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Antennas Direct/Lacrosse review


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#1 OFFLINE   Jeff McClellan

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 07:36 AM

Well, spent 2 days putting it through the grinder, so I guess the easiest way to start this would be to describe what is bad. Because in reality, their isn't anything negative I can say. Heck, even the box it came in was very sturdy, which in the past, was an issue I had sometimes with Antennas Direct.

Ok, The Lacrosse is made for folks who live within the 1- 40 mile range of towers. If you are looking to hit Chicago from Pittsburgh, it isn't going to happen. The one thing that I have always like about Antennas Direct, well 2 things, are, they are probably the most accurate at their antenna range estimates and their build quality. Assembly was simple, all screws and mounts were included and it took about 20 minutes to ensure I had everything ready for the mounting. I wanted to try in different conditions, so I had some J mounts, and cut one so I could mount this in a rotor that was on top of the house. This test was used to test for range, degree of spread and multipathing. I had a channel master 4221 up, so this was the easiest and most accurate way to make a comparison.

As you can see from their website, they have it angled up at about 60 degrees, which at the start was confusing to me. I tried it this way, then tested it again with it at facing straight forward, which worked the best, and testing it skewed to the left and right. It gives you allot of pointing options, and my daughter and 2 walkie talkies came in handy. The following is where my towers are and the wide range in spread.

red - uhf WSOC-DT 9.1 ABC CHARLOTTE NC 17° 8.4 34
* red - vhf WTVI-DT 42.1 PBS CHARLOTTE NC 25° 10.6 11
* red - uhf WUNG-DT 58.1 PBS CONCORD NC 35° 17.0 44
* red - uhf WCNC-DT 36.1 NBC CHARLOTTE NC 307° 27.3 22
* red - uhf WBTV-DT 3.1 CBS CHARLOTTE NC 309° 28.8 23
* red - uhf WCCB-DT 18.1 FOX CHARLOTTE NC 14° 8.7 27
* red - uhf WAXN-DT 64.1 IND KANNAPOLIS NC 17° 8.4 50
* blue - uhf WWWB-DT 55.1 WB ROCK HIL SC 310° 27.2 39
* blue - uhf WNSC-DT 15.1 PBS ROCK HILL SC 222° 25.7 15
* blue - uhf WJZY-DT 46.1 UPN BELMONT NC 310° 27.2 47
Note:


I used the rotor to check for signal levels and at what point I would loose certain stations as far as reception spread. As you can see, the Lacrosse claims it will also pick up digital vhf and I had a hard time trying to get it, but the end result is amusing. No matter which way I aimed. or turned it, at least I thought, really didnt make a difference. All my signal levels were 90 or above, even for stations 30 miles out. I even found one spot where I could leave it, get the towers from the rear and still keep a 90 or above signal. But still no digital vhf 11.

The one thing that amazed me was their wasn't any signal dropping. I am not talking about drop outs to zero, but that varying 4 to 6 up and down variation type. Mine pretty much remained rock solid, which told me that multipathing was not a factor. I was literally amazed, because this held true for stations close in and far out. I had copied down my signal levels of the 4221 at certain degree ranges in order to use as a comparison.It still bothered me that A.D. claimed vhf digital and one of our PBS stations, on channel 11 and I couldn't hit it..

At this point, I was ready to move it off the rooftop and down to the mount on the deck top next to my Dish 1000 for testing, but before I did, I decided to do one last thing. I had it mounted, pretty much had it just as they pictured it with it tilted up at about 60 degrees. I climbed back up and move the tilt to about 10 degrees. Pretty much just facing straight forward and skewed it about 5 degrees to the right, and BANG. My daughter called me and said channel 11 was in at 88. I was pleased.

This antenna isn't cheap, and I would urge you to get the amplified version if you decide to buy one. But it was created to blend in with your satellite installation and get away from the rooftop mounts of antennas. It is pleasing to look at, weighs around 10 lbs and I would suggest not mounting in the attic. I then brought it down to the deck and the mounting height went from about 30 feet to about 12 feet of the ground. I wasn't worried about not having the rotor, as I had found my sweet spot and the fact it did very well at picking up strong signals from the rear. I was sure my signal levels would drop, and was just concerned how much. After mounting it to the brackets that it came with, went back in the house and couldn't believe what I saw. On 5 stations, my signal had actually gotten higher. On all 5 stations I was busting 100 on the meter and this wasn't due to noise level going up. All stations were either at, or stronger than it was mounted on the roof.

