: ON - Mississauga, Brampton, Bramalea, Port Credit - OTA
2010-05-26, 07:47 PM
S Shenoy, welcome!
First off I highly advise against using a coat hanger antenna for reception, especially on the faraway South Buffalo (ABC, CBS, NBC) stations. The fact that you're not even using a reflector also reduces forward gain (which you will probably need for those stations).
I recommend building a GH or mclapp's M4, or if you're lazy get a Channel Master 4221HD antenna. You will probably need to do a rooftop or tower (outdoor) setup. Most likely you will also need a preamplifier of some sort (CM7778 most likley), but try without one first. (I'd also advise against that RadioShack amp, as stampeder pointed out it is most likely too noisy and will harm signal instead of helping). You can also tweak the Channel Master to your needs should you find that the antenna out-of-the-box isn't enough. (See thread here (http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=104837).)
Also aim the antenna straight at Buffalo to get the most from those weaker stations. The strong Toronto and Hamilton stations will easily come in from the side of the antenna so aiming is not as critical to recieve them. Use TVFool.com to enter your address and a compass to help achieve the best aim.
Hope that helps :)
2010-05-27, 11:52 PM
I'm in southern Mississauga. I've experimented a little with an indoor antenna, with mixed results (get about 6-7 digital channels reliably, and a couple of others depending on weather, etc plus lots of analog channels with poor quality). Although for the $20 I've spent so far, I really can't complain! :)
I'd like to take the next step and go to an outdoor antenna mounted on the chimney, but I'll be honest, I'm not crazy about spending a bunch of time to learn everything that I need to in order to build the right setup myself, I'd rather pay someone to come in and recommend the right equipment and install it.
2010-05-28, 09:32 AM
I am a newbie to OTA as well. I live pretty much in the same area as you.
Last month I picked up an Antennas Direct DB8, CM7777 Pre-amp, a J-pipe mount to put the antenna on the chiminey, and about 50' of RG6 cable from Save and Replay in Mississauga. Spent about $280 total. I did the installation myself. It was pretty easy to do.
Spent a few days playing with the aiming of the antenna. I am pretty please with the results so far. I am receiving 26 channels. Most in HD too! I was paying $80 a month for Bell, so I figure in 3 months I will have the equipment I bought paid for.
I still have lots to learn about OTA, but this forum is an amazing gold mine of information! You probably won't need to pay someone to help you out. Good luck!
2010-05-28, 09:38 AM
Are there any good sellers/installers of OTA equipment in the area?
Save and Replay is a good place to buy equipment (antennas, cabling, bits and pieces). I did my OTA installation myself so don't know of any installers in Mississauga proper.
2010-05-28, 09:01 PM
Hey mbodog, according to the recommended attenas chart on this forum, your Antennas Direct DB8 is recommended for channels 14-69 (UHF not VHF). Does that mean that you don't pick up the lower channels like 2-1, 5-1, 9-1 and 11-1 ? I just want to be sure, because if that's the case I'll probably have to get one of the big ugly uhf/vhf antennas if I want to maximize my channel coverage...
2010-05-28, 10:26 PM
2-1, 5-1, 9-1 and 11-1 are psip designated allotment #'s not broadcast frequencies ;)
psip 2-1=rf33 UHF,
psip 5-1=rf20 UHF,
psip 9-1=rf40 UHF,
psip 11-1=rf18 UHF,
Though after Aug 2011 channels 11.1 & 9.1 will be on rf11 VHF & rf9 VHF so at that time you will need an antenna capable of receiving VHF as well as UHF.
2010-05-28, 11:43 PM
Only CFTO 9-1, and CHCH 11-1 will revert to their original VHF frequencies post-transition. Given you're in Mississauga, you should be able to get them without issue even with a UHF-rated antenna. Only time will tell though.
Then there's that new station WNGS from Buffalo on RF7, but that's a completely different issue.
