Hot Deal: Obscure, but promising line of antennas

#1
The top rated antenna at MCM Electronics was a Stellar Labs "tri-boom" type Yagi. Very competitive price, and this is NOT made in China. Made in Jakarta, which has an upscale population. Apparantly, this tri-boom is a well made product. Soooo... recently MCM decided to expand their line of Stellar Labs antennas. Check it out:
MCM Electronics - Search Results for 30-2* stellar labs antenna

You can't find these on Amazon, eBay or through Google shopping. You have to know to look for Stellar Labs on MCM. (eBay has a few from another distributor, but he wants about 50% more moolah.) I don't know if the reflector on the 4 bay is removable, but if it is we have an answer to MrPogi's query in another thread.

Rick
 

dkreichen1968

Moderator
Staff member
#2
Note that being cut for 862 MHz (Channel 79 or 80) that the low UHF performance won't be as good as a similar sized antenna that is cut for channel 69 or 51.
 
#3
Note that being cut for 862 MHz (Channel 79 or 80) that the low UHF performance won't be as good as a similar sized antenna that is cut for channel 69 or 51.
Which one is cut for 862 MHz? If you look at the gain chart for the larger tri-boom, you can see gain dropping off after 698 MHz, which is typical of some charts I've seen for U.S. designed antennas, generally cut for 14 - 69. To my knowledge, only the 4221HD and DBXe series are cut for 14 - 51. I think Canada just recently cut some higher frequencies, and they still need to cater to Mexico.

I didn't see gain charts up yet for the other Stellar Lab antennas.

Oh, forgot the more recent DIY Hovermans from digitalhome. I believe those are cut to 14 - 51.

R.
 
#4
OK, according to Wikipedia, Indonesia is currently in "phase II" of their analogue shutoff plan. They simulcast analogue at 478 to 806 MHz (approximately our channels 15 to 69) and digital at 478 to 694 MHz (app. our 15 to 51).
 
#5
being cut for 862 MHz
I see where you got that now. From this line in the ads:
"•Frequency range: 460 ~ 862Mhz (covers all digital channels)"
But if you believe that, you have to believe there are no digital channels on VHF. :clown: Looking at the pictures, the 2 and 4 bay Sky Labs look exactly as wide as the 20" on the original CM-4221.

I notice they changed the gain on the original $25 tri-boom from 20 dB(!?) to 15.5 dB, so maybe they saw the doubts expressed on this forum. So if their numbers are accurate now, we have two antennas ($40 tri-boom lists a gain of 18 dB) with higher gain than the 4221HD for less $$$. nbound thinks 16-18 dBi is in line for a tri-boom, and these look very sturdy.

Actually, I just wanted to bump this thread, cause I'd like to hear reactions from some other experts. I have no interest in these antennas myself, other than my usual burning curiousity. ;)

Rick
 

MrPogi

Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
#6
I'm always looking for sources for antennas, and the price of their 4-bay is reasonable (about $35 after shipping) - if it's cut for the right chunk of spectrum.
 
#7
I'm always looking for sources for antennas, and the price of their 4-bay is reasonable (about $35 after shipping) - if it's cut for the right chunk of spectrum.
I would email MCM and ask them. Also ask them for as much specificity on dimensions as possible. Might be the only way to find out without plunking down $35.

R.
 
#9
Now they've added a hi-VHF / UHF combo Tri-boom -- same as their very popular 27 element Tri-boom, with an added element for channels 7-12, for which they claim gain of 10 dB (very good for that range).

Stellar Labs VHF/UHF Fringe HDTV Yagi Antenna | 30-2440 (302440) | Stellar Labs

I like the fact they changed that bogus 20 dB gain down to 15, and I like that they added the word "nominal" in their ad copy before the word "range." (Some strange attack of honesty in antenna marketing??) So I guess I'd gamble on one of these if I had anywhere to put it.

Rick
 
#10
I asked MCM Electronics whether their 4 bay bowtie from Stellar Labs can be detached from the reflector and received the following reply: "The way the antenna is pre-assembled, the front bowtie assembly is already attached to the reflector, which then attaches to the bracket holding the mast clamp. It would be no problem to remove the bowtie assembly from the reflector and attach that directly to the same bracket. Keep in mind, you will be discarding 1/3 of what you buy, but it certainly will work. At that point, it will essentially be a bidirectional antenna."

I put one in my anonymous "Shopping Cart" to find the Shipping charges, and it says $5 for UPS ground. So total price = $29.99 . I have no financial interest in this antenna or this company. Just thought Mr. Pogi might be interested.

Stellar Labs HDTV 60 Mile Fringe Bowtie Television Antenna | 30-2425 (302425) | Stellar Labs

Rick
 

DW-77

DTVUSA Member
#11
Ricki,

I was able to verify that the Antennas Direct DB2e/4e/8e were re-designed for channels 14 to 50. Therefore, their "bow-ties" and reflectors are slightly larger than their "pre-2009" versions. Antennas Direct also happens to be among the few manufacturers who publish relevant performance data for their products (radiation patterns and gain/VSWR variation with frequency), which I like.

On the other hand, Channel Master claims that the CM422x-HD antennas are "designed for HD", but don't provide any technical data to back up that claim. The CM web page shows contradicting information, stating on one tab that the CM4221-HD is "Designed for UHF/VHF reception from 470 to 700 MHz", and on a different sub-page: "Reception Range = Channels 14 thru 69". Different tabs also show inconsistent physical dimensions for this antenna. Asked for clarification via email more than once, but never received an answer. Called, their support team could not sort out the confusion, but said that the CM422x-HD are being sold for more than 5 years.

A fair comparison "on paper" becomes pretty difficult, because confusion dominates when it comes to antenna documentation in general. Some manufacturers do not show any actual data, and market their antennas based on "Range" alone (like selling a car based on "how far it can go on a full tank", while not mentioning fuel mileage, how large the tank is and without saying that the number advertised was obtained driving downhill). There are also antenna makers who only specify "maximum gain", omitting to say that, by design, gain peaks around 800MHz (outside the current US UHF band). Also, the dBi/dBd gap needs to be accounted for, whenever needed.

As you said: manufacturers can publish pretty much whatever numbers they want, it is up to us to figure out when those numbers are relevant (and when they are not).
 
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DW-77

DTVUSA Member
#12
I also called MCM several times, asking for performance data (radiation patterns and gain variation vs frequency) on the 30-2440. The only thing I obtained every time was a promise that that data will be emailed to me. No email, though.
 
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