Comparing Antennas For Indoor Reception

Recently I have been comparing some new indoor consumer TV antenna designs with a few old favorites. The new antennas in my collection are a Channel Master Smartenna and an inexpensive Antop AT-202B with switchable preamp and LTE filter. The old favorites are the Winegard Freevision HD30, which may show up under different model numbers, and an original Mohu Leaf.

OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW?

The new antennas have some amplification, the two old ones, as tested, don’t. I’ve been recommending the Winegard HD30 as it is widely available at most Home Depot stores and it can be mounted outdoors or used indoors. It also provides some high VHF reception in a compact design. It is too big to take with me on the road, so the flat Mohu Leaf has been my travel antenna.

I learned about the Antop AT-202B while attending the ATSC 3.0 demo I reported on earlier (“ATSC 3.0 Progress Report,” July 2018). The WRAL engineers were surprised how well the little antenna worked so I gave it a try. It is available on Amazon and eBay. It has a preamp and LTE, but includes a switch so the preamp can be turned off. It is wired into the coax so it cannot be physically bypassed. It is quite small—Fig. 1 shows it mounted on a hotel curtain on a recent trip to San Jose using some rubber bands and binder clips. The binder clips are another tip I learned at the WRAL demo. They work quite well!

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