Antennas Direct 8DXB Review

By Greg Martinez / March 13, 2020
Antennas Direct 8DXB Review

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Looking at this thing, the first word that comes to mind is “wow.” This wide-array 8DXB 8-Element Bowtie antenna likely won’t pick up alien signals but gives you strong reception of terrestrial TV stations nonetheless.

This UHF receptor by Antennas Direct consists of four separate panels you assemble together; these are like separate antennas that you are in fact stacking altogether on the same mast, increasing the gain and reach of your over-the-air reception.

Keep in mind that while this antenna offers a high gain of 15.8 dB, it’s UHF only – some claim they get VHF, but this is due more to circumstance than design.

Features

8DXB 8-Element Bowtie antenna

The 8DXB features a wide, sturdy frame with waterproofed coaxial connections.

As previously mentioned, it’s basically several antennas combined together.

In fact, if you look closely at the middle axis, you’ll see a signal combiner, which blends incoming signals and sends them along the coaxial.

The wide reflectors act to strengthen received signals and minimize multipath interference.

Its characteristics make it suitable for getting over-the-air TV in areas of fringe reception.

A multidirectional antenna, the 8DXB, should pick up surrounding towers within an arc of up to 180 degrees.

Because of the antenna’s high gain, it doesn’t come with a preamplifier, as in most situations, it simply won’t be needed. You must purchase the antenna mast as well as the coaxial cable to connect to your TV or converter box.

Frequency and Channel Types

Supporting reception in full HD (1080p), the 8DXB antenna receives the entire broadcast spectrum of UHF frequencies.

Before purchasing any antenna, you should consult RabbitEars.info to get the list of stations in your area and their RF channels (also known as broadcast, or real channels).

Keep in mind this antenna gets UHF, but if there are any VHF stations in your area, you can additionally order the VHF-1 Dipole Kit, which can be directly installed on the antenna.

Setting Up the 8DXB

Overall, you’ll need some minor DIY skills to assemble and install this antenna, along with the mast and coaxial. However, the skills needed are definitely not beyond the reach of the weekend hobbyist.

Assembly

You assemble the separate parts of the 8DXB using a Phillips screwdriver and adjustable wrench. The kit also comes with clamps for attaching the antenna to the mast that you purchase or acquire separately.

For the mast, you can buy a J-mast or use a fence pole available at any hardware store nearby.

Installation

The best place to install an antenna like this one is as high as possible, in order to surmount obstacles in the antenna’s line of sight to surrounding stations.

Depending on where you set it up around the house, you may need to get the appropriate mount (for the wall, tripod, or chimney).

For orienting the antenna, you can use the magnetic azimuth values found on your signal report from RabbitEars.info. A compass can come in handy when aiming the antenna towards stations.

Some customers install a rotator to use with the 8DXB antenna, but keep in mind it’s multidirectional, meaning that although you need to point it in the general direction of towers, it has a wider reception angle than say, a Yagi-style antenna.

You should first set up the antenna and test its reception before making a decision to buy a rotator.

For the coaxial cable, I recommend RG6 like MediaBridge Ultra Series tri-shielded cable along with F-type connectors for extending the cable to the length you need.

Some people also decide to install this antenna in their attic, with decent results. You should keep in mind though that attics (as with all indoor installations generally) may introduce interference due to building materials, radiant barriers, etc.

Grounding the Antenna

After installing any antenna outdoors, you should ground both the antenna mast as well as the coaxial cable, connecting these both to your house ground via copper wires.

Signal Reception

This type of long-range antenna normally shouldn’t need a preamplifier, but you may find one is required if, for any reason, you’re not receiving the full list of channels you expect.

A preamplifier may be warranted in situations where:

  • The distance to the nearest towers is greater than 20 or 30 miles
  • The length of the coaxial cable you’re using is longer than 50 feet
  • You are using a splitter to hook up more than two televisions to the antenna
  • You are installing the antenna in the attic

If amplification is needed, I recommend using the Winegard LNA-200 Boost XT HDTV preamplifier.

Pros

  • Lifetime warranty on parts
  • Doesn’t need a preamplifier in most situations
  • High antenna gain of UHF frequencies

Cons

  • No VHF reception (separate element for receiving VHF available)

The Verdict

This is a reliable, sturdy, and wind-resistant outdoor antenna that you should consider if you live outside of an urban environment, where signals tend to be somewhat weaker due to the distance to stations.