I have owned, tested, thrown away, allot of antennas. Even sent back a Antennas Direct 42XG back because I felt it didn't cut the mustard for the install that it was needed for . But the Lacrosse gets a huge Thumbs up. This is the best medium distant, please remember that word, medium, antenna I have ever used. Everything they claim, is true. Like I said it isn't cheap, and just because you can blend it into a satellite installation, and the fact that is more pleasing to look at, even all that doesn't make it worth the cost. What does make it worth every penny, is performance. And it performs. My 4221 is in the shed with the rotor, to rust away. All I can say this is going to be one hot selling antenna as more try it out, but I just wanted you to know of my positive, thank goodness, experience. Antennas Direct- Thumbs up on the Lacrosse.:)

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#2 OFFLINE   concord704

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 09:37 AM

Great review, I also tried the LaCrosse with a different outcome. Based on your tower locations, it appears you are east of Charlotte.


What type of terrain do you live in?

Did you have problems with multipath in your area?

Did you mean vhf channel 11, not 10 in your review?


I would like to say Antennas Direct is a great company to purchase antennas from and would not hesitate to purchase from them again.



My area:
It is slightly hilly in my area, north of Charlotte. I live with hills on at least 3 sides and experience multipath. The towers are basically in two different directions at about 70degrees out. Single story, with many trees.


My equipment:
Dish 6000 receiver
CM 4228 with rotator in attic

antennaweb.org tower locations:
uhf WSOC-DT 9.1 ABC CHARLOTTE NC 210° 10.4 34
uhf WUNG-DT 58.1 PBS CONCORD NC 147° 3.7 44
vhf WTVI-DT 42.1 PBS CHARLOTTE NC 204° 8.1 11
uhf WJZY-DT 46.1 UPN BELMONT NC 271° 28.5 47
uhf WWWB-DT 55.1 WB ROCK HIL SC 271° 28.5 39
uhf WCNC-DT 36.1 NBC CHARLOTTE NC 269° 29.5 22
uhf WAXN-DT 64.1 IND KANNAPOLIS NC 210° 10.4 50
uhf WBTV-DT 3.1 CBS CHARLOTTE NC 272° 30.3 23
uhf WCCB-DT 18.1 FOX CHARLOTTE NC 213° 10.3 27


LaCrosse antenna:
I pre-purchased the antenna from antennasdirect in hopes of getting rid of the rotator. It states that this is mainly an UHF antenna, but may pull in the higher VHF channels. I received the antenna and the contents were dislodged from their packed location and a few holes in the box. Sounded like a small nut was loose inside the antenna itself.

Since I received it during the week, my initial hookup was inside, with the antenna on my mantel, upside down (coax connection is on the bottom). The reception was IMPRESSIVE with this setup. The channels that did come in were more solid (less signal variation) than with my attic antenna. I was able to bring in channel 11 (vhf) by moving the direction of the antenna and picked up PBS (channel 30) from South Carolina. But lost two channels in the other direction. I assumed that placing this on the chimney mount on the weekend would help pick up all channels, it looked very promising.

On the weekend, I placed the antenna on the J sat dish mount I have. The dish is mounted on the chimney. I ran a 25Ft coax directly from the antenna to my window, to the included amplifier and finally using a 5ft coax to the receiver. I pointed the antennain the same direction as I had on the mantel. Suprise, the number of channels picked up was lower than on the mantel and could not pick up channel 11. After an all day attempt to adjust the antenna using different directions and angles (you can adjust the antenna face from horizontal to vertical). When I finally got all channels, there was too much multipath such that some channels had signal variations of 80% signal down to 0% and back.

Conclusion:
This is a great UHF antenna, but it will depend on the direction of your towers, how far apart they are and your terrain. Antennas Direct offered to exchange the antenna due to the packaging and something loose in the antenna, at their expense. I refused their offer, as I think that the antenna was most likely working properly, I blamed my location for bad reception and returned the antenna. I will continue to use my
CM4228 and rotator for now.

#3 OFFLINE   Cholly

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 11:11 AM

I live in Indian Trail -- Southeast of Charlotte, so I find this review VERY interesting. I'm not a satellite subscriber any more -- living with son and his family. We have Time Warner cable with their HD package and HD DVR's on two HDTV's in the house. However, in my bedroom, I have a Radio Shack Accurian HDTV set top box feeding an Ilo 26" HDTV monitor. I'm presently using a Radio Shack indoor remote control multidirectional antenna with pretty good results on most of the stations. A few of the more distant stations, such as WBTV-DT are a bit dicey.
It would be nice to use this antenna with the kind of results you've seen. The problem for me would be cost justification. I'm in a household with TV's in 7 separate rooms, so a return to DBS is probably out of the question.

