: ON - Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, Cambridge, Bruce Peninsula
2012-04-02, 12:53 AM
In the last 2 weeks I have built both a stealth hawk and a super stealth hawk... mounted both up 15ft just for testing and they work great... fantastic work done here!! I am really impressed by both of these and I have had several people ask to borrow them to test them out. But, in an effort to get a bit more out of this design, I have a question that you guys may be able to help me with....
Super Stealth Hawk mounted 15 ft high... about 100ft of coax, running through an 18db Philips Amp (4.99 at princess auto) I get the following channels:
6.1 - Global - CIII - 90-100%
10.1 - CTV2 London -CLPF- 50%
11.1 - CHCH - 30%
13.1 - CTV - CKCO - 80%
28.1 - TVO - CICO - 80%
31.1 - CITY - 70%
I consider this great... basically picking up what is available 30-40 miles both directions... Here is the TV fool:
Now, here is the question... When I do a channel scan, I can see the TV slowing to look at certain stations (others from Hamilton and TO)... it takes a minute and then moves on (with out finding anything). The Global tower in basically in my back yard (6.1)... I get great reception and no issues with the 18db amp in place... If I go with more power (channel master CH-7777) I know am going to have issues with global being so close... I noticed that Winegard used to sell amps that could do 17db on VHF but 28db on UHF... would something like this help me or am I just screwed due to location? They are still around to buy, just not being made anymore it would seem; or is there a way to cut the VHF db's and go with a Channel Master CH-7777? Any help would be appreciated!!!
Great job here guys... can't say enough about the time an effort put in to design something that works and well!!!
BTW... 1/8" x 1/2" alum. flat bar works well for the Super Stealth Hawk... That is what I used for mine (11.99 for 8ft @ Princess Auto)
2012-04-02, 05:11 PM
Remember, the key is adequate signal-to-noise ratio for successful reception. A preamp does not help with that. In fact, preamps add noise. In your case, you are exchanging some additional noise for avoiding the signal loss in the 100 feet of coax - a fair trade off.
If the tuner is pausing, then you're right at the edge for reception. Any increase in signal-to-noise will help. Typically, the inexpensive preamps can be quite noisy, with noise figures of 7 dB or more. The better models sport much lower noise figures, like the Antennas Direct CPA-19, which has a noise figure of around 2. That's 5 dB to the good for SNR. That particular preamp also is more tolerant of strong signals.
2012-04-02, 08:14 PM
You are now using an 18db Philips Booster Amp (4.99 at princess auto),.. The lower price stuff usually indicates higher noise factors. :p Maybe? but not always.. And remember that the input port of a booster type amp like that one only sees the antenna's signal after the 100ft line loss has taken it's toll on the signals strengths.
That 100ft is potentially a significant line loss for a 10db widebeam antenna, so a preamp may be needed to overcome that line loss in order to get something from Hamilton/Toronto, etc.. A good mast mounted preamp will generate much less noise than a cheap booster amp,, and a mast mounted preamp should completely overcome the 100ft line loss without as much added noise that your cheap booster amp is generating.
Your tvfool results do seem to be a bit weak for Ayr reception. Ayr seems to be a bad location for OTA reception. I tried a tvfool report for Ayr Ontario at 30ft and there wasn't much improvement.
You could probably use a CM7777 using the UHF only setting. Even though when using the UHF only setting which is supposed to cut VHF signals,.. those very strong local channels 6&13 VHF will probably still come through strong enough.
Maybe you could borrow a preamp from someone to do some testing?
2012-04-02, 09:07 PM
I am in the centre of Guelph with using a DB8 Antennas Direct, with a CM7778 amp mounted on my roof (about 30 up). I sit on a hill, and unfortunately the direction the antenna points actually looks towards the slope (meaning I probably have less height than I think).
I am running about 75 feet of coax directly to my TV. I am pointed at about 90 degrees (using magnetic north).
