: ON - City of Toronto Metro Area <OUTDOOR Antennas Only> - OTA
2012-03-04, 12:43 PM
CH is working for me in Ajax, same as always, just a little lower than it needs to be.
I don't have a vhf antenna, and it works with minor breakups now and then.
2012-03-05, 07:23 PM
I'm new to the board, I spent many months lurking and finally used all your hard work and advice to go OTA - thank you! I apologize in advance if this has been discussed or dealt with. My search results didn't turn up anything.
I am located in mid-town Toronto (Mt Pleasant & Eglinton). I have an 8 bay CM antenna in the 3rd floor attic, one layer of shingles. Currently I have it directed S-SE right at the cluster of Buffalo stations. Other than passing through my own roof, I have clear line of sight with no taller buildings in the way.
I am getting pretty much every channel I expected from Toronto and Buffalo. I don't get CHCH and don't expect to with my orientation. What is puzzling me is that I cannot get WNED at all. Even stations at a greater distance behind WNED are averaging 80% on my TV's built in signal meter. WNED zip.
This is driving me crazy. I have tried every antenna angle/direction I could think of, including carrying it out to the end of my yard on a long pole. It's as if that particular channel is jammed. TVFool indicates an adjacent channel warning. Could that be an issue? Is there a filter that could attenuate a channel interfering I could try? I have some rudimentary RF understanding but that might be making things worse. :rolleyes:
2012-03-05, 09:06 PM
Bad are you using a preamp or signal amp .This could make the adjacent interference from 44 worse.Try running with no amp.You try enter 43 manually and move antenna horizontal across your attic to find a good spot for WNED while someone watches signal meter.Probably severe multipath signals is preventing your tuner from locking.
2012-03-06, 02:49 AM
No amps (other signals are good enough not to need one) and I have done the 'walk about' with the wife scanning. The total lack of any signal pick-up is what's frustrating. The TV is relatively new so I trust it, but it is my only tuner, so I think I'll try and borrow another tuner to see if it just doesn't have good separation.
I'm still a noob, but I'm thinking maybe a second really directional yagi type antenna pointed at the transmitter and hopefully past/around 44 from the tower might do something. I would have about 15-20 degrees of separation to play with. I'm just not sure if all that effort would be wasted once a combiner puts it together and the tuner has to sort it out.
2012-03-07, 01:16 PM
Does your tuner have a usable signal strength meter (not signal quality)? If so, tune to City TV on RF channel 44 and try to find the 20 dB null that should be at about 26 degrees. Then switch to WNED and see if you can get it at that position.
It's very strange, because according to the TVFool, your location should be perfect to make use of the 26 degree null in the mid 40 channels without sacrificing too much gain on 43.
2012-03-09, 10:54 PM
After reading almost everything and learning "a bit" (almost nothing?), perhaps someone could give me some constructive criticism on my attempts to "pre-engineer" my pending OTA installation?
My TVFool is http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d0b86a72ee78345
My intention is to (1) install my already onhand CM4228 (purchased from the forum sponsor before Christmas 2011) and to (2) investigate the pros and cons of re-using my existing old Radio Shack VHF and what appears to be an old Hoverman UHF.
This image is my attempt to figure out how to orient my CM4228.
First off, I'm not sure if I have the right CM4228 "coverage pattern" image. The images I was able to find range from what looks like an infinity symbol (∞), to variations of "frog-like" images.
In any event, I overlaid the centrelines of one of the frog-like images over my precise antenna location on Google Earth, drew red lines from my antenna location to a few precise transmission tower locations I'm interested in and spun the whole thing around to look southerly in precisely the same direction that my house faces. Matching the photo with the map made it more meaningful in my mind, particularly how a small adjustment could make a tremendous difference in reception.
My own criticism would be that Lakes Erie and Ontario look as if they are reversed - until I remind myself I am looking SOUTH.
2012-03-10, 02:31 PM
mapmaker, not sure if you've mentioned this or not, but have you attempted to use the existing setup?! And if so, what were the results?! Could you post some closer-up images of the current UHF antenna?
2012-03-12, 01:56 AM
Jase88 Here is an enlargement of the antennas in the above photo, hope that helps.
The two existing antennas are about 30-35 years old, a Radio Shack VHF and what appears to be a Hoverman UHF. There is a 300 Ohm lead from each antenna leading to separate TV sets in different parts of the house.
The old VHF on the roof pulls in 14 stations, 1 of which the UHF doesn't get.
The old UHF on the roof pulls in 17 stations, 4 of which the VHF doesn't get.
The new CM4228 propped up in a ground floor window some 20 or so feet lower than the roof antenna location, pulls in 22 stations.
I had not checked for it. But I just found out I get rf15 at excellent strength (WNYB-15) from near Buffalo - when I'm pointed at it. That will be CHCH's new channel soon.
When I swing the rotator back east, Star Ray also comes in strong on analog on rf15.
I seem to be able to get either one depending on which one the antenna is aimed at.
By the way, the reception is so strong today that I don't have to aim to get WBBZ. Same with WPXJ Ion - but that is usually the case.
