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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: North Delta, BC (96Av x 116St)
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First of all, it is expected or hoped that after the transition to complete digital OTA the TV stations will operate with very similar coverage areas as their analogue stations did. This is not necessarily the case during the transition, and much work is still to be done to make sure that viewers will still get their desired OTA stations as they did before. For the purposes of answering this question lets assume that the person's area generally gets both the analogue and digital stations equally well.What do I need to know about buying a tuner to get digital OTA stations?
With old-style analogue OTA, signals pour out from the transmitter in waves. An antenna on a house on top of a hill probably gets great analogue reception, but for other locations down the hill there might be problems that can unfortunately make the analogue signals "dirty" due to such things as terrain bounce, adjacent RF interference, multipath distortion from reflections, and more. In such cases even a great home antenna might get a miserable or at the least unpleasant signal. Oddly enough, even in generally poor reception areas analogue OTA signals can sometimes make their way and be seen satisfactorily, so there is always hope. This signal reception mess has given analogue OTA a bad rap for half a century compared to cable and satellite programming sources.
With digital OTA almost all of those analogue OTA problems have been solved. There is a big caveat to that, though. Digital OTA reception is subject to the cliff effect: if your ATSC tuner can get a lock on the signal, the programming is perfect and beautiful, but if your ATSC tuner loses that lock even for a brief time or just cannot make that lock in the first place, the entire signal goes away until a lock can be made again. The cliff effect is discussed further below in much more detail under the heading What do ATSC Signal Meters measure?
Thus, it is possible in some cases that an analogue tuner will pick up stations while a digital one will not. There are solutions, and the OTA Forum is exactly the place to go for advice and assistance.
If your TV or Home Theatre system does not contain an integrated digital tuner for OTA (called either an ATSC/QAM or NTSC/ATSC/QAM tuner) you will need to purchase an ATSC Set Top Box (STB), which means that you would plug it into one of the input ports of your HDTV and/or into an input port of your Surround Sound AV receiver. Details of exactly how to connect one will be in its set of instructions, and DHC has a FAQ and many excellent threads on Home Theatre cabling and connections should you require help or information with the hookup.What do ATSC Signal Meters measure?
The OTA Forum is, of course, filled with excellent information specifically about OTA equipment and gear issues, such as antennas, amplifiers, splitters, mounting, cabling, expected reception for your area, etc.
- NTSC = old style analogue signals
- ATSC= new style digital OTA signals
- QAM = new style digital Cable TV signals (discussed elsewhere in the DHC Forums but not in the OTA Forum)
ATSC STBs are available from such manufacturers as LG, Samsung, Viewsonic, Digital Stream, Humax, Panasonic, and others.
Not all ATSC tuners are created equal! The latest Generation 5 and 6 chipsets are vastly improved over earlier models, so while you may find the newest models to be pricey in comparison to older "eBay specials", the performance difference is wide and very noticeable. You get what you pay for, and some poor souls have found that the "great deal" they paid for had a Generation II chipset in it, causing all sorts of reception disappointments.
Not all ATSC tuners output HD! For people who have TVs, VCRs, etc. that get only NTSC (analogue) programming a new type of ATSC tuner is available to allow reception of the new digital OTA stations. These converter boxes are not full-fledged tuners/receivers but in fact simply take the digital OTA signals and convert them to NTSC analogue. For example, the effect on watching a program is that if a true ATSC tuner provides it in 1080i High Definition resolution with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, the converter box downsizes the image to 480i resolution with 2.0 stereo audio. Again, these converter boxes are simply to allow older NTSC gear (TVs, VCRs, etc.) to display the digital OTA programming.
