Indoor Antennas Revisited

Another company has entered the indoor TV antenna market. The WallTenna is a flat antenna designed to be hung on a window or wall. At 14 x 16.25-inches, the antenna is quite a bit larger than the popular Mohu Leaf antenna, and unlike the Mohu Leaf, the plastic surrounding the antenna is clear. This allows you to see the two-bay bow-tie elements, phasing line, and matching network. Because the elements are relatively thin, the antenna can be placed on a window with minimal obstruction.

The WallTenna Website claims that testing at Research Triangle Compliance Engineering in Raleigh, N.C. "showed unmatched performance across the digital spectrum."

Glenn Robb, an engineer at the RTCE lab with more than 20 years experience, said, "When considering the whole UHF Television band, the 'WallTenna' definitely performs better than other indoor, broadband antennas we have tested."

Considering its larger size I would also expect the antenna to perform better at VHF than smaller antennas. The WallTenna specifications say that it's omnidirectional, but I would expect that if the antenna were mounted flat, then the pattern would match that of a dipole, with nulls off the ends of the elements.

PCWorld tested five popular indoor antennas – unfortunately the WallTenna wasn't one of them, in the article Kiss Your Cable Bill Goodbye With These HDTV Antennas by Edward N. Albro.

Albro's top choices were the Mohu Leaf, without amplifier, along with a long time favorite of mine, the amplified Terk HDTVa UHF log periodic with rabbit ears for VHF. My favorite antenna for size, ease of positioning and reception, the amplified Winegard SS-3000, was called a "hassle to set up" and "the most complex to put together." Albro also called it the "ugliest of the antennas I tried." Edward Albro has details on the testing and the numbers in his article.

Matthew Fortner, from McClatchy Newspapers, wrote a review of the Mohu Leaf Indoor HDTV antenna. He noted that while Mohu says the Leaf is omnidirectional, his results varied depending on where the antenna was placed. He wrote, "At its best it collected all but one station--one that even my larger outdoor-style antenna struggles with. Some more obscured locations that inhibited reception did drop another station or two, but a simple adjustment brought them back." He asks rhetorically, "Is it a winner?" His answer: "I think so, and so have others. Earlier this year HDTV Magazine called it the 'best indoor antenna we have tested!' Sound and Vision Magazine praised its performance and flexible form factor."

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.