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timmy1 said:
If I can pick up a decent analogue signal for CH Hamilton, Fox Buffalo, and most Toronto stations using a cheap antenna on my balcony, does that suggest that I might be able to get decent HDTV OTA reception with a quality antenna like the CM4228?
timmy1 said:
Should I be able to get decent digital reception with a nice ATSC tuner connected to my HDTV?
Brent/Timmy1,

Maybe I should drop by your apartment with my uninstalled CM4228 for some experiments (especially for aiming). PM me if you are interested in experimenting. We can try with and without the CM4777 pre-amp.

So far, I've been using the Samsung indoor amplified antenna (from Princess Auto $35) for my initial hook-up (SE is getting the best reception but this ain't the same as the CM4228 for sure).
 

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Oakville installer for CM4221 or 4228?

Can anyone recommend a source for the CM 4221 or 4228 and a good knowledgeable installer for a location in the East end of Oakville near the Lake? Thanks.
 

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johnteeee said:
Well after some research, I decided to go with DXB4 from Digital Tressterial and recieved it in 3 days time. I actually got a 25% discount on the antenna & the J mount and both came to $61 USD plus $13 shipping via Fedex and ofcourse $15 bucks for duties & Taxes which is not so bad John


That's odd. Since I never had any response to my query here about source and installation, I decided to seek assistance from our cousins below the 49th parallel. Digital Terrestial responded with a whole list of items pertaining to antenna selection within the half hour and the DXB4 was recommended. I was advancing through the ordering procedure when I came across: " We can only ship products to customers within the United States. " How did you manage to not only get them to ship to Oakville but with a 25% discount to boot ?
 

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Update in old Oakville with new DTV OTA gear

I picked up a Pro Brand HD3150Plus a few days ago and have been testing it with my Terk HDTVi antenna. I live in a fifth-floor apartment by the lake in Oakville, and my views of Toronto and Buffalo are obstructed by another building that rises two stories above my balcony. I have a clear view of Hamilton. To get the Buffalo stations I point the antenna over the adjacent building toward Buffalo, and to get the Toronto stations I point the antenna toward Hamilton. I can't get any reception with the antenna pointed toward Toronto.

I can get these channels pretty much any time of day with good signal strength (70-85%):
2-1 WGRZ-DT
2-2 WGRZ-DT
4-1 WIVB-HD
4-3 WNLO-SD
7-1 WKBW-HD
9-1 CFTO-DT
23-1 WIVB-HD
23-3 WNLO-SD

I get these with good reception in the evenings, but discontinuously during the day (lots of dropouts):
5-1 CBLT-DT
53-1 CITYHD

These channels are hard to get (at the best of times Fox drops out alot, PBS occasionally comes in strong but it is extremely sensitive to the direction of the antenna):
29-1 WUTV-HD
29-2 WUTV-SD
29-3 WUTV-EN
43-1 WNED-HD
43-2 WNED-SD

Can't get but would like to have:
66-1 CKXT-DT

WNLO 23 and CFTO are by far the most consistent signals, and the least sensitive to antenna direction. The biggest surprise for me is the poor reception I get from WUTV and WNED, which I thought were two of the strongest signals from Buffalo. Any suggestions on improving my reception? Thanks.
 

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Best outdoor solution for Toronto/Buffalo in Oakville?

I'd like some advice on which would be the better approach for my location. Use a CM 4228 and hope to be able to receive signals from both Buffalo and the CN Tower - or - use two CM4221s, pre-amp only the one aimed at Buffalo and mount both vertically on the same mast ? I intend to divert the signals received from both to two separate locations, so I would appreciate hearing how best this can be achieved. Thanks.
 

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jgvp said:
I'd like some advice on which would be the better approach for my location.
I use a 4228 for buffalo signals and a 4221 for toronto signals. Recently installed a pre-amp. You can read my posts in 'antenna tips and tricks', and my results in the forum that covers ajax.
I like your idea of pre-amping only the buffalo signals. I'm going to try that, looks like i'll be on the roof again....

Did you ever find an installer? Or are you going to do it yourself?
 

