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A pre-amp may help a bit, but don't expect miricals from the amp.

Try different locations in the appartment.

The difficulty with appartments are they usualy use metal and concreat and that kills radio signals. The signals are mainly comming in form the windows. Also all the metal and concreat creates delayed signal reflections (ghosts) that degrade the signal.

I have an cheap outdoor antenna mounted to my ceiling in Nanaimo in a wood frame house (i know it looks ugly but I'm a nerd) and can recieve KBCB-DT and CIVT-DT (I do loose to them both some times during the day due temperature inversions over Georgia Strait) so it may be possible to get the CIVT-DT with some work where you are.

The 4228 (the ultimate outdoor UHF antenna) could be mounted on a wall, just tell people its modern art :) http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/cm4228.html

CBC in september should be strong enought to recieve.
Are you on the Mt. Semour side of your appartment?
 

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Discussion Starter #22
sputnik said:
1) Seattle is too far away in most cases unless you are lucky and live on a mountian and have a top of the line on TV antenna on a large tower.
Its incorrect to suggest that in most cases only people in extreme situations will get SeaTac signals reliably in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island since people have been doing so for decades. Professionals know this and can help anyone who asks with assessments of their site because their instrumentation will tell them so right then and there. Will all sites work? No, of course not, because we are at the deep fringe of TV signal from SeaTac. For that reason, its critical to have the best gear and the best realistic expectations.

Here's what's wrong with blanket assumptions: some people in West Seattle cannot even get KOMO-DT, a Seattle station, yet someone in Aldergrove gets the same station at 100%.

At my very own home with its huge fir and cedar trees I can't get a proper lock on the SeaTac DT stations, yet my LG and BEV tuners show activity on those stations with my antenna on the ground at the side of my house! Look around in the OTA Forum and you'll actually see a photo.

sputnik said:
2) There is only one full power DTV broadcaster ins the Vancouver-Bellingham Area KBCB-DT 19 UHF transmiting at 3,000,000 watts (The channel gets asigned a virtual channel number by the reciever to 24.1 to match the real analog channel)
KBCB-DT is not broadcasting at 3 megawatts, its at 165Kw.
sputnik said:
3) CTV is only broadcasting at 300 watts from Mt. Semour
319, but that's because they duct-taped a flashlight to the hamsterwheel.
sputnik said:
If you get an outdoor UHF antenna and mount it outside, sometime attic will work okay, you will likely get both digital channels.
I have this thing about antennas in attics... good way to lose about 25db of signal before even getting started. Keep the TV antennas out of the attic.
sputnik said:
CBC will have an effective radiated power (ERP) of 15,600 watts on channel 58 in September, likely you will recieve this with an indoor antenna.

The KVOS-DT 35 (12.1) won't be full power untill next summer and CHAN-DT 22 (8.1) (global) will only be broadcasting with effective radiated power (ERP) of 4,300 watts when ever they decide to get on the air (next year???).

CKVU-DT (CityTV) has not applied for a licence yet.
All of these points have already been discussed in this thread or in the OTA Forum, including a response directly from Global. Also in the Forum there's a brilliant discussion of IC/CRTC/FCC broadcasting policies that describe issues with OTA DTV power output of transitional stations such as the new DT channels coming up in Vancouver.

Now that those DT stations are starting to come up here its great to share info and keep a step ahead in order to get the best reception. Previous posts in this thread and others deal with such reception information, and there are no promises made, just real world successes and failures. That's precisely what we are documenting here, hopefully even down to the street corner if we need to.

Above all, please make use of the previous posts to avoid duplication or misinformation.

