XB10A and XB16A aerial performance reports

NOTE: many of these reports are from the pre switchover low power digital + analogue era, but that doesn't make them any less relevant as regards aerial performance, if anything it makes them more so because aerial performance was actually better assessed when using analogue signals due to the "all or nothing" nature of digital TV reception.

Analogue v Digital pictures - how they degrade 310W L5


XB10A gain curve compared to other relevant aerials.

Note : many of these reports are from the analogue era, but that actually makes them more valid because of the "all or nothing" nature of digital reception.

XB10A TV aerial 220W L20 3kB

K Thompson (Rowridge Transmitter)
I've used an XB10A aerial twice, fitted in the loft and split 4 ways with no problems at all. Digital sigs 55 dbµV + at each outlet, though this is a strong signal area. I have found the XB to be smaller than the yagis I've been replacing and therefore it's easier to install. I like the XB10A's build quality, although an F dipole connection would make life easier [in some ways....]. Maybe there's a reason for saddle and clamp being used still ?
I'm not entirely convinced about F connections onto aerials. They're usually only waterproofed by a rubber boot which often becomes brittle and/or falls off  or moves slightly. Thus if any aerial we want to stock is available in "saddle and clamp" and an F conn, we'd always stock the saddle and clamp version. Unfortunately some models of aerial are only available with an F connector fitting. Obviously the pros and cons of weatherproofing don't apply to an aerial fitted in a loft !

K Codd (Rowridge Transmitter)
Thank you for the aerial you sold us. The first class service, dispatch and delivery along with your most excellent and informative website. Its information is virtually an encyclopedia, well formatted and logically placed. being easily researched with well placed links and explanation sections. The XB10A aerial assembled easily as per the instruction sheet and was fitted in the shortest possible time. Appears to be well manufactured and well designed for assembly. Using the aerial to receive the signal for our digi (freeview) boxes it is a far superior signal now than with our old wideband aerial. The 16G pole I bought from you is also far superior than the one I have just replaced, following the description on your website I realise was probably a loft aerial bracket. The performance for both analogue and digital is ACE despite the signal we receive being transmitted from 40Km (25miles) away.

K Halai (Crystal Palace Transmitter)
We had a Log40 in the loft and it worked pretty well for everything, apart from MUX2 on the Sony digital TV. Interestingly MUX2 was fine through a cheap digibox! All the analogue channels were also OK.
Having spent all that money on the Sony we wanted it to work right so I tried replacing the Log40 with an XB10A in the loft and it cured the problem. No breaking up on ITV now!

A Spry (Caradon Hill Transmitter)
First of all, thank you for your very efficient ordering service. I live in Tavistock, Devon. We have always had to receive our signal from the Tavistock relay Transmitter with an external aerial (type unknown) with a masthead amplifier. Under analogue,   the reception was rubbish. We could not pick up a signal at all from Caradon. After digital switchover (still with a masthead amp) our TV told us that signal strength was about 70% and signal quality 100%. The channels were limited. So I bought an XB10A from you for mounting in the loft. I found out that the aerial needed to point at 259 degs from north for Caradon. Our roofline runs at about 230 degs to north. I wasn't very hopeful that it would work. The roof has huge timber trusses that get in the way. The aerial is too big to fit in the apex of the roof so I mounted it about 4 feet above the joists as close to the roof slates (asbestos?) as possible. But it works!  The TV says about 60% signal strength and 90% quality. Even with no amplifier there's no break up yet! All the channels! Just one query, please. I mounted it on the L shaped bar with the long length running horizontally to the cradle (which is vertical). Would it be better if the L bar was vertical? Thanks again.
Just so long as the cradle is mounted perpendicular to the aerials elements the polarisation of the mounting pole/arm should not make much of a difference.

A Cook (Rowridge Transmitter)
The XB10A aerial arrived yesterday lunch time and I installed it yesterday evening in more or less the same position in the loft as the Tri-Boom wideband effort.
I am delighted to tell you that it works fine and I can now receive all Freeview channels with very clear and stable pictures. Assuming it will retune satisfactorily on 30 September 2009 it seems the problem has been sorted out. Many thanks for the excellent service and informative website.

