: ON - City of Toronto Metro Area <OUTDOOR Antennas Only> - OTA
Vanhalen's problem is he can't go up onto his own roof.
He paid someone to do the job. The installer did the best job he could. And now, inevitably, someone has to go back up there to tinker with the setup. But when you have to pay someone to go up there, you don't have the luxury of experimenting with pre-amps, two-antenna-solutions, etc. etc.
That's one of the down sides of OTA.
My TVFOOL (I am close-by vanhalen)
When pointed at WBBZ (WGRZ is almost the same angle - that's where vanhalen should be aimed, probably), I get everything from Batavia, Buffalo, and Toronto with my set-up. I must turn the antenna if I want CHCH (for now) from Hamilton.
Later this summer I plan to change pre-amps to one that tolerates strong signals better, and I plan to replace my combo antenna for a DB4e and a ten-element VHF-high antenna. If you're thinking of changing antennas maybe consider a DB4e.
Last year, I needed an adjustment on my roof-peak antenna. And the only installler that I could find to go up on the roof wanted $200. All I needed was for someone to get onto the roof and tighten a bolt -- and if I recall, I asked that a pre-amp be installed.
I was not offended by the $200 quote because my time is worth money, too. It's not a lot different driving across town to add a pre-amp and re-aim an antenna as it is to install a whole system. Vanhalen, I think you're lucky he only wants $50.
In the end, for the same $200 (and a bit more), I could install my own backyard tower and then have easy, safe access to my roof peak anytime.
It's climbing up and down a ladder and getting onto the ladder from the roof that I hate most. A solid tower that is connected to the house is easy and safe to climb.
Since OTA has become a hobby and I like trying out new antenna configurations, I'd be driving an antenna installer nuts with all the call-backs. The tower worked best for me.
Maybe a tower would be good for you, Vanhalen? If not, consider adding a rotator. Just because it's there doesn't mean you have to use it all the time, but when you need it you've got it. From your months of experience now, it should be evident to you that your location does not have a "sweet spot" where everything always comes in reliably. So now you have to decide if the problem can be fixed by choosing a different antenna, adding a pre-amp, playing with the aim, using multiple antennas, or keep the same single antenna unamplified and just add a rotator so make the odd adjustment as necessary.
All installers deserve respect because they are willing to do the dangerous work that none of us want to do. But some installers don't know as much about antennas and OTA as they should. So hopefully your installer was one of the good ones.
2012-05-08, 10:26 AM
I nominate HWP's thoughtful post as the Best of 2012. Certainly speaks to my issues.
So.... I've thought about a tower but guess I'm looking for a capable, cooperative, knowledgeable, but not-too-expensive colleague installer! Yeah, me and many others. Maybe we could start a charitable organization of willing helpers.
2012-05-08, 12:51 PM
Thanks for the tips and thoughts. I guess I didn't fully understand OTA going in - I assumed if I hired a pro to install on my roof, and he said I would get stations x, y & z ... then I would get those stations. Didn't realize the variability. Makes me question the validity of offering a reception test - but its water under the bridge now, so my focus is trying to get the US majors and CBC for hockey/football/olympics and TVO would be nice to for the kids programming (cbc and TVO stutter alot).
I will buy a small ladder so I can fine tune/test. The beauty of the source (former radio shacks) is a generous return policy - so I will start with a cm7778 pre-amp and see how that helps with the buffalo stations. I looked again this AM and I see many trees in full bloom in the line of sight of the antenna - so my guess is my best shot of reception in the summer from buffalo is the pre-amp.
I'm still puzzeled by cbc. With rabbit ears I could watch without a problem. I could put a splitter beside my TV and use rabbit ears for CBC which is simple enough (and presumably TVO), but wondering if there might be another way to tackle. I'll report back on my testing in a couple weeks once I've had a chance to acquire a ladder/amp.
