Over the Air (O.T.A) Antenna Stacking or Ganging|
You can combine more than one antenna to either get a stronger gain or combine them to point at different towers to gain more direction for each antenna and combine the signals from more then one source!
What is the difference in Stacking and ganging Antennas?
Ganging Antennas is a principle used to get a higher gain, this is when you place 2 of the same antennas together next to each other even touching side by side pointed at exactly the same direction in order to get a stronger gain by combining the signals together. A good example of ganging is looking at the channel master 4221HD 4 bay and the 4228HD 8 bay. The channel master 8 bay antenna is really 2 channel master 4 bay antennas ganged together to make one more stronger antenna increasing the gain making these antennas work as a team to bring you more signal. Antenna ganging works better if they are touching metal to metal side by side.
Below is an example of using 2 channel master 4228 antennas ganged in the same direction on top of each other in Bradford Ontario in a Dormitory Home (lodging home for special needs). Using 2 channel master 4228 antennas we were able to gain enough to receive channels from the US including NBC and ABC which is over 120 miles away. Using only one channel master antenna we were only able to get the Toronto (38 miles), Hamilton (48 miles) and buffalo (87 miles) towers. Using 2 channel master 4228HD's ganged together we got a stronger signal and were able to also pickup ABC and NBC which were over 120 miles away. This setup had to be split to 25+ Rooms using a combination of 3414 and 3418 drop amps. we also used a channel master 7777 Pre-amp amplifier. The ganging was achieved by using a very good quaility splitter the channel master (PCT) 3212 two way splitter ($5.99) to gang the two antennas and the lengths of the cable were exactly the same. Then attaching a preamp to this was essential for this install we performed as this antenna is serving 25 + residents as well as a common room and staff offices. Ganging in the same direction actually increases gain. Below is two pictures taken of this commercial install the we did. 2 x 4228HD extremetennas used to the extreme in Bradford, Ontario. Now this lodging house is getting no more $800 monthly bill from cable and will get to spend more money on helping their residents with special needs. Now they can watch HDTV in their common room too!
Stacking Antennas is used to point two or more antennas at different towers and combining them together to bring you receptions from different sources. For Example the picture below shows one of our customers that combined 2 channel master 4221HDs together. One was pointed at Toronto and the other one focused at Buffalo, NBC and ABC in the US. When stacking antennas you must make sure one is on top of each other and never side by side, they must be a distance apart usually around 3 feet and the cable lengths must be exactly the same length. You make 2 short runs of cable the same length and then put them through a splitter. The splitter must be a good quality like the channel master PCT 3212 for this to work well. When stacking antennas to avoid conflicts from both antennas picking up the same towers you want to make sure the beams do not cross. On a channel Master 4221HD with towers over 15 miles away it works better if the antennas are pointed 90 degrees apart, with 2 identical channel master 4228HDs it can be less as the 4228HD is more directional.
Below is a picture of 2 identical Antennas stacked in Oakville from one of our customers that has followed these principles successfully.
The Antennas that you stack work best if they are identical, and the cable lengths are exactly the same size going from the antennas to the splitter. Using a good quality splitter is also essential and keeping them at least 3 feet apart. Also buying a one and a half mast like a fence pole and the correct mounting bracket is a good way to go.
We have had reports of customers in Saint Catherine's putting up two 4228HD's back to back one for Toronto (North of them) and one for the US (South of them). This kind of setup breaks all the rules of stacking and Ganging as the back beam is small and both towers are over 20 miles away so this method works very well for them.
OTA is such a great hobby and the results with the new digital transition is such a crystal clear digital picture and HD second to none that we are finding customers doing all kinds of things to get more towers and more amazing channels of HDTV and DTV with no monthly bills.
We have done many installs but always end up leaving late when its dark or forgetting to take pictures of all our installs, we would like to thank our amazing customers for all the pictures and result reports they are sending us, as we get more pictures we will post them on our site.
In the meantime keep playing , and learning about this wonderful hobby and keep watching more and more digital TV!
Our motto is an Antenna is every Canadian home, Condominium, Apartment, Motel, Hotel, Nursing home and medical waiting room, but it seems more and more people are putting up more then one Antenna to receive Digital UHF signals by stacking to get more channels or ganging to get a higher gain.
Most of our customers in the GTA are doing just fine with a single channel master 4221HD or a channel master 4228HD but some people for the extra few channels are going over the air (OTA) extreme.
There is lots of theory in terms of air waves when ganging or stacking, in terms of distances and how it all works, the old school method of stacking and ganging antennas is:-
As rule of thumb is to make sure the cable lengths between antennas and 3212 splitter is EXACTLY the same. The other rule to follow is keeping the antennas the same either 2 x Channel Master 4221HDs or 2 x Channel Master 4228HDs works best for us so far. The distance between the antennas is important in stacking, although we advice try a few feet apart. if you find distortion then move another few inches more apart until you get a good result with no distortion.