EDIT: please see the final paragraph in this post: http://www.digitalhomecanada.com/forum/showpost.php?p=219790&postcount=43
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Sarke said:
Seriously though, what's going on? How come I can get this one channel so well and nothing else? I realise that my position is not very good (appartment not very high up on a slope facing south), but the main reason I wanted to add OTA was for CBC-HD once it starts transmitting. I had of course hoped to be able to pull in a few American networks, but it's all 0%.
...
Shouldn't I be able to get KVOS from Bellingham if I'm getting KBCB? They're both transmitting from the same place and they both have roughly the same HAAT but KVOS's ERP is much stronger.
Sarke, in this thread you will see in the station manager's own words that KVOS-DT is running a peashooter as its DTV transmitter. KBCB-DT and KVOS-DT are not broadcasting from the same place, as the manager's response and some reading shows. They're not even broadcasting from the same place as their analog counterparts either, so its not good to assume that they should be at equal strength or compass bearing.

Also I've advised you in our previous PM communications to ask a professional such as 4DTV_HD to do an assessment of your apartment, given your circumstances. You've purchased a great PC card for ATSC reception, but now you're in need of getting the antenna right if you want U.S. stations and if your location allows them. A signal spectrum analyzer will tell in real time whether to bother or not. For the local DT stations as they come up, your indoor antenna should most likely be fine and you'll be spending some time walking around with it to get the best location, as Sputnik has suggested.

If you go with an indoor antenna you get indoor antenna results, which in no way, shape, or form match outdoor antennas of the right kind to meet your expectations of U.S. channels. If you want a Porsche, buy a Porsche, not a bicycle. If you want to just zip over to the store for some milk, buy a bicycle but don't complain about its poor highway speed. ;)

We are here to help you, free of charge I might add. Help us help you by reading through this thread and looking through the great information throughout the OTA Forum for the info you need. I love helping people out.
 

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stampeder said:
Sarke, in this thread you will see in the station manager's own words that KVOS-DT is running a peashooter as its DTV transmitter. KBCB-DT and KVOS-DT are not broadcasting from the same place, as the manager's response and some reading shows. They're not even broadcasting from the same place as their analog counterparts either, so its not good to assume that they should be at equal strength or compass bearing.
I did read through the thread a few weeks ago, I must have forgot about the quote from the KVOS station mananager. The FCC list them as 612.2 kW (much stronger than KBCB) so that's what I went with. By "same place" I ment of course Bellingham, and not the exact physical coordinates. A quick look at the FCC's website puts them only 900m apart, which translates to only 0.76 degrees diffrence from my position. Same general direction to me, so I thought it was a good station to compare to (as I had forgotten about them not transmitting at full power).

stampeder said:
Also I've advised you in our previous PM communications to ask a professional such as 4DTV_HD to do an assessment of your apartment, given your circumstances. You've purchased a great PC card for ATSC reception, but now you're in need of getting the antenna right if you want U.S. stations and if your location allows them. A signal spectrum analyzer will tell in real time whether to bother or not. For the local DT stations as they come up, your indoor antenna should most likely be fine and you'll be spending some time walking around with it to get the best location, as Sputnik has suggested.
I did contact 4DTV HD, but I decided to buy the tuner card without doing the test (since I will have use for the analog tuner as well, and was pretty sure that CBC will be close and strong enough for me to pick up). For me at the moment the price 4DTV HD charges for the test is too high to make it worth while, but that is not to say I won't do it in the future. I could buy a CM 4228 for the same price though. I have tried different locations in the appartment, but only the direction seems to make a difference.

stampeder said:
If you go with an indoor antenna you get indoor antenna results, which in no way, shape, or form match outdoor antennas of the right kind to meet your expectations of U.S. channels. If you want a Porsche, buy a Porsche, not a bicycle. If you want to just zip over to the store for some milk, buy a bicycle but don't complain about its poor highway speed. ;)
I didn't complain, and I didn't expect to get US stations. I said I was "hoping" and I knew my chances were slim. I realise my antenna is not very good, that's why I asked if it was worth investing in a better one and pre-amp considering I have zero signal with the one I have. I was just surprised that I was getting one channel so well and not even a faint signal for anything else.

stampeder said:
We are here to help you, free of charge I might add. Help us help you by reading through this thread and looking through the great information throughout the OTA Forum for the info you need. I love helping people out.
And I do appreciate the help. I have been reading the OTA forum for a couple of weeks now, looking up info on different antennas and amps, trying to educate myself on OTA before I bought the ATI HDTV Wonder. I am still new to this though, so please bear with me.

