Review: Winegard FL5500A Antenna

If you’re a cable cutter, a good antenna is a must if you still want to enjoy over-the-air channels from broadcast networks. After cutting my cable a couple of years ago, I quickly realized it was a chore to watch local sports that were broadcast on stations like NBC, Fox and CBS. I have purchased many indoor antennas since cutting cable and haven’t gotten the results I expected. The entire experience has caused me hours of frustration when trying to find the perfect spot for my antenna. Could the Winegard FL5500A antenna finally be the answer?

Review

FL5500C antenna
The Winegard FL5500 antenna may look ugly in your window, but it will grab channels you never knew you could grab.

I considered purchasing an outdoor antenna, but didn’t want to deal with the installation. I saw the Winegard Flatwave FL5500A Antenna available at Amazon for $59.99 and had to give it a try. The price tag seemed a bit steep, but seeing that it came with an amplifier and 18 foot cable, I saw it as quite a deal. I purchased it, and immediately rushed home to give it a try. I plopped the antenna on a nearby desk, attached the coaxial cable to my TV and scanned for channels. I was disappointed when only 12 channels were found.

This was only the first try though. I also realized I hadn’t plugged in the amplifier. At first the amplifier caused a problem because my power strip was already loaded with consoles, computers, Wi-Fi devices, and more. I opted to use a USB connection via my Roku device. This worked great and saved me a spot on the power strip.

Before the second channel scan, I used all 18 feet of the coaxial cable and placed the antenna in a large window across the room. After another scan for channels, I was amazed that it picked up 21 channels. I flipped through each on to see if the signal broke up at all. Each channel was crystal clear with no problems. The most impressive station I found was from a station located about 70 miles away from my house in another city. How great!

I tried other spots in my house to see if I could get more channels. I found it difficult to place the antenna on just any surface available. Mounting it on the wall was definitely not an option since it consistently resulted in a low signal. Nothing worked better than the spot in the window. So I mounted it with the included 3M tape. A process I would have to repeat after my windows got a bit moist one day, causing the antenna to fall. The adhesive failed a second time, so I resorted to simply propping the antenna up using cracks in the window.

My girlfriend was horrified when she came home to find this ugly thing in our window. She was right. It did look a bit ugly. It doesn’t blend in as well as the common antennas that look like black boxes. Neighbors often walk by and stare at it, trying to figure out what it is. It allows me to watch my beloved Chicago Bears though. So, I love this antenna!

Altogether, the Winegard Flatwave FL5500A antenna is well worth the $60 price tag. The antenna grabbed channels out of the air that I never knew existed and made every other antenna I owned in the past seem pathetic. If you rely on any indoor antenna to provide TV entertainment, make sure it’s this one!

 

Summary

This is possibly the most reliable indoor HDTV antenna you can purchase.

Pros

  • Long, included coaxial cable makes it easy to place the antenna in a wide variety of places in your home.
  • USB amplifier provides more options for powering the antenna.
  • Easy to place in a window and tuck out of sight.

Cons

  • It’s ugly looking.
  • Placing on a standard surface is difficult and mounting on the wall results in unreliable signal.
  • Included adhesive not reliable.

The Winegard Flatwave FL5500A is available at Amazon (affiliate link). When shopping for these antennas, be sure not to get models mixed up. There are amplified and non-amplified versions of this product.

1 thought on “Review: Winegard FL5500A Antenna”

  1. I bought two of these Winegard FL5500C antennas. I too was having a problem with having to move it around to pick up some channels. I put up a curtain rod and hung the antenna from it and can move it from one side to the other(or somewhere in between). I said goodbye to TWC and can now pick up 29 channels for free. I’ve found that the best time to program the TV is when it is cloudy or clear and the wind is not blowing. The only issue I have is that when cars pass by, I sometimes have an slight interruption in the signal. Other than that, it’s been great.

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