Product Review (December 2002)
Terk TV55 VHF/UHF/Digital Terrestrial Antenna

By Kevin Nakano

When I was growing up, everyone in my neighborhood had an old-fashioned antenna on their roof. There were no exceptions. Then suddenly cable television took over and the rooftop antennas slowly began to disappear. After all, who needs to receive local channels over the air when you have local broadcasts on both cable and satellite? Well today, if you want to watch local high-definition television in your area, you'll need a good old-fashion antennas or an innovative high-tech design like the one offered by Terk Technologies. The latest Terk TV55 is a compact VHF/UHF antenna capable of receiving analog and the latest standard and high-definition digital programming. Here in Los Angeles we have practically every major station broadcasting digitally and many of those stations are in high-definition during primetime. The TV55 has an operational bandwidth of 54MHz to 806MHz and covers the full spectrum of the conventional antennas found on roofs decades ago. An inline amplifier has a gain of 10dB for weak signals and a bypass mode for the stronger signals.

The TV55 has a durable silicone-sealed weatherproof housing suitable for either indoor or outdoor installations. The design of this antenna is quite unique with an oval cross section and round ends. The unit's length is almost 4 feet and comes with a large assortment of accessories. Both wall and window ledge mounting hardware is included as well as mast hardware (mast not included) for mounting on a 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 diameter mast. The helical coils used inside of the TV55 allow for a more compact design by using wire winding to simulate a larger antenna.

Our location has a good line-of-sight to Mount Wilson where most of the transmission towers are located in the Los Angeles area. We just happen to be elevated above the clutter of homes between us and the transmitting stations. We mounted the TV55 horizontally, facing the location of the towers. We tried to set the height to be similar to an attic installation just above the lower roof-line. The results were interesting and surprisingly good for the Terk TV55.

The comparison chart show the TV55 amplified and unamplified. We used a Sencore SL754D Signal Level Meter to take readings of all of the usable channels here in Los Angeles. Based on readings from our meter, hum increased significantly when using the amplifier assembly in the video path. This may have been due to the power adapter that plugs into the wall. We were still able to pull a strong signal from the antenna without the amplifier installed and preferred this configuration for our setup. We found that all digital channels worked perfectly with the TV55 and we saw no dropouts from our location. Analog channels appeared to be strong, but did require some fine tuning to get an optimal signal. Ideally, the TV55 would benefit from a rotor to pinpoint the position of the unit.

Negotiating a large antenna can be cumbersome, especially if you are mounting it in the attic. Terk offers an alternative to the conventional large antenna design with their TV55. The performance we measured with this unit was amazingly good given its size. The physical design is simple and easy to install with a variety of mounting options. The weatherproof housing ensures long-term reliability by preventing moisture build-up and premature corrosion. The retail cost of the TV55 is just under $100 and provides comparable performance to the much larger conventional antennas that are similar in price. If you've been considering installing a new HDTV antenna and you have space limitations, the TV55 has the potential to provide you with a great signal for your new standard or high-definition receiver. The experience we had with this new antenna design far surpassed our expectations.

- Kevin Nakano

OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player

Review System

Display: Pioneer Elite PRO-610HD 58-inch HD-Ready TV (ISF calibrated)
Preamplifier: Parasound AVC-2500u THX-Ultra Certified DD/DTS Preamplifier/Processor
Amplifier: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Certified Five-Channel Power Amplifier
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R), S-150AC (Center) THX-Ultra Speakers
Rear Speakers - Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofers - Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Set-top Box - RCA DTC100 HDTV/DSS Satellite Receiver
Digital Video Recorder - JVC - HM-DH30000U High-Def D-VHS Digital Video Recorder
DVD/CD/SACD Player - Sony DVP-NS900V Progressive scan DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player - Kenwood DV-5900M 400+3 Disc DVD Audio/Video Changer
Signal Level Meter - Sencore SL754D Signal Level Meter

Review at a glance

TERK TK55 Amplified UHF/VHF/Digital TV antenna


  • Patented helical coil broadband antenna element allows for a compact design while providing large antenna performance
  • Dual-mode amplifier offers the best gain setting: High-gain for weak signals or bypass mode for stronger signals
  • Amplifier is impedance-matched for best HDTV performance
  • Ultra-durable weatherproof housing
  • Can be mounted on top of an RV
  • Includes "F" connector for connection to RG6 cable
  • Multiple mounting options with all mounting hardware included

    Accessories included:

  • 1 - power injector with 110v AC to DC power adapter
  • 1 - mast mount base
  • 1 - mast mount cover
  • 2 - window mount brackets (2-piece assemblies)
  • 2 - wall mount cam-lock units
  • 1 - channel insert
  • 1 - 36" RG6 coaxial cable


  • Amplifier gain: 10 dB
  • Output impedance: 75 Ohm
  • Operational bandwidth: 54 - 806 MHz
  • Dimensions: 46" W x 3.5" H x 2.25" D
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Warranty: 1 Year Parts/Labor
  • MSRP: $99.95

    TV55 Product Info

Company Information
Terk Technologies
63 Mall Drive
Commack, NY 11725

Support: 800-942-8375

Phone: 631-543-1900
Fax: 631-543-8088

Source: Manufacturer Supplied

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