Here's my TV fool - http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d0b867b3d28de77
I currently get:
6-1 Global (sometimes)
11 CHCH (sometimes)
13 CTV (Kitchener)
25 CBC French
41 -1 Global
Unfortunately, my TV doesn't give the best information when it comes to signal strength (so i have no percentages to contribute).
I thought I would get CITY and OMNI from Toronto, but I have only gotten City three times in the past 6 months. From time to time I also pick up US stations. Do I need to switch to a more directional antenna (Yagi 91X)?
I would like to get a few more stations, specifically the Toronto ones. Any thoughts?
Sounds like you're up along Eramosa/Queen/King.
I'm down near Exhibition Park and those are the exact same as I am getting. I get City a little more, but not much. Maybe once a month.
I have the same antenna, different amp. About 30 ft up myself. Obviously, lower than you. Report back if you're able to pick anything else up.
2012-04-02, 10:38 PM
So, I read your both posts and got to thinking... put the preamp at the end of a 12ft cable off the antenna; yes, hanging in mid air with extension cord :) just as a test and picked up CTS (14.1 TO & 36.1 Ham) both at 30% as well as TVO (CICO - 18.1) at 30% (as well as a couple of analog). Now it is a clear night, these will drop with any weather, but it looks more promising.
Yes, Ayr is not ideal placement, but on the bright side, I am on top of the hill on the east side of town. I did another TV Fool @ 20ft and most of the 2 edge from TO turn into 1 edge (I am almost where I need to be):
I bought the amp because it was 5 bucks a just for testing... yes, not a great choice, but it helped show what was possible if that makes sense?
The reason that I was looking at amps like the Winegard AP-8780 because I would like to keep the 50% signal I get on 11.1 (CHCH) and 10.1 (CTV2 from London) that I currently get with 18db amp and put more gain toward UHF that would help with Toronto. I would lose that by only using the UHF on the CH-7777. I noticed that most amps (if not all) with 15-20db VHF and 25-30Udb UHF are not being produced any more (but still available)... which makes me think that I should buy one sooner than later. Is there a reason they are not making these anymore (incompatible with HD OTA??) or just no market for them? It would seem to make the most sense for someone in my position.
Thanks again for your help!!!
2012-04-03, 02:30 PM
jamesota... if you are looking for a good low noise pre-amp... a member of this forum... GerryB... designed and builds his own which if he still has any left will sell you one... I got one and it worked better for my location than the CM7777 I started with... I'm currently using the DB8 antenna... this summer I plan on testing some more using 2 matching pairs of antenna and coax leads and preamps... so I'm getting another one of GerryB's preamps.
for a low noise pre-amp you should look into GerryB's piece of art.
Also you must consider what tuner you are using and how sensitive it is to weak signals and how well it handles overload...
From my location I can see the CKVR tower across the lake... basically its a flame thrower with LOS to the tower... but because its off to the side from the aim of my DB8 it does not overload my tuner.. because my rear projection Mitsubishi TV does not have a digital tuner, my tuner is a set top box the ******** DTV-5000.
2012-04-07, 01:32 PM
Here's where I stand, and what I am planning to do.
I have a ClearStream 4 antenna set up in the attic, with a CM7777 preamp. Height off the ground is maybe around 15-20 ft or so, but it is inside the attic, with a 100-ft lengh of coax to the tv location.
My first attempts with this got me the following:
CBC (29 analog)
I am now in the process of moving the antenna to the roof, with a mast & rotor. I havent' done this yet, but it is my springtime project. But, I have started some of the 'indoor' work: last weekend, I put in a ground block into the basement, & hooked the ground up to a cold water pipe. Note that for my outdoor installation, the antenna/mast will actually go to a grounding rod that is already outside; the 'indoor' ground block is intended to equalize the outdoor grounding rod with the main ground of the house.
