: ON - City of Toronto Metro Area <OUTDOOR Antennas Only> - OTA
2007-09-27, 08:15 PM
bmac.to, What you have is excellent with 100' of cable. Whooo:D
A preamp might cause over load. I would not add one unless you are having reception problems.
2007-09-27, 10:13 PM
A real pro did the install. If anyone would like me to refer them, please contact me and I'd be happy to supply the details.
2007-09-28, 01:46 PM
Last week Digital Home member Yaamon came by to help me get setup with a 4221 mounted on my chimney. The front of my house faces approximately S.S.E. and myself and my neighbours have massive 50 year old elm trees in our front yards.
With Yaamon's reception tester we got the antenna pointed generally toward Buffalo and then he tweaked it to get the strongest signal. I got really lucky because the direction to Buffalo just happens to be one of the only narrow clear sight paths between the massive trees. I'll post pictures shortly.
I'm very pleased with the results given that I expected to only get CN Tower signals due to the trees. For anyone nervous about the 'neighbour' appeal of an outdoor antenna, the 4221 is really not that bad all way up on top of the chimney.
The cable is going through the attic, down a first floor interior wall to the basement where I have the Channel Master PreAmp. Right now it goes from there to my LG 37inch LCD. That tuner just shows a graph and not actual percentages so these numbers are estimates from the graph.
Results (ignoring the SD sub-channels):
2-1 WGRZ - 60% - this channel varies ALOT though. I've seen it almost 100% and I've also seen it cut out (like last night around 8:30pm)
4-1 WIVB - 80%
5-1 CBLT - 95%
7-1 WKBW - 80%
9-1 CFTO - 90%
23-1 WNLO - 90%
25-1 CBLFT - 80%
26-1 WNYB - 60%
29-1 WUTV - 80%
43-1 WNED - 100%
49-1 WNYO - 50%
57-1 CITY - 75%
66-3 SUNTV - 70%
From other posts it appears there's not much I can do about the NBC reliability. For the most part it has been good but it dropped out during prime time yesterday. :o Next step is integration with my HTPC network.
2007-09-28, 02:02 PM
btsterli thanks for the compliment. With the preamp you have you can easily split and distribute the tv signals to your HTPC network without any signal loss.
You were lucky as the antenna view has tree no more than 80-90' away. I could tell once we mounted the antenna and connected it to my meter that Fox was very good and Nbc should be decent considering the tree branches are much higher than the antenna.
Let me know once you hook up the splitters if Nbc gets more stable.
Thank again for the beer. :)
2007-09-29, 09:12 AM
You and I live pretty close (a lot of the recent posts have been from our side of the city which is nice). You also mentioned that you are using a preamp. When I compare your results to mine, your signal strengths are all very strong but your SNR values are all between 25 and 31. My SNR values range from 35 to 70 but my signal strengths vary quite a bit. I also notice that when I get a channel to go bad, it is the SNR value that has the most correlation to the bad channels, not the signal strength.
The signal strength can drop a bit and if the SNR value doesnt change much, the picture is still fine. Instinctively, signal-to-noise ratio should be the most important factor as well.
How reliable are the channels for you? I know if my SNR drops below 30, the picture becomes pretty unreliable. Perhaps the amplifier built into my tuner (a Hitachi plasma) is pretty noisy and when it amplifies the signal, it adds a bunch of noise.
PS - the guide took a day or two until it had enough data to display anything - perhaps waiting is all you need to do to get it to work.
2007-10-12, 02:43 PM
Yaamon (or any OTA Toronto experts), ;)
I've been researching and asking questions about amplification and cross modulation etc in a differerent thread - still learning. For this thread, however, I have an aiming question:
As you can see from my results a couple of posts above, at times I've had great reception from nearly every channel possible. Sometimes, however, I have trouble with 2-1 NBC - rarely up to 80%, often around 50%, and sometimes it cuts out (yes, I realize there's a separate thread where NBC is discussed). But I have similar problems with 4-1 CBS, and ABC doesn't seem to get any signal whatsoever even though it did for the first few days after the install.
However, I can get 29-1 FOX super reliably at 80% in seemingly all kinds of weather. Should I try to rotate the antenna slightly to the east to see if it will pickup NBC, CBS, and ABC a little better at the expense of some FOX signal loss?
2007-10-12, 05:14 PM
Well my name isn't "Yaamon", and I don't consider myself to be an "expert", but I'll through in my 2¢ anyway...
Considering that Yaamon already peaked your signal, and the recent unstable reception period recently, I would suggest you give it a few more days, before getting too nervous. Yammon using his meter is much more accurate than using the tuner's signal meter in your tv.
