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Old 2006-07-21, 02:30 PM   #16
stampeder
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Default ATSC Tuners/Receivers/Converters

Will my analogue and digital tuners get the same reception results in the same location?
First of all, it is expected or hoped that after the transition to complete digital OTA the TV stations will operate with very similar coverage areas as their analogue stations did. This is not necessarily the case during the transition, and much work is still to be done to make sure that viewers will still get their desired OTA stations as they did before. For the purposes of answering this question lets assume that the person's area generally gets both the analogue and digital stations equally well.

With old-style analogue OTA, signals pour out from the transmitter in waves. An antenna on a house on top of a hill probably gets great analogue reception, but for other locations down the hill there might be problems that can unfortunately make the analogue signals "dirty" due to such things as terrain bounce, adjacent RF interference, multipath distortion from reflections, and more. In such cases even a great home antenna might get a miserable or at the least unpleasant signal. Oddly enough, even in generally poor reception areas analogue OTA signals can sometimes make their way and be seen satisfactorily, so there is always hope. This signal reception mess has given analogue OTA a bad rap for half a century compared to cable and satellite programming sources.

With digital OTA almost all of those analogue OTA problems have been solved. There is a big caveat to that, though. Digital OTA reception is subject to the cliff effect: if your ATSC tuner can get a lock on the signal, the programming is perfect and beautiful, but if your ATSC tuner loses that lock even for a brief time or just cannot make that lock in the first place, the entire signal goes away until a lock can be made again. The cliff effect is discussed further below in much more detail under the heading What do ATSC Signal Meters measure?

Thus, it is possible in some cases that an analogue tuner will pick up stations while a digital one will not. There are solutions, and the OTA Forum is exactly the place to go for advice and assistance.
What do I need to know about buying a tuner to get digital OTA stations?
If your TV or Home Theatre system does not contain an integrated digital tuner for OTA (called either an ATSC/QAM or NTSC/ATSC/QAM tuner) you will need to purchase an ATSC Set Top Box (STB), which means that you would plug it into one of the input ports of your HDTV and/or into an input port of your Surround Sound AV receiver. Details of exactly how to connect one will be in its set of instructions, and DHC has a FAQ and many excellent threads on Home Theatre cabling and connections should you require help or information with the hookup.
  • NTSC = old style analogue signals
  • ATSC= new style digital OTA signals
  • QAM = new style digital Cable TV signals (discussed elsewhere in the DHC Forums but not in the OTA Forum)
The OTA Forum is, of course, filled with excellent information specifically about OTA equipment and gear issues, such as antennas, amplifiers, splitters, mounting, cabling, expected reception for your area, etc.

ATSC STBs are available from such manufacturers as LG, Samsung, Viewsonic, Digital Stream, Humax, Panasonic, and others.

Not all ATSC tuners are created equal! The latest Generation 5 and 6 chipsets are vastly improved over earlier models, so while you may find the newest models to be pricey in comparison to older "eBay specials", the performance difference is wide and very noticeable. You get what you pay for, and some poor souls have found that the "great deal" they paid for had a Generation II chipset in it, causing all sorts of reception disappointments.

Not all ATSC tuners output HD! For people who have TVs, VCRs, etc. that get only NTSC (analogue) programming a new type of ATSC tuner is available to allow reception of the new digital OTA stations. These converter boxes are not full-fledged tuners/receivers but in fact simply take the digital OTA signals and convert them to NTSC analogue. For example, the effect on watching a program is that if a true ATSC tuner provides it in 1080i High Definition resolution with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, the converter box downsizes the image to 480i resolution with 2.0 stereo audio. Again, these converter boxes are simply to allow older NTSC gear (TVs, VCRs, etc.) to display the digital OTA programming.

Not all ATSC tuners contain analogue NTSC tuners!. If continuing to receive NTSC analogue signals is part of your OTA viewing goal, make sure that the model of ATSC tuner can receive both ATSC and NTSC signals. The better HDTVs and STBs have seamless integration of both standards into one channel-changing capability, while other models require that the user enter different on-screen interfaces for either one. Almost all of the new U.S. "coupon" boxes are ATSC only, and it is expected that Canadian consumers would just use their remotes to go back and forth between the TV's own NTSC tuner and the new box's ATSC tuner. On a modern CRT TV with Composite or S-Video inputs a consumer would hook up the ATSC tuner box in a similar fashion to a DVD player, and then select either the internal NTSC tuner for the Canadian stations or the correct input for the ATSC tuner box to watch the Canadian and U.S. digital OTA stations.

Some Bell satellite receivers have built-in ATSC tuners, but their OTA picture quality is generally not as high as with the latest ATSC STBs. Also, most satellite receivers require a satellite TV subscription/activation even to use just the ATSC tuner, so they are essentially useless as standalone OTA tuners.

The OTA Forum contains important threads concerning information, availability, technical questions, and prices of ATSC STBs and ATSC-equipped HDTVs.
What do ATSC Signal Meters measure?
ATSC Digital OTA TV broadcast signals pour out of the transmitter in waves of computer data made up of ones and zeroes, with a variety of high-tech measures added to guarantee that the receiver at the other end can take the stream of ones and zeroes and reassemble the programming in near perfect resolution and sound quality. Signal meters on ATSC tuners actually don't measure signal "strength" as one might intuitively believe, but rather the percentage of the transmitter's data packets that arrive cleanly through your antenna system and are thus able to be digitally processed.

