: ON - Vaughan/Richmond Hill/Markham/North of 407 - OTA
2009-05-30, 05:51 PM
I see you list Sun Tv on ch-15? I'm surprised you get that one because I only recieve WBNF-CA out of Grand Island on ch-15 in analog. I've never gotten Sun on ch-15 in Digital.
I was also surprised by that. Despite WBNF being a low power station, it rarely cuts out here, & I'm north of Stouffville Rd. The only time I get anything else coming in on 15, it's WEWS-DT from Cleveland, not SUN from Hamilton.
2009-05-31, 12:44 AM
I've combed through this forum a bit and it seems pretty helpful.
Just today I took the plunge into OTA but now I feel I may have bought the wrong antenna. I bought the CM4228HD, told that it would be better for my distance.
I also got an ATSC tuner, since my TV doesn't have a built-in one. I thought I got the Centronics one, but "Centronics" doesn't show up anywhere on the box or the manual!
I tried it in the living room, got 1 or 2 channels. No big surprise there, as my street runs north-south so there would be big time interference from all the houses in the way. Moved it to the 2nd floor, pointing south-southwest in the southwest corner of the house, got 10 channels. It's an improvement, but signal strength is low for a few of them. I can't remember which one exactly, the strength was only about 14% and yet the picture was still perfect?
My wife is pretty adamant that the antenna NOT be installed on the roof. The next step is to move it to the attic and see how many more channels I will get.
In terms of the antenna build quality, I have nothing to compare to, but the bowties aren't 100% parallel with the reflector grid. I don't know how much one can bend things to realign without risking breakage, or how much difference it will make.
Also, I saw in the antenna chart (wish I'd read that BEFORE buying) that the CM4228HD can be modified to improve performance. I looked for these modifications but can't find them on the forum. Could someone point these out to me?
Would I be better off trying to get rid of this thing and go for the 4221HD? Or can things be salvaged?
FYI, no pre-amp, and since I am currently testing, the coax cable is 100' long. Once in the attic, I will trim to only the required length.
Thanks for any help. It's still kind of neat that I got SOMETHING out of it all. I only had basic digital cable before, and I got fed up with paying $37 for what I was getting.
2009-05-31, 11:31 AM
Hi and welcome here, Legacy2009, you can find the CM4228 hardware hack in this thread:
But before you do that, you might want to consider returning it for a CM4221HD depending on what others recommend. :)
Regarding the Centronics box, I've replied to you in this thread:
ATSC Tuner & Converter Boxes (Non-Recording) (http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=42186)
2009-05-31, 01:26 PM
Well, the thing is that buying this stuff is a one-way street, at least where I bought mine. I won't say exactly where it is, except that it is on Kennedy Rd in Mississauga. They have a no return policy.
I will be attempting the attic location today, hopefully can complete everything to actually try it out.
2009-05-31, 02:28 PM
Just today I took the plunge into OTA but now I feel I may have bought the wrong antenna. I bought the CM4228HD, told that it would be better for my distance.
If you can get the 4228 into your attic without disassembling it, by all means do so. It might get you a few additional stations. By the way, you need to aim South-South-East for best reception Buffalo and the CN Tower. Leslie runs South South East, so aim the antenna parallel to Leslie, towards Lake Ontario.
Having said that, my personal experience is that a good, small, indoor antenna at a south-facing window gets BETTER reception than a CM4221 (or probably a CM4228). The CM4221 and CM4228 are damn good antennas when used the way they were designed to be used, namely outdoors and well above ground level. In your situation, the antenna is being hampered by the wall of your house and the radio effects of a nearby ground, i.e. the floor.
At your location, the CM4228 is probably the best antenna, IF IT'S MOUNTED ON YOUR ROOF. If you're not going to put an antenna outdoors well above ground (i.e. on a roof or tower), you're probably better off with a good small indoor antenna like a Silver Sensor or CM4040 pointing through a south-facing window on the 2nd floor.
On paper, the CM4228 has a lot more gain. But with enough of a handicap, it isn't as good as a good, small indoor antenna. I started off with a CM4221 up against a south facing window (6th floor condo; no antennas allowed outdoors), and eventually switched to a Zenith Silver Sensor.
Are you sure your wife won't let you mount the antenna on the roof? Did you mention to her that with her half of the savings from no cable, she could buy a new $100 dress every year?
2009-05-31, 04:15 PM
Are you sure your wife can't be convinced? As others have said, these antennas work best high and outdoor - with some getting good results in the attic (though they would get even better results outdoor.
