: ON - Mississauga, Brampton, Bramalea, Port Credit - OTA
2010-04-27, 01:50 AM
Hello all! I'm a newbie here, living in Mississauga. Got my Rogers cable disconnected recently due to cost-cutting and been recently laid off. So this spring, I'd like to start on my OTA project. Upon recommendation from a friend, I bought an Antra AT-MB04 antenna (a CM-4221 clone) like what he uses and it has a strong reception with all the Toronto-Buffalo stations. Maybe living on the 21st floor also helps. How high does my tower have to be? I have access to at least a 50 tower from my parent's backyard that is not being used anymore.
Is there anything else I need, aside from the TV, to gain better reception? Thanks for all your input?
Actually, I also bought a Hauppauge 1250 PC hdtv tuner to try out my antenna's effectiveness. It's hanging by the window facing southeast. Right now, I'm getting the following US and Canadian stations:
17.1 (WNED but sometimes have to re-direct)
25.1 (CBC French)
36.1 (CTS but very weak)
44.1 (OMNI 2)
64.1 (OMNI 1)
66.1 (SUN TV)
2010-04-27, 11:14 AM
Hello all! I'm a newbie here, living in Mississauga.
Hi Diigii, Maybe you accidentally hit the scarborogh rather than Missisauga thread.
Although I live east GTA, most of the installs I've done are West GTA. We usually get good reception in mississauga, if you're on high ground. You need to get the antenna above the tree and roof line. Basically, you need to be high enough to have Line Of Sight to the lake.
I can't comment on the performance of the clone, never use them, but if it was 1/2 price it'll probably work about 1/2 as well.
Once you have the height, and for some, if the house is high enough, a short J-pole on the roof works, Then start with the antenna pointing directly at NBC. Scan for channels and see if you get all buffalo/toronto/hamilton channels. If you don't get City for instance, pan a bit east and try again. If you go too far you start to loose buf or ham.
In that area, I usually recommend a pre-amp with a 4221. Or I recommend a DB-8 with a distribution amp if you're feeding more than 1 TV.
2010-04-27, 12:42 PM
Thanks Tom.F.1. Actually, I did post by mistake. Sorry about that. Actually, I do have access to an unused disassembled 50' tower from my parent's house that I can bring over here in Mississauga. And yes, I didn't realized that my Antra is one of the much-hated ******** clones here. I only learned about that as I was reading thru the forums till late 3am this morning. I'll get the CM-4221HD as soon as I can. Also, thanks for the distribution amp tip since I'll be installing the antenna to at least 2 TV's for the foreseeable future.
2010-04-27, 02:38 PM
I lost all channels around Apr 13 and having been receiving since.
CM 4221 with pre-amp on the roof.
Is there broadcasting issues from Toronto or is it just my set up ?
2010-04-27, 04:38 PM
You lost all your channels? Including Buffalo?
If so, that suggests something got disconnected somewhere. The pre-amp won't pass a signal unless it's powered. Maybe check to make sure it's still getting power.
I'm a few blocks to the east of you near Erin Mills Parkway and haven't noticed any changes with my setup. In fact, ION (51.1, .2, .3) is coming in more consistently now.
2010-04-28, 09:40 PM
I hope I can get some "reliability" with ION this summer. And hopefully I can finally put to bed my banes with WGRZ. Maybe then I can start helping others on this forum :P
RustyHD, on a scale out of 100%, how often do you get ION nowadays? It must be the fact that ION is directional East/West so aiming straight at their tower is useless. Does the stack make a huge difference?
And how are your analog channels? I notice with my clone, the Toronto analogs are very ghosty :/
2010-04-29, 04:51 PM
So today I decided to try one of the 4221HDs, just to see if it would blow my clone out of the water. Disconnected the 7777.
Things got worse. I saw a marginal improvement in analog CKVR.
CKVR analog became slightly more watchable.
WIVB went from 80% on my clone to 40% and pixelating badly.
CFTO went from 65% on my clone to 43% and barely locking.
OMNI2 went from 75% to 20%, not locking at all.
CITY went from 75% to 20% not locking at all.
Everything else no changes. What baffles me most is that only certain channels (scattered along the spectrum) were affected, while some remained perfelctly unchanged.
I figured okay let's try the preamp again. But guess what? It got even worse. My tuner was basically recieving garbage across the channel spectrum. Nothing was watchable, digitals at paltry 10-30%. No locks, and even analog TVO became garbage. Now THAT's driving me bonkers.
Could it be defective preamp or balun?
The only hack I did on the antenna was to remove the plastic caps.
I'm not going to stack until I can decipher what's going on here...
So I tried to hack the 4221HD by first removing the plastic caps. Went back up, and the signals got weaker by around 5-10% and lost lock on WNYB. Today I went back and flipped the balun, and things got even worse.
So basically since I removed the clone, my OTA went down the toilet, and I don't know why, and this is extremely frustrating. I haven't even tried to stack them yet. Why bother when you can't even get one to work properly? I'm not blaming CM at all, I think this is a fluke.
What did I do wrong?
2010-04-30, 09:23 PM
I presumed you have a brand new CM4221...Let's do this.
Other than the balun, very little difference in terms of hardware (the metal part) between CM and clone.
Do a simple test...
1. Just connect the CM4221 to your tuner (nothing in between, no amp, spilter etc) with good cable. If it is bad reception, do the step 2.
2. Get a new balun (from home depot or walmart), just clip it to CM4221 and test again.
Let us know how it goes.
2010-04-30, 09:46 PM
Could be atmospheric conditions- WUTV which is 24/7 for me has flaked, while WNYO (usually weaker) is booming. Gotta test over a long period.