As your ATSC tuner attempts to lock onto a station it fills a memory cache with all the data it can receive, and as a pattern forms in that data the ATSC tuner knows to look for certain cues in that data in order to lock onto the stream and commence processing it. A certain minimum amount of info is required by the ATSC tuner before it can digitally "lock" onto the signal and begin providing picture and sound. Below that threshold the tuner will not operate on that channel because the stream of ones and zeroes has been broken too much for the error-control measures to fix. This is called the "Cliff Effect" of ATSC broadcasting, in which reception is an all-or-nothing proposition. If you saw this phenomenon on a graph, it would look like a cliff. If the cliff effect is happening all the time on certain channels you may need to consider better OTA gear to get them because they are tantalizingly close to locking. Generation 5 and 6 chipsets are much better than the older ones at making and keeping signal locks.

Unfortunately there is no industry standard in place to harmonize the signal meter readings of one company's ATSC tuners with those of other brands. For example, an LG tuner owner may find that < 80% usually means no picture or sound lock on channel 39, while a Humax owner down the street may find that > 60% is required on the same channel.

Basically, unless someone has the exact same tuner in a very similar circumstance as you, the readings on your signal meter are useful just for your own particular benefit and comparison, such as when repeaking the antenna or rotating it. Even so, DHCers are encouraged to provide their signal meter results and their ATSC tuner brand/model when posting in the Results threads.

For those who require detailed signal "strength" data for their system, such as in deepest fringe reception areas, there are signal analysis tools out there but they're priced way up in the professional range and require a good knowledge of TV signal theory and practice in order to use properly. Your best bet is to contact a professional OTA installer who uses such gear and techniques to come and do a site survey for you.

Some excellent discussions of actual signal "strength" engineering theory can be found in the Understanding OTA DTV Broadcasting Technology in Canada thread:
http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=25774

Last edited by stampeder; 2014-07-12 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 2007-04-16, 04:29 PM   #17
stampeder
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Lightbulb Sounds Great! Where Can I Find OTA Gear/Installers In Canada?

Quote:
The official sponsor of the OTA Forum is SAVE AND REPLAY and we thank them for their generous support and their quality OTA parts and service.
Where Can I Find OTA Gear/Installers In Canada?
Here are the threads in which you can find or share info on OTA Gear, Installers, etc.:

OTA: BC & Western Canada Parts, Sales, Service, Installers

OTA: Quebec Parts, Sales, Service, Installers

OTA: Ontario Parts, Sales, Service, Installers

OTA: On-Line Parts, Sales

OTA Gear From The U.S.

If you or your company are OTA Parts, Sales, Service, Installation, etc. providers please contact Hugh to advertise: http://www.digitalhome.ca/content/blogsection/3/80/
Why can't we talk about OTA prices and parts places in regular threads?
The DigitalHome web site has a separate forum for discussing where to buy items of all sorts. This is to prevent regular threads from diverting into pricing and availability discussions that tend to stray way off topic. Thus, as per the Rules Of The Forum, we don't discuss prices of OTA gear in regular OTA Forum threads.

Last edited by stampeder; 2009-05-06 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 2008-12-02, 06:54 PM   #18
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Default Table of TV and FM Radio Channels, Frequencies, Wavelengths

Downloadable PDF version at bottom.

To use a single-channel-cut antenna on any given TV channel in these tables, the two elements of a dipole antenna must be straight, extend exactly opposite each other, and measure 1/2 Wavelength in width from tip to tip when extended horizontally, then aimed perpendicularly to the station's broadcast antenna. A set of plain, 2 element rabbit ears is an example of such a dipole antenna. Experimentation may show as much as ±10% variance in width for best reception. Multi-element antennas meant to cover the VHF-LO or VHF-HI bands are typically generalized for the middle of the desired band.

Since FM Radio in North America is broadcast with an almost circular polarization, the receiving dipole antenna need not be horizontal as long as the two elements are exactly opposite each other, then aimed perpendicularly to the station's broadcast antenna.

For the smaller UHF TV wavelengths the elements of a bowtie antenna need to match the correct size for the desired channel. Since the UHF band is so wide, bowtie element sizes are typically generalized for the middle of the band.

DIY antenna builders and owners of telescopic-element antennas can utilize these tables to given an optimal starting point for configuring the elements for the desired stations in the area.
Code:
VHF-LO ---- (These channels are likely 
to be reassigned to other non-TV uses in
most areas after the digital transition)

CH          Freq in MHz        Full Wave       1/2 Wave        1/2 Wave
        LO      MID     HI       Meters         Meters          Inches

 2	54	57	60	5.26316		2.63158		103.606
 3	60	63	66	4.7619		2.38095		93.7382
 4	66	69	72	4.34783		2.17392		85.5874
 5	76	79	82	3.79747		1.89874		74.7535
 6	82	85	88	3.52941		1.7647		69.4764
Code:
FM Radio ---- (TV reception hint: a 
strong local FM Radio station's
Second Harmonic can cause interference 
if it overlaps the frequency of a
desired VHF-HI TV channel)

Freq in MHz	2nd Harmonic	Full Wave	1/2 Wave	1/2 Wave
		in MHz		Meters		Meters		Inches
 