My wife initially disliked the notion of the antennas outdoors, but became a supporter when we cut the 'cable' and are saving 120.00 per month. She even brags to her friends about us being 'off the grig'...
What once was a 'no way' has become a source of pride.
2009-05-31, 11:32 PM
Not to sway you one way or another, but... my wife was dead against getting an outdoor antenna, until we hooked up a side wall mount antenna off the second storey- and presto- beautiful HD from TO and BUF. Not only is my wife seen the light, she now brags to her friends about our set up, that gets her Desparate Housewives in HD and for FREEEEEEEEE!!
If possible, try experimenting with the antenna outdoors and high as safely possible- do a trial period- the antenna can always be taken down.
You'll get nothing but tons of support, advice and encouragement from this forum. ;)
2009-05-31, 11:59 PM
Moved the antenna into the attic this afternoon. It was a big messy job, but it's done. Well mostly. I still have a full 100' cable and it's running through the access hatch. Maybe one of these nights I will do the cable rerouting and trim it to length. I am going to locate a return duct (not really a duct, just the cavity between studs) and run it down there. There are a few return grilles on the second floor - I will pick the one nearest to where the TV is.
For now, I recorded my results. I got 15 channels in all, though 2 of them are SD. My box gives 'Signal Quality' and 'Signal Strength'. In my results below I give the channel, station name, network name, signal quality then signal strength (these are in %).
2.1 WGRZ-DT NBC 50 to 60, 30
2.2 WGRZ-W+ Weather 50 to 60, 30
5.1 CBLT-DT CBC 100, 77
7.1 WKBD-HD ABC 100, 43
9.1 CFTO-HD CTV 100, 76
11.1 CHCH-DT E! 100, 39
23.1 WNLO-HD The CW 100, 47
25.1 CBLFT-D CBC(F) 100, 67
29.1 WUTV-HD FOX29 70, 35
41.1 CIII-DT Global 100, 62
44.1 OMNI2-HD OMNI2 100, 73
57.1 CITY-HD CityTV 100, 66
64.1 OMNI1-HD 100, 61
66.1 CKXT-DT SunTV 100, 62
I thought it was worth writing these down as I will check again after trimming the cable, to see what effect that will have.
One thing which is confusing is that a lot of the channels are different than what the 2150 web site indicates. What's up with that?
After shortening the cable I will adjust the direction of the antenna. Even though it's in the attic, I still put in a mast (6' long 1.5" fence post). Having the mast allows me to rotate the antenna easily. (and I got it as I do hope to eventually move it outdoors :^) ) The cable will probably be too short at that point, but the coax cable I got is white (oops) so if and when the move to the rooftop happens, I'll get a new roll of black coax to blend in with the shingles on the roof.
Walter, I had to remove the 'bowtie' elements in order to get the 4228 through the attic access hatch. Even then it was JUST enough space to get by. My attic is high, about 11' above the ceiling of the 2nd floor, but because it's made of trusses, not just rafters, it was easy to climb up high with all the diagonal bracing. Due to the width of the 4228, the top of the antenna is about 12" or so below the ridge of the roof. I estimate the ridge to be ~31-32 ft above ground. Going south on Leslie toward Major Mac there is a pretty good drop off in elevation, which I thought I would benefit from, but I'm closer to Elgin Mills, so I'm not "at the edge of the balcony" so to speak.
Walter, tenstu, goforit, I hear you about convincing the wife LOL. I will have to prime her for it. I'm thinking that once I can find a channel she wants but we can't get (yet), the move to the roof will become logical, hehe. There aren't too many aerials in my area, but I have spotted a few, now that I've gotten into OTA myself. The difference between HD and SD is bigger than I thought. One thing though, I won't be able to do a sidewall mount as I have a hip roof on all sides - not gable. Well, there are "mini" gables front and back to accommodate partial cathedral ceilings, but these are not the high point. The high point is at the ridge of the main roof. Believe me, I wouldn't mind the sight of an aerial. The indoor antenna is an interesting idea, but my street runs parallel to Leslie, and the houses here, as in all newer neighbourhoods are close together. South facing windows give a great view of the neighbour's house, only a few feet away. But I have heard of a colleague who has one of these, although he is further south, in the Beaches area with good results.
One funny aspect is that before I started with OTA I always had the TV on "full screen" mode before, so everything was stretched horizontally. I got used to this, and now after seeing eg. The Simpsons in HD, I found everyone looked skinnier LOL.
