AntennasDirect All-New DB8e Ultra Long Range Antenna Review!

Well this article has been a long time coming, but it was well worth it.  A number of weeks ago I received AntennasDirect’s all new DB8e Ultra long range antenna to test.  My intent was to test it against my current Winegard HD7698P HDTV High Band VHF-UHF Antenna which has served me well.  Unfortunately, and here’s a type for all you do-it-yourselfers out there, when I spliced the coax cable from the Winegard so that I could easily switch between it and the DB8E, one strand of the coax ground got twisted around the copper wire, making both antennas useless.  After tearing through the house for the cause, and having finally figured it out, I set off to test this beast of an antenna.

I decided to test out the antenna, 2 ways: 1) first to install in on my roof, next to the Winegard for an apples to apples comparison, but also 2) to install and test it in my attic.  The reason for the second is that when its rainy or windy, the winegard, which I had tried installing in my attic but never got a good enough signal even with a pre-amp, signal loss was frequent, rendering my OTA setup sometimes useless.  Could the DB8e pull in signals even in my attic?

Tale of the Tape:

AntennasDirect DB8e: $199.99

  • Works 70+ miles from broadcast towers
  • Very flexible aiming characteristics
  • Designed brackets allow elements to turn 360º
  • Weatherproof construction
  • High gain across entire UHF band (UHF channels 14-51)
  • Impedance 75 ohm
  • Max Gain 17.4 dBi
  • Dimensions 48″L x 36″W x 6″D
  • Product Weight: 10 pounds

Winegard HD7698P HDTV: $110.99

  • Active Elements: 64
  • Less Wind loading
  • Impedance 75 ohm
  • Estimated Range: 70 miles VHF & 60 miles UHF
  • UHF Elements: 35
  • VHF Elements: 29
  • Boom Length: 168.25″
  • Maximum Width: 53.5″
  • >Vertical Height: 33″
  • Element Diameter: 3/8″
  • Turning Radius 101″
  • Shipping Weight 17 lbs.

Setup

Putting the DB8e took about 20 minutes, with its instructions being no better or worse than the Winegard. Generally speaking I have found most OTA antenna setup instructions to be lacking, but in this regard, given how few elements the DB8e had, setup was a breeze.  Best of all, this is not a relatively large antenna. I actually put it together in my home, and carried up to the attic, something I couldn’t have done with the Winegard.

Apple-to-Apples Test

One of the nice features of the DB8e is the ability to have the antenna pick up signals from two different directions. In my case, this was particularly helpful because often times in bad weather, I would lose some channels because my stations are received from two, albeit slightly different degrees. I found no discernible difference in picture quality between either, and the DB8e didn’t pick up any new stations, or lose any stations versus the Winegard. While I haven’t had the chance to test in bad weather yet, so far, this is a draw.

Attic-based Test

Here is where the DB8e really shined. First, the Winegard is just too large for my attic, and second, it was never able to get a great signal.  That said, the DB8e, lost no channels when installed in the attic.  There was no noticeable picture degradation, and best of all, it will likely be less impacted during bad weather.

Conclusion

While one should bear in mind that the Winegard is a circa 2009 model, the model can still be purchased today direct from Winegard, and is still their top ultra long-range model.  But the advantage of the DB8e is really three-fold, 1) its a more manageable, size-wise antenna, 2) it operated as well within my attic as outside which should be especially handy during bad weather, and finally, and this is very important for those of you who live far distances from your signals, its bi-directional, enabling you to pick up more channels that what far-out users are typically stuck with uni-direction antennas.  These features for me, certainly make the one time $50 price difference more than acceptable, and if you are considering truly cutting the cord , and live far away from your local stations, the DB8e is very likely the new king on the block of Ultra Long Range OTA antennas.   Happy cutting…

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