antennaweb.org info for my location:
red - vhf WTVI-DT 42.1 PBS CHARLOTTE NC 348° 12.7 11
red - uhf WSOC-DT 9.1 ABC CHARLOTTE NC 337° 11.8 34
red - uh WUNG-DT 58.1 PBS CONCORD NC 9° 17.0 44
red - uhf WAXN-DT 64.1 IND KANNAPOLIS NC 337° 11.8 50
red - uhf WCCB-DT 18.1 FOX CHARLOTTE NC 336° 12.4 27
blue – uhf WCNC-DT 36.1 NBC CHARLOTTE NC 304° 34.9 22
blue – uhf WBTV-DT 3.1 CBS CHARLOTTE NC 305° 36.2 23
violet – uhf WJZY-DT 46.1 UPN BELMONT NC 306° 34.6 47
violet – uhf WWWB-DT 55.1 WB ROCK HILL SC 306° 34.6 39

Charlie
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Family Room: Samsung UN60F7100 60" LED 3D TV; Samsung  BD-H5900 3D Blu-Ray DVD player; Yamaha RX-V663 AVR. Paradigm speakers - Focus fronts, CC170 center, PDR-8 subwoofer, Atom surrounds, ADP rear center; TiVo Roamio Plus DVR, Toshiba HD-A3 HD DVD player.
Bedroom: Vizio 42" 3D TV, Pioneer VSX-521-K AVR, Panasonic 3D DVD player, Energy Take Classic 5.1 speakers, Roku 2 XD, TiVo Premiere, Insignia HD radio tuner, Toshiba HD DVD player


#4 OFFLINE   Jeff McClellan

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 11:50 AM

Antennas Direct has a great return poicy. I also suffer sometimes from multipathing from one hill, but I know how it is working and so far so good. Of course in the spring when the leaves come out will be the real test. I just like the fact is it mounted out of view and I am pulling channel 9 in at 100, channel 3 at 92, channel 18 at 90, 30 out of Rock Hill which is usally very hard to get, at 100, 36 at 100, 42 varies from 75 to 80, 46 which was 80 best with the 4221, I am pulling 98, same for channels 55 and 58 and 64 about 95. No rotor. Ponting about dues southwest.

concord704, with hills on 3 sides I guess multipathing would be an issue, have you tried a CM 4221 or Antennas Direct DB-4. The 4228 has a very narrow beam. I am off Sardis Rd near 51.

#5 OFFLINE   Jeff McClellan

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 11:54 AM

cholly, seems like it would be worht a try, but get the amplified one. You are pretty much like me just a little further out. If it doesnt work, they will return it. What other antennas have you tried out there. The turning to the left and right had no effect, but the tilting upward and downward can make a great difference with this antenna. I am impressed, only time will tell if I stay that way. Some snow Monday may help with my testing.

#6 OFFLINE   concord704

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 02:07 PM

...I also suffer sometimes from multipathing from one hill, but I know how it is working and so far so good. Of course in the spring when the leaves come out will be the real test...

concord704, with hills on 3 sides I guess multipathing would be an issue, have you tried a CM 4221 or Antennas Direct DB-4. The 4228 has a very narrow beam. I am off Sardis Rd near 51.



Jeff,

Glad the LaCrosse is working for you.

Funny thing is I have better, less multipath during the summer...I guess the leaves mute my multipath problems. It's in the winter that I need to be more precise in antenna direction.

I tried the 4228 at first, but wanted to get rid of the rotator and gave it to a friend. Then purchased two 4221's, pointing at the two tower locations and combined them, but still had too much multipath. With the two tower location and channels too far apart, using a channel/freq filter was out of the question. The a single 4221 w/rotator could not bring the channels in as solid as the 4228. Eventually my friend went to cable and gave the 4228 back.

#7 OFFLINE   Jason Nipp

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 10:34 AM

Jeff, how about some pics?

Question, are you saying you get better reception lower to the ground?

My towers are pretty close together, flat land, no real obstructions, but I do have a lot of RF transmitters of various technologies between me and the towers I am after. Interested in this antenna, will probably give it a whirl.

#8 OFFLINE   Jeff McClellan

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 11:30 AM

Low to the ground actually made things just as good. I am very pleased with it and like you I also have various RF transmitters of various technologies.

#9 OFFLINE   Jeff McClellan

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Posted 20 February 2006 - 11:43 AM

Jason, I have a police sub-station near me and also and industrial park about 2 miles away with transmitters every where. Again, this is the best antenna I have used, and this includes a pretty impressive group, but it isnt long range, it is designed for multipathing and looks.