88.1		176.2		3.40522		1.70261		67.0319
88.3		176.6		3.39751		1.69876		66.8803
88.5		177		3.38983		1.69491		66.7287
88.7		177.4		3.38219		1.6911		66.5787
88.9		177.8		3.37458		1.68729		66.4287
89.1		178.2		3.367		1.6835		66.2795
89.3		178.6		3.35946		1.67973		66.1311
89.5		179		3.35196		1.67598		65.9835
89.7		179.4		3.34448		1.67224		65.8362
89.9		179.8		3.33704		1.66852		65.6898
90.1		180.2		3.32963		1.66481		65.5437
90.3		180.6		3.32226		1.66113		65.3988
90.5		181		3.31492		1.65746		65.2543
90.7		181.4		3.30761		1.6538		65.1102
90.9		181.8		3.30033		1.65017		64.9673
91.1		182.2		3.29308		1.64654		64.8244
91.3		182.6		3.28587		1.64294		64.6827
91.5		183		3.27869		1.63935		64.5413
91.7		183.4		3.27154		1.63577		64.4004
91.9		183.8		3.26442		1.63221		64.2602
92.1		184.2		3.25733		1.62867		64.1209
92.3		184.6		3.25027		1.62513		63.9815
92.5		185		3.24324		1.62162		63.8433
92.7		185.4		3.23625		1.61813		63.7059
92.9		185.8		3.22928		1.61464		63.5685
93.1		186.2		3.22234		1.61117		63.4319
93.3		186.6		3.21543		1.60772		63.2961
93.5		187		3.20856		1.60428		63.1606
93.7		187.4		3.20171		1.60085		63.0256
93.9		187.8		3.19489		1.59745		62.8917
94.1		188.2		3.1881		1.59405		62.7579
94.3		188.6		3.18134		1.59067		62.6248
94.5		189		3.1746		1.5873		62.4921
94.7		189.4		3.1679		1.58395		62.3602
94.9		189.8		3.16122		1.58061		62.2287
95.1		190.2		3.15457		1.57729		62.098
95.3		190.6		3.14795		1.57397		61.9673
95.5		191		3.14136		1.57068		61.8378
95.7		191.4		3.1348		1.5674		61.7087
95.9		191.8		3.12826		1.56413		61.5799
96.1		192.2		3.12175		1.56088		61.452
96.3		192.6		3.11526		1.55763		61.324
96.5		193		3.10881		1.55441		61.1972
96.7		193.4		3.10238		1.55119		61.0705
96.9		193.8		3.09598		1.54799		60.9445
97.1		194.2		3.0896		1.5448		60.8189
97.3		194.6		3.08325		1.54163		60.6941
97.5		195		3.07692		1.53846		60.5693
97.7		195.4		3.07062		1.53531		60.4453
97.9		195.8		3.06435		1.53218		60.322
98.1		196.2		3.0581		1.52905		60.1988
98.3		196.6		3.05188		1.52594		60.0764
98.5		197		3.04569		1.52285		59.9547
98.7		197.4		3.03951		1.51975		59.8327
98.9		197.8		3.03337		1.51669		59.7122
99.1		198.2		3.02725		1.51362		59.5913
99.3		198.6		3.02115		1.51058		59.4717
99.5		199		3.01508		1.50754		59.352
99.7		199.4		3.00903		1.50452		59.2331
99.9		199.8		3.003		1.5015		59.1142
100.1		200.2		2.997		1.4985		58.9961
100.3		200.6		2.99103		1.49551		58.8783
100.5		201		2.98507		1.49253		58.761
100.7		201.4		2.97915		1.48958		58.6449
100.9		201.8		2.97324		1.48662		58.5283
101.1		202.2		2.96736		1.48368		58.4126
101.3		202.6		2.9615		1.48075		58.2972
101.5		203		2.95567		1.47784		58.1827
101.7		203.4		2.94985		1.47493		58.0681
101.9		203.8		2.94406		1.47203		57.9539
102.1		204.2		2.9383		1.46915		57.8406
102.3		204.6		2.93255		1.46627		57.7272
102.5		205		2.92683		1.46341		57.6146
102.7		205.4		2.92113		1.46056		57.5024
102.9		205.8		2.91545		1.45772		57.3906
103.1		206.2		2.9098		1.4549		57.2795
103.3		206.6		2.90416		1.45208		57.1685
103.5		207		2.89855		1.44928		57.0583
103.7		207.4		2.89296		1.44648		56.948
103.9		207.8		2.88739		1.44369		56.8382
104.1		208.2		2.88184		1.44092		56.7291
104.3		208.6		2.87632		1.43816		56.6205
104.5		209		2.87081		1.43541		56.5122
104.7		209.4		2.86533		1.43267		56.4043
104.9		209.8		2.85987		1.42993		56.2965
105.1		210.2		2.85442		1.42721		56.1894
105.3		210.6		2.849		1.4245		56.0827
105.5		211		2.8436		1.4218		55.9764
105.7		211.4		2.83822		1.41911		55.8705
105.9		211.8		2.83286		1.41643		55.765
106.1		212.2		2.82752		1.41376		55.6598
106.3		212.6		2.8222		1.4111		55.5551
106.5		213		2.8169		1.40845		55.4508
106.7		213.4		2.81162		1.40581		55.3469
106.9		213.8		2.80636		1.40318		55.2433
107.1		214.2		2.80112		1.40056		55.1402
107.3		214.6		2.7959		1.39795		55.0374
107.5		215		2.7907		1.39535		54.935
107.7		215.4		2.78552		1.39276		54.8331
107.9		215.8		2.78035		1.39017		54.7311

Code:
VHF-HI ---- (These channels are 
remaining in use post-transition)

CH          Freq in MHz        Full Wave       1/2 Wave        1/2 Wave
        LO      MID     HI       Meters         Meters          Inches