Please don't be so hard on sputnik, his response was very helpful. Even though it might have been mentioned elsewhere, it was very pertinent to me and the discussion, and it was a good summary.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Sarke said:
I did read through the thread a few weeks ago, I must have forgot about the quote from the KVOS station mananager. The FCC list them as 612.2 kW (much stronger than KBCB) so that's what I went with. By "same place" I ment of course Bellingham, and not the exact physical coordinates. A quick look at the FCC's website puts them only 900m apart, which translates to only 0.76 degrees diffrence from my position.
Nope, KVOS-DT is being operated in a lab bench setup from their offices, and the FCC site shows their HAAT as minus 42 metres. From my house the antenna bearing is different but with a CM4228 its not much of a turn, thankfully.
Sarke said:
Please don't be so hard on sputnik, his response was very helpful. Even though it might have been mentioned elsewhere, it was very pertinent to me and the discussion, and it was a good summary.
My intention was not personal, and DHC rules do not allow slagging of people so I would not do that. Some of us read the past few posts and began to wonder why we'd bothered contributing here if its not going to be read. That's why my role as moderator here compelled me to steer all of us on the same path. Again, no personal slight was intended.
 

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HD baby! Vancouver Fraserview (SE Marine Dr between Jellicoe and Kerr)

I think I found the sweet spot of my appartment! :cool: I have the Silver Sensor suspedend mid-air with the help of some tape in the top corner of my bedroom window (farthest edge of my appartment). It looks terrible and I had to move the comp, but I'm getting an English speaking channel in HD so I love it! :D

18 18-1 KCPQ-DT Tacoma 12-21% (No picture)
19 24-1 KBCB-DT Bellingham 88% (Solid picture)
48 5-1 KING-DT Seattle 64-66% (Solid picture, very occasional dropouts)
48 5-2 KING-SD Seattle 64-66% (Solid picture, very occasional dropouts)

I'm getting some ideas now that I have a signal to work with. A CM4228 would cover that window nicely, and I have those curtains closed all the time anyways so the neighbours wouldn't think I had been assimilated or something! Would that be able to bring up the KCPQ signal to a stable level, or would I have to get a pre-amp as well? The window is facing south btw, so direction wise it's good too.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
Sarke said:
I think I found the sweet spot of my appartment! :cool:
Woohoo!!! The signals you're getting will probably improve to 100% with a big antenna like a CM4228 but don't be surprised if you have some locking problems on a daily basis with some of the SeaTac stations. You are at the extreme fringe. Adding a preamp could possibly push things too far over the top as more local DT stations get up and running, so try the CM4228 on its own first and then let us know how it goes. I hope you'll be able to aim it when you've got it up in that window.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Sarke said:
I have the Silver Sensor suspedend mid-air with the help of some tape in the top corner of my bedroom window (farthest edge of my appartment).
Your window thankfully faces south, but in which city/neighbourhood or street corner are you? This will help other people understand possible signals.
 

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I posted that earlier, but here goes:

Vancouver Fraserview (SE Marine Dr between Jellicoe St and Kerr St, north side of the Fraser). Second floor apartment on a slope facing south not too high above sea-level. The antenna is pointing about 5 degrees east of straight south.

As for a pre-amp, I have thought about the possibility of overload by CBC, and I would get the antenna first of course in case the amp isn't needed, but aren't there gain switches that prevent overloading? I know some amps have them, but does anyone know if they're available seperatly or only built in? I wouldn't want to sacrifise some SeaTac stations just because CBC starts transmitting.
 

