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.
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
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:
Channel Master #0538
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
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.