The 8DXB is relatively simple to assemble and install, and its reception characteristics are ideal for picking up signals from towers that are relatively wide apart from each other on the horizon.

This is a directional antenna; however, it must be aimed.

Lastly, Antennas Direct has a reputation for quality antennas and offers an outstanding lifetime warranty on parts.

NOTE: For a comparable product that’s similarly multidirectional and from the same manufacturer, you might want to check out the Antennas Direct DB8e HDTV antenna.

Antennas Direct 8DXB Manual

Here’s the installation manual for the 8DXB antenna. Note that although the model number in the manual is different, it’s very similar to the 8DXB.

Design

Direction

Multidirectional

Coaxial cable length (feet)

Dimensions in inches (H x W x L)

28.5 x 42.88 x 9.12

Preamplifier

Our rating

4.5 / 5

Reception

Antenna range (miles)

60

Channels

Full HD (1080p)

Frequencies

UHF only

Help & Support

Warranty

Lifetime

Email support

Phone support

TV Antenna FAQ

What Is Over-the-Air Television, and How Does It Work?

Over-the-air television is a term that is used to describe the television signals that are being broadcast by your local television towers.

This is the opposite of satellite signal. Since 2007, the broadcast signals are digital instead of analog.

Can You Scan for Channels?

When using a TV antenna, you’ll find that scanning for channels is going to be essential. To do this, use the remote for your television and go to the Home or Settings menu.

The tuner needs to be set to Antenna or Air, rather than Cable. The scan tool can then likely be found under Channels or Tuner or something with a similar name.

You then select Auto Scan, Channel Scan, Digital Channel Search. The device will then scan for any available digital OTA channels. The process generally takes a few minutes.

Are All Digital Channels on UHF?

No, not all digital channels are on UHF. Several DTV stations occupy UHF broadcast channels. However, there are also several stations that provide VHF broadcast channels as well.

What Are the Differences between UHF and VHF Antennas?

One of the biggest differences between the two is the size of each. A UHF antenna can be constructed, for example, without the antenna becoming physically unmanageable for the user.

More elements can also be added to a UHF antenna as well, which lends to higher gain and better directivity.

What Does It Mean to Be 4k Ready?

4K is also known as Ultra HD and provides an image resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels on the television. This allows for a clear and more defined picture. It also allows for greater detail and texture.

Can a multidirectional antenna be configured to focus on a signal that may be coming from the opposite direction?

Typically, with a multidirectional antenna, you can get satisfactory reception from stations in all directions that are within the range of your antenna.

Some of My Channels Have Gone Dark. What Happened?

If you’ve begun to notice that some channels you previously received have now gone dark, that particular channel may have moved to a different frequency.

Having that channel go dark doesn’t automatically mean that you can no longer receive that channel. The location has simply changed. To rectify this, try to run a channel scan on your television and see if you can pick it back up.

What Is the Frequency Range for the Antennas Direct 8DXB?

This bowtie TV antenna is built to receive signals from up to 60 miles away. However, the location of the antenna, any obstructions, and building materials, may affect this kind of reception.

However, it still offers a classic and reliable design for more long-range performance.

Does the Antennas Direct 8DXB Come with the Required Mounting Hardware?

Yes. It includes the antenna itself, all-weather mounting hardware, and instructions. The mount and coaxial cable, however, are sold separately.

10comments
Christopher Barrister - October 13, 2019

Can I still get signals in the opposite direction with this antenna?

Reply
    Greg Martinez - October 15, 2019

    The reflector would minimize or prevent that.

    Reply
Gary S. - October 30, 2019

Will this work with FM radio?

Reply
    Greg Martinez - October 31, 2019

    That’s doubtful, as this is primarily a UHF antenna (FM is close to VHF).

    Reply
Joevany - November 5, 2019

I want to put another antenna just like this one on the same pole and turn it in another direction. is that even possible?

Reply
    Greg Martinez - November 6, 2019

    Hi Joevany, sure you can stack antennas of similar make and model on the same pole.

    Reply
Prae M - November 25, 2019

Can I add a powered signal booster to have better results? if so, which one would you recommend? Thanks.

Reply
    Greg Martinez - November 26, 2019

    You can definitely add a preamplifier to this antenna. Check out my recommendations here.

    Reply
Lyndsey Thompson - December 8, 2019

How does the picture looks during bad windy/stormy weather?

Reply
    Greg Martinez - December 9, 2019

    I would say this antenna should function through rain and storm. Sometimes you might get interference if the wind shakes the mast or precipitation affects the signal.

    Reply
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