: ON - City of Toronto Metro Area <OUTDOOR Antennas Only> - OTA
2010-07-05, 04:23 PM
I had noooo idea that OTA has so much info and resources.
My dad got me to buy an OTA (8 bay, each bay can swivel) antenna. But after doing some research I first of all realised that I need a ATSC tuner.
I have 3 TV's none of which that (I am still on CRT and one gigantic YPbPr type TV)
So I guess first of all I need to buy one of those.
But I guess I also need to to figure out where to point it in order to get some channels:
I am at Bathurst and Sheppard, facing west with some southern exposure (No CN tower views)
I don't need much channels, just local stuff as this will be a back up for a Sat TV
2010-07-08, 01:26 AM
Since my last post (#1233) I've been able to try a few things out.
First off I've managed to make use of the existing CM3679. I've done so by connecting a 300 Ohm to 75 Ohm balun to the pre-existing twin lead coming off the antenna and down the mast. I must say, working with the twin lead and making that connection stick was far more annoying than anticipated. I then attached RG6 to the balun and ran it the remaining length of the run straight to my TVs ATSC tuner. I've used Compression F connectors on the RG6 and there is a single break in the line where I have used a barrel coupler.
My reception results have been good but not great. As far as I can tell the antenna is directed at south Buffalo. As far as my TV Fool is concerned http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...9fbed65c88b1ef , I've been able to pick up all my Toronto stations, none of the Hamilton stations come in (I think that's Hamilton the line southwest of Toronto) and the Buffalo/Grand Island stations only come in intermittently or not at all. Buffalo/ Grand Island have been coming in over the last couple of days probably due to the weather and good tropo conditions.
In terms of signal strength I can't really give any numbers as the Samsung TVs built in tuner only provides signal level bars as you would see on a cell phone. I've looked at the manual and online and can't even tell what the maximum number of bars is (i.e. 100%). The manual contains a picture with 8 bars but my experience on CBC and other strong channels is they never go above 6 (and never go under actually) does anyone what the answer to this is?.
This lead me to believe that maybe the Toronto stations were coming in too strong, overloading the tuner which in turn reduced it's gain to protect itself hence dropping the already lower gain of the Buffalo channels. To test this, I replaced the barrel coupler with a 3 way splitter which has 7.5 db loss on that specific port and later also added a 3db attenuator to the end of the RG6 down lead off of the antenna (just before the splitter). This had no effect on the signal strength of the strong Toronto stations (still only 6 bars) however the Buffalo channels that I've been receiving dropped in strength or disappeared all together; I guess this overpower theory has been shown the door. I expected that if the overload caused a gain drop at the tuner then an attenuated signal would remove the drop and cause the Buffalo channels to hold more of their signal at the tuner. I also tried to add an indoor amplifier which claimed gains of up to 20db all I noticed was a hot amp and no positive change to my reception results.
I'm not really sure what the issue is I hope someone here might be able to help. I mean at this point it could be any of the following: The tree cited in my post (#1232), the oxidation on the antenna, the deterioration of the twin lead or connection points to the antenna, or even the twin lead balun connection.
Messing with the antenna isn't really an option and for now I'm fine with receiving the Toronto stations but wouldn't mind getting the Buffalo/Grand Island stations.
Any help is appreciated.
Thank you for following-up with this post of your results after your questions post from a couple weeks back.
Congrats on your adventurous spirit! I wouldn't be able to live with those giant antennas above my house without trying them out.
That being said, assuming you have a clear view south, your experiment hasn't been totally successful. Those signals from Buffalo are passing through your house begging to be caught by your antenna and it hasn't worked yet. I think you mentioned that you may have some tree issues.
I'm no antenna expert. Perhaps a few experienced folks with older installations will be able to advise you if there is any hope restoring the old set-up to its old potential.
In my opinion, getting a hold of a 4221hd and temporarily mounting it above the roofline somewhere up your tower and hooking it up directly to your Samsung would be a good experiment.
I really like my American TV stations -- even the subchannels. I enjoy Retro TV and Universal Sports Network. I'm a little late to the game, but I'm catching up on Kojak! It's worth getting them if you can. I'm watching way more PBS now than when I had cable (too much "mindless" content to tempt me with cable).