 7	174	177	180	1.69492		0.84746		33.3646
 8	180	183	186	1.63934		0.81967		32.2705
 9	186	189	192	1.5873		0.79365		31.2461
10	192	195	198	1.53846		0.76923		30.2846
11	198	201	204	1.49254		0.74627		29.3807
12	204	207	210	1.44928		0.72464		28.5291
13	210	213	216	1.40845		0.704225        27.7254
Code:
UHF ---- (These channels are 
remaining in use post-transition)

CH          Freq in MHz        Full Wave       1/2 Wave        1/2 Wave
        LO      MID     HI       Meters         Meters          Inches

14	470	473	476	0.634249	0.317124	12.4852
15	476	479	482	0.626305	0.313153	12.3289
16	482	485	488	0.618557	0.309279	12.1763
17	488	491	494	0.610998	0.305499	12.0275
18	494	497	500	0.603622	0.301811	11.8823
19	500	503	506	0.596421	0.29821         11.7406
20	506	509	512	0.589391	0.294695	11.6022
21	512	515	518	0.582524	0.291262	11.467
22	518	521	524	0.575816	0.287908	11.335
23	524	527	530	0.56926	        0.28463	        11.2059
24	530	533	536	0.562852	0.281426	11.0798
25	536	539	542	0.556586	0.278293	10.9564
26	542	545	548	0.550459	0.27523	        10.8358
27	548	551	554	0.544465	0.272232	10.7178
28	554	557	560	0.5386	        0.2693	        10.6024
29	560	563	566	0.53286	        0.26643	        10.4894
30	566	569	572	0.527241	0.26362	        10.3787
31	572	575	578	0.521739	0.260869	10.2704
32	578	581	584	0.516351	0.258176	10.1644
33	584	587	590	0.511073	0.255536	10.0605
34	590	593	596	0.505902	0.252951	9.9587
35	596	599	602	0.500835	0.250418	9.85898
36	602	605	608	0.495868	0.247934	9.76118
37	608	611	614	0.490998	0.245499	9.66532
38	614	617	620	0.486224	0.243112	9.57134
39	620	623	626	0.481541	0.24077	        9.47913
40	626	629	632	0.476948	0.238474	9.38874
41	632	635	638	0.472441	0.23622	        9.3
42	638	641	644	0.468019	0.23401	        9.21299
43	644	647	650	0.463679	0.23184	        9.12756
44	650	653	656	0.459418	0.229709	9.04366
45	656	659	662	0.455235	0.227618	8.96134
46	662	665	668	0.451128	0.225564	8.88047
47	668	671	674	0.447094	0.223547	8.80106
48	674	677	680	0.443131	0.221565	8.72303
49	680	683	686	0.439239	0.219619	8.64642
50	686	689	692	0.435414	0.217707	8.57114
51	692	695	698	0.431655	0.215828	8.49717
Code:
UHF ---- (These channels are to be 
reassigned to other non-TV uses after 
the digital transition is complete)

CH          Freq in MHz        Full Wave       1/2 Wave        1/2 Wave
        LO      MID     HI       Meters         Meters          Inches

52	698	701	704	0.42796	        0.21398	        8.42441
53	704	707	710	0.424328	0.212164	8.35291
54	710	713	716	0.420757	0.210378	8.2826
55	716	719	722	0.417246	0.208623	8.2135
56	722	725	728	0.413793	0.206897	8.14555
57	728	731	734	0.410397	0.205199	8.0787
58	734	737	740	0.407056	0.203528	8.01291
59	740	743	746	0.403769	0.201884	7.94819
60	746	749	752	0.400534	0.200267	7.88453
61	752	755	758	0.397351	0.198676	7.82189
62	758	761	764	0.394218	0.197109	7.7602
63	764	767	770	0.391134	0.195567	7.69949
64	770	773	776	0.388098	0.194049	7.63972
65	776	779	782	0.385109	0.192554	7.58087
66	782	785	788	0.382166	0.191083	7.52295
67	788	791	794	0.379267	0.189634	7.46591
68	794	797	800	0.376412	0.188206	7.40969
69	800	803	806	0.373599	0.1868	        7.35433
Attached Files
File Type: pdf TV-FM-freq-wave-tables.pdf (80.8 KB, 128 views)

Last edited by stampeder; 2011-01-17 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 2009-01-25, 08:15 PM   #19
stampeder
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: North Delta, BC (96Av x 116St)
Posts: 23,972
Default How Do I Put Up An Outdoor Antenna?

What kind of mount should I use?
Some people will find that an outdoor antenna can simply be mounted onto an outdoor wall with a bracket. Condo or apartment dwellers might put their antenna on a pole weighted in a large flower planter, or clamp a pole to their deck railing. Home owners might use a tall metal pole sunk several feet into the ground. Others will need to have their antenna as high as possible to receive the desired stations so will use a roof-top antenna using a tripod or chimney-mount. For all your antenna mount needs, see the OTA Mounts, Towers, Rigging Hardware thread.
How High Should My Antenna Be?
In layman's terms, raising the antenna shows real benefits to a point, at which the more time, money, and labour it takes to raise the antenna past that point, the lesser the benefit per dollar/hour/back spasm is achieved (the law of diminishing returns). For this reason I only recommend tall towers to people known to be in deepest fringe areas. For some rare occasions the local conditions of other folks might dictate a tower even if they are in a closer range. For the vast, vast majority of OTA users the point of diminishing returns will never be reached because reception will have already been found to be satisfactory well below that point. Having said that, in some unusual situations reception can be improved by lowering the antenna due to local issues. Deciding on whether to use a tower should be done after reading through the Reception Results thread for your area to understand local reception issues that might require one.
What about using a tower?
A few OTA users will want to opt for either a guy-wired tower or a free-standing, self supported tower, while rural dwellers in deep to deepest fringe areas will likely need to use a tower 10m (~35 feet) in height or beyond. Physics tells us that apart from bearing the weight load downwards, the point of greatest strain (urge to tip over) on an antenna mast that is not free-standing is at its highest point of bracing. A free-standing mast that has no bracing or guy wires has all its points of strain occurring down where it leaves the concrete. For that reason, manufacturers make the bases of free-stading masts very stout. A non-free-standing mast will experience its maximum tipping strain at the connection point of its top guy wires, or at the location where it is bolted onto a roof end joist if no guy wires are used.

