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  1. #1

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    Default Dipole FM antenna Vs. Amplifed FM antenna (eventually HD Radio on my Onkyo TX-NR808)

    I am looking to upgrade the antenna on my Onkyo TX-NR808. Right now it is just a single 75 ohm conductor wire. I have though about trying a Terk amplified AM/FM antenna but most reviews say they dont work. The reviews say a Dipole antenna works better. A dipole antena is just like a regualr wire antenna only it is a Y instead of a single wire.

    I would eventually like to try Onkyo's HD radio tuner but currently there are no HD radio stations in reach with my single wire antena. Omaha Nebraska is about 70-75 miles by line of sight from my house. I can get a few regular radio stations but they have a good amount of static. They do have a good selection of HD radio stations as well. So I am looking to improve my regular radio reception first in order to see if it would be worth the $125 dollar HD radio add on.

    What do you guys recomend trying? Amplifed or Dipole
    AVR: Onkyo Tx-NR808
    Amplifier: Carver A-753x 250 watts x 3
    Fronts: Polk RTI A7 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Center: CSI A4 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Rear: FXI A4
    Sub: Polk DSW Pro 660wi
    TV: LG Infinia 50PX950 3D
    Speaker Cable: AudioQuest Type 8
    IC: AudioQuest Black Mamba II

  2. #2

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    Do you live somewhere that permits you to erect an outdoor antenna and/or can you put one in the attic?
    Altitude will gain (pun intended) you more than anything else! :-) The standard dipole is not a bad antenna, believe it or not. The problem with amplified antennae (indoors or out) is that they don't improve the signal to noise ratio of the reception (i.e., they amplify both the signal and the noise).

    A directional FM antenna, rotator, and altitude will get you the best signal possible. If all stations are in one direction from you, you won't even need the rotator.

    EDIT: Here's a good example that Winegard "Chromstar" would be a good choice for you. No affiliation with the vendor (except as a satisfied customer; they're fairly local to me).
    http://www.starkelectronic.com/fm.htm

    EDIT^2: The "J-pole" design is also highly regarded; I have no experience myself, but here's a thread from audiokarma on the J-pole.
    http://audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=143368
    Last edited by mhardy6647; 10-10-2011 at 03:16 PM.
    all the best,
    mrh

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhardy6647 View Post
    Do you live somewhere that permits you to erect an outdoor antenna and/or can you put one in the attic?
    Altitude will gain (pun intended) you more than anything else! :-) The standard dipole is not a bad antenna, believe it or not. The problem with amplified antennae (indoors or out) is that they don't improve the signal to noise ratio of the reception (i.e., they amplify both the signal and the noise).

    A directional FM antenna, rotator, and altitude will get you the best signal possible. If all stations are in one direction from you, you won't even need the rotator.

    EDIT: Here's a good example that Winegard "Chromstar" would be a good choice for you. No affiliation with the vendor (except as a satisfied customer; they're fairly local to me).
    http://www.starkelectronic.com/fm.htm

    EDIT^2: The "J-pole" design is also highly regarded; I have no experience myself, but here's a thread from audiokarma on the J-pole.
    http://audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=143368
    X2 on the directional!! If you have an old school tuner with a multipath meter you can really dial it in.
    Huh? Wot?? Dig it :tongue:

    Where can I get me some??

  4. #4

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    I cant do an out door antenna. I live in an appartement. I could possibley do something in the attic.

    That is pretty much what the people said about the amplifed antenna. They amplifed everything so you still have bad reception, only it is louder.
    AVR: Onkyo Tx-NR808
    Amplifier: Carver A-753x 250 watts x 3
    Fronts: Polk RTI A7 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Center: CSI A4 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Rear: FXI A4
    Sub: Polk DSW Pro 660wi
    TV: LG Infinia 50PX950 3D
    Speaker Cable: AudioQuest Type 8
    IC: AudioQuest Black Mamba II

  5. #5

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    well there are some better amplified antennae. One that remains popular is an amplified whip sold by high-end tuner maker (the last one extant, more or less) Magnum Dynalab: http://www.magnumdynalab.com/fmantenna-st2.htm These ain't cheap, but some folks like them quite a bit. They can IIRC be used inside or outside (maybe you can stick it out a window...?) :-)

    Another commercial FM indoor antenna which has polarized (no pun intended) folks considerably is the "Godar" antenna. It's small, seemingly simple, but not particularly cheap. It is not amplified but said by some to work quite well. I've never seen one so I have no opinion. http://www.godarusa.com/id67.html


    That said...