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jgvp said:
I'd like some advice on which would be the better approach for my location.
Hi jgvp I would go with two 4221 that way the antenna behave the same with the same type feed. I choice would be to use the preamp after it combines the signal just like that I had done before. This worked fine for me. After the power supply of the preamp which is installed inside the house from there you can then split the signal easily 4 times without any signal loss.

If you dont like the results you could always try and run the preamp on one antenna feed. But Iam not sure how combining the antenna one with a preamp a much higher gain will affect the level of signal from the other antenna entering the combiner/splitter.

To me this will be unbalanced.

Oakville well wonder if I can hit two birds with two stones. I might be going to a board member in Burlington on Wen the 30th for a install. Might can hit your place on the way back.

But if I drive m car I wont be able to fit all the antenna gear with me plus my tools.

PM me for details.
 

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High SNR

I'm in Oakville, using a Silver Sensor clone and a Digital Stream HD3150Plus to pick up stations in Toronto and Buffalo. I can pretty much every major station with decent signal strength (~70-90%) if my antenna is pointing in the right direction. But even when I'm getting good reception, the signal-to-noise ratio is always between 18-30 (which I believe is quite high).

When the signal strength is hovering around 65-70% or lower I start getting a lot of dropouts. If I can reduce the SNR somehow would my reception improve? Is this a situation where a preamp could help? The cable run to the antenna is ~50 feet. I'm using RG6 coax.

Thanks.
 

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50 feet in your apartment? Is that how far your TV is from your balcony?
I have to run the cable along an inside wall and then out the door to the end of the balcony. I had tried with the antenna just outside a window about 10 feet from the television, but my reception there was not as good as it is now at the far end of the balcony. I think it's really sensitive to placement because I have a lot of multipath.

I actually have to point the antenna over the top of an adjacent building to get reception from Toronto and Buffalo (see the picture taken from my balcony in post 132. But be aware that I got the Buffalo direction wrong there - I think my compass was acting wonky because of the iron in the balcony. Both Toronto and Buffalo are over the building that says TORONTO). Frankly I'm amazed I get anything with a cheapo antenna like the Terk HDTVi.

So would a preamp help me in this situation? Or would I really just need a better antenna that can deal with the multipath? I have to admit I don't understand the implications of the really high SNR I'm getting, or how, if possible, I can fix it.
 

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timmy1 you can test/try by moving the antenna and atsc tuner to where you think is the best spot and then use the long cable run from tuner to your tv as a test. By doing this you will have no antenna loss.

If your reception improves then you should be able to buy a regular 10-15db cable/tv booster at the source(past radio shack). Place the cable booster right at the antenna and if that works you are a happy camper if not then just return it.

A preamp might be a over kill with such a small antenna.
 

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I use a 4228 for buffalo signals and a 4221 for toronto signals. Recently installed a pre-amp. You can read my posts in 'antenna tips and tricks', and my results in the forum that covers ajax.
I like your idea of pre-amping only the buffalo signals. I'm going to try that, looks like i'll be on the roof again....

Did you ever find an installer? Or are you going to do it yourself?
Sorry, I've been tied up all weekend, Tom. ( Just managed to cut myself free .) :D Well, it all depends on where it will work the best with a minimum of installation. If it needs to go higher ( mast on the chimney,) then I would need some assistance. "She who needs to be obeyed" will turn thumbs down on me going on the roof, although I think I am up to it.
 

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buy a regular 10-15db cable/tv booster at the source
Thanks Yaamon. Picked up a 15db booster at the Source and certain things have improved. I actually get SUN-TV now (75% of the time). And the signal strength of CITY, WKBW, WIVB and WNED has improved (all in the 75-95% range). WNYB is always there, even when the signal strength drops as low as 30%.

exceptions: WUTV comes in strong during the day, but usually disappears around 6:30-8:00 pm (so I miss prime time, which is the only time I want to watch Fox). WGRZ comes and goes randomly (when it's there I get it at 80-90%, but then it vanishes and I get <10% on the signal meter). WNLO is MIA, as is CBLT.
 

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Milton Results - Attic Installation

Just thought I'd share my results from a recent setup.