Not all ATSC tuners contain analogue NTSC tuners!. If continuing to receive NTSC analogue signals is part of your OTA viewing goal, make sure that the model of ATSC tuner can receive both ATSC and NTSC signals. The better HDTVs and STBs have seamless integration of both standards into one channel-changing capability, while other models require that the user enter different on-screen interfaces for either one. Almost all of the new U.S. "coupon" boxes are ATSC only, and it is expected that Canadian consumers would just use their remotes to go back and forth between the TV's own NTSC tuner and the new box's ATSC tuner. On a modern CRT TV with Composite or S-Video inputs a consumer would hook up the ATSC tuner box in a similar fashion to a DVD player, and then select either the internal NTSC tuner for the Canadian stations or the correct input for the ATSC tuner box to watch the Canadian and U.S. digital OTA stations.
Some Bell satellite receivers have built-in ATSC tuners, but their OTA picture quality is generally not as high as with the latest ATSC STBs. Also, most satellite receivers require a satellite TV subscription/activation even to use just the ATSC tuner, so they are essentially useless as standalone OTA tuners.
The OTA Forum contains important threads concerning information, availability, technical questions, and prices of ATSC STBs and ATSC-equipped HDTVs.
ATSC Digital OTA TV broadcast signals pour out of the transmitter in waves of computer data made up of ones and zeroes, with a variety of high-tech measures added to guarantee that the receiver at the other end can take the stream of ones and zeroes and reassemble the programming in near perfect resolution and sound quality. Signal meters on ATSC tuners actually don't measure signal "strength" as one might intuitively believe, but rather the percentage of the transmitter's data packets that arrive cleanly through your antenna system and are thus able to be digitally processed.
As your ATSC tuner attempts to lock onto a station it fills a memory cache with all the data it can receive, and as a pattern forms in that data the ATSC tuner knows to look for certain cues in that data in order to lock onto the stream and commence processing it. A certain minimum amount of info is required by the ATSC tuner before it can digitally "lock" onto the signal and begin providing picture and sound. Below that threshold the tuner will not operate on that channel because the stream of ones and zeroes has been broken too much for the error-control measures to fix. This is called the "Cliff Effect" of ATSC broadcasting, in which reception is an all-or-nothing proposition. If you saw this phenomenon on a graph, it would look like a cliff. If the cliff effect is happening all the time on certain channels you may need to consider better OTA gear to get them because they are tantalizingly close to locking. Generation 5 and 6 chipsets are much better than the older ones at making and keeping signal locks.
Unfortunately there is no industry standard in place to harmonize the signal meter readings of one company's ATSC tuners with those of other brands. For example, an LG tuner owner may find that < 80% usually means no picture or sound lock on channel 39, while a Humax owner down the street may find that > 60% is required on the same channel.
Basically, unless someone has the exact same tuner in a very similar circumstance as you, the readings on your signal meter are useful just for your own particular benefit and comparison, such as when repeaking the antenna or rotating it. Even so, DHCers are encouraged to provide their signal meter results and their ATSC tuner brand/model when posting in the Results threads.
For those who require detailed signal "strength" data for their system, such as in deepest fringe reception areas, there are signal analysis tools out there but they're priced way up in the professional range and require a good knowledge of TV signal theory and practice in order to use properly. Your best bet is to contact a professional OTA installer who uses such gear and techniques to come and do a site survey for you.
Some excellent discussions of actual signal "strength" engineering theory can be found in the Understanding OTA DTV Broadcasting Technology in Canada thread:
Here are the threads in which you can find or share info on OTA Gear, Installers, etc.:Why can't we talk about OTA prices and parts places in regular threads?
OTA: BC & Western Canada Parts, Sales, Service, Installers
OTA: Quebec Parts, Sales, Service, Installers
OTA: Ontario Parts, Sales, Service, Installers
OTA: On-Line Parts, Sales
OTA Gear From The U.S.
If you or your company are OTA Parts, Sales, Service, Installation, etc. providers please contact Hugh to advertise: http://www.digitalhome.ca/content/blogsection/3/80/
The DigitalHome web site has a separate forum for discussing where to buy items of all sorts. This is to prevent regular threads from diverting into pricing and availability discussions that tend to stray way off topic. Thus, as per the Rules Of The Forum, we don't discuss prices of OTA gear in regular OTA Forum threads.