    Try a dipole; best thing about 'em is that you may tune them to length if one is mostly interested in a specific frequency or region - e.g., the "public service/college" radio band below 92 MHz). You can buy a cheap one anywhere or an expensive one from CC Crane or make your own with 300 ohm twinlead. You can still buy that, too (or send me a PM and I'll mail you some!). Here's a recipe for a DIY dipole. http://www.cyberpoet.net/writes/web/infwiz/spant.html

    A 300 ohm dipole is the reference FM receiving antenna and has (essentially by definition) zero gain. It also has a figure 8 shaped receiving pattern; it will be sensitive to radio signals coming at it perpendicular to its arms while essentially ignoring any signal beaming towards its "tips". If you put it up high and can align it properly, it is NOT a bad antenna design at all.

    EDIT: For completeness, here's the CC Crane "Reflect" dipole: http://www.ccrane.com/antennas/fm-an...t-antenna.aspx
    I'd think hard before shelling out that much for an FM dipole (about 20x the cost of a generic one).

    Another interesting antenna is this one, which I believe is technically a cubical quad:
    www.wryr.org/Antenna_instructions.pdf
    Cannot vouch for it, but it'd be fun to try.
    Last edited by mhardy6647; 10-10-2011 at 08:42 PM.
    all the best,
    mrh

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the offer. I will just swing buy rat shack and pickup a dipole antenna and 75ohm balun. I will give this a shot. If it was my house I would probably just make a large one spaning inside the attic.

    I want to see if I can pull in some regular Omaha radio stations then maybe think about the HD tuner add on.
    AVR: Onkyo Tx-NR808
    Amplifier: Carver A-753x 250 watts x 3
    Fronts: Polk RTI A7 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Center: CSI A4 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Rear: FXI A4
    Sub: Polk DSW Pro 660wi
    TV: LG Infinia 50PX950 3D
    Speaker Cable: AudioQuest Type 8
    IC: AudioQuest Black Mamba II

  7. #7

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    you won't need a balun with the R/S antenna unless your tuner/receiver only has a 75 ohm antenna input... oh, I guess the HD (hybrid digital) tuners likely do have only 75 ohm input, eh? :-P

    PS The unfortunately discontinued Sony XDR-F1HD is probably the best way to go when/if you go HD - supposed to be a very good performer even stock; analog or digital. See http://www.radioxtuners.com/ for info.
    all the best,
    mrh

  8. #8

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    Well my onkyo only has a coax (screw on tv cable ). It says 75 ohm by it. The factory antenna is like a push on coax connection.

    The HD radio tuner is just an add on module for my onkyo

  9. #9

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    you are correct, sir. Don't mind me, I am an old guy and I come from the days that tuners and receivers had 300 ohm screw connectors for twinlead :-P



    Sorry, you mentioned the Onkyo module in your first post and I just spaced on it.
    all the best,
    mrh

  10. #10

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    I have a Terk FM-50 antenna in my attic with a long run of 75 ohm cable to connect it to the stereo
    system downstairs.
    Nothing near the receiver was adequate, I had to get the antenna higher up in the house before I was satisfied with the reception. Only problem is it works better for some stations than others unless you're willing to move the antenna's orientation around.

    http://www.google.com/products/catal...d=0CHUQ8wIwBA#
    cristo

    NAD C 545BEE cd player, Philips AF877 turntable / Shure V15V-MR with JICO SAS stylus,
    Tascam 122 mkIII cassette deck, Harman Kardon 3480 receiver, Terk FM-50 antenna in the attic,
    Soundcraftsmen SE550 stereo equalizer, Polk Monitor 10a speakers
    (with Sonicraft/Solen/Mills crossover rebuild)

