Editor: The advice by Minneapolis writer John Ewolt concerning TV antennas (News-Sentinel, April 13) is mostly spot-on, but there are a few caveats. To start, one of his three suggested antennas is a perfect choice for our area, but the others much less so. The determining factors are what frequencies are used by nearby TV broadcasters and where you are in relation to their transmitting antennas.
For us, the TV towers are at Walnut Grove, close enough for successful reception with a variety of antennas. But the digital signals we have today present challenges that didn’t exist in the good ol’ days of analog, so you really need to give yourself the best possible antenna to ensure success. Among the three suggested by Mr. Ewolt, I would only recommend the Winegard HD7694P for the area from Galt to north Stockton. I don’t sell antennas and get nothing for recommending one; I just know the subject matter well. An HD7694P that I installed in the attic of a Lodi residence gets very solid reception on all of the Walnut Grove channels. When someone else asks me to do another installation, that’s what I’ll use.
Mr. Ewolt also recommended the Channel Master CM2016, which has only the barest minimum structure for receiving VHF channels. That could be a problem on channels 6 and 10 in our area, since VHF presents its own set of digital reception issues. (Channels “3” is not affected since it actually transmits on UHF, using the frequencies of channels 35. Similarly, channel “13” actually uses the frequencies of UHF channel 25).
As for Mr. Ewolt’s recommended indoor antenna, there are no indoor antennas that can be expected to match the performance and trouble-free convenience of a proper full size antenna like the Winegard or even the Channel Master.
The bottom line for antenna reception is get the best possible antenna that’s right for your area. A full-size VHF-UHF antenna in the attic, or on a short mast over the roof or alongside the house is a perfect option for Lodi and the surrounding region.