Anyway I'm rambling on here. Thanks for the tips so far everyone and I'll hopefully be back with some news about improvements soon.
2009-06-01, 12:14 AM
For an attic install, those are great results!
Watch the dxing though- do tests on several days to see how consistent the channels are.
You might benefit from a pre-amp with your 100 ft. of coax.
2009-06-01, 12:45 AM
Good stuff on your attic install, I'm at Rutherford and Weston and get all the stations you mentioned along with 36.1, 26.1&2, 17.1,2,3. Except my 2.1,2 and 11.1 bounce in and out. Keep plugging away in the attic. Aint it great!!!
2009-06-01, 10:32 AM
"You might benefit from a pre-amp with your 100 ft. of coax."
The next step will be to trim the cable. Using the return air duct (stud cavity) I should be able to get it down to around 40-45 I think. I only got the 100 ft cable in case 50 wasn't going to be enough and I didn't want to end up just a bit too short, especially since coax is pretty cheap. After that and playing with the direction of the antenna, we'll see about a preamp. :)
2009-06-01, 11:06 AM
First results from our new location in Stouffville are in! I hung the 4228 out a 2nd-floor window with 15ft of cable into my receiver (no preamp) and got all the locals (except City, Sun, and Global) as well as CBS, ABC, CW, PBS, and even NBC :D No trace of FOX though. And this is with only 15 feet elevation looking dead into a 100-foot thick line of 30-40 foot-high trees about 150 feet away. Once we mount up on the roof with preamp I'll update results with SNRs and pictures. I'm very pleased with the results so far though!
2009-06-01, 01:35 PM
One thing though, I won't be able to do a sidewall mount as I have a hip roof on all sides
Legacy2009, you can get wall mount brackets with longer stand-offs to clear your soffit and eavestrough overhang.
The hip roof may actually be better for you. I have the same situation as you and right now my antenna is in the attic but will likely be moving outside soon. My street runs more-or-less north-south and I plan on using a wall-mount on the north side near the back (east) of the house and having the antenna stick up over the east facing slope of the roof. Because all of the houses on the block have the same back slope on their roofs, my antenna will be able to look over all of the houses without being very high. It will be discreet because it is between the houses and will be somewhat sheltered from the wind.
2009-06-01, 04:09 PM
Location: Yonge & King Sideroad, a few hundred yards from Lake Wilcox. In a small depression, looking up at the ridge along Stoufville Sidroad. I have a clear shot at the South Wales/Colden stations, but Grand Island and downtown Toronto are behind several large trees 100-200 feet away.
Equipment: CM4221HD (unmodified) and a CM7777 pre-amp, mounted 12 feet off the ground. 200 feet of RG6 are connected to a 2-way splitter, with one line going to a Sony KDLS-series TV and the other to a Philips DVR with ASTC tuner. Antenna is aimed directly at the trees to maximize Toronto & Grand Island signals, with Buffalo/Hamilton coming in from either side.
Here's what I get, not counting SD duplicates. Most stations are there 24/7, with 29.1 and 36.1 available about 80% of the time, 64.1 about 50%, and 26.1 only watchable about 20% of the time.
2.1 WGRZ-DT NBC
2.2 WGRZ-US Universal Sports
4.1 WIVB-DT CBS
5.1 CBLT-DT CBC
7.1 WKBW-HD ABC
9.1 CFTO-HD CTV
11.1 CHCH-DT E!
17-1 PBS WNED-DT
23.1 WNLO-HD The CW
25.1 CBLFT-D CBC(F)
26.2 WNBY-HD TBS
29.1 WUTV-HD FOX29
36.1 CTS-HD Hamilton
41.1 CIII-DT Global
44.1 OMNI2-HD OMNI2
57.1 CITY-HD CityTV
66.1 CKXT-DT SunTV
Channel 34.1 hasn't shown up yet, although you can detect significant activity on the strength meter. I'm hoping the shift to 49.1 will help. Generally, NBC, CBS, CBC, ABC & the CW are at 90-95% strength, with the rest in the mid-70's. Rochester comes in only on exceptional DX nights (all last weekend I received a stronger signal from Rochester PBS than from WNED!).
One last note...brand name equipment makes a difference. I previously experimented with "the-antenna-that-must-not-be-named" with quite poor results. As soon as I switched to a CM antenna and pre-amp, signal strength and consistency improved dramatically.
p.s. Thanks to everyone who posts here. The information, opinions and results have been really helpful while I worked my way up the OTA learning curve.