2010-05-29, 12:51 AM
rcammoore you can read about channel remapping (virtual channel numbers vs. real) in Post #15 of the OTA FAQ (http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showpost.php?p=377665&postcount=15) so that you don't get them mixed up before you shell out any $$$. :)
2010-05-29, 01:44 AM
Just quick update, I had great reception tru out yesterday and the whole day and night today, and today i did scan, an i got 28 channels out which maybe 6,5 were very weak the rest were great i couldn't believe how good the signal got, wxpj which is what i was most interested in because of qubo, signal was awesome although it decrease by 9:30 pm 10 o'clock i got minor micro freeze, but i think that was due to the fact that my antenna is not mounted affixed the well, am using a J pole which is maybe 2ft in length with two shovel wooden rods making a total of 8ft 1/4 in length, am really thrill with the results am getting, if i get the chance tomorrow a'l be heading over to home depot for a one piece metal pipe to properly mount the antenna to the J pole, thing is that the winds keeps moving it from time to time so, i being having to out there to play around with it every now an then, i can't complain though, am so glad the i never mounted the antenna up on the roof.
2010-05-29, 03:15 AM
If you suddenly see reception that is much better than usual you should check this thread to see if tropospheric skip (tropo) is the reason:
OTA DXing, Tropo, Odd Reception, Weird Weather: 2010 (http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=121819)
Here in the OTA forum we sometimes use the term DX, which means Dial Crossing. DXing has been a hobby of enthusiasts going back to the early days of radio and now of television. DXers enjoy scanning broadcast frequencies in search of unusual or long distance signals, such as during odd weather conditions like Tropospheric Skip.
What is "Tropo"? (http://home.cogeco.ca/%7Evem3ont22/propagation/tr-modes.htm)
2010-06-01, 11:20 AM
I currently have an original CM4228 tripod mounted with a channel master preamp. I get pretty good reception but from time to time I will lose certain fringe stations like WGRZ and WNLO depending on the time of day. I've had this setup for 5 years now and originally I aimed the antenna towards WUTV which gave good reception of the available stations although I've never been able to pickup CFTO.
I'm want to try and improve reception reliability but I'm not sure which path I should take. I thought about trying the smaller CM4221 for the wider beam width. A rotor would probably work but I don't want the hassle, and besides I use MCE 7 to PVR programming. My other thought is to get a second antenna for Toronto stations and either attempt to join the two or run a separate feed line. I could in theory run two coax feeds into my dual tuner MCE 7 setup and edit the channel list to use the appropriate tuner for each station. I have a couple of xboxes as extenders which seems to work pretty well.
My tvfool specs can be seen here.
2010-06-01, 02:48 PM
Stampeder is right perhaps i was getting six extra channels because of tropo, am only getting 22 now, again am having difficulties with wpxj it was coming pretty strong and very stable i had it like this for a couple days, but with the rain and winds i being loosing it also i recently found out the my issue with this station is height my antenna is between two house and at the end of the both house there's a big tree. i have 10ft steel pipe and a 2ft J pole but it needs to go a little higher just enough to clear four branches if when those branches aren't moving my signal is really strong, i can image that ones i clear those branches i won't be having any issues whatsoever, its said that this is one of the hardest stations to get but it surely hasn't the being issue here, at least i don't happen to think so since i've witness good signal when there's no wind and there's being consistency tru several days.
2010-06-05, 07:23 PM
Okay guys, great news!
I added a second antenna pointed at Toronto and alot of my problems have gone away.
TVO analog is near-mint now, and all the TO-digitals are very stable now and have benefitted greatly, all are now around 70-80.
Distant S. Buffalo stations have seen no change and are very strong 75-85, with the exception of course being WGRZ which is still around 55. Locking today, but not sure what will happen.
Hamilton saw no change. CITS is more stable now though, both channels from Hamilton are around 60.
Only setback is that Grand Island and stations west of Buffalo have taken a hit. WNED fell 30% to around 45 and is now only barely locking. WUTV suffered less of a hit only falling 10% to 60. WNYB fell 20% and is now around 48-50.
Perhaps the back-lobe reception is causing some interference issues?