M Nichols (Rowridge Transmitter)
Firstly, congratulations on such an excellent website with so much information.Following changes at Rowridge earlier in the year I found that reception on Freeview channel 37 was terrible giving a signal strength of 2 out of 10 but most days no signal at all.Although I had a group A aerial it was of unknown age. Channels other than 37 were generally good giving signal strengths of anything from 5 to 10 out of 10. (The Freeview site says my postcode cannot receive Freeview at this time! ) Using the guide on your website I ordered the XB10A. Arrived within 48 hours and easy to set up. Build quality is very good. Installed in the loft and now get excellent reception on all channels. 9 or 10 out of 10 signal quality on all including channel 37. Thank you.

A Palmer (Crystal Palace Transmitter)
Thank you for your prompt delivery of the two aerials that I ordered at the end of July. The aerials have now been installed and I can report that they are working well.
The original aerial, one for Crystal Palace was a '48 element' Vision V10-481W/B - not ideal being wideband but it was all I had to hand at the time ! Crystal Palace is now being received by your XB10A aerial although about 1m higher than the Vision aerial.The signal levels (measured with a spectrum analyser on the vision carriers) with the XB10A were increased by between 3 and 6dB, average 5dB. As you can see there has been a marked improvement in the Crystal Palace signals, as was to be expected with a proper Group A aerial and a small height increase. I can now receive all 6 digital multiplexes from Crystal Palace whereas previously I could only receive 4 of them.
I have to use Crystal Palace for DTT because Hannington doesn't provide much DTT signal Eastwards in my direction as it would interfere with some of the channels used by the relay at Guildford (pre DSO that was). The build quality of both aerials was good and the bracketry etc looked like it will stand the test of time.
Also see the aerial report for the DY14WB (on Hannington) at the same site.

D Sharrocks (Rowridge Transmitter)
The aerial is in the loft of a bungalow and it's on Rowridge. We're very pleased with the aerial, there's a big improvement on the old one, but we still get very slight break up when heavy road traffic is passing.

S Wilson (Darvel Transmitter)
As  per your request a short note regarding the above aerial. I am in the south west of Scotland on the Clyde Coast receiving signals from Darvel, which is an A group Transmitter. Specifically I live in Saltcoats and in a difficult area of that town masked from the Transmitter by rising ground between it and my house. To compound things I wanted to fit the aerial in the loft but I do have a two storey house. Anyway I was using a high gain wide band aerial bought from Maplin but after some research and increasing frustration with drop outs I bought the XB10A from yourself and have just finished fitting it. I also recabled with satellite quality cable at the same time. Reception is so much better - I get green quality bands on all channels now and although signal strength has improved to 50% / 60% I guess there is still someway to go. I believe that Darvel will increase it's digital signal strength in 2010 so maybe then I will get a bit more. I have to say that I did not think that I would get such good results from a loft aerial and my fall back will be to get it mounted outside but I would rather not if I can avoid it. Anyway thanks again.

Mr Caunt (Ladder Hill Transmitter)
We live in High Peak and the aerial has to point through trees (and a hill) to the Transmitter so thanks to your guidance. I have avoided the default choice, of a wideband  antenna, and installed an A group which gives a good picture.


XB16A gain curve compared to other relevant aerials.

Note : many of these reports are from the analogue era, but that actually makes them more valid because of the "all or nothing" nature of digital reception.

XB16A TV aerial 220W L15 5kB

Mr Douglas (Crystal Palace Transmitter)

This aerial report is equally relevant to all A group Transmitters (e.g. Rowridge).

I had a Bacofoil XB10WB on Crystal Palace and the picture was appalling on both analogue and digital, even with an amplifier. I got an aerial installer out who messed around for a couple of hours, changed the amp (made no difference...), realigned the aerial, chatted to his girlfriend on the phone for 15 minutes etc etc. Finally he stated he couldn't do anything and just moved the wideband aerial round onto Bluebell Hill. It was better but still not acceptable. He never tried changing the aerial and he didn't even have an A group on the van (he works down near Crystal Palace and he didn't have an A group with him, absolutely incredible...), but he still charged me a nice wedge into the bargain.
When I fitted the XB16A I couldn't believe the difference. The digital is (almost) perfect and the analogue is good on all channels apart from C5 (which is possibly due to restricted power in this direction), though even that is quite watchable. Incredibly this improvement is without an amplifier on the XB16A!
This report graphically reminds us that a lower gain aerial with an amplifier, does not equate to a high gain aerial....... (Also see Amplifier Basics).
It is to be expected that swapping from a wideband aerial (any wideband aerial....) to a high gain A group [especially an XB16A! ] will give a significant, or very significant, improvement. However Mr Douglas is quite lucky because it is rather less common to get an appalling (analogue) picture improved to a good one.

