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Old 2012-05-03, 09:34 AM   #1486
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Yes, check out the Ontario supplier's forum. There is a store on Carling near Broadview.
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Old 2012-05-03, 05:24 PM   #1487
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As for an installer, I am not aware of anyone I would reccomend. Anyone can call them self an installer, even if they really don't know what they are doing.
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Old 2012-05-04, 08:27 PM   #1488
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Default Trying a new set-top antenna, d/a converter

Finally got around to trying a new antenna and converter setup yesterday evening. I'd formerly tried my old analog set-top antenna with a converter from FS, with no result.

Just off Blair Road, my TVFool report is here: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...de653b69fe151c Is TVFool out of date, for example they only list CHCH as a "pending" station?

A rooftop or tower antenna is not an option, I think an attic mount isn't either (condo townhouse). For my initial test I just wanted to see if I could get "anything", and will play with the setup later.

I got a set-top antenna "Terk FDTV2A" (Amazon item #B001VYQG16) and a converter "Zinwell ZAT-970A" (Amazon item #B001DVZXC0) because it had decent Amazon reviews (better than the boxes FS/BB sells). Hooked it all up (including the bundled amplifier) in the living room to a 24" CRT TV and set the box to scan.

The box found the following channels:
4-1 CBOT
11-1 CHCH
24-1 TVO
42-1 CTS
43-1 CHRO

and of these, I get a pixellated picture on CHCH (signal strength 100%, quality varying around 50%-70%), and a really good picture on CTS and CHRO. On CBOT and TVO I get "bad or no signal". I recognize the three I get are at HC but why not the others from HC? I wonder if moving the antenna would get me any CF channels.

I will try the antenna in the bedroom (2nd floor) when I have a chance. Maybe that will help. TVFool lists 17 channels I "should" get with a set-top antenna, I consider getting 2 to be some degree of success but obviously I'd like more.

What should I be looking to change, given that I can only use an indoor (non-attic) antenna?

Thanks!
=aw
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Old 2012-05-05, 09:03 AM   #1489
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awebber, select "Current+Pending" to get a list of channels you should expect. Looking at your TVfool results, HC and CF are generally opposing each other, which will make getting stations from both towers difficult, especially if a roof mounted antenna is not an option, or if you don't have an outside wall facing southwest. There is a hill between you and CF, and your results show it. The OMNIs are nortoriously hard to get for some, while for others they have no problem. I live closer to HC and can't get them reliably, but that's OK since I'm not interested in their programming.

For starters, you need to get your antenna higher, and outside away from any electronics you have inside. Can you mount your antenna on an outside wall up high or hang it out the window for testing purposes?

I looked up info on the Terk antenna. Are you using the included amplifier or not? Try with and without if your antenna came with one.
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Old 2012-05-05, 07:03 PM   #1490
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Thanks for the advice, I'll test further when I can (this was a "hook-it-up-quickly-does-it-even-work-or-am-I-returning-it" test -- and getting even one station would mean it works).

I do see CF and HC look about 110 degrees from each other on the TVFool radar plot, I was hoping this "omnidirectional" antenna would help with that (a friend in US has one and he said it's not much better than the old set-top he had, except now he gets all the channels without having to adjust the antenna each time).

How do you see a hill? TVFool says I should get CF with a set-top antenna, I know it doesn't know about buildings but thought it knew about hills.

Outside's not an option, some neighbours have satellite dishes mounted on tripods because the condo rules say no attachments (there was discussion a year or two ago about allowing today's small dishes but the rules were revised while still saying "no attachments including satellite dishes") [yes theoretically I guess I could stand my Terk antenna on the patio table just to see, but it would be pretty low and not a permanent installation]. We recently got new siding and they're even hyper about punching holes for Christmas lights. I'm hoping that may mean they sided in aluminum and if I can move the antenna to stare out the patio door I might get better reception -- just a theory based on what I've read here. I'll also try it upstairs in the bedroom window, which should actually be better, though I'd need to split it and then run 100' of coax around the baseboards etc., right?