Location: Milton, in the city not up on the escarpment

Equipment: CM4221 with a Winegard AP4700 pre-amp

Aiming and antenna location:
1. Map out the locations of the antennas I'm interested in with Google Earth. I've exported these as .kmz files if anyone else wants to use them:
http://www.thenears.com/uploads/HamiltonHDTVAntenna.kmz
http://www.thenears.com/uploads/GrandIslandAntenna.kmz
http://www.thenears.com/uploads/BuffaloAntennas.kmz
http://www.thenears.com/uploads/CNTowerAntenna.kmz

2. Draw a line using the ruler tool from my house to the antennas I'm intrerested in and make note of landmarks. In my case it's the yellow roof at the end of the street. I figured I'd try going directional between Grand Island and Buffalo, and then just try to see if I get lucky on the Toronto stations (I did).
http://www.thenears.com/uploads/MiltontoBuffaloAntenna.jpg
http://www.thenears.com/uploads/MiltontoGrandIslandAntenna.jpg
http://www.thenears.com/uploads/MiltontoHamiltonAntenna.jpg
http://www.thenears.com/uploads/MiltontoCNTower.jpg

3. Since I'm going inside the attic with the antenna, the next step was to examine the roof lines and try to approximate landmarks inside the attic. In my case, one of the diagonal peaks pointed almost exactly down my Buffalo/Grand Island line.

4. Find the sweet spot in the attic by connecting the 4221 (no pre-amp) to a small analog television tuned to channel 49. My attic access is tiny and I am not, so I left the TV on the second story and played the "how does it look now" game with my wife. I walked to several points in the attic to see which would be best (not too concerned about aiming yet, just finding any potential sweet spots). There was one spot, thankfully near the access point, that was slightly better than the rest but I doubt it'll make much of a difference. Note that at this point channel 49 was still pretty snowy so I was concerned that the attic installation might not work for me but plugged ahead anyways.

5. Measure the distance from the top rafter to the bottom and cut a piece of 1" PVC conduit to length. Mounted the conduit vertically using 1" conduit clamps. Note that I kept the flared end of the conduit on top and fastened the clamp just below the flare so that it would "hang" from the top rafter. Didn't want it sitting on the bottom rafter and putting pressure on the drywall below.

6. Mount the CM4221 to the conduit using the included U-bolts. The hardware that came with the antenna bit nicely into the plastic pipe for a good hold. Pointed the antenna in the general direction that I think I need.

7. Mount the pre-amp to the conduit using included hadware.

8. Install all the wiring. In my case I drilled a hole up from the second floor using a cold-air return. The return grill was mounted close to the ceiling, so I just removed it and used a very long installers bit to drill straight up. I then pushed some RG6 wire up into the attic, put a compression fitting on the end and connected up everything in the attic (so that at least I wouldn't lose that end of the cable in the air duct). I then fed the other end of the wire down the air duct to the basement and had my wife listen to determine exactly where in the basement it was hitting while I tapped the wire up and down (unfinished basement). Drill a small hole in the basement so that I can get access to the return duct and feel around with my finger for the RG6. Found the RG6 after wriggling the wire a few times and pulled it through with some needle-nose pliers. Pulled the cable over to the panel with all of the house wiring.

9. Installed the pre-amp transformer and connected it to the RG6.

10. Ran a short run of RG6 from the preamp to a ground block, and connected the ground block to the house ground using standard 15 AMP copper wire.

11. Ran a piece of RG6 from the ground block to the tuner.

12. Now for the moment of truth, some signal tests:

14-2 WUTV @ 50%
20-1 CBLT @ 89%
24-1 CBLFT @ 91%
27-1 WNYB @ 64%
32-1 WNLO @ 86%
33-1 WGRZ @ 90%
34-1 WNYO @ 23%
38-1 WKBQ @ 90%
39-1 WIVB @ 91%
40-1 CFTO @ 80%
43-1 WNED @ 95%
53-1 CITY @ 75%
66-1 CKXT @ 60%

I still have some aiming to do, but won't get to it for awhile. Last night I lost WUTV in the middle of Prison Break, so I think that most of my aiming efforts will be to get WUTV's signal up. I also lost CITY and SUN (CKXT) last night so some aiming may or may not help that. I mostly want to get Buffalo stations working correctly.