M Dickey (Caradon Hill Transmitter)
Had an 18 element Log Periodic* with a built in amp before, pointing through loads of  trees though. This gave high 40s to mid 50s on the digital signal quality with regular picture break up. Swapping to an XB16A (with a Mast Head amp) improved things dramatically. We now have mid 80s on signal strength and far less picture break.up, the analogue still isn't much good though. The aerial is absolutely brilliant and money well spent!
* Again we learn that although Log Periodics should be used wherever possible they're not absolutely universal. And, furthermore, a small low gain aerial with an amp does not equate to a big high gain aerial....

E Downes (Ridge Hill Transmitter)
Hi, I thought  let you know how the XB16A worked out in the end. We now have typical signal strengths of 70%, and Qualities of 90 to 100% on all channels no matter what the weather conditions. The Transmitter is direct through a row of mature trees, and even when in full leaf and it's wet and windy there's no problems.
The aerial worked better than the previous Funke "high gain active" aerial, though that could be something of a red herring because that was sited on a different part of the house. The XB16A also outperformed the 30 year old Antiference 18 element A group aerial which was originally up on the chimney, but that was rather corroded and the cable was in very poor condition. I agree with you that it's good practice to always change the cable.
Maybe it'd be more in keeping with the XB16's size to use a 2.0mm version of the 10ft x 2” pole?
I don't think that 10ft x 1.6mm x 2" pole will ever break, I know people who only ever fit 1.5" 10 ft poles ! But if it does ever fail please tell us, and we'll replace it free (and officially change our advice!).

XB16A + FM4 + DAB3 aerials 401W L5

At the top of the 10ft x 2" pole we have a horizontally polarised XB16A (it’s the previous model in this picture but the new version has the same performance).

In the middle there is a three element DAB vertically polarised.

And at the bottom a 4 element FM aerial horizontally polarised.

C Conroy (Crystal Palace Transmitter)
Hello. I've recently purchased an XB16A from you and it would appear to have solved all my problems. I live at the bottom of a valley with Crystal Palace as my Transmitter. Reception  has always been very poor. Now on Freeview everything comes thru crystal clear. Analogue not so good but then I've not really played about with the new aerial. I've tried many wideband aerials (Maplin etc) in the past and spent a fortune with poor results.
I found your site very informative & helpful. I've even in the past knocked up some A group Yagis and even some corner reflectors for neighbours (one mesh and one out of sheet). They're  all OK but I'm the lowest house in the valley so in the end I gave up and bought one from you. As I say very, very pleased.

Mr Cheeseman (Caradon Hill Transmitter)
Our old aerial was actually an A group, but a small one. Swapping to the XB16A works better, the digital's rock steady now, whereas before it was annoyingly intermittent.

Mr Goedhart (Crystal Palace Transmitter)
I'd been sold a Telves DAT 75 (this is a "Tri Boom aerial") for Crystal Palace, which I now realise the supplier should never have recommended. We're only about 10 miles from the Transmitter but we've large buildings in the way so the signal was poor on both analogue and digital. Once we swapped to the XB16A things improved considerably. The analogue is better than it was though it is still far from perfect, however the digital is more or less fine now.
We can watch TV again!

S Odart (Rowridge Transmitter)
My dear old mum was paying a fortune for basic cable so we wanted to get her on Freeview. She’s 26 miles from Rowridge and behind a hill. The predictor sites all said it wouldn’t work and the signal has always been crappy. So, against all odds I decided to go for it and max out on the installation. So we brought the XB16A and everything to install it, cables, lashing kits, poles, connectors, amps etc. Fantastic aerial, top quality but what a monster! You don’t really believe how big it is until it’s been assembled. Perfect signal! In fact it’s so  good we’ve now got it distributed around 6 points in the house. No problems at all and me dear old mum loves it. The real clincher was your web site. Gave me all the information I needed to do a very professional installation right first time. Spent a little extra on the best quality goods and the results have been well worth it. I’ve forwarded your web site onto a couple of friends who are also looking to do a similar installation. Many thanks.

G Head (Crystal Palace Transmitter)
Aerial (XB16A) and bits arrived safely yesterday, thank you. Got it up yesterday (the aerial, obviously) and pointed it at Crystal Palace with my compass. Works much better than the old one but terrestrial still a bit grainy, possibly due to a tree the size of a battleship just across the road. However digital Freeview is so good that we receive programs that they haven't even broadcast yet. Thanks for the service and the info via your web site.