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132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I posted this in another forum but also put it here because I think this is very important technology that needs to be shared. I need to clarify first of all, that I do not work for Televes and I was not comped anything free. In fact, because this is a beta unit, I have to return it. I first learned about SmartKom recently on a Facebook page. Some of the other members were already testing this, so I asked to try it myself. It was mailed from another independent tester to me when he was done testing it.

First of all, this is new technology that is similar to the Avant X but better in many ways. First of all, the most amazing thing is it does its own scan with a push of a micro button. There is a button on the Mast mounted section and also on the PSU so you can auto scan it from the roof or tower, or you can auto scan it from your PSU wherever you have it plugged in. You simply hold the button down until the LED flashes and then within seconds it gathers all receivable RF channels from each array of up to three, sorts out the strongest from each array and chooses what it "feels" is the best on one, two, or three inputs.

Similar to the Avant X it balances the Spectrum and the MER and C/N. What this does this essentially is allow you to combine up to three markets without losing any signal quality due to phase mismatch as compared to a splitter in reverse or other combiners. Many of us know how much of a disaster that is, combining two antennas from different markets with a splitter/combiner.

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If need be, you can move channels around if you have the same RF channel # in two different markets. Because the Chicago market and Milwaukee Market don't use any of the same RF channel numbers on any full power stations, I could get away without moving any stations in the "map".

In rare cases like mine, SmartKom actually misinterpreted a Chicago signal on my Milwaukee antenna, because the AGC in my 148383 actually lowered the gain on the strongest signals and my AGC at my Milwaukee antenna raised the gain! :

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No problem. All I had to do was drop and drag the stations RF 19, 20 and 22 back over to input 1 using A Suite on my smartphone and send the adjustment over to the PSU via Bluetooth.

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The adjustment took place instantly and balanced my Spectrum:

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For now until the US version comes out the SmartKom uses "Easy F" coax cable attachments. This will change when the American Market version comes out which will have threaded F connectors.

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Because it can be used indoors and better yet, outdoors it is in a waterproof case for mast mounting. It's really designed to be outside on the mast for combining antennas and eliminating all but one downlead.:

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All of my testing was done indoors for this round:

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PSU W LED and Scan Button in center:

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What phase mismatch and multipath looks like with when one market is closer and stronger (Chicago) :
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"A Suite" is the app that I use with SmartKom :

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Test subjects. Chicago on top 168° South. Milwaukee 358° North.
Twin 148383s :

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Since I play around lot with TV antennas I have six leads going into the house I'll just ask this question. Does anybody know a quality switching system that can handle 4 to 5 different antenna arrays at one time for real time testing purposes?

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132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My first goal was to see how it would play with the to AGC antennas. I would say a couple of hiccups and we're easily corrected as simple as dropping drag on a smart phone screen.

During the Auto scan, SmartKom thought that Chicago RF 19 + 20 were a better choice for input two which was actually inputted by Milwaukee antenna:
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The incorrect RF19 and 20 signal can be seen immediately:

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Here you can see the manual correction has been made on the A Suite app RF10 was added for wmvs which is experimenting with ATSC 3.0 on that channel (10.13):

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After the manual adjustment, the blue trace can be seen with less interference. Green Trace was a previous auto scan:

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Tomorrow I'm going to Mast mount it with two Winegard HD 8800s and see how it works from there. I'll be testing them together and separated one at either Market

132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I decided to try a little different testing with non pre-amped antennas. Sometime last year I purchased 2 Winegard HD 8800 brand new in the box. I was surprised I could find them now I kind of know why. When I first saw them on the HD Primer website, I saw the charts and thought it would be the perfect antenna for the repack. Later I found out there must have been some errors in the antenna modeling because this is a substandard antenna. Winegard has since dropped a design. It has floppy active elements that barely click into their plastic brackets when unfolded. A simple landing from a bird makes will fold down an element. The rest of the antenna seems to be okay. I figured before I sell them I will use them in a test.

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I had them stacked aimed at Milwaukee with a combiner in reverse, performance was okay but that's not what this test is about. I decided to rotate the top one and very carefully aim at Chicago. I found that it did seem to matter even though a piece have a reputation for a wide beam width I patiently and each 8800 at each DMA.