For a very Canadian example, hold a hockey stick above your head. No big deal, right? Now tape your skates onto the blade of the hockey stick and hold it above your head again. Notice that while the weight of the stick is on your lower hand, the strain of keeping it straight upwards is on your upper hand. That is the same tipping force felt by the top-most antenna mount guy wires and/or bracing point brackets.
What materials are recommended for building a mast or mount?
Choice of materials is critical when creating your pole or mast plans. For non-welded assembly (using nuts & bolts) your best bet is 1.5" O.D. galvanized steel conduit pipe (often called EMT for Electrical Metallic Tubing) which is common in major hardware stores in 4' to 12' lengths. It is known for its stiffness and rust/corrosion protection, as are galvanized or zinc-dipped fasteners. Welding galvanized steel is extrememly toxic so should only be done by a trained welder. If standard steel pipe is used it must be thoroughly coated in rustproofing paint before non-welded assembly or after welding. Try to use stainless steel fasteners for least corrosion. Some low-stress poles can be of extruded steel piping, but those are typically not strong enough for heavier antennas or rotor use. Plastics are not always strong enough for a pole or mast, but can be used in some situations as you can see in the ABS, PVC and other plastics for structural parts thread. Avoid using wood outdoors (even if coated) as it is subject to mildew, rot, and breakage. Pressure-treated lumber has copper product on it so must be avoided due to its mild signal-reflection properties.
Is there danger of a lightning strike or other such problem?
While direct lightning strikes on homes with outdoor antennas are exceedingly rare, it is still important to ensure proper grounding of your outdoor OTA gear since nearby strikes can create bursts of electromagnetic interference that could damage sensitive equipment. It is not only sensible to ground your gear properly but it is also necessary for proper home insurance protection and to meet your local electrical code. The Grounding Info & Standards: OTA/Dish/CATV/Telecom thread has everything you'll need to know about it.
Should I tilt my antenna up or down?
Most people can simply mount an antenna without tilting it, although in deep to deepest fringe areas it may sometimes be helpful to tilt the antenna upwards a bit. Pointing the antenna downwards is not an option. Sometimes there are situations in which the line-of-sight from an antenna to a broadcast antenna up on a mountain or tower is upwards, in which case tilting the antenna to match that line makes sense. The Tilting Antenna for Better Reception thread is dedicated to this topic.
Can I mount my antenna sideways to save space?
All TV antennas for use in North America must be mounted exactly as per their instructions, which ensures that they are receiving signals horizontally. If you tip the antenna on its side it would now be vertically polarized. The reason vertical orientation won't work is that the originating signals from all North American TV stations are polarized in the horizontal plain (in some parts of the world TV was in the vertical plain but I think that's not so anymore) so a vertical antenna is only capable of picking up just the tiniest slice of signal per wave. In computer modeling of antennas for North America the vertical parts of a reflector mesh are almost dead of signal even while the horizontal segments are booming with signal.
Can I put my antenna up in a tree?
Nearby trees can be a problem for UHF reception, although VHF signals are much more succesful at penetrating trees and forests. Trees should never be used for mounting antennas, as discussed in the OTA: The Big Trees Factor thread.
Can I run Cable TV and OTA on the same coax line?
You cannot have Cable TV signals on the same coaxial cable as OTA TV signals. They use the same frequency bands so they would interfere with each other, if not cancel each other out on certain channels. Further, there would be a high risk of signal leakage, which is treated very seriously by the authorities. For more information see the Signal Leakage Between CATV and OTA FAQ.
Any other tips?
Always remember the old saying that what goes up must come down, so double check all the mount points and fittings for solid security. Some minor installations can be done alone, but it is always better to have an assistant for any job requiring rooftop, ladder, or climbing work. Do not mount an antenna within 2m (6 feet) of an overhead electrical utility line.

Last edited by stampeder; 2010-09-07 at 10:24 AM.
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Old 2009-07-24, 12:18 PM   #20
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Default Choosing the Right Coaxial Cable

Are all coaxial cables the same? Which is best?
Here are the typical coaxial cable types used in OTA reception, with a brief description of their best uses:
  • Regular RG-6 for almost any OTA use
  • Quad-shield RG-6 if you have a lot of very local interference affecting the TV and/or FM Radio bands
  • Plenum-rated RG-6 for stringing through heating ducts has a special anti-smoke outer sheath - safety feature regarding house fires
  • Underground-rated RG-6 for stringing under grass, in a trench, or inside conduit that goes through a pond or high-moisture area
  • RG-11 for continuous lengths of over 100 feet/30 metres in any of the above situations - requires pro tools and fittings not common in stores
  • RG-59 for very short, flexible connector jumpers if RG-6 is too stiff to make tight bends:
    • at the receiver end
    • balun-to-preamp connections
  • Messenger-type is regular, standard coaxial cable that has a separate steel wire of about 16AWG bonded to the outside of the shielding to be used for alternative purposes
For regular use without local interference across the TV bands, Quad-shield RG6 is overkill and an annoyance at crimping time, in my experience.

