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Discussion Starter #1
I would like to see a laymen discussion about using omni-directional antennas in Ottawa. Since most of us are less than 20km from both towers it should be possible to receive the majority of the channels without resorting to analyzing TVFOOL output. Also, for OTA to be attractive now that cable and satellite are entrenched in the city I think there needs to be a simple low cost solution. At least enough to whet our appetite for more elaborate setups. IMO a switch-box is not user friendly especially if you have kids or a spouse to train.

A few questions I have.

What are the better omni models out there for this environment? Indoor or outdoor.
What will be lost without VHF-LO capabilities in Ottawa?
With an omni will analog stations have strong ghosts?
What simple DIY omnis exist?
In two years what will be appropriate?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am perpendicular to the two main towers so I may be SOL with the Stealth Hawk. Others may be luckier.
 

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That's all that I use now. [see my signature comments at the bottom of my post] I got rid of the multiple antenna array because I get as good if not better coverage with a single Stealth Hawk antenna. My target market is very scattered. My target markets from Dunnville is Toronto 23° @55miles, Buffalo 86° @50miles, Erie PA. 210° @ 52 miles and Hamilton 340° @ 22 miles. and I get them all with one single antenna, one fixed aim and no rotor. It's a low gain VHF/UHF antenna, so you may/or may not have to add a preamp or a distribution amp.

The Stealth Hawk isn't going to work for everyone, but it sounds like your in a good location to use one. Do you have a TVfool report for your area?

Here's a link to holl_ands analysis:
http://imageevent.com/holl_ands/chireix/uhfhivhfstealthhawk/stealthhawk
 

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Omni directional antennas have less gain than directional ones. The more directional the antenna the higher the gain - but only in that direction.

A simple antenna to try would be a biquad which has pretty good gain vs wide angle of direction-

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=124542

Hopefully this diagram is layman enough. It's like a compass circle showing gain vs. direction. The colored lines represent gain. The further away the line is from the center the greater the gain has in that direction.



The areas with the yellow star between the black arrows would easily pick up stations that are close by.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
All good stuff. So for simple DIY we have, the biquad and the Stealth Hawk. The Stealth Hawk has quite a few hardware versions? Have the specifications been finalized? For the biquad I have a spread of 80 degrees so judging from the polar plot I should be able to split the difference and have equal gain.

I know there was a GH and Yagi build party last year in the region. Perhaps it is time to have an omni build party to see how they perform in the NCR. ;)
 

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Remember that height is your friend with these antennas. The higher you can go the better results. You'll want a clear horizon like in the photos that I posted the above thread. If you have buildings, trees, etc. in the way you'll want to try to clear them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I would like to keep the discussion specific to omni-directional antennas and non-technical with minimal tweaking. This will appeal to a larger portion of the public. Most of my friends know zero about OTA and they would find most of the thread intimidating. When I post I have them in mind.

Omni-directional DIY Short-List
Stealth Hawk
http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showpost.php?p=1093795&postcount=60

Biquad
http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showpost.php?p=1099707&postcount=2

What off-the-shelf products (for the non-handy) would you recommend? Again given Ottawa's geography and two main towers.
 

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I would recommend investing in 7-51 antennas due to the fact that the future use of channels 52-69 after August 2011 is unknown at this time. Hi-UHF could be heavily used for wifi/cellular/mobile in the near future and the interaction with local TV reception is unknown.

DIY:
The Bi-quad is 14-69 range but may have some local VHF capability

Stealth Hawk is 7-51 range.

Note: either of these DIY's could likely be made for under $25

Omni off the shelf:
General purpose omni antennas; channels 2-69 range

The ministate [UFO style] antenna requires aiming toward source with an internal built in rotor under $200 includes 50ft cable

terk55 [long banana style] antenna; channels 2-69 range has a somewhat wide forward beamwidth, but may require an external [add on] rotor antenna under $150,... + rotor under $150
 

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I would recommend investing in 7-51 antennas due to the fact that the future use of channels 52-69 after August 2011 is unknown at this time.
The future of channels 52-69 is known. The CRTC and IC have made it clear that the use of them will be prohibited after August 31, 2011 everywhere in Canada; however, a 7-51 antenna may not be good enough for Ottawa as Global is currently scheduled to continue using Channel 6 post transition. Since it is currently the hardest local station to receive, a 7-51 antenna would not cut the mustard.

