Question: Stellar Labs HDTV/DTV/UHF Outdoor Television Antenna | 30-2155 (302155)

Here is the top rated antenna from MCM Electronics:
Stellar Labs HDTV/DTV/UHF Outdoor Television Antenna | 30-2155 (302155) | Stellar Labs

Frequency range: 460 - 862MHz
30 elements
75ohm "F" type connection
20dB [emphasis added]
Up to 50 mile range
Approximate Dimensions: 45" (L) x 18" (W) x 24" (H)

$29.48 incl. S&H

This looks much like one of the Lava antennas Lava A230 Outdoor Yagi HDTV Antenna UHF High Gain 18 dB SWR (A-230) from Solid Signal that comes with a preamp and a rotor and claims top gain of 18dB, but the dimensions are different, and this one has more elements, no amp and apparantly no rotator. Is there something about the unusual shape of the elements(?) that makes 20dB gain, whether dBd or dBi, even remotely possible? Is there any theory behind this?? :flypig:

The manufacturer, "Stellar labs" is in Jakarta; MCM Electronics is in Dayton, Ohio. If you put http: // www . stellarlabs . com [without the spaces] into your browser, you will be redirected to MCM Electronics: Home and Pro Audio/Video, Security and Test Equipment .

I'm suspicious of reviews that appear only on the primary distributor's web site, but some other antennas (such as an indoor from Stellar Labs) are not so highly rated, and some of the reviewers seem knowledgeable.

Whaddya think?



The Graveyard Shift
The Lava antenna is probably more accurate, but yeah, 16-18 isnt out of the question for a triboom.

Antenna Digtal UHF with AGC amplification - Televes (European), 17dB (upto 29db only with switchable low noise amp)
Bitek Australia Bitek, 16.5dB
amongst others...

Ive installed plenty of tribooms and would beleive those figures.

Even the quite massive Televes DAT HD 75 Boss (here: ) triboom only barely cracks 19dB

You could get ~20dB by phasing 2x 17dB tribooms, of course.

On a recent trip to Bali (an Indonesian island), i noticed alot of tribooms; but also ones with 5 booms, im curious if anyone has found a supplier or specs for a 5 boom antenna?
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The Graveyard Shift
Found one!:
PF 5000 S - gain seems a little poor (16dB) given the extra booms, wonder if there is a non-indonesian model around...

23E - 23 Element VHF high antenna! gain again is a little poor, (slightly less than the 18el models available here).
yeah, 16-18 isnt out of the question for a triboom.
Well, I learned a new word! According to google, there isn't a single example of the word "triboom" or "tri-boom" on the web sites for channelmaster, winegard, antennasdirect, summitsource, yadayadayada ... I'd almost go out on a limb and say they don't make these in the U.S. of A.

This guy -- Aerials, TV Aerial and Digital Aerial -- seems to think they're a scam, but if it increases gain within a given volume of space, that seems fair enough, regardless of the element count.



The Graveyard Shift
If we want to move beyond these, we get into parabolic territory, which are very hard to find pretty much anywhere (or involve DIY [large c-band dish with antenna pointed towards dish at focal point], or great expense)
Surely they would import them; most, if not all, of the Tribooms arent here arent locally manufactured (ie. Chinese/European/etc.)
Well no! I'm telling you there isn't one U.S. firm known for selling antennas that sells a tri-boom. MCM Electronics sells all kinds of stuff, and they're really not a major player.

A piece of the puzzle is missing, because surely, if Channel Master et al. felt the tri-boom was a valid design, they would make one -- or import one and slap their label on it. Could this be a case where the gain figure is misleading in some way? :confused:

If not, at that price we should be recommending this antenna every other Tuesday!



The Graveyard Shift
I don think its a misleading gain figure, of course certain antennas perform better in certain situations, but these are pretty solid performers.

Perhaps there is a patent or licensing issue? Im sure the suppliers there would jump at the chance to put there name on anything with such high gain.

It is odd these are available everywhere else in the world (including developing countries) but not in the US.

Or Perhaps the market for ultrafringe antennas in the US is too small. I have noticed the US market has antennas especially tailored down to the low gain end. We dont see any of those here. Also considerations such as rotor wear from larger antenas which are not issues in most other countries which use single site broadcasting.

Edit: I meant in the others, not the OPs link
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It is a bit puzzling that they claim 20dB gain but only 50 mile range.

Of course mileage claims are never reliable, but a 20dB gain antenna should be able to pull in some pretty distant 2 edge signals, if that is indeed the value.