El Gran Chico
2012-05-08, 01:45 PM
getting onto the ladder from the roof that I hate most
Me too. :(
I think there's a number of us here who don't want an installer per se (as we are confident in our OTA knowledge :cool:), but we just need someone to adjust our gear way up above the ground. I thought of hiring a handyman but I'm not sure a) many would be willing b) what the insurance ramifications are if he fell off the roof. Not sure I want to assume that risk/liability. :(
Just me perhaps, but I'd love to find someone who would go up on my roof for 50 bucks (with no insurance risk to me) while I yell up "loosen that thing ... now turn the mast about 5 degrees east ... a little more .. that's it, now tighten that thing back up ... Perfect"
2012-05-08, 02:02 PM
My guess that that there is something broken or near-broken in your system, not just a matter of adjustment or tinkering. Might be as simple as a faulty plug or splitter. Or as horrible as figuring out the menu adjustments on your TV. Alas, in the world of OTA, might well be on the roof.
Perhaps wise person could offer some fault-tree advise on looking for your broken element.
$50 would be good if it was a neighbour. But when a person has to drive (driving expenses) across a big city, taking time away from work & family, it becomes a bigger commitment requiring probably more than $50.
It all sort of leads back to a rotator and/or tower being a possible solution for some people. Especially the people that can't leave well-enough alone...me included.
2012-05-08, 02:17 PM
DHC'er Yaamon used to come out and could be had for $50-$100 a shot for adjustments depending on where you were in the city. Not sure if he is still around though or not.
Not sure Yaamon is still interested in it anymore. His last post on Digital Home was over a year-and-a-half ago.
He was my original installer that didn't respond to my request for the adjustment when the wind blew over my/our antenna installation (the satellite mount became loose and the mast and antenna fell and pointed up to the sky). Nothing leaked but I was concerned and wanted it fixed as quickly as possible.
That forced me to go searching for someone else to help and the only quote I got was for $200.
Faced with a $200 bolt tightening, I opted to erect my own tower. Now I can change my setup whenever I want.
Last fall, a Digital Home friend from the Research and Development thread came over to my place with his DBGH with NARODs and we mounted it on my "spare" roof peak mount so he could test out his antenna's performance against my antenna in a known good location for OTA.
Love having the tower.
2012-05-08, 09:03 PM
Before you decided to go up the roof...Can you post a picture of your antenna/house in relation to the trees? I'm just curious how far/height of your antenna to the trees.
This will give us an idea how to tackle your reception better and offer safety tips as well.
2012-05-08, 09:34 PM
Thanks Kooguy! I'll take shots tomorrow - its too dark now for the pics to be of any help. I've ordered a CM 7778 tonight, given the source is generous in their return policy. Its on back order apparently so it might take 4 weeks or so for delivery.
One interesting finding tonight. I thought about what is going on and all the advice provided, and I think my locals are too strong due to proximity to CN tower + 8 bay antenna, while I'm guessing Buffalo is impacted by the trees blooming which I will post tomorrow.
Relative to my suspicion on the locals, I got a cable switch + rabbit ears and with the 8 bay CBC was pixelating tonight off and on, but then switched to rabbit ears and no problems at all over the last 2 hours - so perhaps my answer to watching the locals is just keep my rabbit ears hidden behind my TV and flip the switch when I have trouble from the 8 bay. I noticed the same on TVO a couple weeks back - and it also has a very high signal rating on TVfool.
Relative to Buffalo I have two guesses. One is the trees, and I hope the pre-amp helps. Second is the aiming. I watched the installer aim, and he was swinging in 5-10 degree increments and declared success when the majors were coming in but got irritated when I suggested we spend some time to fine tune before locking the positioning down. He didn't use a signal meter or a compass, he just used our phone to speak to me from the roof and asked me to confirm when stations were coming in. We also used two ipod touches on facetime where I could see what he was doing and he could see the TV reception (hence my statement on how he was rotating the antenna). I am going to buy myself a ladder and put some effort into being more precise on the aim, and I can use the ipods facetime to watch when the stations have been acquired!
Thanks again for offering to help. I'll post pics tomorrow.
2012-05-09, 04:46 PM
Yaamon was skilled and friendly and glad he did one of my installations nicely. But I think he no longer responds to inquiries. That's a sad loss to this forum crowd,
Anybody non-acrophobic who wants to step up to take his role???? You;d be doing a big service for many of us and making money too. I think the natural way to work with us OTA people is simply to bill by the quarter-hour, door to door. Say, $25/quarter-hour to make money or $20/quarter-hour as a public service. Fair way to work with uncertain installation challenges? Simple as that.
