same driven element. But on the FV, the spacing to the reflector is pretty close, so I am guessing it adds 1 to 2 db of gain.

UHF I am going on gut feeling compared to other whisker antennas for the gain.

The antenna was also made to have a broad beam width. So if you had stations to the SE, you could hang it on a south or east outside wall and be close enough. Now, what will this do to multipath will probably only play out in the real world. FoxTV has played with the CS2 which by myself looking at it's published pattern would be terrible on multipath, yet Fox's real world tests show the opposite. So until some of these get around we won't know.

It's not made to put up on a 40 ft tower. As Winegard says it's for those that need a little more than rabbit ears but don't want to put up pole and an antenna array, but just hang something outside, in the attic and some cases inside.

=========

On their 74xxp series EV, I think they could drop the 7495 and 7497. I have seen the other three, the 4, 6 and 8 work in different markets with different levels. There are many that will attest to the 7698P being the best combo antenna and they are used in a lot of commercial hotel and resort head ends. Installed by people that have used a lot of different antennas.

If I could get someone to climb my tower (well for under $500) I would buy a 7698P, take my CM7777 and buy a rotor (not sure which anymore) and stick it up there so I had a rotatable system to complement my fixed array on at least the TV I mainly watch in my house. Use the 7498P for DX openings if nothing else.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#10
It's also small enough that it could be tacked up in the back of a closet or cabinet and be completely out of the way... but then, Jay could do the same thing with his DB2... :grin:

I'm with TVTom on this one: That price point is DB4 / 4221HD territory -- antennas which probably offer at least comparable VHF performance and knock-its-socks-off UHF performance. <rant> Seems like that company has been inching closer and closer to a certain competitor's marketing paradigm ever since John Winegard passed away four years ago. </rant>

Sorry 'bout that, Rick. Sometimes Mr. Cynic slips his collar, runs away fast and wakes up the whole neighborhood with his barking before I catch up to him again :becky:
Was John alive when they came out with the square shooter and wingman? I never suggest the square shooter period. And the wingman is fine for those in motor homes that want something really small and willing to live with it's reception.

But to me the proof in the pudding will be once a few of these are out and tested. No one test location will yield conformation as well as many. I am going to bet and could be wrong, it will blow away the CS2 on VHF. Time will tell.

Even if the FreeVision turns out to be nothing, I feel it's getting a lot of bad press before people even test one or know several that have.

It's been called pricey, compared to a 2 bay UHF marketed by say Eagle Aspen (which sure looks like a DB2), which I agree. Or comparing it to rabbit ears without knowing the relative benefits yet.

But it's half the price of a CS2. Same price as a DB2.

Again the proof will be in real world results, more than theory, computer modeling, or test range readings.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#11
Honestly, I don't really see any reason to pay more than $15 for an indoor antenna. Best results I ever got was from an unamplified set of rabbit ears.
A whole lot of people that own Terk HDTVi and HDTVa would strongly disagree with only spending $15 on an indoor antenna. Even the old Silver Sensor for UHF only provided improved reception for many over a loop and was more than $15.
 
#12
Based on the spec sheet I saw, the FV shows a -8.1 dBi gain on channel 7 up to -5.3 dBi gain channel 13. Rabbit ears are 2.15 dBi in a perfect world... That translates to -10.25 dBi on 7 to -7.45 dBi on 13. Yes, they used "dBi" on the FV spec sheet. Evidently, those numbers came from range testing (dBd) which they then converted to dBi. Perhaps a -8.1 sounds better that -10.25 for a performance gain figure.

F/B ratio= 0.0 - purely bidirectional on high-VHF.

The UHF "gain" curve is noting to write home about, either.

+0.6 dBi on 14
+3.9 dBi on 22
+4.1 dBi on 30
+7.0 dBi on 38
+1.7 dBi on 46
-1.1 dBi on 51

VSWR on high VHF ranges from 1.7 to 2.7. UHF stays between 1.3 to 1.9 across the UHF band.

Perhaps you should ask them for the spec sheet since WG isn't proud enough of it to actually post it on their own web site.


I am going to bet and could be wrong,it will blow away the CS2 on VHF
You could easily win that bet since the C2 isn't characterized for performance on high-VHF for the following reason:

The coax shield is the active receiving element for high-VHF on the C2. High-VHF reception is solely dependent on the orientation and location of the coax. You could have anything from zero reception (put the coax in the mast pole and look at a spectrum analyzer to observe this) up to in the neighborhood of rabbit ears (if you're VERY lucky or very good). High-VHF signals with either circular or elliptical polarization will usually be received easier but will be dependent on the coax routing. Usually will work up to 20-25 miles outdoors for high-VHF with a big "depending" attached. I've made it work beyond 50 miles on high-VHF but I have better toys in my toolbox to play with and I've figured out a few tricks along the way.