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With that out of the way, I was ready to do some testing first I used a Holland splitter in reverse. From the splitter I used a Kitz Technologies KT-200 to about 50 feet of RG-6 Quad shield. :unsure:

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I did several sweeps and the results were very consistent. It is exactly what I expected with Chicago stations overpowering the Milwaukee stations. Believe or not there's no co channel interference, the only thing I have going for me

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As expected, The Milwaukee signals were much weaker due to the greater distance (49 Miles Vs. 39 Miles). Also, I suspect some of the Chicago signal "leak through" the Milwaukee antenna and Vice Versa. This is a complete phase mismatch and I can prove it later.

I immediately hooked the SmartKom:

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Although SmartKom cannot make a weak station come in (that is up to the antenna) it can certainly block unwanted interference from unwanted stations on the desired antenna and that is where the signal quality gets improved.

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OK, Here is proof of just how bad things can get. Because SmartKom chioose stations by strength, the problem with the antennas allowing signals to "slip through" even though aimed 180 Degrees opposite, Domination of input # 1 is evident behind the adjustment window. Here, I am adjusting input 2 for MKE:

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First, unwanted Channels had to be deleted from input 1. RF8, 30. Easy to do.

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Learning plan (H30 scan) with Holland Splitter:

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Learning plan with SmartKom:

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132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Based on my experience, the biggest limitation of the Avant X (if you ignore the very high purchase price) is the minimum input signal of -20dBmV for each channel on every input. This is an unusually high cutoff when compared to most TV tuners and/or pre-amplifiers.

The published reception range for the Avant X is -20dBmV to 40dBmV, and the unit will not process signals outside of this range. The Televes pre-amplifiers (560393 or older "Easy F" models) don't have this limitation.

How does the SmartKom handle weak/strong signals outside the -20dBmV to 40dBmV range?
To this and your other post, I have referred your questions to Televes.

Since my testing is mostly empirical, I don't check the SmartKom or Avant X against any specs. The most I can tell you from my SmartKom testing is:

1) If you are combining antennas and you are like 90% of those who do attempt to combine 2 or 3 arrays and fail miserably, like I did, then this tool (device) will bring in more stations at a higher quality signal.

2) It can't make an antenna pick up weak signals. Just like a pre-amp can't.

3) What it can do however, is keep a weak signal from degrading further, thereby possibly making it possible to receive.

4) Although it isn't marketed as a preamp, it can replace up to three pre-amps on the mast. In that sense, it pays for itself with benefits.

5) If your signals are strong, it won't improve those stations as in RF19, 22 and 35. It will however not overamplify the strong stations.

EDIT: I didn't test it with any preamps, Televes or Kitz, simply because it would be overkill.

As far as my baseline testing, I was fighting the clock otherwise I may have tried Kitz against the single input Televes.

Good point. Next time. When I test the "Americas" SmartKom I will pre-test with the Kitz and the Televes preamps.

132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
WalterP said:
"Based on my experience, the biggest limitation of the Avant X (if you ignore the very high purchase price) is the minimum input signal of -20dBmV for each channel on every input. This is an unusually high cutoff when compared to most TV tuners and/or pre-amplifiers."

Although $400 might seem like a lot of money to some, I wasted 3 times more than that trying to join antennas. I tried a lot of different stuff and finally ended up getting two converter boxes and switching inputs on the TV. That was tricky for some household members.

Frustrated, I almost bought a custom box from Jen Jenka I decided to hold off because I knew the repack was going to shuffle everything again. I'm glad I did, because during the interim the Avant came out. So no, I didn't think the price was too high for what it can actually do. Hell, it's a whole MATV system in a relatively small package.

And now we have something more at the consumer level from what I understand about half the cost. Try to do what it does with combiners or even the old-fashioned Jointenna which didn't work that well and only on one or two stations from what I understand.

I've seen a lot of people complain that they think the Avants are too expensive, yeah, maybe two to three cable TV bills.. tell me one thing I can say is I wish that it would have came out 10 years ago.

132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I just got word the Prototype Americas Version of SmartKom will be ready for testing soon! It handles VHF Low, which the Euro version does not. I can't wait! I love my screw on F connectors!

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132 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
don't see any product named smartKom on their website. nothing is found in their search results.
I've been testing a European model. It has no VHF Low capability. It must be modified for the American Market because the channels are 6 MHz wide.
It's very rare for a company to reveal a product before it's released, but at least in this case it generates some interest. I think this will be great for a lot of people and the right pricing.
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