I installed an Antennacraft HBU55 on a neighbour's house in December and he is also getting the same results as I am. He has a Winegard 269 pre-amp and rotator. I like his antenna setup better than I like mine, but we're both getting great results.
2012-03-19, 11:32 AM
I have a Clearstream 2 antenna mounted 20' above ground level. LOS to CN Tower across the harbour, though there are some trees about 50 metres away. Since I wish to receive PBS 17.1 as well as certain local Toronto channels, I have the Clearstream 2 pointed towards Buffalo, as it is the farthest away (47.1 miles)
My question is: why am I getting a weak signal (30-35%) from TVO 19.1 (no matter how I rotate the antenna) when all the other Toronto stations are coming in at about 80%? Here is TVFool's Signal Analysis:
Welcome to the forum.
Your TV Fool link didn't work for me.
You may be suffering from too much of a good thing - maybe signal overload. I'm guessing that you're practically in the shadow of the CN Tower - virtually no distance from your place to the tower.
It sounds like your antenna has now been mounted.
Try to re-scan your TV channels without the antenna. Stick a paperclip or a safety pin in your TV coax hole and re-scan. See if your Canadian TV stations reception goes up (especially TVO). If reception there improves, then you probably have some signal overload to deal with.
If you have a pre-amp or any amplification try to remove it.
Try aims that would seem counter-intuitive. For example, try an aim with the antenna 90 degrees to the side of the CN Tower. Try it with the antenna with the back to the tower. In my experience, the WNED signal is strong enough no matter which direction my antenna points, so trying aims that minimize the Toronto signals might help.
I can feel your pain as WNED and TVO are our two most-watched stations by far.
2012-03-19, 05:31 PM
Thanks, HWP, for the quick response. I'm surprised the TVFool link didn't work for you. I just clicked on the link in my earlier post and it took me right there. Go figure!
Yes, we are very close to the CN Tower (1.7 miles) and with my antenna pointed towards Buffalo, the back of the unit is currently almost at 90 degrees to the Tower, as you suggested. I don't have any amp or pre-amp. Being so close I expected overload but what I don't understand is why TVO should be the only channel that is significantly weaker than the other channels (80+%), when all their transmitters are in the same direction on the CN Tower! I tried re-scanning without the antenna but couldn't get any signals at all.
However, for some reason, today all the signals are stronger, even TVO (at max 45% now!). In your experience, are fluctuations in signal strength to be expected in different weather conditions?
2012-03-19, 06:10 PM
On Ward's Island, you're likely so close to the CN tower, that an up-tilt to your antenna may be necessary for 100% reception. TVO's antenna is 508m above ground. Though I wouldn't recommend tilting if you intend to use the same antenna to receive Buffalo.
This past weekend was unusually strange for reception, in my opinion. I would not read anything into any reception results observed since last Friday.
The only thing that affects my reception significantly is fog. The most marginal channels (ones that you're not even trying to get) can also be slightly affected by colder temps.
With your CS2, you're probably hoping to get your locals and your main Buffalo channels. Fog - or at least something atmospheric - was a problem this past weekend. But everything seems back-to-normal again today. So if you're still not getting WNED today, then you have some work to do.
I'm four miles from the CN Tower and I'm getting everything from Hamilton, Toronto, and Buffalo, and WPXJ from Batavia. So don't give up.
Your TV Fool report is a bit weak on the US stations. I know a pre-amp will always be a challenge for you at your location but it would be nice if you could try one. Maybe even a higher gain antenna. I'm not sure what the real gain figures are for the CS2 but it's probably quite a bit less than a CS4, DB4e, or a 4228hd.
Don't give up yet. You have an excellent antenna and one of my neighbours is using a CS2 with good results.
As you can see from my TV Fool, you're dealing with some challenges that I don't have. My WNED is at +32dB while yours is -3. Maybe it's that you're down at lake level, while Danforth, near me, is quite a ways up-the-hill in elevation.
I wonder also if the planes might be causing you some trouble, but I don't understand much about that.
2012-03-19, 07:18 PM
Seeing HWP's TV Fool report suddenly made things a lot clearer to me. It hadn't occurred to me that there could be such a difference in WNED's NM between his location on the Danforth at +32db and mine at lake level at -3.7db! That explains a lot.
Also, I installed my CS2 on Friday and was somewhat taken aback by the drop in signal strength over the foggy weekend. So I was glad to hear that you also were significantly affected by fog. Today things are much better.
The gain for my CS2 is 10.2 dBi, a bit less that the CS4 at 12.2, so I might experiment with a pre-amp, though I think it will bring a different set of problems.
Thanks again for the advice.
Keep us posted on your results as you tinker with your set-up. Your experiences will help future readers.
2012-03-19, 10:43 PM
Interesting that fog can be such an issue in Toronto.
On the rare occasion that we've had fog in Kitchener, it hasn't impacted my reception. There must be a difference with lake fog vs. inland fog.
2012-03-20, 01:58 PM
I've noticed the same thing in downtown. Heavy fog over the lake can knock down my reception from Buffalo and at times mess with the channels that are usually strong 24/7..