2009-06-01, 07:40 PM
One thing which is confusing is that a lot of the channels are different than what the 2150 web site indicates. What's up with that?The 2150 site hasn't been updated in a very long time. Use the tools in Post #10 of the OTA FAQ and you will have all the proper information you need.
2009-06-02, 07:18 PM
Antenna installation day is here! We're located at 9th line and Main Street in Stouffville.
We hired V&E to perform the installation (for whom I have a mixed review - ie. good mounting, aiming, & weatherproofing, fully insured, but a bit pricey, and subpar knowledge for an installer [eg. said I didn't need a grounding block or surge protector because the interior splitter was grounded! - though I convinced him otherwise in the end], plus a slightly grouchy know-it-all attitude from the senior installer who equated experience with knowledge [the junior guy was great though]). We used my 4228 (original, not HD version) up on the roof on a 3' tripod, 7' mast, Winegard 8700 preamp, 30 feet of cable run to the power injector at the electrical panel, through a 2-way splitter, and 30 feet more cable to my primary TV w/ Hauppage HVR-2250 dual ATSC tuner Vista Media Centre HTPC. Overall elevation of the installation is about 35 feet, and from the roof we can catch glimpses of the CN Tower through ~40 foot-high trees.
In short, I'm picking up almost everything except NBC (WGRZ). Since we're a little northeast of the city and not quite inline with the CN Tower, we found if we tweaked the direction to get NBC, we'd get worse on the Toronto stations. To keep solid signal on the locals, we opted to forgo trying to get NBC and instead be happy with the solid reception on all the other Toronto & Buffalo networks. Here are the detailed results: (Max readout on my tuner is SNR=30, and anything under 17 is not received at all)
2.1 WGRZ-DT NBC 20 (when received [only happened once this afternoon], though usually just stays at 0)
2.2 WGRZ-W+ Weather 20 (same as above)
4.1 WIVB-DT CBS 30
5.1 CBLT-DT CBC 30
7.1 WKBD-HD ABC 30
9.1 CFTO-HD CTV 26.5
11.1 CHCH-DT E! 23
17.1 WNED-DT PBS 30
17.3 WNED-DT Thinkbright 30
23.1 WNLO-HD The CW 30
25.1 CBLFT-D CBC(F) 28
29.1 WUTV-HD FOX29 24.5
36.1 CITS-DT Crossroads 27.5
41.1 CIII-DT Global 24
44.1 OMNI2-HD OMNI2 30
49.1 WNYO-DT MyTV 25
57.1 CITY-HD CityTV 25.5
64.1 OMNI1-HD 30
66.1 CKXT-DT SunTV 25
Needless to say, I'm very happy with these results (we're especially surprised that we're getting Crossroads and MyTV). If the low-power locals ever increase their power output (2011?), I'll repeak the antenna towards WGRZ. If I do that now, I lose Global, CityTV, and Sun. Overall, finally cut off from cable/satellite; time to sell that old Bell HDPVR! :)
2009-06-02, 07:32 PM
Bravo tczernec! Enjoy that great feeling, knowing you are finally free of the monthly payments!!
2009-06-03, 12:42 AM
With regards to WGRZ, give it a few days. I think we're in some tropo right now.
PrinceLH reported (http://digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?p=935316#post935316)getting all of the Buffalo networks in Bellleville tonight, so I guess that is where our electrons are going ;). WGRZ may come in for you yet.
All of my Buffalo stations are very weak tonight, and WGRZ is MIA. The summer is coming so reception will become more variable.
2009-06-03, 01:48 PM
Your performance with the 4221HD is pretty amazing, it makes me seriously consider getting the preamp. I have yet to trim my cable down from 100' as I have not yet routed it through the return air wall cavities. I wanted to do that first. Mine is the 4228HD and you are getting more channels than me, and I am just south of Elgin Mills near Leslie, and at around 25' above ground, although in my attic.
Still working on convincing the wife to let me put in on the roof :)
Can you guys provide me some ammunition for this?
She steadfastly believes that installed outside, the wind will cause interference. She said when I was rotating the mast (was trying to adjust it), blocky pixels were showing up in the picture. Would this happen all the time if the antenna moves in the slightest breeze? Her biggest beef is the aesthetics of it.
2009-06-03, 02:04 PM
Echoed comments by my wife. Up on the roof, how will she see it? What is wrong with just a trial period? You can always take it down. Use the money saved from no cable/sat. for dinner/shopping. The 4221 is relatively small- has your wife seen it?
Mounted properly- should be no significant swaying to affect picture.