Take a look at pdf reference datasheet on mcm website. If it's dbi it still puts it in 91xg teritory, but well below 20 db.
The gain figure on the OPs link is almost deifnately overinflated.
I've been coming to the same conclusion. The granddaddy of tri-booms, the Televes DAT-75, claims a max 19dB without amplification, and it's larger with many more elements. Still, looks like the Stellar labs deal is probably a steal at ~$30.

Got more to say about this, but the sandman is calling.

Take a look at pdf reference datasheet on mcm website. If it's dbi it still puts it in 91xg teritory, but well below 20 db.
Cross posted / missed your post yesterday. Yes, the pdf says max dB =~17.2, so if that's dBd, then max dBi is 17.2 + 2.15 = ~19.35. 91XG territory +.

So I don't believe the pdf is in dBd. Must be in dBi (else it beats out the huge DAT-75). Still, then the Stellar Labs tri-boom beats out the popular CM-4221HD (max dBi = 15) at $20 less (can't find the 4221 lately under $50 with S&H), and all reports are it's very well made (4221HD is a pretty shabby Chinese deal). Only negative for the tri-boom is it's somewhat more massive than the 4221.

I'll email MCM asking for clarification on the pdf figures.



The Graveyard Shift
A triboom will have a smaller cross-section then the 4bay if thats any help. That price is a steal for a triboom (down here they will always outprice a 4bay), so if you are confident its definately not made of chinese crap, then grab it while its hot.

From the pic i'd be a little worried about the reflector mesh bending/breaking off, but YMMV.


The Graveyard Shift
any idea if that Lava for $55 reaches out beyond 60 miles?
Mileage ratings are meaningless.

The antenna may work beyond that range if there is good signal path to the transmitter.

The antenna may stop working well before that range if there isnt.

If you goto the TVFool website and do a signal analysis for you address (dont worry that information is kept hidden in the resultant report). If you post that report on here we can see what kind of antenna would be appropriate, and what you could expect to receive. Also let us know what mounting location you have done the analysis for.


DTVUSA Jr. Member
TV Fool

It's actually not for me but for my grandparents. Their antenna could use an update. Their cabin in northern wi currently gets a significant amount of channels more, and although tv fool shows better initial signal, their regular home should still be able to pull in more. results for the cabin are below.

TV Fool
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The Graveyard Shift
Bang for buck system:
Mid-Large UHF antenna pointed at 59magnetic. (eg. 4 or 8bay phased array, Triboom, 91 element)
Likely: WBAY (ABC, Stormcenter 2 24/7, Live Well Network), WFRV (CBS), WGBA (NBC, Me-TV), WPNE (PBS, Wisconsin Channel, PBS Create), WCWF (CW)
Somewhat Likely: WACY (MyNetwork)
Unlikely: W30BU (3ABN [Religious])
Insanity: WGBD(Daystar [Religious])
Diplex Mid-Large VHF antenna pointed at 59magnetic. (8 or 10 element?)
Likely: WLUK (Fox)
It may also be possible to use a single large combination antenna rather than diplexing the above two, but Ill leave it to the US guys to recommend if they think is appropriate.
I would recommend a pre-amp.


Unfortunately, I cannot answer if it is "for real", at least not yet. The Stellar Labs 30-2440 three-boom caught my attention, with very attractive advertised data: "max.gain" of 10dB (VHF) / 14dB (UHF). But "max gain" can be misleading, especially for an antenna designed to work all the way up to 862MHz (I bet the gain peaks way out of the current US-UHF band). So I called MCM support, and asked for radiation patterns and gain variation with frequency. They did not have an answer for me, said that they would find out and email me the result, but that email never came. Followed up twice, a few days apart, and received the same kind of answer; yet, still no email.

Some reviews stated that the antenna is not that sturdy and were reluctant to the idea of mounting it outside.

For the money it sells, I may give it a try (in the attic), and if that happens I will come back here to share the results.
Just to confuse matters even more, the 30-2155 discussed above is essentially the same one you looked at but without the VHF element. That ad says 15.5 dB max gain, but the chart: Sheets/30-2155.pdf peaks at over 17 dB at 710 Mhz. Right about 17 dB for RF51. Does one or the other mean dBi or dBd? Does the VHF element subtract 1.5 dB gain for UHF?? Only the shadow knows ... :daffy:

At least they changed the ad from the ridiculous 20 dB claim they had a year ago. And they added the word "nominal" to the range figure. Nominal is a good word, so I guess they're trying ...