Winegard FL5500A FlatWave Amped

I’ve seen this antenna mentioned a few times and I own one. I’m wondering if anyone currently uses one, what your experience is/was, have you had issues with degradation of reception, and have you replaced it with something else?

I’m finding that after a month of placement what was working wonderfully is now having trouble from time to time. I understand that antenna placement is more voodoo art than anything but I think it reasonable to expect similar quality of signal while location of the antenna remains static and weather conditions are clear. Factors do exist that our always beyond our control but I don’t think I’m being unreasonable with my expectations of experience. Am I?

I have it, it works well.

  1. Where is your antenna placed? 1st floor? 2nd floor?
  2. Have you checked out to see how far you are from the broadcast towers?
  3. Based on is your antenna facing the right direction?

I have one and it works well in the bedroom window but not so good in the living rroom. Position is important. I’m in Austin, TX and get virtual channel 62 from Killeen which is broadcast on 13. Works except when heavy rain. Google says I am 60.7 miles from Killeen.

I use one. Works great. It’s on the second floor facing compass point between the 2 main transmission towers. Everything is LOS and no farther then 25 miles. Both UHF and HI-VHF.

But almost twice a week one station(no always the same) will have interference - from 10pm to 11.30pm. Most likely industrial activity or the military base.

The flatwave is omnidirectional but I have found placement to be critical and have undergone much trial and error with various placement locations and positions within the cable’s length to come up with optimal placement. Most towers are under 15 miles away but one tower is 29.2 miles :slight_smile: which is nearly unusable unless the amp is plugged in which makes me thing 30 miles isn’t really 30 miles.

I had some episodic reception problems on a couple of channels and solved them not by replacing my antenna but by using two indoor antennas facing in slightly different directions combined with an inexpensive combiner. I hasten to add that this will not be a solution for everyone’s reception problem but it solved mine. Here is the link:

@jdoe I saw that thread and I’m surprised you don’t have an issue with phase cancellation but it was unclear as to whether you purchased a channel combiner (which usually costs more than $2) or, as price suggests, a simple coax splitter and put it to use in the reverse application.

Phase cancellation is not an automatic issue when stacking antennas. Antenna stacks are a well known, well established technology using simple splitters inverted to be combiners. Why are people surprised that antenna stacks work when done properly? Too many myths about antennas floating around… I have had antenna stacks for over ten years without any problems. They have enhanced my signal reception very much.

1 Like

I agree. While it can cause phase cancellation, it doesn’t always. I have a stacked antenna using a splitter in reverse and it works perfectly in my application. It is something that you have to try out and test - if it works, great. If not, you can adjust antenna distances and coax lengths to sort it out.

It is indeed a a simple splitter/combiner used as a combiner. Why I don’t have phase cancellation, I leave to the explanation on that thread by others that know more about this than I do. I will add that almost all my stations (10 or so) are within a a few miles - the furthest that I utilize is 11 miles away. It absolutely has helped on a few weak stations and has not hurt on any other stations that I tune. Anyway, just wanted to make sure you were aware of the thread which you are.

I’m surprised only because coax lengths, resistance, and antenna separation and placement can be more detrimental than positive. I understand one of the fundamental drivers of HDTV OTA is resistance to signal irregularities and I recall nightmares of the old struggles with the black and white tv, antenna rotator, and directional stacked on the mast.

In fact I was surprised last year how flexible an antenna stack can be. The rule generally is to combine two identical antennas. Dissimilar antennas when combined supposedly introduce phase cancellation.

Last year a friend had a problem. The majority of his channels came through fine at location A. Two channels came in fine at location B but not at A. I placed a ChannelMaster 4228 at Location A and the signals came in at 80%. I then placed a 4 bay antenna I built at location B to get the other two channels. Joined the two antennas with equal length cables and a splitter just to see what would happen. Bingo, all the signals came in at 100%. An 8 bay combined with a 4 bay, the 8 bay having smaller whiskers joined perfectly with the 4 bay having larger dimensions. Two dissimilar antennas co-operating to boost ALL the signals from BOTH locations.

