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Cheap ClearStream2 Antenna Plus VHF

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ClearStream2 + VHF Temporary Mount
I've been trying to improve my over-the-air TV reception. I'm currently using a diy 4 bay antenna I made out of copper wire that has been doing pretty good but there are some channels I'm missing. One of the antennas that keeps getting recommended to me is the ClearStream2 Complete from Antennas Direct.

The ClearStream2 Complete builds on the ClearStream2, which is a great UHF antenna. The problem with the ClearStream2 is that it doesn't pick  the high-VHF signals which are available in my area. The ClearStream2 Complete adds a VHF antenna to solve that limitation.

The only issue is I didn't feel like spending $120 on an HDTV antenna and I was planning on just making another DIY antenna with slightly different specifications to improve my current one.

Unlike my last DIY antenna, I was out of copper wire and would have to buy more. Copper isn't all that cheap these days and I discovered that for not too much more I could buy a used ClearStream2 without VHF. At the time of this writing a used ClearStream2 is selling for $26, refurbished ClearStream2 is $45 and a brand new one seems to be onsale for only $65 on Amazon.

I decided to purchase a refurbished ClearStream2 (only $33 when I ordered it) and add a simple VHF antenna to it to make a cheap ClearStream2 Complete.

Adding VHF to ClearStream2

The easiest way to add VHF to a ClearStream2 antenna is to purchase the C2 VHF Reflector Assembly from AntennasDirect. The VHF reflector adds a fixed length dipole antenna that folds up and locks in place to add VHF channels to the ClearStream2. The reflector sells for $19.99. Combined with a used or refurbished ClearStream2 it makes a great antenna.

Unfortunately I wasn't aware the CS2 VHF reflector was available until the day after I posted this article. I had initially planned on improving the VHF of my DIY antenna and just used those components to add VHF to the ClearStream2 antenna. The items and methods I used are below. Using a variable length antenna has allowed me to fine tune reception for the channels available to me.

There are 3 channels near me broadcasting in the high-VHF band. They're not very far away so I don't need a very strong VHF antenna so I just went with a pair of rabbit ears. My complete shopping list to create my version of the ClearStream2 Complete is:

Refurbished ClearStream2 UHF Antenna $33
MANT-050 VHF Antenna $7
Radio Shack VHF/UHF Signal Combiner $16
RCA Matching Transformer (VH54n) $5
(2) RG6 2-Foot Low Loss Coax Cables $8
Total: $69
Total Savings: $50
I chose to purchase the MANT-050 VHF Antenna because of the design. It looked like it would make it easy to mount onto the ClearStream2. It was also telescoping which would make it easy to adjust to tune in the VHF channels in my area. This antenna is going in my attic. If I were placing it outdoors I would probably go with a different VHF antenna or just bite the bullet and purchase an ClearStream2 Complete from Antennas Direct.

The Matching Transformer (aka balun) is used to convert from the 300 ohm twin lead wire from the vhf  to be able to connect a 75 ohm coaxial cable.

TheVHF/UHF Signal Combiner is a very important. It has two inputs and one output. There is a VHF and UHF input. Each one filters the signal to either UHF only or VHF only and then combines them into a signle VHF/UHF output. This helps prevent UHF noise from the VHF antenna and VHF noise from the UHF antenna.

Putting it all together was very easy. The MANT-050 antenna has a slit at the bottom that fits perfectly onto the wires that make up reflector of the ClearStream2. I temporarily attached it with twist ties which I will replace with zip ties before I mount it.

The matching transformer leads were soldered to the leads of the antenna. Cutting, stripping and twisting the wires together is another option. Remember to keep the pair of wires separate. After connceting the leads were wrapped with electrical tape to keep them from touching each other.

Then it was just a matter of attaching the coaxial cables between the antennas and signal combiner.

It works perfectly and I saved $50 vs a ClearStream2 Complete.

Benefits of ClearStream2 Vs DIY Antenna

I've been using a DIY antenna I made from leftover copper wire and scrap wood for months now. The reception has been very good but since the ClearStream2 wasn't too expensive I decided to try it out. Here are some of the benefits I found using the ClearStream2 compared to my homemade antenna.

  • Slightly better UHF reception
  • Much Better VHF reception with separate VHF antenna. The DIY antenna was able to pick up my high VHF channels on it's own but both worked better in the high VHF range with a separate VHF antenna and UHF/VHF combiner. The UHF signal benefited a bit from this as well probably due to less noise.
  • Sturdier design. The ClearStream2 is solidly built and pretty compact. The wires of the homemade antenna are easily bent.
  • Don't have to worry about getting poked by wires when climbing up into and moving around tight spaces.
  • Weatherproof. The ClearStream2 is designed to be mounted outdoors. The wood I have my DIY antenna mounted to would rot in the rain.
  • More flexible mounting options. The ClearStream2 comes with a J-Mount which makes it easy to mount the antenna in various configurations and easily point it.
The cost of a refurbished ClearStream2 only cost a little more than $17 I'd have to spend on 12 gauge copper wire and matching transformer.


  1. For only $20 shipped, you can buy the VHF conversion kit for the C2.

    Go to Antenna Direct's website, then Shop Now > Accessories > Reflectors.

  2. PS89,

    Thanks for the comment. I actually didn't find out that the VHF reflector was an option until after I posted this. When I was first getting the VHF antenna it was to add to one of my homemade antennas but when I saw how cheap I could get a CS2 I went for it.