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hdtv reception/antenna placement
This thread has 8 replies. Displaying all posts.
Post 1 made on Tuesday September 13, 2011 at 21:35
Closettv
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Can someone give me some advice on improving tv reception? I live north of Highway 7, west of Bathurst. I am using a Phillips Silver Sensor indoor antenna with an amplifier. The tv is upstairs in a bedroom with a window facing south. The reception is sometimes great, but spotty at other times, and different channels will be affected at different times. CTV is now the most challenging to receive, but there are issues with Global and City-tv as well. When I hold the antenna out the window the reception is great, even picking up some Buffalo stations. Obviously, this is not a solution. I have tried moving the antenna, and I even built an antenna using coat hangers, but no improvement. I cannot place the antenna outside for a couple of reasons I won't mention. Will purchasing a better antenna, and/or placing it in the attic help? The house is brick, with stucco ceilings (I've heard that stucco can diminish reception, but not sure if that's true), with a shingled roof. Does anyone have any ideas? Thanks!
Post 2 made on Wednesday September 14, 2011 at 10:17
keaster2000
Long Time Member
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210
Yes, outdoor is best, waaay better than indorrs, but my brother used a Channel Master 4228 UHF antenna in his attic for FM reception and I was pretty surprised at that he was even getting channel 2, which has to be the biggest pain in the a** to get wherever I've put up an antenna. Try the attic first, but you usually lose 50% of the antenna`s gain in the attic--meaning it will work twice as good outside.

The silver sensor is a UHF antenna and CFTO (CTV) transmits on 9, CHCH on 11, so this antenna my not be in your best interest.

The antenna I mentioned that my brother is using for his radio, is a Hi VHF Ch's 7-13 and UHF 14-51 --even though Sun News is on 66.

I've had good luck with this antenna and even better luck with off-shore imitations because you can point 4 bays (half of the antenna) in one direction and the other half in the opposite direction. In your case being in the T.O. area, you would probably be able to get Buffalo and Toronto with the entire antenna pointing towards the CN tower, that's what a lot of guys in this forum seem to experience.

Hamilton, on the other hand seems to be difficult from the Toronto area to get, but by adjustsing half of the antenna (the off-shore ones are hinged)you might get 11, 36 and 15. I pick up the Eagle Star 8 bay uhf antenna here in St. Catharines for $50.00 and in its stationary position atop my 30 foot tower I'm getting 28 channels--everything on the list except for WPXJ and WBBZ.

In google images search eagle star db8 antenna and you'll see it there. It measures about 3' x 3` square. very light and easy to assemble

Where you decide to put the antenna is another thing. I reccomend a tower, or the roof, but how high is your roof? and how are you with heights?

If you`re willing to make a small investment: antenna, tripod, or tower, mast, and some good cable and maybe a signal amplifier, you`ll have a maintenance-free and reliable system for decades.
Post 3 made on Wednesday September 14, 2011 at 10:22
hd fan
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425
Never inside the closet!, lol. Now seriously, North of Hwy 7, you should consider an outdoor antenna since they have better gain and fight multipath better than usually omnidirectional indoor types. If outdoor is no option then an attic install is the next best choice due to being higher above ground. CTV is rather strong now , ch 9 VHF, so the issues might be related to multipath reflections but in any case consider an outdoor antenna that is also VHF capable since most antennas nowadays are UHF only. For an attic install (weather no issue), a VHF/UHF 15 CAD only antenna can be bought at Factory Direct , its branded KROSS, K0014, if I recall, and IMEx it performs rather well even compared to the famous CM 4221HD. It comes fully unassembled in its retail box but takes only 30 min to put together following the inside booklet. I would try that one first on the window on the second floor, and see what happens.

Chinesse made 20 cad versions are UHF only and depending where you live and other factors might give you reception on some hi VHF but it is not a professional recommendation , besides equally or more important ch 11 from Hamilton in the future will have to boost power and finally serve your area and who knows there is even a tendency later on USA to push TV from UHF to hi VHF to clear even more UHF spectrum for the wireless operators (but that will take 10 years or more probably).

General guidelines like using good conectors, shortest possible RG-6 cable run, and patience aiming using trial and error still apply.
Post 4 made on Wednesday September 14, 2011 at 16:04
NFASTRO
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130
I also used the same philips amplified antenna from my second floor. I am in North York. It performed quite well considering I was indoors and away from south windows. However, I finally determined that I needed to install an external antenna, I have an 8 bay on a second floor deck pointing south. I found I still needed to have an antenna mounted amp. Too bad you cant install something like this ... even if its not on the roof... just attached the back wall like a satellite dish would help. Even though the 8 bay is UHF, it has pretty good VHF reception. CTV comes in solid now and CHCH Hamilton is very good if I turn the antenna. I suspect the Philips is not very good for VHF although I have not gone back to test it since the stations moved away from UHF.

