: ON - Ottawa, Vanier, Gloucester, Orleans - OTA

2011-03-24, 06:50 PM

A preamp worked wonders for me from my test location when I was getting only locals. With only about 30 feet inside the house, adding a preamp moved the channels I was getting marginally to solid.
Later I ran into the problem of having too much signal from the preamp and getting worse reception when using no splitters and one tuner. The simple fix was to put a splitter before my tuner. All in all, I always got better reception when using a preamp in Ottawa, I tried it in the house, on the mast, ... And in all cases it gave me better results. If you have all channels solid then you don't need one, but if you lose channels, have borderline ones or during bad weather then my opinion is it will help you.

2011-03-25, 01:23 AM
Thanks flavoie, set myself up so I can add one if I need it.

Is there a way to connect cable and an antenna to the same TV. I have basic cable for the next 30 days (or maybe longer) and would like to have both hooked up if possible.

Perhaps a connector that converts coax to HDMI or a coax switch?

Anyone know of the options?

2011-03-25, 09:44 AM
A preamp worked wonders for me from my test location when I was getting only locals. With only about 30 feet inside the house, adding a preamp moved the channels I was getting marginally to solid.

That is a sign of a frequently overlooked reason for using a pre-amp, a noisy first stage amp in your tuner. Since only the noise factor of the first amp in the chain is important, if the per-amp is better than the first stage amp in your TV, you will see an improvement even if conventional wisdom says you won't. In the old days, all TVs had great amps since most people used antennas and many didn't have pre-amps. Now that most people have cable (which provides a strong, amplified signal) many TV manufacturers cheep out on the first stage amp. This is also why distribution amplifiers are usually noisier than pre-amps, since the designer assumes that it won't be the first amplifier in the chain (not necessarily to be cheap, but because of other trade-offs).

2011-03-25, 09:50 AM
Is there a way to connect cable and an antenna to the same TV. I have basic cable for the next 30 days (or maybe longer) and would like to have both hooked up if possible.

While the signals can't be combined directly, since they use the same frequencies, you do have a few options.

Some TVs have 2 RF inputs, one for cable and one for antenna.
Use an A/B switch to select the source, though you may need to do a re-scan on your TV every time you throw the switch.
Use a digital box for either OTA or cable (and connect the other directly to your TV). A cable box may be the better choice as you can rent one (saving the investment) and it is necessary to watch cable channels in HD.

2011-03-25, 09:50 AM
Thanks flavoie, set myself up so I can add one if I need it.

Is there a way to connect cable and an antenna to the same TV. I have basic cable for the next 30 days (or maybe longer) and would like to have both hooked up if possible.

Perhaps a connector that converts coax to HDMI or a coax switch?

That's called an HD cable set top box!

Seriously, it depends on the kinds of inputs you have on your TV.

Some TVs have switchable antenna inputs -- you can hook the cable up to one, and the antenna to the other. This doesn't always work well, since the isolation between ports is not always the greatest, and some models, while allowing switchable inputs, don't always allow for each input to be tuned in a different mode (TV/cable). In those cases, you switching from cable to TV is a two-step process -- press the antenna switch on the remote, and then dig into the menu system to switch tuning modes.

The other way, if you have a Cable Set Top box which has baseband outputs (RCA or S-Video, or HDMI), to connect those to the TV< and to leave the RF output unconnected. Use the RF input on the TV for the antenna.

2011-04-04, 12:49 AM
I'm trying to decide if investing in a better antenna is worth it...

Right now i've got one of those $20 Monoprice antennas... Live in an apartment building in Sandy Hill, window facing South down Chapel St...

I can pick up 4.1, 9.1, and 20.1 in Digital, and pretty much everything in Analog (really fuzzy though, 65 coming in the best and 13 coming in the worst)...

Since i'm pretty much constrained to an indoor antenna, is trying out a different one even worth it? Does anyone in this area have experience?

2011-04-04, 09:32 AM
Hi CorSter, please input your address and height in tvfool.com to generate a report and post it here for others to see. I notice you are not getting HC digital channels even though you are pointing south, so i'm curious to see what TVFool says about HC channel strengths for the few digital channels coming from the south.

