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OTA Forum Moderator
24,867 Posts
Discussion Starter · #21 · (Edited)
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 top quality low-noise/high gain 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 P3 Hardline 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! :)

OTA Forum Moderator
24,867 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 · (Edited)
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.​

OTA Forum Moderator
24,867 Posts
Discussion Starter · #23 · (Edited)
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:
    I've read the Knowledge Base & FAQ and looked through the info for an answer, but I didn't find advice on...

OTA Forum Moderator
24,867 Posts
Discussion Starter · #24 · (Edited)
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 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:

OTA Forum Moderator
24,867 Posts
Discussion Starter · #25 · (Edited)
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.​

OTA Forum Moderator
24,867 Posts
Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
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"

Emerald_Boar said:
Population Figures of Mandatory Markets:
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
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