Anyway, congrats on getting that old antenna back in service. If you have a clear view of Buffalo, then you have the opportunity to greatly increase your channel count.
After re-looking at your pictures, you should try two things:
1) As I said, try the 4221 from up your tower.
2) Try the 4221 from your chimney (you seem to have an unobstructed view south there).
2010-07-08, 10:11 PM
please make sure you have grounded your cable to a water copper pipe or had it grounded when it came into the house. that can help a little as for the reception and being struck by lightning. I do not think you would need a pre amp since you got a beast as an antenna. sometimes it just could be due to weather issues. for example, for my location lake shore and kipling some station from buffalo only work after 7pm or so for some odd reason and during day, well you can forget them. anyways at least you see it works but needs fine tuning. which can be time consuming. a hair off is a hair off here but in the long run it is a matter of meters. sometimes what I notice with my installation I had to redo almost all of the connection since I am not the best at making connectors since I never did before. I got the hang of it after practicing by scrapping about 12 connectors and some RG-6 cable.
bad contact in the connectors was my issue.
well now that I know what I get from morning 7am till 7pm, and from 7pm till midnight. I just settle with it. it works, do not fix something that works well. anyways
it took me almost 2 to 3 days of fine tuning to get the stations that I wanted. and a lot of experimenting with different setup(antennas).
2010-07-09, 10:26 PM
I have an answer to your question on Samsung signal strength bars. I also have a Samsung TV with no more than 6 bars on-screen, 8 bars in the manual image, and apparently space for 10 bars. This TV has performed every bit as well as a newer Samsung TV I have, that displays up to 10 bars. I think it's just a cosmetic software difference.
--Bert [Vic Park / Sheppard]
2010-07-10, 06:55 PM
So just to be clear, on your older Samsung 6 bars is equivalent to the 10 bars on the new Samsung which is equivalent to 100% signal. Do I have that right?
2010-07-14, 07:54 PM
Just to respond to some of the suggestions I've received since my last post.
I'm of the same thinking with regards to using another antenna. However, I'm fairly confident that I would get great signal from South Buffalo, Grand Island using a 4228HD. Given my location in Toronto I don't think that added forward gain would hurt relative to the 4221HD given my need for splitter and combiners to complete the wiring connections.
Having read a bit more on the topic, although my antenna could be cleaned up, the real issue getting in the way of receiving the US channels is that large maple. It's very likely causing short-delay multipath; with tropo most come in. The irony is of course that when the leaves fall off come fall and winter my reception results will likely improve as oppose to the typically diminishing reception most people run into. So the ideal spot is probably the chimney as you've suggested.
I'm working on the grounding for safety. I'm not sure it will solve the reception issues. In terms of my connections, I'm confident that they're properly installed.
I'm going to hold off of any changes for now as it's summer and I'm happy with what I have so far.
2010-07-17, 06:50 PM
Having looked into my antenna options again. The following discussion has convinced me that the 4221HD is probably the better option for my particular scenario.
HWP's original suggestion is again a good one.
I'm hoping others in the area can benefit from these discussions.
2010-07-26, 07:46 PM
Hello veteran OTA folks, I need some help figuring out what may have gone wrong with my OTA set up.
The hardware and background story:
Antenna was installed circa 1993 by a professional on a roughly 35' tower. Here are some pictures of the antenna as it looks today:
and middle of antenna:
Note the two missing spokes here:
When I was still able to receive good signal from the antenna, one spoke was already missing (the one at the end). Now another spoke has fallen off, which I suspect is due to heavy birds using it as hang out spot.
There is a roughly 50' RG59 cable leading from the balun, down the tower, and into my home.
The 50' RG59 is then connected to a 100' RG6 cable which connects to my Hauppauge HVR-1800 TV tuner.
Location and Signal strength:
Located in Toronto, antenna points to the south. When I was receiving good signal strength, I was receiving around 20 digital channels. I was able to get WUTV at around 18 SNR (according to WinTV signal meter), NBC around 16 SNR, and all the Toronto stations at a full 30 SNR. Mind you, this was all through 150' of mixed RG59 and RG6 cable with a connecting joint between the two cables. No preamp.