2011-04-04, 01:38 PM
Thanks, here's my report:

I should mention that when I first bought this same antenna (Monoprice DA-8000), about two years ago, using my roommates old 19" Sharp TV, I was able to get 66.1 in Digital depending where I positioned the antenna - now I can't even get a signal to show up with my new LG.

If I tune in to 17.1, I can see a low signal (approx 25%) but obviously not enough to lock in the station. I do get all the HC channels in Analog, but they're equally as unwatchable as the analog channels from CF. (If the transition wasn't in a few months i'd try a new antenna simply to improve analog reception, but it's not worth investing in since everything's getting shut off on August 31st anyways)

2011-04-04, 02:36 PM
I've been reading this forum for the last two weeks and finally made up my mind to build Antennas. I analyzed my TV fool Below:


Looking at my TV fool, it appears to me I need two antennas one pointed to southeast and one to the north. I've few question:

1. Do I need to use preamp? If yes, which one? CM7777? or CM7778?
2. Considering my location, which antenna will be best for me?

I do not have a TV, but I have an ATSC tuner in my PC with a huge Monitor (32"). In the past I've tried Zenith indoor antenna from tigerdirect but failed receive many digital channels. I only got 2 digital channels and few analogs. I called tigerdirect and they suggested the indoor antenna is not working due to concrete walls. I can try indoor without amplifier or outdoor antennas. I tried Coat hanger antennas last year and did not see much improvement in digital channels. I probably need to get a proper software as well.

I tried Windows Media centre and hauppauge. Is there any better software?

I'm going to Metal supermarket this weekend and will buy the hardware for the antenna. I need to decide on antenna before that.


2011-04-04, 02:37 PM
Since your LG tuner looks not that good I will not only recommend a good antenna, but you should consider adding a preamp as well. This will make your tuner sensibility not as important and let the preamp do the hard work.
You can decide what you try first, antenna, preamp or both.

Depending on how much eyesore you can afford indoors, you can definitely improve from your monoprice antenna, starting from a Zenith Silver Sensor (or clone) to a larger DB2 or Channel Master 4220 or 4221, then add a preamp like a channel master 7777 or 7778. The 7777 does have separate VHF and UHF inputs which could be handy if you wish to combine rabbit ears for VHF to that new UHF antenna.

Look at the antenna decision chart to help you. Have a look here: http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=97121

2011-04-04, 09:32 PM
I went to The Source today and picked up a Trek HDTVa - which appears to be a Silver Sensor clone... with my window open, and the antenna facing due south, I can pick up City and the two Omni's (signal strength around 50%, but enough for a solid picture)... with the Window closed, I get 27, with picture break ups on 17 and nothing on 66...

Now the Trek comes with an in-line amp, but i'm pretty sure it's a piece of junk... so my options at this point are to keep the antenna and keep the window open when I want to watch TV, keep the Trek but replace the included amp with a better pre-amp, or return the antenna and go back to my old one/buy a different one.

Any suggestions (in particular on my second option?)

2011-04-04, 09:44 PM
Another option
Return terk antenna
Get a cm 4220 or 4221 with or without a cm 7777 in Ottawa

2011-04-05, 12:14 AM
I looked in to the DB2/CM4220, but the issue for me then becomes I don't have anywhere to mount it...then again the Terk doesn't really fit well in my window either.

I'm going to look into it a bit more. Thanks for all your help...

2011-04-05, 12:52 AM

I am new to the forum and looking for some antenna help.

I am making the move to HDTV due to the upcoming switch in August.

Currently, we have a small 20-year old TV with an indoor Nexttech antenna (from The Source) that picks up most standard definition channels adequately enough for us.

I now have a new digital flatscreen TV that I will be wall mounting and have to figure out how best to hook up an antenna. The old one is not wall mountable and only picks up the CBC digital channel (4.1). Unfortunately, the location of the TV is on an inner wall (facing north) and not near a window.

I am located in the Alta Vista neighbourhood. I have tried a bunch of indoor antennas from "The Source" (e.g. TERK flat omni-directional, amplified or not) and FutureShop (e.g. RCA, flat, amplified or not) and have been able to get many more digital channels than the CBC channel from inside the house.
To make matters more "interesting", I am in an older house that is not wired for cable at all and don't know where I should start drilling holes, etc.