VHF-LO ---- (These channels were mostly discontinued after the digital transition yet may be reactivated for TV use in the future) CH Freq in MHz Full Wave 1/2 Wave 1/2 Wave LO MID HI Meters Meters Inches 2 54 57 60 5.26316 2.63158 103.606 3 60 63 66 4.7619 2.38095 93.7382 4 66 69 72 4.34783 2.17392 85.5874 5 76 79 82 3.79747 1.89874 74.7535 6 82 85 88 3.52941 1.7647 69.4764
FM Radio ---- (TV reception hint: a strong local FM Radio station's Second Harmonic can cause interference if it overlaps the frequency of a desired VHF-HI TV channel) Freq in MHz 2nd Harmonic Full Wave 1/2 Wave 1/2 Wave in MHz Meters Meters Inches 88.1 176.2 3.40522 1.70261 67.0319 88.3 176.6 3.39751 1.69876 66.8803 88.5 177 3.38983 1.69491 66.7287 88.7 177.4 3.38219 1.6911 66.5787 88.9 177.8 3.37458 1.68729 66.4287 89.1 178.2 3.367 1.6835 66.2795 89.3 178.6 3.35946 1.67973 66.1311 89.5 179 3.35196 1.67598 65.9835 89.7 179.4 3.34448 1.67224 65.8362 89.9 179.8 3.33704 1.66852 65.6898 90.1 180.2 3.32963 1.66481 65.5437 90.3 180.6 3.32226 1.66113 65.3988 90.5 181 3.31492 1.65746 65.2543 90.7 181.4 3.30761 1.6538 65.1102 90.9 181.8 3.30033 1.65017 64.9673 91.1 182.2 3.29308 1.64654 64.8244 91.3 182.6 3.28587 1.64294 64.6827 91.5 183 3.27869 1.63935 64.5413 91.7 183.4 3.27154 1.63577 64.4004 91.9 183.8 3.26442 1.63221 64.2602 92.1 184.2 3.25733 1.62867 64.1209 92.3 184.6 3.25027 1.62513 63.9815 92.5 185 3.24324 1.62162 63.8433 92.7 185.4 3.23625 1.61813 63.7059 92.9 185.8 3.22928 1.61464 63.5685 93.1 186.2 3.22234 1.61117 63.4319 93.3 186.6 3.21543 1.60772 63.2961 93.5 187 3.20856 1.60428 63.1606 93.7 187.4 3.20171 1.60085 63.0256 93.9 187.8 3.19489 1.59745 62.8917 94.1 188.2 3.1881 1.59405 62.7579 94.3 188.6 3.18134 1.59067 62.6248 94.5 189 3.1746 1.5873 62.4921 94.7 189.4 3.1679 1.58395 62.3602 94.9 189.8 3.16122 1.58061 62.2287 95.1 190.2 3.15457 1.57729 62.098 95.3 190.6 3.14795 1.57397 61.9673 95.5 191 3.14136 1.57068 61.8378 95.7 191.4 3.1348 1.5674 61.7087 95.9 191.8 3.12826 1.56413 61.5799 96.1 192.2 3.12175 1.56088 61.452 96.3 192.6 3.11526 1.55763 61.324 96.5 193 3.10881 1.55441 61.1972 96.7 193.4 3.10238 1.55119 61.0705 96.9 193.8 3.09598 1.54799 60.9445 97.1 194.2 3.0896 1.5448 60.8189 97.3 194.6 3.08325 1.54163 60.6941 97.5 195 3.07692 1.53846 60.5693 97.7 195.4 3.07062 1.53531 60.4453 97.9 195.8 3.06435 1.53218 60.322 98.1 196.2 3.0581 1.52905 60.1988 98.3 196.6 3.05188 1.52594 60.0764 98.5 197 3.04569 1.52285 59.9547 98.7 197.4 3.03951 1.51975 59.8327 98.9 197.8 3.03337 1.51669 59.7122 99.1 198.2 3.02725 1.51362 59.5913 99.3 198.6 3.02115 1.51058 59.4717 99.5 199 3.01508 1.50754 59.352 99.7 199.4 3.00903 1.50452 59.2331 99.9 199.8 3.003 1.5015 59.1142 100.1 200.2 2.997 1.4985 58.9961 100.3 200.6 2.99103 1.49551 58.8783 100.5 201 2.98507 1.49253 58.761 100.7 201.4 2.97915 1.48958 58.6449 100.9 201.8 2.97324 1.48662 58.5283 101.1 202.2 2.96736 1.48368 58.4126 101.3 202.6 