OTA reception is quite frustrating because the weaker stations change from day to day. Also, even some Toronto stations from CN Tower are very sensitive to antenna pointing. Experimentation is important.

In your case, HD Fan is right suggesting you try a cheapie antenna in the attic. My experience shows that you will still need an amplifier. Make sure you use good cable for the feed... the one they use for satellite dish... RG6 I believe has the lowest loss factor.
Post 5 made on Wednesday September 14, 2011 at 17:38
hd fan
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There are so many RG cables that acctually RG-6 is not really the one with less losses, RG-11 for sure is better and more expensive and running from memory now, RG-8 is even thicker therefore less losses and even more expensive. In any case like NFastro says , use RG-6, is better than RG-59.

Once again I would mention this, The 8 bay antenna is not designed to be hinged or aimed half of it one direction the other half another one. This is just a lie (non cubans I think call it eufemistically a marketing gimmick) , subjectively users might think it works better but theoretically and prosfessionally that is not the case.

You should choose your antenna system accordingly by using rotors or other type of antenna (wider beamwidth) rather than simply putting 2 of them and aiming them in different directions.

Only consider an amp (pre or not) when long cable runs or multiple TV's scenarios , in most cases , selecting the proper antenna (gain, beamwidth) is the way to go and solves the problem. Is like with FTA satellite signals , you see people putting 20 cad inline amps when they shopuld have bought a bigger dish with those 20 dollars in the first place.

I suggested that antenna not because it was cheapie but because it has VHF capability (long center dipole) and in 2 cases I tried in center Mississauga it pulled everything the CM4221 was pulling. Besides for an attic install weather is not an issue, this antenna is not as mechanically robust as the CM 4 bay BTW. Even more important other than CW, PBS , ION and the US Ads the rest of the networks from buffalo basically have the same programming our Canadian stations have , even at the same time!. Not to mention who watches the subchannels anyways! or who has the time to watch that much TV anyways!, lol.

In regrads of Roof installs (although it may not sound good advice) you should avoid them if possible , always consider chimney, brick walls or even a tower first. I am not a roofer and maybe too paranoic but the less you "damage" your roof by attaching to it the less likely you might have problems in the long to very long run with roof issues. Pretty much like with security the best kept secret in the world is the one that you took to your grave not the one you "protected" by hidding it in the safest possible safe at the highest secured bank.
Post 6 made on Wednesday September 14, 2011 at 21:28
rjdto
Long Time Member
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March 2008
77
Yes,do not damage your roof. Most chimney stacks can support a 10 foot pole clamped to it. But if your roof is not flat consider the danger factor before going up there. Buy two 4-bays, not an 8-bay and stack them-you will get better reception and save a few dollars.
rjdto
OP | Post 7 made on Thursday September 15, 2011 at 12:11
Closettv
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September 2011
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Thanks for the reply. I just tried the attic, both with the silver sensor, and with the homemade model, neither had good reception, never mind the fact that there's fiberglass insulation up there, and it's not a good environment for fiddling around with an antenna. So the attic is not an option, I'm not going up there again. I don't mind a small outdoor antenna inside, it's just me and my wife that'll see it, and if she gets her shows, she'll be happy. So will the Channelmaster 4228 work, and how can it be used inside (staple it to the ceiling?!). I've seen antennas in computer shops for $15 - $30, are these worth a try (assuming they can be returned!).
Thanks again!
Post 8 made on Thursday September 15, 2011 at 18:44
NFASTRO
Long Time Member
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Closettv
I would try one of the cheapie 4 bays first because they are light. Make sure you can return it. My experience is that you will need an amplifier so at the same store try to get an antenna mounted apmplifier. It comes in two pieces, the pre-amp on the antenna and another amp near the tv with power. Its unfortunate you cant mount something outside.

When I first tried my CM4228 indoors without an amp close to where I had my philips indoor amplified antenna... the 4228 was actually a bit worse. Be prepared for some disappointment and lots of experimentation.

HD is great in one way... gone are the snow and the ghosting and the picture is fabulous... the problem is you need a really strong signal. You either get a great picture or nothing.
OP | Post 9 made on Friday September 16, 2011 at 16:26
Closettv
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Thanks!


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