In the past if I wanted good RG-6 of any sort I'd go to a wholesaler and they'd cut it off their spool for me and charge by the foot or metre. Buying boxes of RG-6 in hardware stores or even Wal-Marts was not at all common. It was all RG-59 in those stores, and in short lengths.

Today the consumer marketplace has good deals on bulk or large-box RG-6 in different varieties, so for some people seeing the low prices on each type the quad-shield rating seems like a plus even though they will likely never see any OTA reception benefit to it. If they buy the quad-shield and are satisfied with its performance, all the power in the world to them but I would not spend any extra money on it unless I already knew there was an interference problem to be fixed.

The OTA Cabling: RG-6, RG-59, RG-11, Twin-Lead, Crimping, Other Tips thread contains a wealth of information and real world experiences with coaxial cable.

Last edited by stampeder; 2014-09-09 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 2009-08-31, 11:45 AM   #21
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Thumbs up Revised Deepest Fringe OTA Advice

Here is my Deepest Fringe OTA advice for a complete VHF/FM/UHF system, showing readily available antennas and gear commonly found in today's OTA marketplace.

WARNING: A Deepest Fringe setup is actually not desirable in most areas!

A Deepest Fringe setup is only required if you are in a remote, rural area at great distances from the desired stations. If your TVFool report shows only 1Edge, 2Edge, and/or Tropo stations, a Deepest Fringe setup might be your only chance of good reception. If your TVFool report shows no VHF stations, disregard the VHF portion of the instructions below unless you still want to try for FM Radio reception. Likewise, if your TVFool report shows no UHF stations, disregard the UHF portion. In either of those cases, disregard the UVSJ antenna joiner requirement since it is only required for full VHF/FM/UHF dual-antenna systems.

To begin, download the latest Antenna Chart.

Commercial Brand Deepest Fringe OTA VHF/FM/UHF Setup:
  • find the point of highest elevation on the property (silos, grain elevators, or barns are great; trees are not good; put up a tower as required)
  • get precise GPS or online map ground-level coordinates of that exact location for entering into TVFool
  • run several different TVFool reports based on a variety of possible antenna heights between 20 and 80 feet above those coordinates
  • select the height that offers the best performance from those results, and plan accordingly (tower needed?)
  • two hardware hacked Antennas Direct DB-8e UHF antennas (or two modded-harness Channel Master 4228HDs)
  • one Winegard HD8200P Large Combo VHF/FM/UHF antenna (or Antenna Chart alternative model)
  • we actually only use the VHF/FM portion of a Large VHF/FM/UHF Combo antenna so the UHF corner reflector portion can be removed from the front as needed
  • if you can find one, substitute Historic, Large, VHF/FM antenna for above (Channel Master Quantum 1110 or 1111, Wade-Delhi VIP-307SR, or similar based on R&D Forum advice, refurbished if needed)
  • heavy duty rotor if required
  • make sure that your tower and rotor can support the weight and wind/snow load of these large antennas
  • UVSJ antenna joiner
  • stack the second UHF antenna on top of the first one
  • mount the stacked UHF pair at the very top of the pole
  • devise adjustable mount bracket for UHF antenna stack that will tilt them together as a unit upwards 0-10 degrees
  • devise adjustable mount bracket for VHF/FM antenna that will tilt the front upwards 0-10 degrees
  • run each UHF antenna's output into a reversed, high quality splitter and then into the UHF input side of the UVSJ
  • mount the VHF/FM antenna on the pole below the lower UHF antenna, using OTA Forum advice on best separation distance
  • build a coax-loop balun for the VHF/FM antenna's output
  • run the VHF/FM antenna's output into the coax-loop balun and then into the VHF/FM input side of the UVSJ
  • run the UVSJ output into a KitzTech KT-500 preamp
  • if using a rotor, use a large carpenter's square to horizontally align the VHF/FM antenna's central boom at a right angle to the UHF antennas' bowties so that they are all aimed perfectly in the same direction
  • if not using a rotor, aim and lock the VHF/FM and stacked pair UHF antennas towards their intended stations
  • ground everything properly
  • waterproof all connections thoroughly
  • run the preamp's output over RG-11 coax cable into the residence
  • purchase the best performing ATSC receiver device(s) you can
  • connect an antenna lead to a high quality FM Radio tuner or receiver for your home audio system
  • if you will be receiving U.S. FM Radio stations with this OTA gear, purchase an HD Radio-equipped receiver or separate tuner like a Sony XDR--F1HD
  • test and test TV and FM reception to find best adjustable antenna mount bracket angles, then lock them
Home-Built Deepest Fringe OTA VHF/FM/UHF Setup: As above, except:
  • replace VHF/FM antenna above with Finclone 400-A, using forum advice on best variant to build
  • replace stacked pair of UHF antennas above with a single DBGH or GH10, depending on forum advice based on your TVFool report
  • this DIY home-built antenna rig will quite easily be the most powerful, boombastic Deepest Fringe rig out there today for consumers!