Here is what TV fools tells me (no antenna height entered):


So what I really need is some help with antenna selection. I have looked at the decision chart for OTA Antennas in Canada, but haven't been able to find a local source for the recommended indoor antennas (i.e. Zenith Silver Sensor or Winegard Sharp Shooter). Has anyone tried these here in Ottawa? Where can you buy them?

I would like to get as many channels as reasonably possible (i.e more than one would be nice :) ).

My other questions are the following:

1. Will I have to put an antenna in the attic or outside if I want more channels or is there a really good indoor antenna out there somewhere?
2. How difficult is it to put something in the attic given that I have a low slope roof?
3. If I go with an outdoor antenna, where should the cable run?
4. Can anyone living in this neighbourhood of Ottawa recommend an antenna that will give us good coverage? One of the sales people at "The Source" mentioned that this area of Ottawa was known for not having good indoor reception compared to other areas (e.g. St. Laurent), but I don't know how true this is.
5. Will I have to buy an amplified antenna (at the moment I only have one TV set)?
6. Can somebody recommend some good retailers?

Thanks very much for any assistance that you are able to provide.

2011-04-05, 08:13 AM
Corster, the cm4220mhd is a version with mount included. Google "cm4220mhd ottawa"...

I don't know if the mount would work for your situation but you should look it up.

2011-04-05, 08:24 AM
Rabbi Tears:

Welcome to the forum!

rabbitears TV FOOL: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d8d1743e7061c02

Your tears will be a-flowin' when you waste big money on a "good" indoor antenna.

I suggest that even though it takes a bit of time and effort, you'll never regret installing a decent outdoor antenna. You'll probably discover that an indoor antenna will cost more than an outdoor antenna and will not give you as good results.

If you want to have a chance to get PBS, you'll need a roof-mounted (outdoor) Channel Master 4228hd with a pre-amp (probably Channel Master 7778) -- but local thread readers will correct me if there is a better solution than this.

If you want to take a shot at getting Channel 7 (with Fox and CBS) you might want to add a good VHF-high antenna. Maybe the Winegard YA 17-13.

If you decide to get the Winegard VHF High antenna, then you could consider an Antennas Direct DB8 antenna instead of the Channel Master 4228hd. The DB8 can be used for UHF.

Local thread readers will chime in if they think my suggestion will not work for Global HD come August.

There are a few shops in Ottawa who will either have these antennas or order them in for you. See the "where to buy" threads.

2011-04-05, 08:53 AM
Rabbitears has a better chance at the WWNY relay on channel 18 (WNYF-LD 28.1/28.2) than getting channel 7 directly, so I wouldn't bother with a channel 7 antenna.

Unless you are blocked by nearby buildings, I'm not sure why you're not getting more local stations. How is your analog reception?

2011-04-05, 09:11 AM
In light of TVLurker's idea, I'd go with an outdoor-mounted CM4228hd + 7778 pre-amp mounted on roof outdoors. 4228hds should be relatively easy to get in Ottawa.

2011-04-05, 10:39 AM
For an outdoor antenna in Ottawa...
-if you have a shot at WNYF in TVFool (-10 NM or higher) and willing to get Global using a VHF antenna, the UHF antenna with the very best gain on channel 18(28.1) would be:
Winegard HD8800

but this antenna is not very good at VHF, so you'd need to not care about VHF or plan to use a separate VHF antenna and combine it with the 8800. If I had to do it again, I'd use an HD8800 with my VHF antenna.

-if you want to try a single antenna for everything first (which is what i tried first and gets very good results too):

if both UHF and VHF antennas are around the same area, a cm7777 preamp is very good to combine them at the same time as amping.

2011-04-05, 11:00 AM
heemu, you don't need 2 antennas. If you keep one antenna pointed south east you will get the channels coming from the north as well. The analogs will look very distorted, but the digital channels will be perfect. And in august when they all become digital channels i think they will all be perfect.

I suggest a preamp if you intend of getting the PBS channels from the US, or generally want the best margin in case of rain/bad weather.

I use Windows Media centre myself and you should direct your questions about software under this forum: http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=31

If you wish to make antennas, have a look at the antenna R&D forum