Anyway, after adding a proper grounding to the coax shielding, my reception improved, so that with the attic setup (as above), but now grounded coax shield, I am getting:
CBC (29 analog)
Global (6.1 and 6.2), about 25%
CHCH (11.1) most of the time, but signal level is low, get the station about 80% of the time
CKCO (13.1) - good signal level
TVO 28.1 - good signal level
CITY (31.1) most of the time, but signal level is low, get the station about 80% of the time.
At this moment, I cannot rotate the antenna in the attic due to lack of space.
My next step is to mount the antenna (with rotor) onto a 5-ft mast above the roofline. Fortunately, a previous owner already has a place to mount it, so I'll put it there. (and the ground rod was already in place as well).
I'll post results once I have it set up. I am a bit slow at doing home projects, because we have a lot of small kids at home, but I am hopeful at having my new setup up and running by the end of this month. Will post when I have results.
Comments are welcome.....
2012-04-12, 12:33 AM
Hi all. My name is Matt. This is my first post here.
I have been experimenting with OTA for about 6 months now. I started with a home built antenna made from 14 gauge copper wire, a 2x6 and a $5 ballun from The source. Mounted on a patio table post that was stuck in the end of a J mount from an old Satellite that is attached to the side of my chimney about 25 ft up.
Pulled in 4 channels, 13,23,28,36. All but 36 were somewhat intermittent. Then I bought a ******** ANT2084 from Factorydirect on sale for $20. Pulled in the same 4 channels.
Last weekend I bought a CM7777, DB8, chimney strap, some good cable connectors and the tools to install them. I started with just installing the CM7777 with the ******** antenna. Right away I pulled in 17 channels. 2 were analog, 3 were lower resolution duplicates. About 12 good quality HD channels. I'm currently pulling in
This weekend I will setup the DB8 with the chimney mount and a 10ft mast so hopefully I'll reach 30ft from the ground. Anxious to see if I get anymore channels with the DB8. I'll post back with my results after it is done.
Thanks to everyone that posted their results in the past. They helped come to my decision on components and so far I'm happy with the results
2012-04-12, 11:34 PM
Since getting some ganging tips from Roger1818, I have increased my channel count, and improved signal quality, using 4 antennas in my attic! Yes, 4 antennas, I don't want to deal with a rotator. Want the WAF to be as high as possible.
The channels with the "*" next to them are the only ones that are spotty when the weather is not cooperating. My upgrade to a DBGH will help take care of the Buffalo stations.
VHF input <- Dipole
6 (Global) 100
9 (CFTO) 87
10 (CFPL) 80
11 (CHCH) 87
13 (CKCO) 94
UHF input <- Splitter #1 Input 1 - SBGH pointed to Buffalo
36 (CITS) 89
39 (4) (WIVB) 72 *
38 (7) (WKBW) 77 *
43 (17) (PBS) 65 *
32 (23) (WNLO) 72
UHF input <- Splitter #1 Input 2 <- Splitter #2 Input 1 - 4Bay DIY Clone pointed to Toronto
20 (5) (CBC) 78
28 (TVO) 83
47 (CFMT) 64 *
UHF input <- Splitter #1 Input 2 <- Splitter #2 Input 2 - SBGH pointed towards Woodstock/Paris
19 (TVO) 76
31 (CITY) 74
My earlier post a page or 2 back has my TVFool link.
2012-04-16, 07:50 PM
You've done well Matt.
Are you pointed directly at CN Tower?
2012-04-17, 07:46 AM
If I remember right I aimed it at 110 degrees, almost directly in the middle of buffalo and toronto.
My next experiement is to point it directly at each direction (buffalo and toronto) to see what channels I get, then mount my other antenna on the same mast and have one pointed at toronto and one at buffalo and see which gets better results in each direction. If I could get a few more channels it would help with the WAF. One of her shows was on 10.1 london which I don't get. Hoping if I have an antenna pointed directly at buffalo that I can also pick up this one.