However,.... also considering you reported receiving WNYB 26.1, which is signifcantly west of Grand Island, you might be able to tweak for south Buffalo where NBC, ABC, CBS broadcast from. BUT if you do this, be sure to mark the original position clearly on the mast so that you can return to this position later - which I guess you might likely have to do anyway; like I said, Yaamon's meter is likely better than your tv's. It could be that the day you reported your reception here was a good tropo/DX day.
Keep us posted.
2007-10-12, 06:59 PM
Thanks 99gecko, btsterli if you want to try and rotate the antenna slightly more east mark the pole with a marker so you have a reference point.
Then move the antenna more east just a little no more then 1/8" on the pole at a time and then check the signal strength of Nbc and comparing the drop with Fox.
Remember your antenna is pointing close to the trees if not into. With the fall weather(rainy) with rain on the leaves it can affect reception.
Letme know what happens when you rotate the pole slightly more east.
When I adjusted your antenna Nbc was a bit lower than Fox. But Cbs and Abc signal strength was strong. Did you use the other side of the splitter, if you have not terminate the open end and test.
2007-10-13, 09:37 PM
Thanks 99gecko and Yaamon! Yes, if I opt to try and tweak the direction I will definitely mark the current position so I can always go back to the Y-man's original (and likely optimal) direction. I guess what I was really thinking here is maybe it makes sense to optimize for weaker channels on days when they are actually weaker. When Yaamon came over I think it was one of those 'dream' OTA days so everything came in strong and maybe it masks less than optimal settings. Probably not given Yaamon's expertise and equipment but just a thought.
I also may not bother with the directional tuning due to a couple of recent developments. First, I was completely wrong about ABC. It must have had problems a couple of weeks ago when I last did a full scan. A few days ago I clued in that it was missing and tried to add it manually but I added it wrong and I mistakenly assumed I just wasn't getting it at all! Duh. Sorry guys. It's now coming in much stronger than NBC and CBS.
I also suspect I may have a minor overloading issue possibly causing NBC and CBS to be weaker than they should be. I've posted about them in another thread.
2007-10-14, 10:11 AM
btsterli, when I normally do a install I always try and make sure the two weakest stations are tuned in. That is normally Nbc and Fox.
Hopefully you will have time today to try and reposition your antenna. After you move the antenna a little to the left check the signal strength of Fox that it does not drop too much.
By the way I never encountered myself overloading affecting the weaker channels. In my bedroom I have the power supply and a 7775 preamp at the antenna. Cable from antenna to my bedroom is no more than 45' and from there into the power supply that feed a 4 way splitter.
Out of one end 7db it goes into a Toshiba tv that uses 4' ft of cable. Never have I encountered overload on the Toshiba tv in my bedroom or any other than a dish811 rec which weird gets overloaded on Pbs.
Today weather is better, if you have time can you run a direct cable from preamp to the power supply and into the tv like how I left it when I was there. There is no reason why you cant get Cbs.
Nbc at times can be difficult but if I remember on your LG you had just a little over normal on the signal strength screen.
2007-10-17, 09:47 PM
Yaamon: I managed to try and do a realignment on Sunday as you suggested. As you and 99gecko predicted I could not do any better than your original positioning for CBS and NBC. I ended up pretty much back to where you had it! ;)
Also I'm still exploring possible preamp overloading and cross modulation issues in another thread.
I finally got some time to post pictures of my install in Toronto that points between 2 giant trees. See the Pimp My Gear thread.
2007-10-19, 02:18 PM
btsterli, I've just gone through your posts again and here's what I'm thinking about your situation.
Your antenna and the distant transmission towers have an electromagnetic relationship that is called a "Fresnel Zone", which you can do a DHC search for to find some excellent explanations in the OTA Forum. The nearby roof and chimney are within it, and if they are highly metallic it is possible that reflections are happening, but this would fall under the topic of "multipath interference" and should already be accounted for in the ATSC tuner's circuitry.
Now here's the weird part about those two concepts: you might have to aim your CM4221 to make sure it has a null in its beam pattern in the exact direction of that nearby chimney, but if you do that you likely will also move the target stations off of the antenna's peak reception aim. This isn't likely to be satisfactory, so the answer is to find an antenna that is much more strict about unwanted off-axis signals.
My suggestion is that you borrow a UHF Corner Reflector Yagi antenna like a Delhi CYD1470, Channel Master 4248, or Winegard PR-9032 to see if a rig with a very tight back and side door will cure the issues. If you find that it works better you can sell off the CM4221 pretty well instantly where you live... :)
2007-10-19, 08:51 PM
btsterli, if you are still having problems try this. Get a good known long rg6 cable and connect it at the preamp and inside to the power supply through your front window, a 30' cable should work.
Run through the channels again and report back with your results. I bet all the stations will be there.
If I'm not mistaken you encountered problems after you did some rewiring through your attic and I hope you made proper connections.
wannabfree on post 363 of the Niagara thread finally got success and it came down to one bad connector.
