WineGard HD-1080M HDTV Antenna and WineGard HDP-269 PreAmplifier Review
Continuing our coverage that advises you regarding the switch that ended analog over-the-air transmissions in the USA, today I bring you yet another antenna review that you can consider in your pursuit of free TV.
Today I will be taking a look at a HDTV antenna from WineGard. WineGard Company is a trusted manufacturer of television reception products for over 50 years. Today I will be looking at one of their newest offerings, the WineGard HD1080M. In addition, we’ll be showcasing a product called a “pre-amplifier” that can be used in conjunction with the antenna to improve reception performance, the WineGard HDP-269.
About WineGard Company
“Winegard Company, incorporated in 1954, has been a leading manufacturer of quality television reception products for over 50 years. During those years, we have made important contributions to the growth and development of the television industry, becoming a respected world leader in the design of innovative, quality products.
WineGard HD-1080M Specifications
“The HD-1080 employs needed technology to “bow-tie” antennas. The vertical screen and stacked “bow-tie” elements provide exceptional gain on UHF DTV channels, but struggle to receive VHF DTV channels. (In 2009 you need both UHF and VHF) The HD-1080 boosts performance on the VHF Hi-Band 2-3 times over competing bow-ties allowing you to receive all HDTV channels after February 2009.”
The WineGard HD-1080M retails for $69.99US directly at Winegarddirect.com but further searching reveals that the HD-1080 (without the “J” Pipe mount) can be found for $29.61US on sale at Amazon.com which makes it an attractive price.
WineGard HDP-269 Pre-Amplifier Specifications
WineGard HDP-269 Pre-Amplifier Product Description
I just wanted to mention a little bit about pre-amplifiers and how to go about choosing one. One of the important things to look for in a pre-amplifier is not only the gain (in dB) but find the one with the lowest average noise possible, this one having 3dB of noise is pretty good. Some of the cheaper ones have a higher noise figure and that is bad because the purpose of a pre-amplifier is to amplify the good signal and not introduce more noise into the system. Another thing to notice is that the more gain is not necessarily the best one to choose because it may overload your TV tuner. Look at the total input UHF/VHF that the device can handle, in this case 350,000 microvolts means that this will prevent overloading. A sign of overloading is when you experience stuttering video and pixel breakups on your screen.
The WineGard HDP-269 Pre-Amplifier lists for $59.99 directly from Winegard but further searching will reveal that it can found for less at $45.37 through Amazon.com. It’s always best to search around for the lowest price.
WineGard HD-1080M First Impressions
The WineGard HD-1080M comes in a tall, slender corrugated box. The antenna comes in essentially two parts and while partly assembled, will require further construction to complete the antenna. The two parts will basically be installed on top of each other through use of metal standoffs.
Opening the box, you will find the following items…
Just about everything you need is included with your purchase except the things you will have to purchase for the outdoor installation (lag screws and grounding block). It’s very important to research and get an idea what you need to do to accomplish a good installation. Grounding your antenna is a must because you want to be protected by fire if you are ever possibly hit by lightning.
Or you may decide to mount the antenna on your 2nd floor bedroom facing out the window, or even in an attic. It’s really up to you but a rooftop install is the best route to go with. For review purposes I chose to do a DIY 2nd floor install with use of an old camera tripod I had lying around to act as the mast pipe.
The antenna I mentioned comes pre-assembled. All you need to do is unfold all of the elements and then mount them on top of each other with the included standoffs and screws. It may seem confusing for the first time but it’s actually easy once you see a reference picture.
The WineGard HDP-269 pre-amplifier comes in a small corrugated box. Once opened, you are presented with amplifier itself, quality RG-6 cable, weather boots, hardware clamp for mast installation, the power supply adapter that plugs in the wall and a power injector/splitter.
Installation of a pre-amp is very easy to accomplish. All you need to make sure is to mount it as close to your antenna as possible so it can amplify the good noise before heading down the length of the cable heading to your HDTV. The rest can be followed through the instruction manual.
I actually changed setup for testing antennas since my ClearStream 4 review. This will be reflected in all future reviews. Let me explain how it works now.
Each antenna is tested on the 2nd floor of my home, facing out of the window (south toward Buffalo). The antenna is then routed to the basement (through the rooms TV jack) and then routed to a Samsung HDTV in the 1st floor living room. To make up for the cable loss, I have the antenna hooked up to my personal amplifier (the PCT-MA2-1P) which has better specifications than the WineGard HDP-269 (+15dB gain and 2.7dB average noise figure). Each antenna is mounted on my modified camera tripod acting as the mast pipe.
I’ve retested the Antennas Direct ClearStream4 to reflect the changes the modified setup has made.
Here are the results…
ClearStream 4 – Advertised as an ultra-long range antenna at ¼ of the size. Does what it advertises and more. BEST antenna tested thus far. Longest channel picked up is ABC/CBS which is 92.6mi (149.0km) away! Box says up to 65 miles. Packaging leaves more to be desired. Has the worst packaging.
Winegard 1080M – Classified at around the 0-30 mile range. Definitely does what it says it can do and much more! But barely picks up ABC (1BAR) which is 92.6mi (149.0km) away! And cannot get CBS which is same distance and also 49-1. Packaging is second best of the group.
WineGard HDP-269 Pre-Amplifier – The results when paired with this pre-amplifier is about the same as my PCT amplifier but the HDP-269 receives consistently across the range, 1 BAR less than what the PCT can achieve.
The Winegard HD-1080M and WineGard HDP-269 pre-amplifier can make a powerful combination. The antenna does what it advertises and more reaching signals over 90 miles away which is amazing. The antenna is lightweight, relatively easy to construct since it’s pretty much pre-assembled, and provides great performance. The HDP-269 on the other hand is a good performer too coming in at 1 bar less than what my PCT amplifier can provide. It too is lightweight and easy to install.
I can recommend both the Winegard HD-1080M and WineGard HDP-269 as antennas and pre-amplifiers you will need to consider.
HD-1080M Pros and Cons
HDP-269 Pros and Cons