2012-04-17, 01:59 PM
I just recently was able to get London 10.1 using a simple dipole antenna mounted in my attic, connected to the VHF only input on the CM7777. Doing that requires you not combine UHF/VHF on the other input.
You can see in my post (2 posts back) what I can get with the dipole, and I am in Cambridge not far from you.
2012-04-25, 11:29 PM
Setup an antenna on the weekend. Pretty happy with my local reception and what I can get out of Toronto but a little disappointed I didnít get CHCH out Hamilton or anything from Buffalo. Figured I should at least get CHCH, hoping for CW and PBS. (unrelated but I thought I saw something about CTV2 coming to the CHCH tower? anyone know the timeline?)
Hereís my TV Fool.
My lineup, all digital unless otherwise mentioned. All pointed ~89į by compass. Channels in square brackets are virtual channel # if different from actual broadcast channel. In all Iíve got 6 HD channels that Iíll actually watch from a single azimuth.
20 [5.1] CBC
29 CBC (analogue - snowy reception)
36 CITS (out of Hamilton I believe?)
44 [57.1] City
61 SRC (analogue - snowy reception)
Channels I think might be obtainable based on my Toronto reception results (in order of receiving power according to TVFool) :
11 CHCH (Hamilton)
32 [23.1] CW (Buffalo - probable)
43 [17.1] PBS (Buffalo - hopeful)
39 [4.1] CBS (Buffalo - ?)
38 [7.1] ABC (Buffalo - ?)
I am using have a DB8, CM 7777 pre-amp (combined UHF/VHF input), on a 5í tripod + 10í 1.5Ē O.D. EMT. Final install height is estimated at ~30ft which is enough to get over neighbourhood houses but there are some mature trees in my neighbourhood (mix of conifers and deciduous) and some power lines across the street that Iím aiming through for Buffalo - which may ultimately be my downfall. I donít have and would like to avoid a rotor so testing was done manually targeting either Toronto (89į by compass) or Hamilton/Buffalo (121į-128į by compass). Ideally, if I could get enough stations out of Buffalo/Hamilton I could justify a second antenna/preamp to the mast. Altogether I adjusted azimuths for Buffalo/Hamilton 4 or 5 times hoping it was my targeting that was off a bit. Any suggestions for things to try to improve Buffalo reception? Incline the antenna?
I also noticed that yesterday that my otherwise solid reception was pretty broken up during wind gusts. Is this typical for other peopleís installations? Or does it mean I need to stabilize my setup? I assume I could always stabilize with guy wires to improve wind stability. Whether this is typical or not may determine how quick I am to get the guy wires installed.
2012-04-26, 01:14 AM
How solid is the tripod? Is there lots of movement of the setup during wind? How is the tripod mounted? Did you use lag bolts into the roof joists?!
CHCH and CTV2 (London) are both VHF stations currently (channel 11 and 10 respectively). You have a UHF antenna.
You could check to see if your CM7777 is set to "combined" inside the amp itself. The switch is accessed by removing the 4 screws on the plate, and looking on the backside. Don't worry--this does not void any warranty. If the switch is set to "separate", make sure you flip it. This may enable reception of the VHF stations such as CHCH.
If the switch is set to "combined", then you'll likely need a VHF antenna to obtain CHCH 11 and 10 CFPL London. Both stations are easily received with a rooftop setup in this area.
2012-04-26, 09:47 AM
that's right Jase, great points.
I had the exact setup here in London. The DB8 is terrible for VHF reception unless you live close to transmitter ie: 13-1 CKCO.
I could not help notice 6-1 Global was not on the list.
Regardless, I don't recommend, with a tripod set up exceeding 6 ft from the roof peak to top of pipe.
Please make sure you check that the lags went through a roof joist by going in the attic to check this.
