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@dtvinvictoria I do have a balcony close to where the TV is, but no way to run cabling outside to inside - can't make changes to the building. I stuck with the cheap antenna for a while, the reception was surprisingly good for those four stations. Ultimately I returned the antenna because the stations don't provide enough shows that I follow to be worth having the antenna. Options are pretty limited due to where I'm located and what's around me, so seems like OTA isn't a solution right now.
 

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Duncan BC Newbie User

As instructed by the moderator, I have done a TVFool search and here's the report:

TV Fool

I live in a 3rd floor apartment with balcony facing East. Need advice, especially as to an appropriate outdoor antenna for my balcony (and amplifier if necessary). Thank you.

Drew
 

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Welcome to the forum, Drew

Your signals are very weak, but not impossible; there is a hill in the signal path. The first 4 signals from 40 degrees are your best.

KBCB and KVOS should be possible, but you would need to rotate your antenna to face them.

CIVT and CHNU are more difficult. Channels with a NM of less than -15 dB are not possible, because they will be buried in the Thermal Noise Floor. If you are able to receive signals with a NM of less than -15 dB, either the tvfool report is wrong or the signals have received enhancement from Tropospheric Propagation.

Your signals are UHF, so I suggest an Antennas Direct DB4e or a Channel Master 4221HD antenna. I consider the DB4e to be superior, but it is more expensive. You will need a preamp like the Antennas Direct Juice, Channel Master 7778, or RCA TVPRAMP1R (least expensive).
 

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@rabbit73: Thanks for the quick reply and advice. Yes, there are some hills/small mountains on the Gulf Islands between my location and the Vancouver area. My sightline towards Bellingham WA is much more flat.

In order to receive KCBC and KVOS would a multi-directional antenna be advisable? I have looked at Antenna Direct DB8e and DB8 multi-directional. They're larger but I don't have any landlord building restrictions on my balcony.

Thanks.
 

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The DB8e would give you a little more gain than the DB4e IF you aim both panels in the same direction. I don't think it would be a good idea to aim the panels in different directions; you would lose the gain advantage.

When you are behind a hill or mountain, it sometimes helps to tilt the top of the antenna back to aim a little above the horizontal to catch the signals coming down from the ridge.



The DB4e and DB8e do not have a tilt feature; it would be a custom mod. Some UHF antennas, like the Antennas Direct 91XG and the Solid Signal HDB91X, have a built-in tilt feature, but they don't have as much gain for the low end UHF channels like 17, 19, 21, and 22, that the DB8e has.

 

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@rabbit73: Thank you again. Got it. I'm sure I can put together some kind of a mod to enable tilting the antenna a bit. I assume you mean tilt enough to point at the top of the nearest hill/mountain that's in the sight line.

Of the pre-amps you recommended, do you prefer the Antenna Direct Juice, or the Channel Master 7778 for my application?
 

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I assume you mean tilt enough to point at the top of the nearest hill/mountain that's in the sight line.
Yes, maybe about 15 degrees. Consider this to be an experiment. Find a way to prop it as a test. If it makes a difference, then make a more permanent mod.

The Juice is the best quality, but the most expensive. It has an LTE filter built-in, but no FM filter which will not be a problem. The 7778 costs a little less, has a little less gain, but has had some recent quality control problems especially in cold weather.
 

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Thanks for taking the time to offer experience and advice. I appreciate it.

It looks as though I can put together a nice little bundle for the things I want to watch. I can't get PBS, Knowledge Network or BBC OTA and I can't stream their entire schedule real time but increasingly they offer more of their programming for download and I can run it from my computer to the TV, either direct or via USB stick.

I read somewhere that amplifiers were not a good idea because, of course, they will amplify noise as well as signal but I suppose with the weak signals available at my location there's not much choice.

Thanks again.
 

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I read somewhere that amplifiers were not a good idea because, of course, they will amplify noise as well as signal but I suppose with the weak signals available at my location there's not much choice.
Yes, preamps can be a bad idea at some locations. If you have very strong local signals and you also want to receive some weak distant signals, the local signals might overload the preamp which will damage the weak signals. That is a common problem in Canada when the local strong signals make it difficult to receive US channels, especially when the directional transmitting antennas of the US channels make the US channels weak in Canada because of same-channel non-interference agreements.

But, that is not the problem at your location; all your signals are weak.

Yes, a preamp will amplify the signals AND the noise. But, it is even worse that that, because the preamp will add its own internal noise which will reduce the SNR of weak signals. If that was the only consideration, it would be pointless to use a preamp, but the outlook is not that bleak when you consider the System Noise Figure. When you use a preamp you override and bury the tuner Noise Figure and minimize the distribution losses after the preamp. This is because the preamp primarily determines the System Noise Figure because it is at the head end of the chain as shown by the Friis Cascade System Noise Figure formula.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friis_formulas_for_noise
An important consequence of this formula is that the overall noise figure of a radio receiver is primarily established by the noise figure of its first amplifying stage. Subsequent stages have a diminishing effect on signal-to-noise ratio. For this reason, the first stage amplifier in a receiver is often called the low-noise amplifier (LNA).
Maybe a graphic presentation can clarify the concept:



A preamp can often make it possible to receive weak signals that have a NM that is about 5 dB worse.