2.9615 1.48075 58.2972 101.5 203 2.95567 1.47784 58.1827 101.7 203.4 2.94985 1.47493 58.0681 101.9 203.8 2.94406 1.47203 57.9539 102.1 204.2 2.9383 1.46915 57.8406 102.3 204.6 2.93255 1.46627 57.7272 102.5 205 2.92683 1.46341 57.6146 102.7 205.4 2.92113 1.46056 57.5024 102.9 205.8 2.91545 1.45772 57.3906 103.1 206.2 2.9098 1.4549 57.2795 103.3 206.6 2.90416 1.45208 57.1685 103.5 207 2.89855 1.44928 57.0583 103.7 207.4 2.89296 1.44648 56.948 103.9 207.8 2.88739 1.44369 56.8382 104.1 208.2 2.88184 1.44092 56.7291 104.3 208.6 2.87632 1.43816 56.6205 104.5 209 2.87081 1.43541 56.5122 104.7 209.4 2.86533 1.43267 56.4043 104.9 209.8 2.85987 1.42993 56.2965 105.1 210.2 2.85442 1.42721 56.1894 105.3 210.6 2.849 1.4245 56.0827 105.5 211 2.8436 1.4218 55.9764 105.7 211.4 2.83822 1.41911 55.8705 105.9 211.8 2.83286 1.41643 55.765 106.1 212.2 2.82752 1.41376 55.6598 106.3 212.6 2.8222 1.4111 55.5551 106.5 213 2.8169 1.40845 55.4508 106.7 213.4 2.81162 1.40581 55.3469 106.9 213.8 2.80636 1.40318 55.2433 107.1 214.2 2.80112 1.40056 55.1402 107.3 214.6 2.7959 1.39795 55.0374 107.5 215 2.7907 1.39535 54.935 107.7 215.4 2.78552 1.39276 54.8331 107.9 215.8 2.78035 1.39017 54.7311
VHF-HI ---- (These channels are remaining in use post-transition) CH Freq in MHz Full Wave 1/2 Wave 1/2 Wave LO MID HI Meters Meters Inches 7 174 177 180 1.69492 0.84746 33.3646 8 180 183 186 1.63934 0.81967 32.2705 9 186 189 192 1.5873 0.79365 31.2461 10 192 195 198 1.53846 0.76923 30.2846 11 198 201 204 1.49254 0.74627 29.3807 12 204 207 210 1.44928 0.72464 28.5291 13 210 213 216 1.40845 0.704225 27.7254
UHF ---- (These channels are remaining in use post-transition. *Channel 37 is reserved for astronomy so is never assigned a TV use) CH Freq in MHz Full Wave 1/2 Wave 1/2 Wave LO MID HI Meters Meters Inches 14 470 473 476 0.634249 0.317124 12.4852 15 476 479 482 0.626305 0.313153 12.3289 16 482 485 488 0.618557 0.309279 12.1763 17 488 491 494 0.610998 0.305499 12.0275 18 494 497 500 0.603622 0.301811 11.8823 19 500 503 506 0.596421 0.29821 11.7406 20 506 509 512 0.589391 0.294695 11.6022 21 512 515 518 0.582524 0.291262 11.467 22 518 521 524 0.575816 0.287908 11.335 23 524 527 530 0.56926 0.28463 11.2059 24 530 533 536 0.562852 0.281426 11.0798 25 536 539 542 0.556586 0.278293 10.9564 26 542 545 548 0.550459 0.27523 10.8358 27 548 551 554 0.544465 0.272232 10.7178 28 554 557 560 0.5386 0.2693 10.6024 29 560 563 566 0.53286 0.26643 10.4894 30 566 569 572 0.527241 0.26362 10.3787 31 572 575 578 0.521739 0.260869 10.2704 32 578 581 584 0.516351 0.258176 10.1644 33 584 587 590 0.511073 0.255536 10.0605 34 590 593 596 0.505902 0.252951 9.9587 35 596 599 602 0.500835 0.250418 9.85898 36 602 605 608 0.495868 0.247934 9.76118 37* 608 611 614 0.490998 0.245499 9.66532 38 614 617 620 0.486224 0.243112 9.57134 39 620 623 626 0.481541 0.24077 9.47913 40 626 629 632 0.476948 0.238474 9.38874 41 632 635 638 0.472441 0.23622 9.3 42 638 641 644 0.468019 0.23401 9.21299 43 644 647 650 0.463679 0.23184 9.12756 44 650 653 656 0.459418 0.229709 9.04366 45 656 659 662 0.455235 0.227618 8.96134 46 662 665 668 0.451128 0.225564 8.88047 47 668 671 674 0.447094 0.223547 8.80106 48 674 677 680 0.443131 0.221565 8.72303 49 680 683 686 0.439239 0.219619 8.64642 50 686 689 692 0.435414 0.217707 8.57114 51 692 695 698 0.431655 0.215828 8.49717