2007-10-20, 12:56 PM
I saw you pics, and I agree you have a pretty tight "window". As well as your neighbour's chimney, in one pic I noticed your neighbout has what appears to be aluminum siding on a dormer window coming out of his front roof line. It is hard to tell from those pics but that is likely giving you multipath as well.
With respect to Fresnel Zones, note that they are dependant on various factors including frequency. So the obtruction will vary depending on the channel you are trying to lock in. If you have an interest there calculators available on the web. If you find one that requires you to input a "K-factor", use the value 1.333.
2007-10-24, 09:43 AM
Thanks for all the responses everyone! My reception seems more and more stable these days. What I mean by more 'stable' is that channels like NBC and CBS are more consistent and in some rare cases are stronger than FOX. They used to bounce around a lot more and flirt with not being receivable and were never ever stronger than FOX. Could still be some preamp overload, cross modulation, multipath... etc but I suspect the bigger improvement is from one of the following (listed in order):
1) The leaves have been falling rapidly and are almost completely gone from the trees in front of my house
2) The weather and the lake are getting cooler
3) I have been slowly and carefully checking all my connections from the antenna to the TV. I found a few connectors where the small wires appeared to be cutoff rather than bent back like Yaamon suggests. Hard to say if fixing a few connections changed anything because I could never conclusively prove that fixing any one connector made a difference. Seemed like it could have but it's not like I see obvious improvements. Maybe those fixes will make a bigger difference when reception is weaker some day.
stampeder and 99gecko: I'm sure both of you are correct in your theories about multipath. I'm not sure I'd go to the extent of changing to a more directional antenna. I still really like the idea that I have just one simple antenna pointed at Buffalo that also conveniently picks up everything from the CN Tower. If, however, I somehow stumble upon a UHF Corner Reflector Yagi then it would be worth a quick test next summer.
Yaamon: thanks for the heads-up about the wannabfree post. That's what prompted me to be even more thorough and carefully check all my connections when he said something like "the preamp was causing the bad connections to have a bigger effect". That could be the case in my situation, however, it may be hard to tell until next spring/summer when the leaves are back on the trees. ;)
2007-11-02, 11:14 AM
Ninjarider1978: People are very helpful here, Mike :)
For the sake of the DHC Forum rules I've moved your posts to the thread about MCE and PC OTA stuff:
2007-11-02, 03:04 PM
Ok! Didnt know there was a section about that. Thanks to everyone for pointing me in the right direction.
2007-11-11, 12:01 AM
I am with Star Choice for two days now. I'm happy with the quality and all.
At first, I found I was annoyed with perceived poor comparisions of the 535 with the seamless workings of the Rogers' HDPVR which I had previously. But, the more I became familiar with the 535, I could live with it. I do miss the ability to record 2 programs at the same time, also being able to watch a previously recorded program.
I could also live, by and large, with the programming I selected, without going overboard for all the channels I previously had with Rogers. After all, that was the whole idea, to cut back.
One channel I will miss is the Buffalo PBS WNED station (oh, not because of Goldie). I will get the PBSHD channel with SC. I could also add the PBS (Spokane or Seattle feed) package for an extra $4.99, but I do not see the programming on those channels I would be happy with.
So, I spent the past several hours reading all I could on OTA coverage on DH. I only want to get WNED, as I get everything else (local Toronto and American channels) with SC.
I would like to start initially with trying the indoor antennae, as I have a South facing two storey house with wideopen exposure to the SE, S and SW. I'm located halfway between St Clair and Eglinton, near Scarlett. From what I gleaned, I'm thinking about trying the Silver Sensor preferably, or clones (I have read about the other alternatives Terk, Radio Shack, Dell, etc as well).
I noted some of the sources and prices in some of the older posts, and would be interested if there is any updates on that. I'm going to check out Horlick (?), on Jane.
I may also consider going to an outdoor antenna like the CM4221, used indoors, if the price is right.
Of course, in future, as I get into this thing, I may decide to fully invest in a full OTA system of masts, towers, rotors, etc. but not quite yet. At the moment, I'd like to see if I could get Goldie for the simplest and most economic setup.
I would appreciate any suggestions and help. Thanks.
2007-11-11, 01:43 AM
Sorry, I did not make it clear to those who may not know from the street names. I'm in Toronto West.
BTW, there is a lot of good information here, and I'm learning a lot as I'm really raw in this satellite business. But now I've made the jump after being with Rogers since 1980, I'm interested in learning more.
2007-11-11, 02:21 AM
I got my first antenna at Hosick, 2-1/2 yrs ago.
I told him what i wanted to get, all the buffalo & TO stations in digital, and he talked me into the 4228. that was the day before i found dhc.
PBS is one of the easiest buffalo stations to get, but i don't know about an indoor antenna. does your receiver have a OTA digital tuner?
check out the reception forum for toronto, indoor.