2012-05-09, 08:16 PM
I took a great course from the Toronto school board in auto body repair - mostly welding techniques (don't ask why my Maserati 425 needed repairs).
I wonder if a person otherwise hesitant about climbing on their roof (or if their wife was horrified at the thought) could learn the skills?
2012-05-09, 08:30 PM
Hi All. Here are two photos as requested last evening.
The antenna path (aimed SE away from CN tower but into trees):
The antennta install:
By the way ... looks like my guess about using rabbit ears to avoid an overpowered signal on cbc wasn't the greatest guess - as watching hockey on cbc right now for the last hour and it kept skipping every minute or two on rabbit ears and quite annoying to watch, while the last 30 minutes through the 8 bay and no problems at all. I think OTA watching will be an adventure from my location over the summer. Ah well.
2012-05-09, 09:27 PM
I am sorry for my noob question. I am wondering if tropo channels can be locked in Toronto area. Some times I do get ION. But not always.
2012-05-09, 10:47 PM
Tropo channels are temporarily lockable, sometimes only for minutes, sometimes for a couple of days. They must never be counted as regular channels because they are undependable by their very definition. Due to their unusual patterns and odd incidence there are many who consider Tropo reception reporting (DXing) to be a sport. :)
Please check out the Tropo reception thread for your area for the latest reports and to read about past events.
2012-05-09, 11:59 PM
Based on your pictures, seems like the tree is very close to your antenna, about 20-30' distance, right?
Your current antenna height is too low especially with the tree in front of it. If you get a 10' mast, will that give your antenna enough height to clear the tree?
I have a row of trees about 40-50' tall in front of my antenna but at about 40' distance away. I'll have reception problem if my antenna is mounted like yours. So I get a 10' mast to ensure my antenna can clear the trees, and that solve the reception problem.
Suggestion for you:
1. A tripod mounting on the roof with a 10' mast.
2. A side mounting using 10' mast.
If possible, mount your antenna away from the trees so to increase the distance between antenna and the trees.
BTW, on second picture, what kind of material is used on the wall (bricks, cement etc)?
2012-05-10, 12:35 AM
I've recently moved to a south facing building with the ability to mount an antenna onto a chimney.
I have an old CM4221HD (circa 2010) from my previous apartment that I can reuse, but with all these new antennas out (e.g. DB4e, C2V Complete, etc.), I'm not certain if I should keep it or upgrade.
I want to split the signal to 2-3 separate televisions, 1 will be 25ft away from the antenna, and the other TV will need a 60-70ft RG6 cable run that wraps around the building. I would assume I would need some type of amplication device?
My apologies for the basic questions..but your insight is greatly appreciated!
Here's my tvfool link:
Thanks in advance
2012-05-10, 07:29 AM
I have a question to those of you that have the Antennas Direct CPA19 pre-amp. The pre-amp works quite well for me, made a big difference out in Etobicoke to get Buffalo and all the Toronto channels but I've noticed the power supply is very hot. I read one other post from another customer that said his melted and antennas direct said this is due to incorrect cabling. Not too sure what that means.. if the cabling gets a signal how can it be incorrect? Too long a run and the resistance is too much?
Anyway, is anyone else noticing their power supply is hot? I can touch it, but it's beyond being warm.
I just happened to notice this while troubleshooting an issue that just came up. My CM7001 scans for channels, detects a signal but still doesn't mark it as a found channel... still trying to figure that problem out.
2012-05-10, 08:02 AM
As Kooguy says, a 10 foot mast can help a lot if trees are in the way. But the longer an unbraced mast is, the more it can sway and jiggle in the wind (esp if you also have an FM antenna up there).
Does anyone have data (or even trustworthy impressions) on how much of an issue that could be? Anybody find reception (old standard TV, HDTV, or FM) deteriorates when it is windy and their mast is movin' and shakin'?
I wonder if the longer wavelengths in the FM band make it less susceptible to wind?
I think that mount is appropriate for the antenna you have now. I would not add a mast to that mount. I don't think it would last past the first big breeze. If you want to get a 10foot mast to put there for five minutes to test your results on a calm day, that would be good. But I don't think that mount can handle a 10 foot mast.
I think you need one of these things: a roof tripod, a tower, ...or a chainsaw.