UHF ---- (These channels have been reassigned to other non-TV uses after the digital transition was completed) CH Freq in MHz Full Wave 1/2 Wave 1/2 Wave LO MID HI Meters Meters Inches 52 698 701 704 0.42796 0.21398 8.42441 53 704 707 710 0.424328 0.212164 8.35291 54 710 713 716 0.420757 0.210378 8.2826 55 716 719 722 0.417246 0.208623 8.2135 56 722 725 728 0.413793 0.206897 8.14555 57 728 731 734 0.410397 0.205199 8.0787 58 734 737 740 0.407056 0.203528 8.01291 59 740 743 746 0.403769 0.201884 7.94819 60 746 749 752 0.400534 0.200267 7.88453 61 752 755 758 0.397351 0.198676 7.82189 62 758 761 764 0.394218 0.197109 7.7602 63 764 767 770 0.391134 0.195567 7.69949 64 770 773 776 0.388098 0.194049 7.63972 65 776 779 782 0.385109 0.192554 7.58087 66 782 785 788 0.382166 0.191083 7.52295 67 788 791 794 0.379267 0.189634 7.46591 68 794 797 800 0.376412 0.188206 7.40969 69 800 803 806 0.373599 0.1868 7.35433
Some people will find that an outdoor antenna can simply be mounted onto an outdoor wall with a bracket. Condo or apartment dwellers might put their antenna on a pole weighted in a large flower planter, or clamp a pole to their deck railing. Home owners might use a tall metal pole sunk several feet into the ground. Others will need to have their antenna as high as possible to receive the desired stations so will use a roof-top antenna using a tripod or chimney-mount. For all your antenna mount needs, see the OTA Mounts, Towers, Rigging Hardware thread.How High Should My Antenna Be?
In layman's terms, raising the antenna shows real benefits to a point, at which the more time, money, and labour it takes to raise the antenna past that point, the lesser the benefit per dollar/hour/back spasm is achieved (the law of diminishing returns). For this reason I only recommend tall towers to people known to be in deepest fringe areas. For some rare occasions the local conditions of other folks might dictate a tower even if they are in a closer range. For the vast, vast majority of OTA users the point of diminishing returns will never be reached because reception will have already been found to be satisfactory well below that point. Having said that, in some unusual situations reception can be improved by lowering the antenna due to local issues. Deciding on whether to use a tower should be done after reading through the Reception Results thread for your area to understand local reception issues that might require one.What about using a tower?