I hooked up the Terk antenna (gave Amazon ASIN because Terk website is poor) with the amplifier, figuring I'd need it. Didn't try without the amplifier, I know they can overwhelm the signal but that doesn't seem a likely issue.

Still wish I was getting CITY and not sure why not (when I had a $7 Philips special from FactoryDirect in the analog days, CITY was one of the 3-4 stations that came in really well; this also predated the siding installation; I think before it was pebbledash (as they say on the English shows) or perhaps stucco with pebbles in it).
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Old 2012-05-06, 12:59 PM   #1491
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Smile Antenna chart here

Hi aweber. You might want to check out the following link with the list of tested antennas by stampeder. I am not sure your TERK is the best choice. http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=97121. You are not limited to mounting the antenna on your roof with a tripod - you can also attach to your chimney or on a side wall.
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Old 2012-05-06, 02:35 PM   #1492
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I am limited to not having an antenna attached to the building, including the roof. The reference to dishes on tripods (on the ground) was that we can't even mount a small dish on the side of the building.

Indoors, or outside on a tripod (not sure how high that could be) is the set of choices I have.

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Old 2012-05-06, 02:42 PM   #1493
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Thanks for the pointer to the list, I can see there are a couple of alternatives, I'll try working with the Terk for a while longer and see what I get (e.g. upstairs, pointed through the window). Then I'll look at some of the other options.

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Old 2012-05-07, 08:15 AM   #1494
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I started witting this on Saturday morning, but never got a chance to finish it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by awebber View Post
Is TVFool out of date, for example they only list CHCH as a "pending" station?
TVFool gets their data from Industry Canada and they don't mark a station as "operational" until they have tested that it operation withing their set parameters. Presumably the test for CHCH hasn't been completed yet.

Quote:
I think an attic mount isn't either (condo townhouse).
Why do you think that an attic mount isn't an option? Don't you have access to your attic?

Quote:
I got a set-top antenna "Terk FDTV2A"
You can certainly do much better than that Terk antenna!

Quote:
Hooked it all up (including the bundled amplifier) in the living room to a 24" CRT TV and set the box to scan.
What direction does your living room face?

Quote:
I recognize the three I get are at HC but why not the others from HC?
You are receiving the three strongest signals from HC. I suspect your reception is marginal so the others are not being received well enough.

Quote:
I wonder if moving the antenna would get me any CF channels.
Maybe, but would highly recommend a much better antenna.

Quote:
I will try the antenna in the bedroom (2nd floor) when I have a chance. Maybe that will help.
It may help, especially if it is facing in a better direction.

Quote:
TVFool lists 17 channels I "should" get with a set-top antenna, I consider getting 2 to be some degree of success but obviously I'd like more.
There are only 14 local channels. CKXT (listed twice) shut down last September and CBOFT's pre-transition channel is included in the list.

Quote:
What should I be looking to change, given that I can only use an indoor (non-attic) antenna?
The biggest thing is a much better antenna. With about 120 degrees separation between the towers, it will be tough. I would seriously consider either a 2 bay bowtie (such as a CM4220 or a DB2) or an Antennas Direct C2. Either way, I would try it with the reflector removed and pointed so that HC is received off the front and CF off the back. If that doesn't work, put the reflector back on and point it towards the tower you are wanting to receive.

These are UHF antennas, but two of the three VHF stations will be moving to UHF and the third (CJOH) is so strong it should be receivable with any antenna. If it isn't, a cheap pair of rabbit ears should solve that.
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Old 2012-05-07, 03:05 PM   #1495
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roger1818, thanks for the long reply.

Quote:
Why do you think that an attic mount isn't an option? Don't you have access to your attic?
I do have attic access but assumed it's not part of my unit. Guess I could check. I could imagine possibly being allowed to put a free-standing (or hanging) device in there, but not mounting to the trusses. Also I don't want to invest a lot in putting something up there and then still not getting a decent signal (I realize there are no guarantees).

