A quick look at the Stellar Labs 32-2476 Hi-VHF Deep Fringe Antenna

Looking for a readily-available fringe antenna specifically for High VHF (channels 7-12 NTSC/ATSC), I found there weren’t many options these days. There are plenty of UHF antennas out there from a number of manufacturers (mainly bowties, though Antennas Direct also carries the Yagi-like 91XG). VHF/UHF combos aren’t terribly hard to find either, though with the exception of some Winegards, most seem to have somewhat weaker range on the VHF. When it comes to Hi-VHF-only, Stellar Labs seems to be one of the only manufacturers doing them.

Stellar Labs currently carries 2 variants:

  • 30-2475 – Fringe Directional Antenna VHF-Hi (60.5″, 12dB gain claimed)
  • 30-2476 – Deep Fringe Directional Antenna VHF-Hi (82.7″, 14dB gain claimed)

Here’s a shot of the 30-2476 Deep Fringe sitting on the floor (laying on the rear reflectors):

Stellar Labs 32-2476 Deep Fringe High-VHF Antenna

The advertised gains of 12dB and 14dB seemed a bit optimistic, and I was curious enough to look around. It turns out holl_ands has a site where he ran the “Fringe” version (30-2475) through 4nec2 if you want a few more details on that one along with some possible mods: http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/yagis/hivhf9elfdyagistellarlabs.

Using holl_ands NEC model as a template and roughly measuring out my antenna, I modified the file to get an NEC model for the Deep Fringe (30-2476) model.

Here’s a look at the Fringe and Deep Fringe model gains “side-by-side”:

Stellar Labs 32-2475 Fringe High-VHF Antenna (Gain)

Stellar Labs 32-2476 Deep Fringe High-VHF Antenna (Gain)

Keep in mind that for gain, the Y-axis is different (8-11dB, 9.5-12.5dB).

For reference: Channel 7 (174-180Mhz), Channel 8 (180-186Mhz), Channel 9 (186-192Mhz), Channel 10 (192-198Mhz), Channel 11 (198-204Mhz), Channel 12 (204-210Mhz), Channel 13 (210-216Mhz).

Stellar Labs 32-2475 Fringe High-VHF Antenna (Pattern)

Stellar Labs 32-2476 Deep Fringe High-VHF Antenna (Pattern)

Note that the reflectors/directors/element are all connected to the metallic boom – I don’t know if holl_ands accounted for this in his NEC model, but I didn’t go to any lengths to do so. I also wasn’t extremely precise in my measurements. Thus, the “max” 12dB/14dB manufacturer claims may or may not be slightly optimistic but they don’t seem to be wildly out of range or anything. A 2dB increase going from the Fringe to Deep Fringe model does actually occur at the center point.

Stellar Labs 30-2475 Fringe vs 30-2476 Deep Fringe

Choosing the 30-2476 over the 30-2475 should get you at least 1dB and up to 2dB increased gain… not bad for the $10 premium.

For the minor price increase (under $10 USD), stepping up to the Deep Fringe version is probably worthwhile if you have the space for the longer boom and taller reflector. Consider that shaving off a dB loss here and there via RG6 vs RG11, low noise preamps, low loss combiners, etc will often carry a premium of over $10… this is a very cheap 1-2dB gain right from the get-go.

 

Other Bits:

I’ve noticed that antenna boxes always seem to end up with holes in them by the time the courier arrives at the door… that said, the 2 loose wingnuts managed to say inside. Assembly is really straightforward and took less than 15 minutes.

This antenna is light. Almost 7 feet long and easy to carry 1-handed. It’s pretty sturdy and the only plastic pieces are end caps and the balun box. Short of damaging any elements when moving it to the roof/pole, I’d expect this thing to last a long while.

As for observed performance, keeping in mind that all locations are different:

  • From the main floor with a few feet of coax, it easily pulled the couple “green” TV Fool stations (~37-40NM) through multiple walls and a microwave in one of the directions. I didn’t have to be picky with the aiming: I just set it up on a table with a box to level it. For reference, a dipole indoors takes a lot of fighting to get either of these stations.
  • From the roof through 50 feet of RG-6, it pulled a “yellow” station listed at about 20NM.
  • It did not pull a red 1NM station from the roof with 50 feet of RG-6, though it was windy and the initial tests had poor LOS to that direction… I’m sure an amp would help too. I’ll test more later.

 

Conclusion:

For being one of the only Fringe-y Hi VHF options, the Stellar Labs is at least a good option. It’s well priced, decently constructed, and performs pretty well.