  11. #11

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    Well I am going to try just hanging a radio shack dipole antenna on the wall for now. I have though about building a huge one in the attic. Then just put a coax wall plate behind where my avr sits.
    AVR: Onkyo Tx-NR808
    Amplifier: Carver A-753x 250 watts x 3
    Fronts: Polk RTI A7 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Center: CSI A4 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Rear: FXI A4
    Sub: Polk DSW Pro 660wi
    TV: LG Infinia 50PX950 3D
    Speaker Cable: AudioQuest Type 8
    IC: AudioQuest Black Mamba II

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhardy6647 View Post
    you are correct, sir. Don't mind me, I am an old guy and I come from the days that tuners and receivers had 300 ohm screw connectors for twinlead :-P



    Sorry, you mentioned the Onkyo module in your first post and I just spaced on it.
    That is alright. Some times the old guys technology is what is needed. Deffinatly have had more time to experiment and get it down right.
    AVR: Onkyo Tx-NR808
    Amplifier: Carver A-753x 250 watts x 3
    Fronts: Polk RTI A7 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Center: CSI A4 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Rear: FXI A4
    Sub: Polk DSW Pro 660wi
    TV: LG Infinia 50PX950 3D
    Speaker Cable: AudioQuest Type 8
    IC: AudioQuest Black Mamba II

  13. #13

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    I have a tuner with 300 ohm balanced inputs and a 75 ohm unbalanced input from the antenna....the info. out there seems mixed and 300 ohm wire is outdated vs. coax. Any thoughts which would produce a better signal?
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevhed72 View Post
    I have a tuner with 300 ohm balanced inputs and a 75 ohm unbalanced input from the antenna....the info. out there seems mixed and 300 ohm wire is outdated vs. coax. Any thoughts which would produce a better signal?
    Coax is 75 ohm impedance and the screw terminals are 300 ohm for old flat antenna wire that delivered a 300 ohm signal.

    You need a "balun" adapter (short for balanced/unbalanced) which has the 300 ohm two wires on one side and a 75 ohm male coax thread on the other.

    You do get a bit of signal loss through a balun. I can't remember the brand, but there is one brand that has very little loss and maybe someone who knows will chime in. I have one, but the printing is worn off and I can't remember the brand; it might have been as simple as Radio Shack.

    #############################################

    To the OP, I've got a huge gain roof-mount and rotor, but found a simple dipole is better than any of the set top amplified gimmicks offered.
    Last edited by inspiredsports; 10-12-2011 at 08:40 PM.
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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by inspiredsports View Post
    Coax is 75 ohm impedance and the screw terminals are 300 ohm for old flat antenna wire that delivered a 300 ohm signal.

    You need a "balun" adapter (short for balanced/unbalanced) which has the 300 ohm two wires on one side and a 75 ohm male coax thread on the other.

    You do get a bit of signal loss through a balun. I can't remember the brand, but there is one brand that has very little loss and maybe someone who knows will chime in. I have one, but the printing is worn off and I can't remember the brand; it might have been as simple as Radio Shack.
    So, if one had a choice between 300 ohm and 75 ohm wires, which would deliver a better signal from the antenna?
    I have already run coax from my attic to the basement, but now am wondering if I should run 300 ohm wire instead...
    Home Theater (5.1)
    Optoma HD-25LV PJ
    Pioneer SC-63 AVR
    Pioneer BDP-95F
    Parasound HCA 1205
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    Polk RTIa9
    Polk CSIa6
    Polk FXIa6
    Polk DSW 600

    Music Setup
    Polk LSiM703s
    Music Hall A70.2 Integrated
    Music Hall 25.3 DAC
    Cambridge 640 v2 CDP
    Yamaha T-1 Tuner

  16. #16

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    The old analog tuner front ends had 300 ohm inputs... when such a tuner has both 300 ohm balanced and 75 ohm unbalanced, the former should give less loss (better signal transfer) from antenna to tuner front end. "Should".
    all the best,
    mrh

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by inspiredsports View Post
    Coax is 75 ohm impedance and the screw terminals are 300 ohm for old flat antenna wire that delivered a 300 ohm signal.

    You need a "balun" adapter (short for balanced/unbalanced) which has the 300 ohm two wires on one side and a 75 ohm male coax thread on the other.