The antennas are spaced around 20' apart, and the second antenna (for TO) is lower, but angled upwards. I mounted it right at the part where the tower converges at the top. They are around 75-80 degrees apart. Could this be why?
2010-06-05, 09:00 PM
20' apart is good - that really reduces the impact of each antenna on the other, but any time you join their outputs you have to test and retest different aiming points to make sure they're complimenting and not canceling each other. Are the antennas the same?
2010-06-05, 09:41 PM
Ahg, I meant 20 inches apart, not 20 feet...the first antenna (Buffalo) is around 28 feet, the lower antenna is 26 feet. The second antenna is tilted around 20-30 degrees upward to avoid the inevitable multipath caused by my toolshed (which so happens to be directly in Toronto's path).
Yeah both antennas are the same, two 4221HDs combined with equal length RG6. Here's my TVFool transmitter map, I think this illustrates better how messy it is right by the lake. It's much much more difficult to aim here than it is north of the QEW, Toronto, or in York/Durham.
Basically I'm sandwiched between two groups of very strong signals from Toronto and Hamilton, with Buffalo scattered somewhere in the middle. It's almost "ota_canuck-like" messy in terms of signal directions :P
Peaked for WNYO I was hoping for Toronto and Hamilton to come in. They did, but as mentioned posts above me, certain channels from the two were unreliable, and TVO was garbage. I fixed this by adding the second antenna (as well as significantly improved toronto digitals), at the cost of WNED (pixelating) and WUTV (weaker but still locking well). Most of south Buffalo (and even ION) at this time are booming and unchanged. WGRZ is a mess at this point, but that hasn't changed one bit. It would be much easier to analyze how to get them working together if I had nec files for hacked 4221HDs and antenna patterns to look at.
According to TVFool antenna 1 peaked at WNYO and antenna 2 peaked at Toronto are around 79-80 degrees apart. Grand Island is around 85 degs from me. Problem stations came in no problem with antenna 1 on its' own. Hamilton saw no change either, but CITS is much more stable.
Edit: More pics of the antenna setup taken from different angles.
2010-06-06, 03:04 AM
20 inches is too close - you need 25 inches separation at least, and it looks from your photos like you could get that by sliding the lower one down all the way to that tower cross member, but you'd have to rig up a mount that gives you the tilt that you apparently require. As for how to proceed, try this: disconnect the lower antennna aim the upper antenna at Buffalo and peak it for absolute best results on the most desired stations reconnect the lower antenna and aim it nowhere (NNW, away from Toronto and Hamilton) check all your Buffalo stations again gradually move the lower antenna more and more towards Toronto, checking for a lock on the weakest Toronto station while rechecking the Buffalo stations keep at it until you find the most acceptable combination
2010-06-06, 11:17 AM
Joining two antennas requires some skills and effort...I did one installation weeks ago which was just challenging as yours.
Go with Stampeter's suggestion. When you are done, get a CM3410 distribution amp. You will be amaze how good this distribution amplifier is...
2010-06-06, 01:30 PM
I would never consider joining 2 antennas, and would rather use an A/B switch. Also a pre-amp is a must as well. I've always had excellent results with my attic setup.
2010-06-06, 02:24 PM
I have joined two antennas successfully (actually 3- a 4221HD stack for BUF, and 4228HD for TO)- gets me all TO/HAM/BUF (ION is tropo) and amplification is only a CM3414- and no rotor needed. Keys are: space antennas 30" or more apart- and high quality splitters to join antennas.
2010-06-06, 02:28 PM
I would never consider joining 2 antennas, and would rather use an A/B switchThat's sensible advice! ;) The only problem is that if a person is using a single-input PVR and wants to record from Buffalo, Toronto, and Hamilton stations then they have no choice but to combine the antennas in order to do timer-recordings since nobody would be there to manually change the A-B switch each time.
For all visitors, read all about these issues and concerns in Post #16 of the OTA FAQ (http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showpost.php?p=675713&postcount=16).