A few OTA users will want to opt for either a guy-wired tower or a free-standing, self supported tower, while rural dwellers in deep to deepest fringe areas will likely need to use a tower 10m (~35 feet) in height or beyond. Physics tells us that apart from bearing the weight load downwards, the point of greatest strain (urge to tip over) on an antenna mast that is not free-standing is at its highest point of bracing. A free-standing mast that has no bracing or guy wires has all its points of strain occurring down where it leaves the concrete. For that reason, manufacturers make the bases of free-stading masts very stout. A non-free-standing mast will experience its maximum tipping strain at the connection point of its top guy wires, or at the location where it is bolted onto a roof end joist if no guy wires are used.What materials are recommended for building a mast or mount?
For a very Canadian example, hold a hockey stick above your head. No big deal, right? Now tape your skates onto the blade of the hockey stick and hold it above your head again. Notice that while the weight of the stick is on your lower hand, the strain of keeping it straight upwards is on your upper hand. That is the same tipping force felt by the top-most antenna mount guy wires and/or bracing point brackets.
Choice of materials is critical when creating your pole or mast plans. For non-welded assembly (using nuts & bolts) your best bet is 1.5" O.D. galvanized steel conduit pipe (often called EMT for Electrical Metallic Tubing) which is common in major hardware stores in 4' to 12' lengths. It is known for its stiffness and rust/corrosion protection, as are galvanized or zinc-dipped fasteners. Welding galvanized steel is extrememly toxic so should only be done by a trained welder. If standard steel pipe is used it must be thoroughly coated in rustproofing paint before non-welded assembly or after welding. Try to use stainless steel fasteners for least corrosion. Some low-stress poles can be of extruded steel piping, but those are typically not strong enough for heavier antennas or rotor use. Plastics are not always strong enough for a pole or mast, but can be used in some situations as you can see in the ABS, PVC and other plastics for structural parts thread. Avoid using wood outdoors (even if coated) as it is subject to mildew, rot, and breakage. Pressure-treated lumber has copper product on it so must be avoided due to its mild signal-reflection properties.Is there danger of a lightning strike or other such problem?
While direct lightning strikes on homes with outdoor antennas are exceedingly rare, it is still important to ensure proper grounding of your outdoor OTA gear since nearby strikes can create bursts of electromagnetic interference that could damage sensitive equipment. It is not only sensible to ground your gear properly but it is also necessary for proper home insurance protection and to meet your local electrical code. The Grounding Info & Standards: OTA/Dish/CATV/Telecom thread has everything you'll need to know about it.Should I tilt my antenna up or down?
Most people can simply mount an antenna without tilting it, although in deep to deepest fringe areas it may sometimes be helpful to tilt the antenna upwards a bit. Pointing the antenna downwards is not an option. Sometimes there are situations in which the line-of-sight from an antenna to a broadcast antenna up on a mountain or tower is upwards, in which case tilting the antenna to match that line makes sense. The Tilting Antenna for Better Reception thread is dedicated to this topic.Can I mount my antenna sideways to save space?
All TV antennas for use in North America must be mounted exactly as per their instructions, which ensures that they are receiving signals horizontally. If you tip the antenna on its side it would now be vertically polarized. The reason vertical orientation won't work is that the originating signals from all North American TV stations are polarized in the horizontal plain (in some parts of the world TV was in the vertical plain but I think that's not so anymore) so a vertical antenna is only capable of picking up just the tiniest slice of signal per wave. In computer modeling of antennas for North America the vertical parts of a reflector mesh are almost dead of signal even while the horizontal segments are booming with signal.Can I put my antenna up in a tree?