2010-04-30, 10:08 PM
I had the clone on a 10ft tripod above ground level and the Buffalos were all booming as usual. The 4221HD was on a 30foot tower and was struggling. It's more towards Toronto actually. But WIVB was really the odd one. Both were side-by-side on TVFool, yet WIVB was gone, and WKBW was still there. I usually pair the two when describing reception. Never had an issue with it before. I read some posts about the balun positioning causing multipath? Same with CFTO (how does one lose CFTO in the GTA?!), the problem channels seemed to be randomly scattered.
How much difference does stacking make in terms of beam width? I mean it doesn't make much sense having reception decrease after doing the hacks (let alone between the clone and 4221HD)
I DID notice that out of the box something seemed funny about the both 4221s. The whiskers were slightly off-parrallel to the reflector, and the balun (flipped) was also off-parrallel to the boom.
The difference off-parrallel was only about 2-3 degrees so I thought it was normal/manufacturing (the diff. was equal on both antennas). I couldn't bend it, it was already like that when I extended the antenna and screwed the wing nuts. Could that be why?
2010-04-30, 10:19 PM
I flipped the balun today and it actually made things worse. I tried the no-amp thing too, I also swapped with the second 4221 alone to see if anything changed, but it didn't.
I guess it's either a really bad day to test, or I just have really bad luck :(
I'll try swapping the balun though. I got some old 300-75 cylinder transformers lying around. Will that work?
2010-04-30, 11:04 PM
Having said that you just bought 2 new HD's, and had such poor results from both?, I would think the problem is not an antenna problem. The chance of getting 2 dead units is highly unlikely.
Focus on your connections and cabling.
2010-05-01, 11:23 AM
I don't think you have an antenna problem. The hack will give you a wider beamwidth and it could result in slight loss at some frequencies, but the hacks could not cause that much signal loss, unless you accidentally hooked your preamp power supply to the balun and damaged the balun on the new HD antennas. Since you said you've tried 2 new antennas [one hacked and one un-hacked] and had the same result,.. most likely it's a cabling or a poor connection problem.
2010-05-01, 11:39 AM
I think this time of the year is real bad time to compare antennae as signal strengths are so variable.Unless you have both up and mounted at the same time with separate feeds to compare at same time.
2010-05-01, 01:58 PM
the balun is easily replacable though right? I could just hook a standard 300-75 transformer and be done with? Do I need to remove the other one first?
I'll check the cabling, but I figure it was okay because i had it attached to the clone the day before.
2010-05-01, 02:01 PM
Hook up the clone again, and if the reception is still screwed up then you'll have confirmed that a connection or two has gone bad.
2010-05-01, 03:42 PM
Just get a decent balun (abt. $2.00) and tape it on to the metal bar about the same location where the existing balun is. You don't have to remove the existing one for now since you are just performing trouble-shooting.
Also today is not a good day to do signal measurement since the south of the border has bad weather. You may not get some of the US channels... The T.O. channels are just ok reception.
2010-05-01, 04:02 PM
Actually I have a temporary fix. Appears even the 7778 has too much amplification. Stuck it 50 feet away from the 'tenna and I'm getting every channel except ION. Even ION has signal showing 10-15%. Overall signal strength down across the board (I was getting mostly 70-80 on the Buffalos with the clone), so I still suspect something wrong, but it's a net gain of 3 channels from my clone so I'm happy for now. Will check what's up Monday when it all clears up.
CKVR Snowy/watchable/some static (interference?)
CFTO 45% (but locking...for now/multipath?)
CICA Very ghosty/wobbly. (multipath?)
Will try to swap to clone, then if not swap balun. Then perhaps I'll stack.
2010-05-01, 07:13 PM
By looking at tvfool of your location, Buffalo and CN Tower is almost 90 degree apart. I think it will be a little challenging to do it with one antenna (even stacking), some weaker channels (2.x, 49.x, 51.x) will most likely be problematic.
How about one antenna to Toronto and one for Buffalo/ION, then join them together?
2010-05-01, 10:34 PM
I'm not worried about Buffalo actually. It's the least of my concerns. I have my antenna peaked for WNYO and everything is actually coming in. I never had a problem with Buffalo (with the exception of WGRZ being flaky no matter what). Trying your solution would work for Toronto and Buffalo, but ultimately I'd be sacrificing Hamilton wouldn't I?
My only concern actually is more towards the 170 degree separation between Toronto and Hamilton. Peaked at Buffalo, the stronger Toronto and CHCH from Hamilton come in fine, but I find the weaker stations (TO: CIII 65, CKXT 66) and (HAM: CITS 35) tend to flake off if I don't use a preamp.
I stuck the 7778 and got a lock on all my stations again which makes me happy, but the strengths overall are still weaker than anticipated, with CFTO still inexpicably quite low. WGRZ (the motivation for me to dump the clone) has also not seen much improvement.
I have my 4221HD (balun flipped, and no caps) on a 30 foot tower LOS so I don't know how multipath could be an issue. TVO analog is horrible.
I don't know how to explain this bizzare and complex situation any better, so thank you all for bearing with my long posts and sometimes incohesive explanations :)
I'll check with the clone on Monday, and if not do the balun switch. After that I don't know, perhaps I'll stack with phasing lines? But I'm worried because one antenna is already problematic, and stacking can make it worse. Can anyone offer me some advice/shed some light on this?
Hopefully I can get a permanent solution so I don't have to keep climbing that tower/resort to a rotor. I'd hate to have to go back to the clone, especially after hearing all the wonderful things about the CM4221HD, not to mention how helpful and friendly the folks and S&R (and obviously DHC!) were!