Last edited by stampeder; 2014-06-05 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 2009-10-01, 02:25 AM   #22
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Exclamation Tip: Colder Weather Means Different Reception

Will my OTA reception stay the same all year round?
Over the years that the OTA Forum has been in operation we've seen reports of suddenly disappearing channels every autumn. This has sometimes caused members to have to improve their OTA gear over what they had installed during the warmer months. The biggest culprit in Southern Ontario along Lake Ontario seems to be WGRZ-DT in Buffalo, and for many other people ION or other stations go away for the winter. Similarly, some people in the GTA will find that they won't be able to get Rochester stations again until the next summer. In the Montreal and Ottawa areas some people will find that their U.S. stations are also suddenly too weak for a digital lock during the winter, while in Southwestern Ontario the Toledo and Cleveland stations' signals may die off. In the Lower Mainland of B.C. the effects of tropospheric skip and ducting are low all year round, while the predominantly rainy weather from October through April can reduce distant SeaTac OTA signals such that summertime reception levels are gone.

Put very simply, atmospheric conditions such as tropospheric skip and ducting can create conditions during the hot summer months in which TV signals can travel terrific distances, but the autumn, winter, and spring is when they are at their normal, predictable levels. Thus, winter time is the absolute best opportunity to test your OTA gear, and conversely high summer is the worst. Here are the rules of thumb for OTA testing throughout the year:
  • The best time of year to put up OTA gear is in the early spring or in late autumn since rooftop heat or snow/ice will not be a problem.
  • The worst time of year to test reception is in the summer due to tropospheric skip, ducting, and leafy trees.
  • The best time of year to test reception is in the depth of winter since most or all of the deciduous trees will have lost their leaves and most or all of the atmospheric effects will not be occurring.
Consult the Reception Results thread for your area to see how others have improved their reception to meet the winter reception challenges (preamps, better antennas, towers, etc.) and check posts from previous winters for ideas.
Will my OTA gear be okay during all the seasons and in various weather conditions?
Weatherproofing is very important for outdoor antennas and OTA gear, so check out the OTA Waterproofing, Sealants, Adhesives, Paint thread.

Last edited by stampeder; 2010-09-07 at 10:34 AM.
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Old 2010-01-24, 01:35 PM   #23
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Thumbs up OTA Forum Posting Tips

Any requirements about posting in the OTA Forum?
  1. Find the Reception Results thread FOR YOUR AREA: Before asking in the main OTA Forum for information on which OTA stations are available in your area, go into the OTA Reception Results sub-forum and read through the thread that concerns your specific area to find out what others have already done. Chances are you will find all the information you need. Make use of the resources already here - we've been accumulating this info for a few years in order to make OTA as simple as possible for everyone, but you have to do the reading. We encourage everyone to give something back by posting their own OTA results so that others will benefit.
  2. Keep your posts SIMPLE to read: 1 question or topic per post. There's no harm in making three different posts to ask 3 different questions that are not directly related. For example, a person might post a question about reception in one thread, a question about purchasing equipment in another, and a question about Industry Canada in another.
  3. Give your LOCATION in the post's title (City, town, nearest major street corner, neighbourhood name, highway crossing, etc.): Good OTA reception is very dependent on your location and local conditions. If you are in a highrise, on a hill, or in a valley it is good to give that info too. In the Reception Results forum a proper title for your very first post would be something like "Burnaby: Nelson and Imperial" or "Rexdale: Finch & Islington". For your own privacy do not post your Postal Code or residential address.
  4. If you post a question for the first time, LET US KNOW that you have read the OTA Forum Knowledge Base & FAQ. This will help us to improve our resource of info, to help you, and to avoid wasting your time and ours on redundant questions. Newcomers are always welcome, but there is a wealth of information already in place in the OTA Forum for you to read before asking. Perhaps say something like:
    Quote:
    I've read the Knowledge Base & FAQ and looked through the info for an answer, but I didn't find advice on...

Last edited by stampeder; 2014-07-01 at 04:21 PM.
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Old 2010-01-24, 01:44 PM   #24
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Thumbs up Good Forum and Thread Reading Tips

How can I keep up to date on all the great posts when some of the threads are so huge?
Here's how to always have the newest, latest posts displayed when you open a thread (I highly advise it!):
  1. In the navbar click on "User CP"
  2. under "Your Control Panel" at the left of the screen select "Edit Options"
  3. scroll down to "Thread Display Mode"
  4. select "Linear - Newest First"
  5. under "Forum Skin" select "Digital Home Fluid" (the best skin for showing embedded links properly)
How can I see a list of active threads (with unread posts):
As a logged-in member at this site, set your web browser's Bookmark/Favourite link for the www.digitalhome.ca site to actually point to your User CP page rather than any other link at this site. You can do that by putting the mouse cursor over User CP in the blue navbar and right clicking to get to the browser's menu for adding it to your Bookmarks/Favourites. This is a great tip because each time you log in to this site you will be shown a list of all the threads with unread posts in them that you have either posted in previously or have subscribed to.
What do you recommend that I subscribe to?
Thread and Forum subscriptions are an excellent way to be brought up to speed on threads of most interest to you, and you can unsubscribe from any of those threads or forum as you wish.

To subscribe to a Thread:
  1. note that when you post in a thread you are automatically subscribed to it until you choose to unsubscribe from it
  2. go to the main OTA Forum
  3. click on a thread of interest
  4. in the blue navbar click on Thread Tools
  5. select Subscribe to this Thread
  6. repeat with other Threads as desired
  7. click on User CP to confirm the new listing(s)
To subscribe to a Forum:
  1. go to the site's main Digital Forum list
  2. click on the OTA Forum link
  3. in the blue navbar click on Forum Tools
  4. select Subscribe to this Forum
  5. repeat with other Forums as desired
  6. click on User CP to confirm the new listing(s)
If you are very keen on OTA I recommend subscribing to:

Last edited by stampeder; 2014-09-17 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 2010-01-24, 01:48 PM   #25
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Smile Keeping Track Of Your Posts

Why do some posts seem to move around a bit to other threads in the OTA Forum?
Think of the OTA Forum as more of a Knowledge Base than a simple discussion forum.

