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Antenna Combiner Test

Winegard_SP-1002_ Splitter.jpg (55521 bytes) Channel Master_0538_Antenna_Joiner.jpg (55099 bytes) Labgear_601100_ combiner.jpg (59965 bytes)
Winegard #SP-1002 Channel Master  #0538 Labgear #6011/00
 

Winegard #SP-1002 5-1000MHz Splitter

The Winegard SP-1002 is a simple 1Ghz splitter. It can be installed inline with the feed line and phasing harness cables. The circuitry is sealed inside a epoxy filled metal shell which makes it watertight in any position. This is the combiner I prefer to use because you can use shorter cables and the installation is very neat.
Channel Master  #0538 Antenna Joiner/2-Way Splitter
The Channel Master 0538 combiner is designed to be mounted on a mast up 1.625" using the included u-bolt. The F-connectors and circuitry are mounted to a circuit board which is housed in a plastic enclosure. Rubber boots are included to help protect the F-connectors from the weather.
Labgear #6011/00 UHF Combiner/Splitter
The Labgear 6011 combiner is also mast mounted. The plastic housing has a mounting tab which can be attached to a existing u-bolt or it can be fastened to the mast with the included tie wrap. The circuitry and connectors are mounted to a circuit board which is housed in the plastic enclosure. The enclosure has a snap on plastic cover and rubber grommets to seal the coax cables. The connectors are similar to those used in Blake baluns, you must strip the coax leads and attach them directly to the circuit board clamps, no F-connectors are needed. The grommets will only accept RG-6. You can use RG-11 if you remove the grommet, but you must seal the housing with silicone.

Description of Test:

I tested the combiners with a pair of my new ATF-X300 antennas. Back to back tests were made at about 5 minute intervals. The tests were repeated three times to ensure conditions did not change between tests. I used a Spectrum Analyzer to check the waveform for each station. See below for results and comments.

Spectrum Analyzer Waveforms:

Winegard #SP-1002

Channel Master  #0538

Labgear #6011/00

antenna_combiner_test 053.jpg (58913 bytes)

Channel 31

antenna_combiner_test 048.jpg (59393 bytes)

Channel 31

antenna_combiner_test 051.jpg (59790 bytes)

Channel 31

antenna_combiner_test 065.jpg (59697 bytes)

Channel 53

antenna_combiner_test 058.jpg (60617 bytes)

Channel 53

antenna_combiner_test 060.jpg (59381 bytes)

Channel 53

antenna_combiner_test 063.jpg (60181 bytes)

Channel 65

antenna_combiner_test 057.jpg (60081 bytes)

Channel 65

antenna_combiner_test 062.jpg (59747 bytes)

Channel 65


Conclusion:

  • The shape of the waveforms are very similar with each combiner. There really is no significant difference between them. 
  • The main consideration in choosing a combiner is how it is mounted and what type of cables you are going to use.
  • To use standard cables with F-connectors, use either the 1002 or 0538. If you don't have crimping tools, the 6011 might be easier to install. The 6011 might be a better match with Blake antennas since they use the same type of circuit board clamp connectors.
  • The clamp type fitting on the 6011 may provide a better long term connection in corrosive environments since the clamp makes a tighter connection than the slip in type connection on F-connectors.
  • I did not like the braid strap on the 6011, it had a V-shaped notch that does not conform to the round cable. You are also clamping the coax against a flat circuit board, so the soft foam insulation could get deformed enough to create signal reflections.
  • The ease of cable routing with the 1002 makes it my favorite. The epoxy sealed housing can be used in any position and does not require mast mounting. 
  • F-connector type coax fittings should be filled with dielectric paste to prevent water contamination into the foam insulation as well as to prevent corrosion on the terminals.
 

  


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