Nearby trees can be a problem for UHF reception, although VHF signals are much more succesful at penetrating trees and forests. Trees should never be used for mounting antennas, as discussed in the OTA: The Big Trees Factor thread.Can I run Cable TV and OTA on the same coax line?
You cannot have Cable TV signals on the same coaxial cable as OTA TV signals. They use the same frequency bands so they would interfere with each other, if not cancel each other out on certain channels. Further, there would be a high risk of signal leakage, which is treated very seriously by the authorities. For more information see the Signal Leakage Between CATV and OTA FAQ.Any other tips?
Always remember the old saying that what goes up must come down, so double check all the mount points and fittings for solid security. Some minor installations can be done alone, but it is always better to have an assistant for any job requiring rooftop, ladder, or climbing work. Do not mount an antenna within 2m (6 feet) of an overhead electrical utility line.
Here are the typical coaxial cable types used in OTA reception, with a brief description of their best uses:
For regular use without local interference across the TV bands, Quad-shield RG6 is overkill and an annoyance at crimping time, in my experience.
- Regular RG-6 for almost any OTA use
- Quad-shield RG-6 if you have a lot of very local interference affecting the TV and/or FM Radio bands
- Plenum-rated RG-6 for stringing through heating ducts has a special anti-smoke outer sheath - safety feature regarding house fires
- Underground-rated RG-6 for stringing under grass, in a trench, or inside conduit that goes through a pond or high-moisture area
- P3 Hardwire or RG-11 for continuous lengths of over 100 feet/30 metres in any of the above situations - requires pro tools and fittings not common in stores - P3 is highest performing
- RG-59 for very short, flexible connector jumpers if RG-6 is too stiff to make tight bends:
- at the receiver end
- balun-to-preamp connections
- Messenger-type is regular, standard coaxial cable that has a separate steel wire of about 16AWG bonded to the outside of the shielding to be used for alternative purposes
In the past if I wanted good RG-6 of any sort I'd go to a wholesaler and they'd cut it off their spool for me and charge by the foot or metre. Buying boxes of RG-6 in hardware stores or even Wal-Marts was not at all common. It was all RG-59 in those stores, and in short lengths.
Today the consumer marketplace has good deals on bulk or large-box RG-6 in different varieties, so for some people seeing the low prices on each type the quad-shield rating seems like a plus even though they will likely never see any OTA reception benefit to it. If they buy the quad-shield and are satisfied with its performance, all the power in the world to them but I would not spend any extra money on it unless I already knew there was an interference problem to be fixed.
The OTA Cabling: RG-6, RG-59, RG-11, Twin-Lead, Crimping, Other Tips thread contains a wealth of information and real world experiences with coaxial cable.
Over the years that the OTA Forum has been in operation we've seen reports of suddenly disappearing channels every autumn. This has sometimes caused members to have to improve their OTA gear over what they had installed during the warmer months. The biggest culprit in Southern Ontario along Lake Ontario seems to be WGRZ-DT in Buffalo, and for many other people ION or other stations go away for the winter. Similarly, some people in the GTA will find that they won't be able to get Rochester stations again until the next summer. In the Montreal and Ottawa areas some people will find that their U.S. stations are also suddenly too weak for a digital lock during the winter, while in Southwestern Ontario the Toledo and Cleveland stations' signals may die off. In the Lower Mainland of B.C. the effects of tropospheric skip and ducting are low all year round, while the predominantly rainy weather from October through April can reduce distant SeaTac OTA signals such that summertime reception levels are gone.Will my OTA gear be okay during all the seasons and in various weather conditions?
Put very simply, atmospheric conditions such as tropospheric skip and ducting can create conditions during the hot summer months in which TV signals can travel terrific distances, but the autumn, winter, and spring is when they are at their normal, predictable levels. Thus, winter time is the absolute best opportunity to test your OTA gear, and conversely high summer is the worst. Here are the rules of thumb for OTA testing throughout the year:
Consult the Reception Results thread for your area to see how others have improved their reception to meet the winter reception challenges (preamps, better antennas, towers, etc.) and check posts from previous winters for ideas.