2012-03-20, 04:29 PM
So if there's any area of this forum that it's okay to ramble a bit. I guess it's here. So let me tell you about my long road to finality..
First off, here's my TVfool:
Grew up watching OTA TV from a farmhouse on the north shore of Lake Erie, got back into OTA when I need an affordable option for TV at cottage, that install went very well, lots of space - just get the biggest antenna for VHF only, (yet futureproofed) and get all four channels... done.
The city project has been a lot more challenging, many more channels, a total shortage of good rotators, a need for a more compact yet strong antenna. A family to please, they want to surf and don't want to wait for rotation.
First, go big or go home... Okay went with the Winegard 7697, the biggest and baddest as per the antenna decision chart, but just a bit smaller, like 3 feet smaller!! It worked well, but my first rotator had a faulty controller box, so rotating didn't work very well and the dealer couldn't replace it 'cause there's no stock anywere.. also realized that I really didn't want to rotate much anyways (I hoped the 7697 would have a wide enough beam which it didn't) and that my most distant channels were still unreliable. So before winter came I decided to repurpose my whole setup with the newly arrived, DB4e. Highly praised as having as much strength as any bowtie design with execellent gain throughout the very wide beam width - great, sounds like similar results with no-rotating. Also added a Wingard YA1713 below it to make sure I captured CHCH, CFTO, WBBZ (maybe in the summer). Once I was finished the job, I couldn't figure out why my CHCH was hovering at 60% with enough dropouts that made it annoying to watch. CFTO was perfectly fine. It turns out after consulting others here, that I failed to open up the CM7778 Pre-amp box and switch the input from Combined to Seperate. At this point winter had set in and it was unsafe to go onto the roof. My DB4e kept me going all winter worked quite well, but no CHCH.
Summer came early, so yesterday I went up and switched the Pre-amp to "Seperate" and alligned the YA1713 to aimed directly at WBBZ and the DB4e aimed directly at WNYO.
Well, last night I watched "The Honeymooners" on WBBZ with some minor breakup but easily watchable. CHCH is rock solid 85% coming in off the West side, CFTO hovers at 92%. As with before, I expect that WNYO and WBBZ will be somewhat tempermental and cannot be counted on 100%, but are certainly worth keeping in my list.
Basically the with my setup and virtually no rotating the TVfool report is bang-on..
Stations in the Green are reliable 100% all of the time
Station in the Yellow are very reliable and only suffer in the most extreme weather conditions (maybe 2% of the time)
Stations in the Pink are volatile and can only be counted on about 50%-70% of the time. Still worth keeping in my saved channel list though.
Stations in the Grey are a source of frustration and I have removed any of them from my saved channel list (i.e. WPXJ).
I will check on WPXJ if I see an interesting movie in the guide, otherwise I have resigned myself that this is just too difficult to receive.
For what it's worth, I'm extatic that I have the setup to where I want it.
For anyone else considering OTA, this would be my number one setup. Some other things to consider might be:
Use an 8 bay instead of the DB4e, this might work just as well or a bit better for me, but with CTV2 and CHCH coming in from the far west very soon. I would be concerned that the beamwidth would be to narrow to catch these two stations without rotation...
Forget the YA1713 altogether. This is a very viable option that I almost considered. I just didn't want to wait until mid to late summer to get CHCH successfully. WBBZ is a bonus too, so why not, I already owned it.
Other than that, in my opinion the only other real option is the very, very large combo's that will perhaps solidfy a few channel marginally, but you have to be okay with a 14 foot monster on your roof and regular rotating. (If I was going this route I'd go for the absolute largest ie. 7698 or HBU55 - no compromise)
Good luck everyone... I'll try and follow up with a picture so that you can see the setup!
Congratulations on achieving your location's potential! And welcome to the GTA WBBZ club!
It's worth pointing out to readers that are interested that there are now OTAers in eastern/central Toronto (me and my neighbour - Danforth/Pape) and others in central/west Toronto (St.Clair / Keele), and others further north in York Region -- all of us with quality high-vhf antennas that are reporting success with WBBZ which broadcasts on real channel rf7.
I still think that only hobbyists really should be pursuing trying to get WBBZ at this time -- espcially since by the end of summer 2012, 30+ stations should be within relatively easy range for most people in Toronto using a single fixed-aim Antennas Direct DB4e UHF-only antenna and a pre-amp (Winegard 269).
But if you own a tower, or if you can safely get onto your flat roof and strap a high-vhf antenna to your chimney, you might have success and get the four extra channels that WBBZ can give you: WBBZ (Yankees baseball games, some syndicated programming), MeTV (retro sitcoms and dramas), ThisTV (movie channel), and Daystar (religious). If you're up to the challenge, it might work.
CHCH is the only other channel on high-vhf other than WBBZ that requires a high-vhf antenna to pick-it-up. CFTO is also on rf9 high vhf but it is such a well-powered and well-located transmitter that most in Toronto can get it with an outdoor UHF antenna. CHCH will switch from vhf 11 to uhf 15 later this year. That would leave WBBZ as the only reason to be putting up a VHF antenna.