I was using this setup since 2008 without any major problem. For some unknown reason, around September 2009, I suddenly experienced a major drop is signal levels.
I lost all Buffalo stations, and some Toronto stations. The remaining Toronto stations (CityTV, CBC, CFTO) were so degraded that even they couldn't be reliably received. Their SNRs went from 30 to around 15.
To make sure it wasn't my TV tuner card, I disconnected my tower antenna and hooked up a 4 bay clone to 6 feet of RG6. I was able to pick up WUTV in buffalo again and all of the Toronto stations were back to almost 30 SNR. (and that was just from holding the 4 bay in my hand and pointing it towards a south facing window).
Thinking that maybe my wiring had gone bad, I disconnected the 100' RG6 and connected my TV tuner straight to the 50' RG59 coming from the balun where it enters my house. A very minor increase in signal was obtained from this, but no where near what I used to get.
Just judging from my eyes, I don't think the antenna has moved its position. Also, the rotor has been seized up for at least the last 5 years and can't be moved via the control unit.
I guess the next step would be to climb my tower and replace the RG59 coming from the balun?
Any other ideas of what could have gone wrong?
2010-07-26, 11:47 PM
I guess the next step would be to climb my tower and replace the RG59 coming from the balun?
Any other ideas of what could have gone wrong?
I have tried to fix a couple antennas in similar shape. In one case a new balun and all new wire fixed the problem. In another case the rotor bolts broke, the balun wing nuts were siezed and the u bolts holding the antenna to the pipe broke. Replaced that one with a 10' pipe and an 8 bay antenna.
It depends on where you are but the only thing a rotor could possibly help with is Hamiton or Barrie so it up to you to decide if its worth it.
If its not the balun, the connection to the coax is not waterproof, it should have been sealed. Or could be a short or a break in one of the connecting leads bewteewn dipoles.
My suggestion is: if you're going to spend the money to get it fixed you might as well count on a new antenna.
2010-07-27, 01:42 AM
That balun looks like an indoor version which isn't weather proof. I would replace that as well, there are thin wires inside these baluns that could break or short making it defective.
The missing elements are on the VHF portion of the antenna - how this would affect the UHF reception (channels 14 and up) I don't know.
Also double check the antenna is aimed correctly.
2010-08-16, 06:01 PM
Hello all, I'm new to here.
In my wake of the OTA, I finally ditched the cable :D
Since I'm still using an analog TV but will get an HDTV soon, I'm shopping for an antenna that would pick up both as many UHF and VHF channels as possble in the Greater Toronto Area and in the US (Buffalo channels?).
Currently I'm looking at the clearstream4 and db4? Would that be an overkill for me? I could get a Clearstream 4 from a friend of mine for $90. Should I get it?
It looks like you can make your own one as well but I dunno how hard it is to do so...
Any recommendations are appreciated. I live in an apt in midtown TO (6 miles from CN tower) if that helps. Thanks:)
The Clear Stream 4 is a quality antenna that sells at Save and Replay for $149. So $90 is a good price for a good antenna.
My suggestion would be for you to have your friend over and have him demonstrate how well the CS4 works in your apartment. If it works, you might decide then to keep it.
Do you have a view of the CN Tower? Are you on the third or higher floor? Are there any big buildings or trees blocking your view to the south? If you're at Yonge&Eglinton then Toronto and Buffalo channels are all basically south of you.
Even if your location is not ideal, I'd definitely have your friend over to test it out. With a CS4, you're definitely going to do better than rabbit ears.
The only thing is, for $40-$50 you could get a Channel Master 4221hd antenna new. It would perform very close to the same as the Clear Stream 4.
Note that the CS4 and the 4221 are both UHF antennas. They aren't designed for channels 7-13. But they'd probably work anyway given your proximity to the CN Tower.
2010-08-16, 06:36 PM
yamamr, start by reading this:
+++>>> New here? READ THIS BEFORE Posting In The OTA Forum <<<+++ (http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=125161)
and you'll notice that I've moved your post into the thread that contains a ton of very specific information for your location so that you can see which OTA gear others have had success with near you.
