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Winegard HD7698P Deep Fringe Antenna--A Picture in the Wilderness
on May 10, 2010
Winegard HD7698P Deep Fringe Antenna
A Picture in the Wilderness
This is a layman's take on what my research had determined to be the best Deep Fringe antenna on the market. We live in a unique area, a remote, small island off the coast of Washington State. Seattle is the location of most channels we wish to receive and it is roughly 65 to 70 miles distant. We have a good southern facing toward the signal emission point at 139 degrees, SSE. There are a few tall trees in the vicinity of the house and I have the antenna mounted on the roof of an outbuilding (roughly 20 feet up), angled right at tree line two hundred yards distant.
Before the digital switchover we picked up Channel 13 well but struggled with 4, 5 & 7, getting considerable interference most of the time. With the advent of digital and a Vizio VW26 I tried several old conventional antennas with no pre-amp and picked up 13 very well again, and occasionally managed 4,5 or 7. It was rough, but I had hope.
After a hundred turns climbing onto the roof and down again I pulled the trigger and picked up a Winegard HD7698P antenna with an AP-8275 preamp. I can't say it was instant success, but damned near. 13 is a tad off of the core 4,5,7 group by a few degrees but I've found a spot that splits the difference and does well. Occasionally I've had to tweak that angle and rescan, more often I can bring in a channel simply by tweaking the cables and cords between the pre-amp and the set. My guess is this is an issue of electromagnetic fields interacting with one another. I would have thought the cables were shielded. In any event, it beats going up on the roof.
Compared to a comparably priced and high end Channelmaster we brought in and tried side by side (and in all honesty, did as well as the Winegard, their best Deep Fringe, Crossfire 3671 with a 777 pre-amp), the Winegard is a thing of beauty. With rear elements roughly half the width of those on the CM, this particular model Winegard has been optimized, apparently, for the digital era. Weatherproofing on the antenna is excellent and they use square tubing instead of round, providing a stronger skeleton.
The only niggle I have on the Winegard is the instructions. WHAT-THE-HELL? It took two college grads scratching their heads and attaching metal in all manner of insane configurations to finally get it right. More illustrations please, more big pictures. But overall this baby solved a dicey reception problem and we are extremely satisfied with it. If you're out in the boonies like us, it is HIGHLY recommended.