Quote:
What direction does your living room face?
According to Google Earth satellite view, WSW (or even WWSW or WWWSW ). Bedroom is directly over the living room.

Quote:
Maybe, but would highly recommend a much better antenna.
I have no particular attachment to the Terk except it was relatively inexpensive (U$20 from Azn) and had decent reviews on Azn.

Quote:
It may help, especially if it is facing in a better direction.
My direction options are unfortunately exactly the same on both floors. The good thing is that theoretically (based on TVF's Google maps) neither HC nor CF is blocked by the units in the same building on either side of me (of course other buildings in the neighbourhood are another story, especially from the living room).

Quote:
There are only 14 local channels.
Well that clears that up anyway, thanks.

Quote:
I would seriously consider either a 2 bay bowtie (such as a CM4220 or a DB2) or an Antennas Direct C2.
I see these described as possible indoor antennas, and I originally considered mounting an "outdoor" antenna indoors, but if I have to point it out the window (as we may have replaced stucco/pebbledash with metal siding) I'd think it's only practical (in the room) if parallel to the window (pointing at neither tower) since having it at an angle in the bedroom will really take up a lot of space. Meanwhile staring straight out the window points it at nothing, that would put HC at about 90 degrees to the left and CF at about 30 degrees to the right (pointing directly at HC would have it almost perpendicular to the window which will take a lot of space in the room!).

Does anyone have pictures of using an "outdoor" antenna indoors, how much room it takes, how obtrusive it is, etc? I also would have liked to mount above head height which unfortunately is only the top 2' of the room.

What about something like the Terk HDTVa (? - Christmas tree style). It's about $40 from Azn and I could return it, though I'd prefer not to.

Thanks again!
=aw
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Old 2012-05-07, 03:37 PM   #1496
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Quote: "...Also I don't want to invest a lot in putting something up there and then still not getting a decent signal (I realize there are no guarantees)..."

You're investing money in low-quality indoor antennas when a quality attic antenna would cost a similar amount -- but it would probably get you fourteen channels. I think the Terk was the wrong way to go. I'd set something up in the attic that you can dismantle if/when you were asked to dismantle it. The attic will work a lot better for you.

There is tonnes of excellent antenna advice and recommendations here on this web site. Online retailer reviews are probably not the best place to get antenna recommendations. Typical reviews will either be glowing or negative depending on how close or far the customer lives to the transmitters. Here on Digital Home you can know exactly what antenna setup combination gives you your best potential withou having to risk wasting any money on amplified indoor antennas.

The Terk experiment indoors has given you an idea about what you can expect with an antenna indoors - even an outdoor antenna indoors. If you get a two or four-bay antenna, expect similar results unless you go to the attic. Make sure you get an antenna that will fit through your attic opening. If in doubt, the Winegard four and eight bays come in small boxes to be assembled in attics. The Winegards are known to work well in Ottawa.



Good luck!
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Old 2012-05-07, 04:04 PM   #1497
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awebber View Post
Also I don't want to invest a lot in putting something up there and then still not getting a decent signal (I realize there are no guarantees).
No reason you can't put your current antenna up there and see if things get better. If they do, then you can invest in a better antenna for your attic.

Quote:
I have no particular attachment to the Terk except it was relatively inexpensive (U$20 from Azn) and had decent reviews on Azn.
The thing about online reviews of antennas, is with DTV it either works or it doesn't. If you have strong signals, even a lousy antenna will give a perfect picture and it is difficult for an average person to know the difference.

Quote:
as we may have replaced stucco/pebbledash with metal siding
That may explain a lot. If I remember correctly stucco is stuck to a wire mesh, so it isn't any better than metal siding for TV reception. You may need to put your antenna in your attic to get it above the siding.

Quote:
Meanwhile staring straight out the window points it at nothing, that would put HC at about 90 degrees to the left and CF at about 30 degrees to the right (pointing directly at HC would have it almost perpendicular to the window which will take a lot of space in the room!).
90 degrees to the left means you need to point it through the wall. I think you need to get your antenna in the attic.