2010-08-16, 11:12 PM
Thanks for your advice, HWP. Wow, Stampeder, I'm very impressed by the resources you and other contributors provided here. Thanks a lot.
I live on the 7th floor of Yonge-Lawrence area. Although my unit is south-facing, the CN towers are blocked by the new high-rises popping out at Yonge & Eglinton. Does that mean my "line-of-sight to source" is blocked, and I need the SquareShooter?
Ya, it's a great idea to have my buddy over to test it out but after looking at the Antenna Chart in this forum, it seems like CM 4221hd(modified), Silver sensor, Squareshooter is a better choice than CS4.. Did you modify your 4221?
If you're at Yonge & Lawrence and the buildings are at Yonge & Eglinton, they will not be a problem. Lawrence is probably two kilometres north of Eglinton. I don't see two buildings that far away having an impact on you.
It sounds like you will not have any problems due to location.
Look further back in this thread to a post I made earlier about visiting a friend's apartment at Bayview and Sheppard. He got every channel with a 10 inch length of exposed coax cable laying on his window ledge (indoors).
You're going to have great results with OTA TV at that spot.
The CS4 is probably more than you need, but if later you changed your mind, you could probably sell it for the price you paid.
Again, you could get a channel master 4221hd antenna for about $40 - $50 and get the same results. Price is your only concern with respect to your friend's antenna. His antenna or any quality brand-name antenna for that matter will work from your location.
Good luck and make sure you come back to this forum to report on your results. Future people will benefit from your reception report.
If you get a 4221, don't bother doing any modifications. It will work fine. If you really get into OTA and it becomes a hobby, then maybe you'll be inspired to do the mod. My antenna has had no mods and I get everything from Toronto and Buffalo including ION in Batavia. My only trouble channel is CHCH in Hamilton and my Kitztech booster does the trick for that. Your location is probably better than mine so I don't think you'll have any problems. We only live about ten minutes from each other. And you're at a higher elevation and on the seventh floor. I'm sure you have nothing to worry about. All you need is a 4221 facing the right direction and you'll be laughing.
2010-08-19, 08:12 AM
I'm using a ChannelMaster 7000 PVR and picking up WKBW with great results. Consistently getting better than 90% on the signal meter, but noticing audio "drop outs".
Also, noticed WIVB disappeared for a couple of minutes this morning... It registered 0% and when it "came back" it registered 80%.
We're in a house and the antenna is mounted above the chimney. No obstructions in the way, save for the occasional airplane from Toronto Island Airport.
My signal quality seems fantastic, WUTV, WKBW, WIVB and (especially) WGRZ. My ChannelMaster 4228HD is aimed quite directly towards these transmitters; which makes the audio "drop outs" puzzling... but I'm new to this and am sure I've plenty to learn.
Had my first "strange" event, turned on the receiver (CM7000) and was told it'd added ION to the channel guide. There was no signal by the time I tried to tune it.
2010-08-19, 07:10 PM
By the way, just went to TVFool, my location looks like this - http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d9fbebc425cce23
Spoke with ChannelMaster about some feedback when the channel guide is displayed. They've asked me to swap the receiver for a new one.
Didn't think to ask, but I wonder if my sound drops are related to this.
Welcome to OTA! Those dropouts are a bit of a mystery. Sounds like you've got a pretty good set-up with quality brand name antennas in your CM4228hd and I envy your OTA DVR!
Just for the heck of it, if your TV has multiple HDMI ports, plug your DVR into a different port. I bought an LCD TV from Tiger Direct - a refurbished TV. It took a long time before I could figure out what had ever been the matter with my TV. Eventually I figured out that HDMI Port 1 had sound problems. No probs. There are two or three other ports.
Keep us posted on your progress.
ION real channel 23, virtual channel 51.1, 51.2, 51.3 registered on your tuner but wasn't strong enough to show. This is not too unusual. From my neighbourhood near Pape and Danforth, I receive ION about 95% of the time so far. It's a good channel for our family.
Do you have quality ends/connectors on your RG6 cable?
You have purchased a quality antenna and a quality DVR. Make sure you maximize your results by having the rest of your set-up made-up of quality components.
Did you do your own install?