2012-04-26, 10:51 AM
Tripod itself feels solid. It's into one joist, and I added blocking (2x6's) where the feet did not line up with a joist; I used 3 lagbolts per foot. Joist spacing is 16" while I think 20-22" is standard for a roof and what the tripod - the roof itself is very stiff. And yes, I did confirm that lag bolts are into the blocking. I see movement in the antenna during strong gusts, but I don't believe I'm seeing harmonic oscillations (i.e. increasingly larger swings). It could be as panamark says; I am almost certainly >6ft from the last collar to the top of the antenna. The tripod came with a cup on the bottom collar that I left in place leaving 7+ feet of mast above the last collar. I haven't checked my signal strength on all channels so perhaps just weaker signals than I think. Stations like the local CTV channel stayed locked throughout. I guess I expect rain and snow to knock the signal out periodically, didn't anticipate wind knocking out the signal on the second day it was up (Monday).
I realize CHCH is VHF but thought that since I was getting CKCO (CTV) on channel 13 (also VHF-Hi), that my preamp was probably set to combined. I'm not sure how it works within the preamp, but CKCO might be strong enough that I'd get it no matter what. You know, the packaging said it was set to combined by default and I kind of had a feeling I should check it anyway.... I did notice I'm not getting any other VHF channels, but other than CHCH, they are all off-axis from my testing and lower frequencies at channels 6 and 9 (I receive CKCO despite being off-axis). Thought I'd seen others getting CHCH with 8-bays but since getting the antenna I've seen reports indicating that the DB8 might be the worst VHF-hi performer of the 8-bay bunch (which is fine given it's a UHF antenna).
Might be a bit before I have the help I need to take the antenna down and check the preamp. Anything else I could try?
First, sounds like I should add guy wires or lower my mast.
As to my CHCH issue, what about something like the Antennas Direct C2V dipole as an add-on to my DB8? Couldn't find any posts about anyone in the area using it (also haven't found the $20 kit-only version locally or on Canadian distributor websites - PM if you know otherwise). Seems like it could be a relatively cheap upgrade given I already have a UHF/VHF preamp.
Any concern with overloading the preamp with the CKCO signal if I get a VHF antenna (even if it's just the simple dipole) and use UHF/VHF inputs on the amp?
Perhaps getting ahead of myself, but also been reading about the 91XG as a second antenna to help with Buffalo UHF channels. Those that have tested both, what sort of improvement could I expect? Are the powerlines likely an unsurpassable problem? Or am I more likely elevation challenged (see my TV Fool results (http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d7fcf41281796b5)).
I also need to try connecting to my MythTV system which I believe has a more sensitive tuner (HVR-2250) than my 5+ years old TV. Just ran out of fittings for my cable while doing the install and haven't been out to get more.
2012-04-26, 01:08 PM
I had to check with my relative in Cambridge as it is them who having the reception problems with OMNI/CITY
RF20 = CBC not OMNI - but reception is not great antenna direction is W-NW
RF48 = nothing
RF31 = CITY reception is a fluke
RF 47/51 = Nothing as well; no signal of any kind (OMNI 1 & 2 TORONTO) although pre transition digital was ok
On analog they were able to receive a lot more stations then they do now.
My relative states that sometimes when they watch Global Ch 6 - OMNI overlaps it. I don't see how this is possible.:confused:
The antenna, at least on the tuner, is set at South for reception for most channels.
2012-04-26, 02:26 PM
TOTVBuff, we would need to see a TVFool report for your relative's place to make recommendations. Slight differences in location can make huge differences, but being half way between Toronto and London can make things challenging. They should be able to do better than they are however.
Hi genseng. Regarding your question about the DB8 and a dipole, I asked a similar question form the AD Tech in the Antennas direct OTA antennas and gear forum. See post 386 for his response. I then inquired in the forum DB8 Hardware hacks about DB8 modifications and received suggestions in post 43. Because of the recent weather, I haven't been up on the roof but intend to give this a try. F.T.
2012-04-27, 12:45 AM
Thanks fgt. I think your question to ADTech must have been what tipped me off on the dipole. Followed up in the DB8 hacks thread.