System Noise Figure calculation without preamp:



System Noise Figure calculation with preamp:



The System Noise Figure is sensitive to changes before the preamp. The System Noise Figure improves even more when the coax loss between the antenna and the preamp input is eliminated:

 

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Thanks for the additional info and learning. I have to decide if this is really going to be worth the time and expense, given that about 80% of what I want to watch is on PBS, Knowledge Network and BBC, which aren't OTA but are available online. Of the signals available:

Global - never watch unless there's a blue moon
CTV - very occasionally
CBC - more than the others but still not a whole lot

I might be better off just getting a really good, large computer monitor and running the sound to my audio system via USB. Decisions, decisions.

Thanks again
 

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Oak Bay, BC - what are my changes

Hi guys.
As my promo Telus plan is expiring, I am thinking of reverting to OTA channels.
I had a great experience in Vancouver where I could see most of the towers, but I am wondering what I might be able to expect at my home in south Oak Bay.

Here is the link: TV Fool

There is an old cable dish on the side of house, that I may be able use as a mount.

Thanks,
Scott
 

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any hope for hope b.c?

hi guys, just checking in 4 years later now to see if theres any channels i could pull in hope b.c canada with say a winegard HD8200P which according to the antenna chart is top of the heap for long range roof mount semi cheap antenna's?i figure i might get 3 channels. thank in advance for any input or recommendations :smile
 

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I'd think the only hope in Hope, BC would be to point a high gain antenna at the mountains to the northwest of town and hope for a sweet spot that reflects a signal back down to you. No trace of any direct signals on the valley floor.
 

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Hi guys.
As my promo Telus plan is expiring, I am thinking of reverting to OTA channels.
I had a great experience in Vancouver where I could see most of the towers, but I am wondering what I might be able to expect at my home in south Oak Bay.

Here is the link: TV Fool

There is an old cable dish on the side of house, that I may be able use as a mount.

Thanks,
Scott
Welcome, Scott

The first 4 channels should be fairly easy with a small UHF antenna; the channels below that would be difficult.
 

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my best bet is a outdoor antenna with a digital amp. maybe a pre-amp, unless you are limited to a indoor antenna like a apartment building, it might be huge project.

my guess for South Oak Bay

Locals from Victoria, BC: OmniTV, CityTV, CTV2, Chek-TV & JoyTV
Locals from Bellingham, WA: KVOS (MeTV, Moviez, H&I), KBCB (Sonlife, JTV, QVC), KBTC (PBS, NHK, TVW, MHZ)

if you are lucky, you might get channels from Vancouver, BC or Seattle, WA but don't get your hope up.

look up tvfool.com under online TV Maps

I used to live in Vancouver Island in the Nanaimo and Ladysmith Area 10 years ago, I don't know what happened today.
 

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Before I give up!
I've just moved to Victoria from Charlotte NC where I had great success with OTA reception using two antennas in my attic. I moved my gear with me and am now trying to get things set up but am having terrible results. Here's my set up:
tvfool report: TV Fool
location: Bear Mountain (Near Langford)
elevation: 692 ft
antenna: Antennas Direct Clear Stream 4 connected to an HDTV tuner
mount: outside on a 2nd floor balcony
When I aim the antenna to about 135 degrees I get about 30 channels, mostly from Washington state. However, no matter where I put it I can't get any of the Vancouver stations.
Here is what I can get (skipping the sub-channels):
4.1 komo (abc)
6.1 CHEK (ind)
12.1 KVOS (ind)
22.1 kzjo (fox)
23.1 civi (ctv2)
24.1 KBCB (ind)
27.1 CKVU (city)
28.1 K24IC (pbx)
29.1 CHNM (omni)
I can get the antenna up another 20 feet or so (onto my roof) and I could ad a preamp but I'm not sure I can overcome all of the double edge diffraction I'm facing.
For this experiment to be a success I really need to be able to grab all of the US affiliates (abc,cbs,nbc,fox & pbs) as well as the Canadian networks (city, cbc, ctv, global).
Any successions before I put my antennas up for sale would be greatly appreciated.
 

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I presume you are facing your Clearstream 4v squarely to the Vancouver stations. When you scan, is there any hesitation on the frequencies? Sometime the frequencies are there, but cannot lock. If that is the case, getting Vancouver stations may still be possible.

If you want to test higher up, you may want to try a l smaller antenna that is rated highly for distance, like the Moho Sky 60.

May I suggest you copy your post to this group? Very helpful, and quick and timely replies.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/CordCuttingTechSupport/

Keith
 

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I've scanned with the antenna pointed in various directions including straight at Vancouver. I've never been able to grab a station. Unfortunately my TV doesn't give me a lot of feedback during the scan so I can't really tell if there is a delay.
I've even tried hooking up both of my Clearstream 4v's and pointing them in one direction to try to mimic an even larger antenna. Nothing works.
Do you really think a smaller antenna would work better? I'm surprised by that.
Thanks for the lead on the FB group. I'll definitely try to get some help there.
Thanks Keith.
 
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