If you’ve got HiVHF/UHF stations in different directions or are having some of your old UHF stations move back to VHF as channels 36-51 are sold off, you may be in the market for a High VHF antenna (likely with a VHF/UHF combiner). If considering a Stellar Labs option for this, hopefully something here has helped you.

7 Comments | Leave a Comment

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  1. Brian Johnson on May 5, 2019 - click here to reply
    Hi Matt,

    I'm assuming the red 1NM station is KNRR. Were you ever able to pull it in? I ask because I'm in the south part of Winnipeg, close to the perimeter, and really want to know if I can reliably pull it in myself. TVFool shows KNRR as a red 9.3 NM station (12.1 with an antenna height of 20 feet) for me. I'd love to pick one of these up if I knew I could pull Fox in. Also, any other tips you could offer would be very much appreciated.
    • It wasn't. However, from southeast of Winnipeg with KNRR currently being listed as 10-11NM I was previously able to pull in KNRR with a Winegard 8200U (writeup here: https://mattgadient.com/2011/06/02/winegard-hd8200u-installation-and-review/ ). This was using a preamp at about 20-30 feet eventually. Depending on the time of year (and weather), some periods of the day it would glitch out.

      On to the Stellar Labs Deep Fringe: it will sometimes pull in the 1NM station but it tends to be pretty glitchy. For you with KNRR at 9.3NM, I'd expect that if you have decent line of sight and a preamp it would probably pull in FOX though probably not 100% reliably since it's not a strong station to begin with and there's likely the St Leon windfarm in your path, along with any other obstrutions. The big problem is that depending on whether 7 (CTV) is in the path, the high signal strength might overload the preamp. Depending on what angle 13 (CITY) is at from your location, you may have to choose between 12 and 13 so keep that in mind.

      As for tips, the only thing that really stood out when I was playing with getting KNRR in the past was for the height there were a few "dead" spots. So 2 feet high on the mast was fine, and probably ~8 feet was fine, but the 3-7 foot range the signal really dropped, though there were some large trees in my case. Either way, once you've got the direction set, try playing with the height up/down a bit just to see if you can get an improvement. Good luck!
  2. Anonymous on March 2, 2020 - click here to reply
    The HD stacker would likely give you better results
  3. Bob Haines on October 23, 2020 - click here to reply
    I love my 30-2476s I originally bought and combined them with my 91XGs.These are awesome antennas and for the money, a bargain. 4 years of illinois winters and still going strong, in fact, I ganged them. They are super powerful when ganged withy a low loss 1/4 wave transformer section. Then I bought 4 more (Decent quantity discount) in the early days of the pandemic as there was no work, so I was looking for a project. I read an article by "Wizwor" in his blog. He had put two together by adding booms and claimed better reception. It did not work for me, the reception was the same, no gain. So.... These are great "donor" antennas for projects. I got pans for a super long Yagi and hacked a couple of the 30-2476's into one very long 19 foot VHF. The gain is incredible. Wish I could add photos here, but use this link to TV fool for the whole story. About a month or two of really intense testing.

    http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=16742
  4. bgavin on January 8, 2021 - click here to reply
    I bought the 30-2476 based on the review on this site, and on scope tests from a different site.
    I am 100% happy with this antenna.
    It is sturdy, and a breeze to assemble.

    I put Loctite on the bolt threads, then sprayed all the aluminum with a Krylon Clear paint for longevity.
    It is mounted on a 2nd ten foot mast attached on my chimney, diagonally mounted from my Antenna Craft U8000.
    I'm using the Antennas Direct EU385CV-1S combiner with the two antennas.

    The 30-2476 does exactly what I expected: it brings in real channels 9..13 perfectly.
  5. Alan on January 24, 2021 - click here to reply
    I have the 30-2475 Model in my attic at 20 feet AGL. Located in Shawnee, KS and aimed west to capture a channel 13 signal from a tower 64 miles distance.
    100% reliability with a marginal line of site path. The extra 2 dB of gain using the deep fringe model 30-2476 needs to be weighed against the extra wind load.
    An extra 2 dB won't magically resolve a signal that can't be received with the fringe model.
    These are well constructed and very good performing antennas. Unless you prefer to step up to a commercial grade ($$$) antenna, I recommend these antennas with no qualifications.
  6. Anonymous on April 24, 2021 - click here to reply
    These are light duty Yagis that have modest gain across the 7-13 band.
    And since the driven element is resonant around channel 9 and the shortest directors are resonant at around channel 10, gain at either extreme suffers.
    The blonder tongue cut channel yagis are a much better choice if you need durability and maximum gain which is why all CATV companies use them.

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