I am comparing the MANT940 to the RCA Flat Panel HDTV antenna with Preamp, and an older Philips UHF Plate with Rabbit Ears, all sold in Wal-Mart.
I have done a lot of testing of indoor antennas and the top two have been the Philips amplified silver UHF plate with rabbit ears and the RCA Flat Panel with Preamp. This review compares the performance of these two against the MANT940 Indoor/Outdoor UHF antenna. I am evaluating performance on one Hi-Band VHF channel as well as those UHF channels for which the MANT940 is designed.
RF Channel Numbers (not remapped, these are the actual RF channel frequencies)
UHF: 59, 56, 50, 34, 31, 19, 16. VHF: 13 (Hi-Band VHF)
Distance to Transmitters: 27 miles
Antenna Height: 14', second floor bedroom.
Antenna Orientation: Horizontal, front of V pointing toward the stations, setting on wooden dresser.
Coax Length/Type: 6', RG-6 (not using supplied 20' coax)
Splitter: 2-way Philips to the two tuners listed below
DirecTV AM21 OTA Add-on for H21-200 Sat Receiver
Sanyo 37" 720p HDTV
Philips amplified Silver Plate/Rabbit Ears: UHF/VHf Combo
RCA Flat Plate with Preamp: UHF/VHF Combo
Philips Amplified MANT940: UHF only.
On Feb 17th our local NBC affiliate moved from UHF 19 to VHF 13, and reduced power from 500,000 watts to 35,000 watts. Most consumers in our area lost this station if using indoor antennas, including both of the UHF/VHF combo antennas listed above.
Measurements were made with the antenna in the best position, i.e., signals were maximized for each antenna.
Percentages are from the DirecTV AM21, Bars are from the Sanyo 37" TV
I am going to focus on the the problem channel, 13, because all 3 antennas did a good job on ALL UHF channels. Signal quality on all three antennas on UHF was good enough that there was no pixellation and no drop outs. In other words, the picture was perfect and the signal was both strong and stable. Percentages were all greater than 60% (UHF), many reading between 80 and 90 percent.
The Philips Silver Plate with Rabbit Ears could not receiver channel 13 without pixellation. The signal was not stable, and no adjustment of gain or orientation would produce a signal greater than 35 to 45 percent, or about 1 to 2 bars on the Sanyo
The RCA Flat Panel with Preamp was even worse. Signal levels were one bar or less on the Sanyo, pixellation was nearly constant. DirecTV receiver showed 30% or signal not found.
The MANT940 surprised me. With the antenna laying flat (horizontal) and the narrow side of the wedge pointing toward the transmitter, I was seeing 80% signal quality on Channel 13. The Sanyo showed 4 bars (out of 5). I changed the orientation to vertical, and signals dropped precipitously. (on all channels)
I then proceeded to measure the signal quality (in percent) for all channels:
MANT940 > RCA FLAT PLATE
59: 100% > 82%
56: 90% > 78%
50: 100% > 100%
34: 88% > 74%
31: 100 > 94%
16: 78% > 68%
13: 80% > 30%
1. The MANT940 is a superb UHF antenna, even if used indoors at a distance of 27 miles. (with our local terrain)
2. The MANT940 works amazingly well on RF channel 13 (Hi-Band VHF).
3. There is a significant chance of success with HI and MID-BAND VHF for this antenna if mounted outdoors. LO-Band VHF (Channels 6 and below) is going to be problematic.
1. I did not use the supplied coax. It is very poor quality. I used a much shorter length of RG6, thus reducing losses significantly.
2. I do not expect the MANT940 to work particularly well, and certainly not indoors, for RF channel 5, which we will have to suffer on June 12, when it changes frequency (and drops power) from RF Channel 59 to RF Channel 5 (Lo-Band VHF)
1. Outdoors is best.
2. Use good coax, even if indoors
3. Orient Horizontally, with front of wedge pointing at transmitters.
4. Don't set on a metal surface (lay horizontally), like a metal shelf, if used indoors.
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