On UHF, the FV vs the C2 is a no-contest. The C2 will blow it away in a heads-up test of identical locations with weak or poor signal strength and quality.

If you want to make a statistically relevant field test or comparison between two or more antennas, the use of a spectrum analyzer or signal level meter, at a minimum, is recommended.
 
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IDRick

DTVUSA Member
#13
Just curious, Project, where did you see the spec sheet? Gulp, pretty horrendous gain figures.... NM's for VHF channels in my son's area are high 50's to mid 60's so may still be somewhat okay...
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#14
Just curious, Project, where did you see the spec sheet? Gulp, pretty horrendous gain figures.... NM's for VHF channels in my son's area are high 50's to mid 60's so may still be somewhat okay...
Ditto on figures. I asked Winegard several times for the specs and was never given them though they said they would.

With those gain figures how can they say it's much much better than the HD-1080 for VHF. Doesn't add up and not doubting your source which I bet was Winegard.

Now the figures on the HD-1080 are published though hard to find. But I know several people in the Orlando DMA with a sole Ch 11 on VHF that found hot spots in their apt or attics with rabbit ears but it wasn't enough. They bought a HD-1080 and it took them many points then above the digital cliff.

To me you can't totally judge an antenna from it's specs depending on the situation where it's used. Just like the CS2 from it's specs should be horrible on off axis mulitpath at an acute angle due to it's wide beamwidth, but FoxTV can attest to the fact they aren't that susceptible to mulitpath. Which given only their antenna plot I would not guess in a million years.

I guess I can say that I live in a fringe area for UHF and deep fringe for VHF and only have up yagis. That says something to what I use.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#16
Well there are a few us and maybe you that have Hans email address and we could email to him and ask, is this true?

I was told I would receive the spec sheets but have not seen them. I need to call Iowa tomorrow, as I was supposed to do so today but worked all day. Yeah for dirty dishes and dishpan hands.
 

Piggie

Super Moderator
#17
Disclaimer: Winegard gave me a sample FreeVision. I bought the HDP269 preamp.

Here is my TVFool for 11 feet off the ground, using satellite images to pin point the exact point in my yard of my test rig..
TV Fool

The FreeVision has only slight directivity on UHF and less on on VHF. It's not that unexpected.

It's only has a single whisker about 9 inches long. The loops are 12 inches on a side. And the reflector is 20 inches. I just can't see why they made this antenna and the HD-1080 with such a narrow reflector.

I did notice a strong null off the side on both VHF and UHF.

I could not lock any VHF, but that is not surprising. Even the local VHF that is LOS is only 470 watts ERP (0.47 KW) and my pair of YA-1713 can't lock it all the time. The meter was 50% which alone was impressive. It locks about 65 percent.

WCJB, WGFL, WOGX and WUFT on RF channels 16, 28, 31 and 36 respectively all locked with 95% signal. Pretty good considering the weakest is WGFL at 300 meters and 37 miles away, running 156 KW ERP in my direction with 32.7 db NM. All the UHF's were LOS in the part of the yard I tested.

These are very close to the levels I get with my U-75R up 23 ft into a CM7777. I am NOT saying it's equivalent to my U-75R but it sure holds nicely to it.

It was late when I built the test set up (making cables, etc) and didn't have time to mount the HD-1080 then an old version 4221A. I have a 3 element VHF HiBand I can compare with also, now I think about it. All my other antennas are up and in use and I ain't a gonna take them down.

So tomorrow if it doesn't rain or freeze I will report on the comparison antennas.

I wish I had a VHF that was a lot stronger to do a valid UHF test. I might hook up my trailer and try the rig closer to town on an inverter from my car. Time will tell when I get motivated to do that part.
 
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#19
Been seeing a bunch of advertising on different AV forums (especially AVS) about this antenna. Honestly, I don't really see any reason to pay more than $15 for an indoor antenna. Best results I ever got was from an unamplified set of rabbit ears.

If an extra $10-$25 spent on an antenna meant the difference of receiving 2-4 more channels over rabbit ears, it might be worth the investment.
 

IDRick

DTVUSA Member
#20
Well there are a few us and maybe you that have Hans email address and we could email to him and ask, is this true?

I was told I would receive the spec sheets but have not seen them. I need to call Iowa tomorrow, as I was supposed to do so today but worked all day. Yeah for dirty dishes and dishpan hands.
Piggie,

I received the spec sheet from Hans today. It matches what Project posted.
Specs are attached.

Rick
 

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