Thread discussions can sometimes wander or split into other good topics, so part of the OTA Forum's goal is to put that great info into places where it will be most clear and of most benefit to users. If you're not sure in which thread to post a question, post it in the main forum and if it belongs, the moderator can move it into place (but greatly prefers that you get it in the right one first).
Where did my post go?
If you lose track of where your post has gone, simply go to the DHC Quick Links menu and pull down to "My Posts". Another method is to go to one of your previous posts anywhere on the DHC site and click on your own user name to the left to get to the "Find More Posts By..."
Why was the title of my post changed, or why was a title added?
I enjoy the many compliments I've received over the years on the clarity and ease of finding information in the OTA Forum, and occasional (though rare) title changes for topic clarification are part of that. Generally a post's title might be changed in the OTA Forum Reception Results threads to indicate the member's location, such as their city and nearest major street corner. Another type of title edit in any of the OTA Forums might be in order to change a vague title to a more informative one, such as a change from "Settings" to "How To Adjust My Rotor's Accuracy", etc. etc.

Last edited by stampeder; 2011-04-22 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 2010-03-22, 07:58 PM   #26
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Arrow List of Mandatory Markets for Canadian DTV Transition With Population Counts

As per the CRTC Decision of March 22, 2010, the following Canadian cities are to have their OTA TV stations transitioned to DTV by the previously announced August 31, 2011 deadline if not already done:
  • British Columbia
    • Vancouver
    • Victoria
  • Alberta
    • Calgary
    • Edmonton
    • Lethbridge
    • Lloydminster
  • Saskatchewan
    • Regina
    • Saskatoon
  • Manitoba
    • Winnipeg
  • Ontario
    • Kitchener
    • London
    • Thunder Bay
    • Toronto, including:
      • Barrie
      • Hamilton
    • Windsor
  • National Capital Region
    • Ottawa-Gatineau
  • Quebec
    • Montreal
    • Quebec City
    • Rivière-du-Loup
    • Rouyn-Noranda/Val d’Or
    • Saguenay
    • Sherbrooke
    • Trois-Rivières
  • New Brunswick
    • Fredericton
    • Moncton
    • Saint John
  • Nova Scotia
    • Halifax
  • Prince Edward Island
    • Charlottetown
  • Newfoundland and Labrador
    • St. John's
  • Yukon
    • Whitehorse
  • Northwest Territories
    • Yellowknife
  • Nunavut
    • Iqaluit
Transition of all other OTA TV stations in Canada has been made optional, with all stations currently assigned in the channel 52 through 69 range having to vacate those assignments.

In the March 23, 2010 follow-up report, the CRTC has clarified the title for the list of cities to now read:

"Markets where broadcasters must convert all full-power analog transmitters to digital"

http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2009/2009-406.htm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emerald_Boar
Population Figures of Mandatory Markets:
Code:
Mandatory Markets that must convert to DTV:

Toronto ON                                      5113149
Montréal QC                                     3635571
Vancouver BC                                    2116581
Ottawa-Gatineau ON/QC                           1130761
Calgary AB                                      1079310
Edmonton AB                                     1034945
Québec QC                                        715515
Winnipeg MB                                      694668
Hamilton ON                                      692911
London ON                                        457720
Kitchener ON                                     451235
Halifax NS                                       372858
Victoria BC                                      330088
Saskatoon SK                                     233923
Regina SK                                        194971
Sherbrooke QC                                    186952
St.John's NL                                     181113
Barrie ON                                        177061
Saguenay QC                                      151643
Trois-Rivières QC                                141529
Moncton NB                                       126424
Thunder Bay ON                                   122907
Thunder Bay ON                                   122907
Saint John NB                                    122389
Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu QC                       87492
Fort St. John BC                                  25136
Lethbridge AB                                     95196
Fredericton NB                                    85688
Charlottetown PE                                  58625
Rouyn-Noranda QC                                  39924
Lloydminster AB/SK                                27023
Rivière-du-Loup QC                                24570
Whitehorse YT                                     22898
Yellowknife NT                                    18700
Iqaluit    NU                                        NA

Largest markets not required to transmit DTV:

St.Catharines-Niagara ON                         390317
Oshawa ON                                        330594
Kelowna BC                                       162276
Abbotsford BC                                    159020
Sudbury ON                                       158258
Kingston ON                                      152358
Guelph ON                                        127009
Brantford ON                                     124607
Peterborough ON                                  116570
Chatham-Kent ON                                  108589
Cape Breton NS                                   105928
http://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-re...3&O=D&LANG=Eng

Last edited by stampeder; 2011-08-08 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 2010-06-18, 10:18 PM   #27
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Location: Québec, QC
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Default Interesting Video on how to receive a good dtv signal

From Iowa Public Television:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjWQNP15-Ss

Last edited by stampeder; 2014-04-03 at 08:53 PM.
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Old 2014-07-17, 01:15 PM   #28
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Exclamation Update July 17, 2014

Updated Post #10: Using TVFool to Determine Your Available OTA Stations in Canada
  • clarified that TVFool is having accuracy problems with Canadian addresses
  • Canadians MUST use their map coordinates in TVFool instead
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