1 Like

Yea, I read a lot of the science on doing this, and then followed the advice I saw fairly often, which was to give it a try and see how it works - there are just so many variables involved in antenna reception that it is hard to really predict (for an enthusiast) what the result you’ll get is…but often enough, it will just work fine.

I think that the old-style solution to reception problems has been to get a bigger, “better” antenna or try better placement (the location solution). The solution can also be multiple antennas. One antenna designer has written about the “Space Diversity Gain when in a Multipath Signal Environment” phenomenon. Multiple antennas stacked or arrayed not only boost signals but also lessen signal degradation because they have a larger coverage area. Swaying trees don’t affect me much during windy days because my antenna array can hold signals distributed over a wider area (a horizontal stack). In the olden days cable companies used to deploy multiple antennas geographically in arrays precisely to combat signal variation or dispersal (“swaying”).

Most people cannot deploy multiple antennas because of cost. Who wants to buy two antennas at $100 each? The cost factor doesn’t affect those of us who build their own antennas (mine typically cost on average about $8 per antenna).

Common sense tells us that “arrays of things” can be solutions to problems. Arrays are used in computer programming code or as a set of lights, etc. Even the Tablo is an array of tuners…

1 Like

Combining the output of two or more antennas will inevitably lead to constructive and destructive cancellations / summing. Indeed the very science and design foundation of many antennas rellies upon using such “phased arrays”.

For carefully spaced, idetical antennas with carefully matched feedlines, the combined performance is both predictable in theory and easily confitmed experimentally. Additive gains at some channels / frequencies occur with inevitable losses at other channels or directions of arrival.

No $20 ‘combiner’ truly exists to magically blend two RF signals so as to achieve gains without commensurate losses. Increasing the physical size of the array / ‘aperture’ by stacking vertically can and will add gain, but compress the elevation beamwidth, gathering received energy in a smaller and flatter torus. Antenna makers at UHF commonly stack bowties to accomplish this.

The real vodoo if any is the behavior of the propogation path. The so–called Beacon Equation and antenna pattern(s) determine the raw signal strength, but terrain, weather, foliage, multipath reflectors, etc. have the truly complex contribution to predicting performance accurately.

Your theory is enlightening. The only thing I have to add to it is that notwithstanding the reasons you gave for why it won’t work, in fact, it did work.

It’s the luck of the draw. Your combining happens to achieve a gain where you need it and some losses at places (directions of arrival, channels, or both) where such losses cause you no perceptible penalty.

Trying experimentally to see what works and what doesn’t in each person’s very individual situation thus makes perfect sense. Glad yours works out well, and does not contradict or violate RF engineering or physics in any way. With a good set of measurement tools, a lot of patience, or better yet, both, you can optimize the benefit while quasi-minimizing the penalty for your specific location, antenna equipment, and placement choices.

So called “null steering” phased arrays, rather than combining to gain more signal strength, actually use the inevitable cancellations and weaked reception to make a dead zone / null. This is used to surpress overly strong or deliberately malicious interfering signals. Combining 2 or more antennas in this same way as you have used is the way a nulling system is built, leading to deliberately weakened reception.


Stacked antennas have a proven record in both theory and practice in a variety of configurations and situations using physics. There is no luck here…


Amazing how the nay-sayers are finding ways to tell you how and why something doesn’t work - even though they haven’t done it themselves. Some of these people SHOULD propose actual solutions rather than whining, bitching and complaining. For someone who has had a boatload of problems himself, his credibility is suspect. His prior posts on his own antenna reception, cable lengths and noise are absolute BS. Physician heal thyself instead of trying to intimidate others with your pseudo-knowledge. If it works, it ain’t luck.


Absolutely, and essentially EVERY antenna except for a monopole relies on phased elements to achieve a gain while accepting a loss. A dipole, the simplest example, gets a ‘figure 8’ result. A larger log periodic or Yagi is more of the same. And stacked arrays as I stated earlier are the classical choice of HDTV UHF antenna designers by using stacked bow ties.

Not sure who you are referring to as ‘nay-sayer’?