Quote:
What about something like the Terk HDTVa
Those SilverSensor clone antennas are quite good, though not as good as either a double bowtie or a C2. If you do want that type of antenna, I would lean towards the CM-4040 instead though, as you really don't want to use an indoor antenna with an amplifier as the amps are typically very noisy and will make things worse. You can get it from a local online retailer who will hand deliver for free in the Ottawa area (can't post his link here but you can find him in the OTA: Ontario Parts, Sales, Service, Installers thread).
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Old 2012-05-07, 06:07 PM   #1498
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Thank you both for the replies.

Quote:
I'd set something up in the attic that you can dismantle if/when you were asked to dismantle it.
Good idea, though I'll wait until after they come and install the baffles for the soffits before installing anything obtrusive.

Quote:
Online retailer reviews are probably not the best place to get antenna recommendations. Typical reviews will either be glowing or negative depending on how close or far the customer lives to the transmitters.
That's true, although when 92% of reviews are 5/5 there's a trend. Also like movie reviews one can read what the problem is, sometimes the negative reviews are more telling than the positive.

Quote:
No reason you can't put your current antenna up there and see if things get better. If they do, then you can invest in a better antenna for your attic.
Good point. For that matter I could (should) just run the coax out the attic access for testing, though I guess if I ended up with a long-term installation I'd want a hole in the upstairs ceiling?

Quote:
If I remember correctly stucco is stuck to a wire mesh, so it isn't any better than metal siding for TV reception. You may need to put your antenna in your attic to get it above the siding.
I forgot there's mesh with stucco. I also noticed in one "user photo" on an Azn antenna page (actually the C2), the user has the antenna in a space on top of a closet under a cathedral ceiling. It says "for better elevation" but I'm thinking it might actually be pointed through the roof not the wall. If I had something (even the Terk, say) and mounted it really high in the upstairs bedroom is it possible that it would get signals through the roof and ceiling? Obviously I can try this but if it just doesn't work that way there's no reason to expect success.

Quote:
90 degrees to the left means you need to point it through the wall.
Yeah, 90deg might be overstating it. When I go to the TVF Google satellite map and position the marker right at the edge of my house (where the window is) the line to HC doesn't run along the building, it's slightly away from it. Let's say 75 or 80 degrees then (so putting a 2-bow next to the north edge of the window, pointing out the window very obliquely, might be HC. Of course it would block CF completely so it would have to be mid-window and I'm thinking attic would be both tidier and safer. Not sure I want to wrestle with the attic too much.

Quote:
Those SilverSensor clone antennas are quite good, though not as good as either a double bowtie or a C2.
Is there something that makes the C2 much better than the C1? From their site it just sounds like "more". And I know I'm supposed to be thinking "attic" but I look at the C2 and C1 (especially the latter) and wonder if I couldn't mount them coming down from the ceiling and pointed out the (upstairs) window. It looks tidier and maybe safer than the DB2.

There also seem to be an awful lot of indoor antennas (e.g. ClearStream Micro line) considering how ineffective they're supposed to be. Or is their target audience people with detached brick houses who can move around the house finding the right wall to put it behind?

THanks!
=aw

Last edited by awebber; 2012-05-07 at 06:22 PM. Reason: Fixed typo
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Old 2012-05-07, 06:53 PM   #1499
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There is a lot of wishful thinking out there. People are willing to spend a lot of $$ on indoor antennas.

You can't defy the laws of physics. Size matters with antennas.
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Old 2012-05-08, 09:39 AM   #1500
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It isn't limited to indoor antennas. There are also many high priced, low performance, outdoor antennas as well. See the thread Wacky, Tacky OTA Gear (What NOT To Buy!) for details. Many of these antennas don't perform any better than a paperclip (which can work if you have a strong signal).

As for online reviews, you really have to take them with a huge grain of salt, especially for antennas. Many people are used to fuzzy analog TV and when they see the amazing picture quality of DTV, they falsely attribute it to their antenna.
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