There still is hope that Global will use a different channel, but at this point we just do not know. A VHF-LO antenna could be added later, but there is so much uncertainty right now that I would recommend waiting another few months to find out what the plans are.
 

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roger1818,

I get analog channels 5&6 with the Stealth Hawk. 5 CBC Toronto is 55miles away [perfect reception] and 6 Global Ft Erie is about 40 miles away [a bit snowy reception]. So maybe the Stealth Hawk DYI would suit that area best. The other store bought options may work fine, but at a cost financially or at a cost of interferences due to the future use of channels 52-69.

Channels 52-69 are definately prohibited for television broadcasts by IC/CRTC regulations set to take effect August 2011, but the future use of those frequencies have yet to be assigned for other use in Canada. The FCC allotment on those frequencies may be a problem for border communities sooner than later.
 

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roger1818,

I get analog channels 5&6 with the Stealth Hawk. 5 CBC Toronto is 55miles away [perfect reception] and 6 Global Ft Erie is about 40 miles away [a bit snowy reception].
Global 6 is Paris.

Global 55 is Fort Erie.

Global 6 Ottawa is only 50kW, not 100 kW like Paris, and suffers from FM interference. An FM trap can sometimes help, but has to be carefully tuned in order not to degrade channel 6 too much. It will be interesting to see if FM interference is an issue for ATSC on channel 6 in Ottawa.
 

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I would like to keep the discussion specific to omni-directional antennas and non-technical with minimal tweaking. This will appeal to a larger portion of the public. Most of my friends know zero about OTA and they would find most of the thread intimidating. When I post I have them in mind.
If you are living close to the towers, don't want to get into the technical aspects of it and just want to see if you get OTA my advice is to just go for it. Try an amplified indoor/outdoor antenna like a GE Futura antenna available from Canadian Tire. If it doesn't work then just return it. All you wasted was a bit of time in trying.

How good your reception will be depends on distance from tower and your location. Here is an example of a bad location and despite my numerous attempts at different designs I'm not able to 'just' get good OTA

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showpost.php?p=1011515&postcount=823

My mom live beside a steel plant which blocks most of the OTA reception.

------------

Getting better reception, receiving more channels, receiving tv stations further away than local etc. does require a little bit of investigative work such as using tools like tvfool to determine where the tv stations are located and picking the right antenna based on. And if you're unlucky enough to have a huge building right beside you between you and the towers it can get even trickier to get good reception.

Hope this makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks fellas for the suggestions. Seems there is a lack of low cost OTS omni antennas for urban use.

Now if the SH gets ch 6 in Ottawa then I think I will have to start converting my friends. :)
 

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We'd need the TVFool results to give you a precise answer, but as a rule of thumb, I would say that American reception is near impossible if your new home in Orleans is between St Joseph and the river. Some people even have trouble with Herbert's Corners stations there, so your 4228 could come in handy for those stations (OMNI1/2, CITY, and analog A and CHCH.
 

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If you have trouble getting OMNI2, I wouldn't place much hope in WNPI.
You might be able to get WNPI with some heroic measures, most of the time, but that would rwequire a high gain antenna and an ultra-low-loise preamp.

I suspect that if you have trouble with OMNI2, then you have trees or other obstructions in the way betwen you and Herberts Corners.

Have a look at TVFool's interactive Map feature in Satellite View, and see if the line between you and WNPI's transmitter in South Colton passes through any nearby trees or buildings taller than 25 feet. (I noticed that you used a the postal code view for your TVFool plot -- that's not precise enough. In GoogleStreet view, I can get differences for WNPI as much as 3 dB by positioning my 'antenna' on different parts of my house roof.
 
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