#10 OFFLINE   Digital Madman

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Posted 21 February 2006 - 07:43 PM

I have heard that in a few spots that lower to the ground is better because of interference. If you are close to towers there is not a need to go as high as the roof.
In my case in order to get FOX which is 60 miles away on UHF and only just over 2 million watts (analog)I had to go 30'. I live in a high hurricane zone too, so I have had to lower the antenna many times. Hope in June I can get the
digital signal, as it it the only station left in my area to go on.

#11 OFFLINE   Fifty Caliber

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 12:09 AM

Has anyone tried the DB-8?
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#12 OFFLINE   z0z0

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 03:18 PM

Great review!

I have a Winegard SS-2000 and am wondering what people's thoughts are on comparing the two.

The interesting thing about the SS-2000 is that it is rated as a medium distance antenna as well but I can get stations that are 80 miles away!

Here is some background - I am in Toronto Canada and I receive HDTV channels that are broadcast from south of Buffalo NY. The good thing is that about half the distance is over Lake Ontario.

I compared the SS-2000 to a setup which included two antennas = CM4228 + CM4221 with an AP4700 preamp on the CM4228 which is pointed towards Buffalo. I found that the SS-2000 actually gave me better results than the CM setup.

What are your thoughts here?

Z

#13 OFFLINE   Jeff McClellan

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 04:29 AM

The DB-8 is comparable to the Channel Master 4228. You wont get any digital below 11, but it has a better build quality than the CM. Good antenna for the price. Also not as heavy if you are in a high wind area.

#14 OFFLINE   Fifty Caliber

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 02:39 AM

I don't know anything about the CM-4228. I do understand that the DB-8 is a UHF-only antenna.
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#15 OFFLINE   concord704

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 10:24 AM

Great review!

I have a Winegard SS-2000 and am wondering what people's thoughts are on comparing the two.

The interesting thing about the SS-2000 is that it is rated as a medium distance antenna as well but I can get stations that are 80 miles away!

Here is some background - I am in Toronto Canada and I receive HDTV channels that are broadcast from south of Buffalo NY. The good thing is that about half the distance is over Lake Ontario.

I compared the SS-2000 to a setup which included two antennas = CM4228 + CM4221 with an AP4700 preamp on the CM4228 which is pointed towards Buffalo. I found that the SS-2000 actually gave me better results than the CM setup.

What are your thoughts here?

Z


You live in a great area, very flat. I assume you had the 4228 and 4221 pointed in oposite directions? My brother lives on the other side of the border near the lake and gets canadian stations with a cheap RatShack antenna in the attic.

The SS and LaCrosse are less directional than the CMs you tried....



Fifty Caliber:
The CM4228 is a UHF antenna only, similar to the DB-8.

#16 OFFLINE   Jim5506

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 12:01 PM

Remember, directionality and signal gathering ability are directly proportional.

The more directional an antenna is the better signal gathering ability it has, and the more omni-directional an antenna is the weaker it is at pulling in distant signals.

Omni directional antennas are generally limited to urban and sub-urban areas or rural areas where antennas are less than 30 miles away.

Pick your poison.

#17 OFFLINE   Richard King

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 12:44 PM

The 4228 appears to be little more than two 4221's placed side by side. This results in a "reach" gain of almost 50%. I wonder if similar results could be obtained in mounting two 4228's side by side. Any thoughts? Could this be a "cure" for my 80 mile distance?
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#18 OFFLINE   Richard King

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Posted 27 April 2006 - 12:59 PM

dual 4228's:
http://www.hdtvprime...NNAS/16bay.html
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#19 OFFLINE   Cholly

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 10:33 AM

Jeff: How about an update on the LaCrosse? Now that DirecTV will be offering a few HD locals, I'm seriously thinking about returning to DBS. I'd use the LaCrosse to pick up WBTV and UNCTV, which aren't listed in the press release.

Charlie
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Family Room: Samsung UN60F7100 60" LED 3D TV; Samsung  BD-H5900 3D Blu-Ray DVD player; Yamaha RX-V663 AVR. Paradigm speakers - Focus fronts, CC170 center, PDR-8 subwoofer, Atom surrounds, ADP rear center; TiVo Roamio Plus DVR, Toshiba HD-A3 HD DVD player.
Bedroom: Vizio 42" 3D TV, Pioneer VSX-521-K AVR, Panasonic 3D DVD player, Energy Take Classic 5.1 speakers, Roku 2 XD, TiVo Premiere, Insignia HD radio tuner, Toshiba HD DVD player


#20 OFFLINE   SThacker

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Posted 23 July 2006 - 08:47 AM

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