Mike's TV and FM DX

My TV DXing Antennas, New and Old

Right now, on my roof, I'm using a Winegard HD-5040 VHF antenna to cover channels 2-13. The rotor itself is an Alliance HD-73 which has been up there for many years now and works perfectly, unlike those plastic three-wire rotors that break every year, or less. On top is an XG-91 UHF antenna from Antennas Direct. I've gone through plenty of UHF antennas over the years and I think this one is the best. It has great gain and is pretty directional, although not like a parabolic. It's lightweight and stays up in heavy winds.

The amp right below the XG91 is a Channel Master 7775. This is the FM-only version of the 7777 amplifier. It has good gain and a low noise figure. Even though I'm in a suburban area with lots of local UHF channels around, I really need it. It works. Most of the time it will give me a 90% watchable picture from WZME ch42 in Bridgeport at 60 miles (which is soon to leave the air due to repacking).

Prior to the XG-91, I used a Winegard PR-9032 yagi. This one was just about as long as the XG91. You would think that both of these antennas would perform the same but the XG91 is lust a little bit better. For what it's worth, the XG91 looks a little nicer also. I suppose I've been looking for the holy grail of UHF antennas, and besides a parabolic, there isn't any.




Here's another VHF antenna I had on the roof for a year or two, my thinking at that time being that low VHF (ch2-6) was just a waste of time for DXing. This is the Winegard YA1713 and it's just high VHF (ch7-13). It is a great performing antenna and did a great job with tropo. I think the only channel that only has average gain with the YA1713 is ch13, but I still managed to see Scranton with it and I would recommend it to anyone.

Just above the 1713 is the Winegard 8800. It was a good performer with good gain and of course, a lousy front/back ratio. I would have kept it but it was too big and bulky for me and I didn't trust it to stay up in the fall and winter months with the nasty northeast winds we get here.

I've been through plenty of VHF antennas over the years but there is one UHF antenna that I kept using year after year during the analog days. That antenna was the Finco P-5 parabolic. Surprisingly, that antenna almost never came down in a storm or high winds. I had the mast guyed down to the roof. The dish was around 15 feet above the roof. During one hurricane, one of the guy wires snapped and the mast bent like a pretzel. The driven element of the dish came within a foot of the roof but never made contact. After years of use I had to take it down because it became too rusty to stay up. I had a feeling it would just fall apart. Of all the antennas I've used, my favorite was the five foot dish.

And last but not least, here's a picture of an antenna accident that could have been a disaster for me. It was winter and there was a raging storm outside. Sometime during the storm I heard a snap and something going "bang". Next day I went out to look and what you see on the left is what I saw. Luckily the weather had cleared and the wind had subsided and I was able to take my Little Giant ladder out of the basement and take the whole thing apart from the ground. The XG91 and the HD5040 were not damaged.

One of the legs of the tripod had detached itself from the roof with the lag screws still in it. One of the legs was buckled slightly. That was the extent of the damage. I've since bought a new five foot tripod and moved the installation to another section of the roof.

You also might notice that my masting is 1.5" pipe from Home Depot but there's an extension used to space the UHF antenna a little higher so the antennas don't interract. Two vent clamps helped with that. Thanks for reading!