Why in the attic?
My wife wasn't too thrilled about the look of an antenna on the roof, nor do I think my neighbours would be. And I can do the attic install by myself easily, less confident I can do it myself properly outside.

Why no rotor?
This will all be fed into a Media Center PC, which means it could be recording any channel at any time and a rotor would be useless.

What next?
I'm having some issues with CFTO and WIVB on the Media Center. I have lots of Microsoft contacts, so I'm escalating that internally as part of the Vista beta program and hopefully will get some resolution.
The loss of WUTV last night drove me absolutely nuts, so I will need to do some tweaking to get that working more consistently.
I need to get a good distribution amp for downstairs. Ultimately I want to feed two PC tuners and one TV tuner but don't want to lose any more of that fragile signal. I'm probably going to TheSource for that, but if anyone has better suggestions I'm all ears.

Where'd I get it the stuff?
Most of the hardware, cables, and connections were from Home Depot. The grounding block I got at TheSource. The antenna and preamp I got off of eBay and picked them up in New York while on a camping trip there a few weeks ago.

Hope this post helps someone!

Oh, and none of this was original thinking, I picked up all the tips here on the forums so thanks everyone for sharing your experiences and tips as well!
 

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pnear great job with the choice of antenna and equipment and congrats on the install.:cool:

A little tip grounding in the attic is not that important compared to being outdoors, cause there is no wind to blow over the antenna to create a static charge buildup.

Its all safe up there. You can also ground the wire right on to one of the electrical boxes in the attic as that is connected to the central ground of the house.

There is no need for a distribution amp with the AP4700 it has more than enough gain to use a 3 ways splitter without affecting signal strength. :)

I would mark the pole position before you try moving it so you have a reference point. Then from your location slightly move the antenna west no more than 1/4" for Fox.

You know that if you move the antenna a little more west the weaker signals like City and Sun from the cn tower will drop lower.

Ps: Iam not sure if its a windows software issue but using my Ati card and software it gave me a warm time getting picture and sound on CFTO. Now it works. I also use watch HDTV software.

I also dont get one of the Cbs channels not sure if that was from 4 or 23, but still get one of them. I never really cared about it as I only use the hd pc tuner as a test or something to have.
 

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pnear, Glad to see that you were successful and picked great gear for your first try! My obligatory gripe about attics not needed I guess :D but just a rhetorical question: what is it about antennas that causes so much WAF trouble? Antennas are a thing of beauty! :D
 

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A little tip grounding in the attic is not that important compared to being outdoors, cause there is no wind to blow over the antenna to create a static charge buildup. Its all safe up there. You can also ground the wire right on to one of the electrical boxes in the attic as that is connected to the central ground of the house.
Good to know. I wasn't sure, thought that maybe it would still be able to collect static from electrical storms but figured it wasn't a big deal. I'm guessing that grounding as I've done won't cause any issues though?

You know that if you move the antenna a little more west the weaker signals like City and Sun from the cn tower will drop lower.
It would appear that I just lost CITY and SUN as it is. Odd that they would just drop out like that when they had been working fine for a couple of days.

And thanks for all the other (nonquoted) tips as well!

Pete
 

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pnear, Glad to see that you were successful and picked great gear for your first try! My obligatory gripe about attics not needed I guess :D but just a rhetorical question: what is it about antennas that causes so much WAF trouble? Antennas are a thing of beauty! :D
The results are a thing of beauty, but not sure I can agree with you on the mast and hunk of metal sticking up from the roof. ;)
 

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Minor update: I have CITY and SUN back now.
I was using an old radio shack distribution amp at some point in the line in the basement. When I rescanned channels on the Samsung TV, I noticed that there was a bright green line walking from top to bottom on every analog channel (I had previously just deleted all the analog channels as I don't care about them).
I pulled the old amp from the system, green line is gone, and CITY and SUN are back! Yay!
 
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