    You do get a bit of signal loss through a balun. I can't remember the brand, but there is one brand that has very little loss and maybe someone who knows will chime in. I have one, but the printing is worn off and I can't remember the brand; it might have been as simple as Radio Shack.

    #############################################

    To the OP, I've got a huge gain roof-mount and rotor, but found a simple dipole is better than any of the set top amplified gimmicks offered.
    Well I just plan on running a simple radio shack ripple antenna and balun for now. Glad to see that the cheapest and simplest can still be the best

  18. #18

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    Well I just though I would update you guys. I just swapped out the single wire FM antenna that came with my Onkyo for a Radio Shack Dipole antenna, and a GE (purchased from walmart) Balun. The FM reception is a night and day difference. All the stations I could get with the regular FM antenna are now really clear. I can get some FM channels pretty clear from Omaha, and some are staticy. Ethire way it was a nice upgrade for 10 bucks.
    AVR: Onkyo Tx-NR808
    Amplifier: Carver A-753x 250 watts x 3
    Fronts: Polk RTI A7 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Center: CSI A4 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Rear: FXI A4
    Sub: Polk DSW Pro 660wi
    TV: LG Infinia 50PX950 3D
    Speaker Cable: AudioQuest Type 8
    IC: AudioQuest Black Mamba II

  19. #19

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    The performance of the simple "T" dipole is pretty astonishing, really. Folks assume because they're just two pieces of wire and they cost, like, a buck-fiddy that they must be profoundly inferior. They're actually the reference (0dB) point for FM antennae. They're not the sine qua non but they do have their advantages (e.g., tucking them up above a window frame, out of sight behind the window treatments, if that matches the reception pattern you need).

    The whole subject of antennae is amazingly complex and somewhat arcane. I have an ARRL antenna book that is the size of an old-fashioned metropolitan area phonebook :-)

    Glad to hear it improved your lot.
    all the best,
    mrh

  20. #20

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    I just hid mine behind all the decorations that my wife has above the tv. All you can see is the vertical twin wire.
    AVR: Onkyo Tx-NR808
    Amplifier: Carver A-753x 250 watts x 3
    Fronts: Polk RTI A7 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Center: CSI A4 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Rear: FXI A4
    Sub: Polk DSW Pro 660wi
    TV: LG Infinia 50PX950 3D
    Speaker Cable: AudioQuest Type 8
    IC: AudioQuest Black Mamba II

  21. #21

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    I think 75 ohm coax either has less loss of signal or picks up less RF interference over the length of a typical run, so that is why it has pretty much replaced 300 ohm twin-lead wire. There's probably not much call for audiophile grade twin-lead
    VTL ST50 w/mods/RCA6L6GC/TlfnknECC801S
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  22. #22

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    75 ohm cable is unbalanced; the "hot" lead is shielded. Better for long runs... but there is nothing wrong with 300 ohm twinlead, and it's actually probably preferable for vintage tuners with 300 ohm front ends. The balun will result in signal losses.
    all the best,
    mrh

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbooker82 View Post
    Well I just though I would update you guys. I just swapped out the single wire FM antenna that came with my Onkyo for a Radio Shack Dipole antenna, and a GE (purchased from walmart) Balun. The FM reception is a night and day difference. All the stations I could get with the regular FM antenna are now really clear. I can get some FM channels pretty clear from Omaha, and some are staticy. Ethire way it was a nice upgrade for 10 bucks.
    Atta boy! I would have bought a directional Yagi. But, the foldered dipole does work pretty good. Mount a Yagi on your roof and be amazed. FM sound much better when you can get your antenna in the open air and "point" it to the direction of the signal transmission.

    Check out FMfool.com for some hints to locate transmission towers in your area. Happy listening!
    Carl

  24. #24

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    I really apprecate the help guys.
    AVR: Onkyo Tx-NR808
    Amplifier: Carver A-753x 250 watts x 3
    Fronts: Polk RTI A7 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Center: CSI A4 (modded by Trey VR3)
    Rear: FXI A4
    Sub: Polk DSW Pro 660wi
    TV: LG Infinia 50PX950 3D
    Speaker Cable: AudioQuest Type 8
    IC: AudioQuest Black Mamba II

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