(91XG)

1 ratings (1 Epinions review)
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Very good for UHF fringe areas, actually lives up to its advertising.

Feb 6, 2009
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Excellent

  • Ease of Installation:
  • Ease of Use:

Pros:Excellent UHF gain, great for fringe areas.

Cons:Lightweight construction.

The Bottom Line: The best UHF antenna for fringe areas unless you go to the really expensive and hard-to-get commercial tower dishes.


Surprise, surprise, a UHF-only TV antenna that delivers what the manufacturer claims - about the highest gain you can get for use in  fringe areas where reception is a problem (an added mast-mounted signal amplifier/booster is still needed in deep fringe areas). Made by Terrestrial Digital (Antennas Direct), it is about 8 ft long by 2 ft wide and very directional, which means that unless you live in an area where all TV stations are in the same direction, you will likely need an antenna rotator even if the angular separation between TV transmitter locations is as small as 15 degrees.
 (For a warning concerning the quality of the current crop of rotators see "ROTATOR NOTE" at the end of this review.)

I live in a deep fringe area, and prior to buying this antenna I tried, combined with a high-gain booster, a Winegard HD-8200U VHF/UHF antenna, which was supposed to be one of the best available; however, it's performance was mediocre in this area (my review is in Epinions), so after some research I decided to try this 91XG. Glad I did - UHF reception is enormously improved, the best I have managed to get so far. Other users have said the 91XG has just a slight edge over the Winegard 8200U, but probably they didn't live in deep fringe areas and so didn't experience the full contrast. At any rate, after the TV stations change to DTV, most will be on UHF channels with a few remaining on upper VHF channels 7-13.

A few things need to be improved:
- Construction is a little on the flimsy side, very light-weight. If the elements were any thinner they would be aluminum foil, so I wonder how they will stand up to high winds.
- The elements attach to the boom with plastic snaps and twist off rather easily. Wrapping a black cable tie around each at the boom may prevent this.
- Easily overlooked in the assembly guide and not altogether clear is a step saying to mount the elements with the mostly metal side facing the stations.
- Serious: The 300-to-75 ohm matching transformer in the rear-mounted balun box is not clamped down or fit-restrained, so when you try to screw on the cable it starts turning and twisting the internal connections, might even break them. Epoxy glue to hold it can be put in the balun guides inside the box, but it may not stick well to the material and so the cable should only be finger-tightened.
- The balun box is not altogether waterproof around the seams and where connections go into it.  Recommend adding some silicone sealent, but not over the drain holes in the bottom.
- The mast clamp does not do an even job of clamping around the long U-shaped tilt assembly that goes below the main boom, and the directions for putting it on are vague, as there are several ways it could be attached.
- Peak gain of this antenna is in the UHF channels above 50, but after the nation's switch to DTV most stations will be in the 20-49 range, so it might behoove the manufacturer to slightly alter dimensions enough to give maximum gain there.

Finally (almost),

ROTATOR NOTE
: TV antenna rotators are now a whole other problem - since production of apparently all light-weight brands was outsourced to China, their reliability has fallen to the point where, according to many owner comments, they last less than a year and are not worth buying. See my Epinions review of the Philips SDW1850/17, or do a Google search for reviews of it and other brands.

Useful hint about finding the area covered by a TV station:
To determine if you are in an area within a station's expected DTV coverage area, you can go to the FCC TV Query page at
             http://www.fcc.gov/mb/video/tvq.html
and type in a station's call sign, submit, then click on the DT link in the listing, then scroll down to "Service Contour Map" and click on that, whereupon you will be shown a map with a large blue circle of the station's coverage area.

To find where to point your antenna, go to:
     http://www.fcc.gov/mb/audio/bickel/distance.html
and type in the latitude and longitude of your location and that of the TV transmitter tower. Bearing and distance will be given, and may surprise you, as the towers are often far from the stations.


Recommend this product? Yes


Amount Paid (US$): 73


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