- The best time of year to put up OTA gear is in the early spring or in late autumn since rooftop heat or snow/ice will not be a problem.
- The worst time of year to test reception is in the summer due to tropospheric skip, ducting, and leafy trees.
- The best time of year to test reception is in the depth of winter since most or all of the deciduous trees will have lost their leaves and most or all of the atmospheric effects will not be occurring.
Weatherproofing is very important for outdoor antennas and OTA gear, so check out the OTA Waterproofing, Sealants, Adhesives, Paint thread.
Here's how to always have the newest, latest posts displayed when you open a thread (I highly advise it!):How can I see a list of active threads (with unread posts):
- In the navbar click on "User CP"
- under "Your Control Panel" at the left of the screen select "Edit Options"
- scroll down to "Thread Display Mode"
- select "Linear - Newest First"
- under "Forum Skin" select "Digital Home Fluid" (the best skin for showing embedded links properly)
As a logged-in member at this site, set your web browser's Bookmark/Favourite link for the www.digitalhome.ca site to actually point to your User CP page rather than any other link at this site. You can do that by putting the mouse cursor over User CP in the blue navbar and right clicking to get to the browser's menu for adding it to your Bookmarks/Favourites. This is a great tip because each time you log in to this site you will be shown a list of all the threads with unread posts in them that you have either posted in previously or have subscribed to.What do you recommend that I subscribe to?
Thread and Forum subscriptions are an excellent way to be brought up to speed on threads of most interest to you, and you can unsubscribe from any of those threads or forum as you wish.
To subscribe to a Thread:
To subscribe to a Forum:
- note that when you post in a thread you are automatically subscribed to it until you choose to unsubscribe from it
- go to the main OTA Forum
- click on a thread of interest
- in the blue navbar click on Thread Tools
- select Subscribe to this Thread
- repeat with other Threads as desired
- click on User CP to confirm the new listing(s)
If you are very keen on OTA I recommend subscribing to:
- go to the site's main Digital Forum list
- click on the OTA Forum link
- in the blue navbar click on Forum Tools
- select Subscribe to this Forum
- repeat with other Forums as desired
- click on User CP to confirm the new listing(s)
- the main OTA Forum
- the Reception Results sub-forum
- the Antenna Research & Development sub-forum
- the Where Can I buy and general buying discussions forum because of the great OTA buy and sell threads stickied at the top there
- If you speak/read French, the OTA en français sub-forum
- A variety of OTA-related Home Theatre Computer threads are found in the Home Theatre Personal Computer (HTPC) and Media Extenders forum
Think of the OTA Forum as more of a Knowledge Base than a simple discussion forum.Where did my post go?
Thread discussions can sometimes wander or split into other good topics, so part of the OTA Forum's goal is to put that great info into places where it will be most clear and of most benefit to users. If you're not sure in which thread to post a question, post it in the main forum and if it belongs, the moderator can move it into place (but greatly prefers that you get it in the right one first).
If you lose track of where your post has gone, simply go to the DHC Quick Links menu and pull down to "My Posts". Another method is to go to one of your previous posts anywhere on the DHC site and click on your own user name to the left to get to the "Find More Posts By..."Why was the title of my post changed, or why was a title added?
I enjoy the many compliments I've received over the years on the clarity and ease of finding information in the OTA Forum, and occasional (though rare) title changes for topic clarification are part of that. Generally a post's title might be changed in the OTA Forum Reception Results threads to indicate the member's location, such as their city and nearest major street corner. Another type of title edit in any of the OTA Forums might be in order to change a vague title to a more informative one, such as a change from "Settings" to "How To Adjust My Rotor's Accuracy", etc. etc.
|antenna , atsc , chart , faq , hdtv , knowledge base , ntsc , ota , stampeder|
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