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Wow, I haven't made any changes to the antenna but all of a sudden I'm getting a stable picture from KCPQ-DT Tacoma at about 52%! :D
 

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Sarke said:
Wow, I haven't made any changes to the antenna but all of a sudden I'm getting a stable picture from KCPQ-DT Tacoma at about 52%! :D
We had bigtime skip conditions the last few days so I'll fire up my system and see if its still happening.
 

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4DTV HD delivered my new CM 4228 today. A pleasure doing business with him btw. :)

I took his advice and tried pointing it north first to see if I could get City, but no such luck. After that I hung it in my bedroom window where I got my best results with the Silver Sensor.

King 5 has improved to a high of 80%, while I'm now pulling in Q13 at a steady 66% as well. KBCB is unchanged at 88%. All the other channels are at 0%.

Of note is that I'm using a longer cable now since I have the comp in my study as usual, and I'm not using a pre-amp. As per Stampeder's advice I held of on the pre-amp to see what kind of results I get without it. Since the other channels are at 0%, there's not much to amplify anyways. We'll see what happens when we get some good skip conditions though.

As far as aiming it goes, I have tried pointing it straight south to about 30° east of south, but it doesn't seem to do make any difference.

For the record, KING is ~16.5° east of south (163.39°N) from my location, while KCPQ is ~5.5° (174.43°N). Most of the other SeaTac stations are in the 162°N to 164°N range from my location, and about 185km away.
 

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Hmm... Both channels seem to fluxuate down about 20-30% sometimes, sometimes to the point where Q13 is unwatchable. I might have to get that pre-amp after all.
 

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KIRO showed some activity with 4%-12% just now, but I think there's a bit of skip right now.

EDIT: KIRO just came up to almost 40% and I'm getting an unstable picture of it. It's not watchable, but at least it's a new channel for me. :)
 

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After finally getting the Winegard 8275 pre-amp overload thing sorted, here's my new results:

KBCB Bellingham - high of 88%, stable
KING (NBC) Seattle - high of 91%, stable
KCPQ (FOX) Tacoma - high of 85%, mostly stable
KIRO (CBS) Seattle - high of 66%, mostly stable

KSTW (UPN) Tacoma - high of 64%, irregular (sometimes stable)
KOMO (ABC) Seattle - high of 64%, irregular (sometimes stable)
KCTS (PBS) Seattle - high of 50%, irregular (sometimes stable)
 

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OTA reception on 15th floor of ocean front apartment in Vancouver's West End

I just moved into a 15th floor apartment that has an unobstructed view of English Bay in Vancouver's west end. If I look to my right I can see Lighthouse Park and the Western part of the North Shore mountains, if I look to my left I can see a bit of downtown and the Burrard Street Bridge, and straight ahead is the UBC peninsula with Vancouver Island behind it. There are windows all along the apartment, and on the other side there is a wall, a public hallway, and then another series of windows facing the city in the opposite direction. Any idea if OTA reception is worth investigating in this area? I just bought a Daytek DT3220 and have it hooked up to my PC via DVI at 1366X768. Looking into getting a Motorola 6412 and going with Shaw (I don't think I could hook up a satellite dish unless I asked the penthouse owner for permission -- he's five floors above -- and snaked some cables down the other side of the building or through the elevator shaft or something.

Thanks for your thoughts!

PS the apartment is near the corner of Denman and Davie, between the RainCity Grill and the Sylvia Hotel.
 

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You have height to your advantage, but are there any tall buildings to the south of you? And which was is your apartment facing?
 

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The building faces west, and yes there are some tall buildings to the south... Here is a photo of the view from the living room. I'll try and do another stitch of the view from the windows on the other side of the hallway adjacent to my suite (facing East towards Coal Harbour). It's a tall, skinny, narrow concrete building with West facing suites only and a hallway on the Eastern side. I am in the middle of the building -- there are corner suites to the north and south of me.
 
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