Solid Signal’s HANDS ON REVIEW: Televes DAT790 Mix UHF/VHF Antenna

If you need VHF reception, this is the one for you. Not everyone does, but there are still markets out there with VHF channels. If you’re looking for a superior quality antenna that does an excellent job with VHF reception and also has advanced features like auto gain control and LTE filtering, look no further than the Televes DAT790 Mix UHF/VHF antenna. Is this antenna right for you? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I need to receive channels from up to 60 miles away?
  • Do I have a roof or attic space where I can mount an antenna?
  • Can I install this antenna myself?
  • Do I need an antenna that will stand up to the elements?
  • Is VHF reception important to me?
  • How important is price?

This review is available in PDF format! View it now!

The antenna itself

Let’s start with the retail packaging. What you’ll see is an emphasis on trying to make the package attractive and also environmentally responsible. There aren’t any shiny coatings or styrofoam packing materials here, yet the box is still very eye-catching.

You might be forgiven for thinking this is a UHF-only antenna because it looks very similar to Chinese-made UHF antennas. However, the extra set of posts in back and the single VHF dipole make this a UHF/VHF antenna.


One characteristic of Televes’ entire DAT790 line is the triple set of “directors” in the front. These give the antenna its characteristic shape and help bring in more distant signals. The patented design used three sets of directors of unequal length to help focus ground-based signals and reject signals from cell towers.


These pictures highlight the wide rear posts that help with VHF reception as well as the UHF “reflectors” at top and bottom. These help focus signal on the back side of the antenna, making it more efficient.

From this angle you can see the exceptional quality of the joints and connectors. The mating assembly where the reflectors meet the main body of the antenna looks like solid steel and holds up very well.

The optional amplifier

Amplified antennas are all the rage, because they let you drive multiple TVs and help you with fringe reception issues. This antenna comes with an innovative amplification system that is much better than others on the market for several reasons.

Passive amplification
Most mast-mounted amplifiers and amplified antennas put the amplifier outside near the antenna. This is done so that amplification takes place before any losses due to the cable between the antenna and the home. When you use an amplifier like that, you need to use RG6 cable with a solid copper core. This is the only cable that will actually carry power up the line so the amplifier can actually work. However, you can’t get that kind of cable at your local home store and you may not want to climb all around to install new cable.

That’s why the DAT790 is passively amplified, and it’s one of the few antennas on the market that is. Most amplified antennas won’t work at all if they’re not powered, but the DAT790 will. If you don’t need an amplifier, don’t use it.

The DAT970 includes this power injector that sends power up to the amplifier and also lets you run up to 2 TVs without adding an additional signal. It plugs into the wall inside and safely does its job.

Installation

The DAT790 series of antennas mount to a mast using a hybrid adjustable clamp system that puts the antenna slightly off center on a mast so it can be mounted slightly lower. This reduces stress on the mast and makes the antenna less likely to rotate in high winds compared to antennas that mount to the top of the mast.

The clamp can be adjusted to allow the antenna to tilt up and down about 5 degrees before being locked in, and in addition to a toothed bar as you generally see on this sort of antenna, there’s also a notched, ribbed steel piece on the opposite side of the bar to help the antenna stay where you put it.

Who is Televes?

They’re not a well-known company in the US… yet. Solid Signal chose to partner with Televes after an extensive worldwide search because Televes stands for the same things we stand for: quality, performance, and customer satisfaction. Televes is based in Spain and designs and manufacturers all their products in Europe. The manufacturing quality is far above other similar products.

The company has been around since 1958 and is a worldwide leader in antennas, satellite products and test equipment. They’re used by all the major satellite companies for their own test and measurement systems.

If you think Televes products look similar to Chinese-made products, there’s a reason for that; they’re the most popular antenna brand in Europe and therefore an easy target for reverse-engineering. The difference is obvious when you actually get your hands on an antenna, though. This is a solidly-built product designed to last for years.

Solid Signal is the exclusive direct retailer and distributor of Televes products in the US and we’ve worked hard to bring Televes antennas to our customers at a price that compares to much lower-quality antennas.

Why is LTE filtering important?

Televes antennas are the only brand to incorporate LTE filtering into their full antenna line. Every single antenna is designed to reject LTE signals from US carriers. This is incredibly important because as cell carriers build more towers, there’s an ever-growing chance that your home or office is going to be very near one, and that the LTE signal will be a lot stronger than distant antenna signals.

LTE provides wireless internet to cell phones using frequencies that were once used for TV antennas. Even though those frequencies aren’t used anymore, older antennas will still pick them up, and newer antennas can as well depending on their manufacture. LTE signals can even affect channels on “fractional” frequencies — For example LTE transmissions at 792MHz can also affect broadcasts at 396 and 198MHz, which are half and one-quarter of the frequency used by LTE. By blocking LTE transmissions completely you have the best chance of picking up all the channels you want, interference-free.

BOSS Amplification

Every Televes amplified antenna uses BOSS amplification technology. Televes’ BOSS amplifiers actively prevent control the amount of gain for every frequency. This is a major upgrade in amplifier technology that only Televes has. Auto gain control allows every channel to be strongly amplified without worrying that other channels are going to be “overdriven” which would cause picture distortion or even damage to a TV tuner.

BOSS amplifiers are compact, low-noise amplifiers that use advanced technology to actively reject signals that fall out of the bands the antenna should receive. This is another way that the antenna is even more efficient. Power use is minimal and the amplifier runs cool enough to be housed in a weather-resistant enclosure and no airflow is necessary.

Finally, all Televes amplified antennas use passive technology meaning that if the amplifier is not powered, fails, or just isn’t plugged in the antenna will still work. Televes is one of very few manufacturers to include this technology.

Testing and Performance

Performance on this antenna was more than satisfactory for an outdoor antenna and should be sufficient for most suburban installations. A truly long-range antenna would be better for much more distant stations. For this test, a 3′ length of bare wire was arranged in a dipole shape and tested for reception. The DAT970 was placed in the same position and tested with amplification off and on. In both cases the power supply was in line, proving that the amplifier will perform with or without power.

All tests were conducted on the same day with the same weather conditions, at our laboratory approximately 55 miles from broadcast towers.

This antenna was rock solid in testing. Unfortunately our testing location did not allow for testing of VHF-Low signals. This antenna is not designed for VHF-Low but it does not actively reject VHF-Low signals either. In the tests we did perform, we saw excellent unamplified gain throughout the spectrum and very consistent amplified gain, which means there is a high-quality slope compensator circuit in the mix.

Should you buy this antenna?

Testing of this antenna was not surprising considering that we have already tested the UHF version. In fact, gain numbers for UHF were flat-out identical to the UHF version. This is possible because of the modular way that Televes builds their antennas. The antenna cartridge itself is designed to accommodate VHF or UHF-only elements so there is no significant loss when combining VHF and UHF. However, while the UHF-only version actively rejected VHF signals, this antenna brought them in very well.

It’s time to move away from an antenna designed in the 1950s. Antenna technology has evolved… so try the Televes DAT790 Mix available now at Solid Signal.