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robman50

join:2010-12-14
Beamsville, ON

2 edits

Expensive Cable to Free OTA?

Hi,
I am thinking about going to antenna because the cable bill is getting to high.
I would like to get the most stations as possable.
Which one of these two antennas are better for me? And what is the difference between the two?

Digiwave ANT-7288 360 Degree Adjustable Multidirectional Super 8 Bay HDTV Antenna
Channel master (CM-4228HD) 8 Bay EXTREMEtenna- HDTV Antenna

Here is my distance the HDTV transmitter locations,

Beamsville, ON
Toronto CN Tower: 31.6mi (50.9km)
Buffalo Grand Island: 29.7mi (47.8km)
Buffalo South (ABC): 57.5mi (92.5km)

Here is a map of the near by towers:
»www.remotecentral.com/hdtv/bigmap.htm

Also how would I install the antenna and what parts do I need?
And also the parts I do have is CM-3412 Distribution Amplifier.


jerry666
Premium
join:2002-12-12
Canada
Should be no problem I did it and I am much further from the towers , in the hills 50 miles outside montreal . I get 32 channels , most in HD


Pj

@adelphia.net
reply to robman50
You would find all the info you need here »www.digitalhome.ca/forum/forumdi···php?f=81

robman50

join:2010-12-14
Beamsville, ON
reply to jerry666
said by jerry666:

Should be no problem I did it and I am much further from the towers , in the hills 50 miles outside montreal . I get 32 channels , most in HD

Which antenna did you use? Also what else did you use? (Pre amp, distro amp, rotor, etc.)

schnauz

join:2007-12-10
Nepean, ON
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reply to robman50
Don't waste your time on the Digiwave stuff, it's a pale imitation of the real thing (the CM4228). However, any 8 bay antenna is going to be pretty directional, and one of them might not be enough to pull in all those towers if they're in different directions. I know a fair number of people in the GTA tend to go with multiple 4 bay antennas ganged to pull in the various towers, rather than a single antenna. Either that or you put it on a rotor. The Digitalhome OTA forum has a wealth of information on OTA in the GTA, as well as Save and Replay (shop in Mississauga that sells Channel Master and other brands).

»www.digitalhome.ca/forum/forumdi···php?f=81

For myself, here in Ottawa I'm using a CM4228 with a CM7777 preamp mounted on a mast on the roof, I get all the local stuff plus Fox/CBS/PBS from South Colton (70 miles away) as well as PBS from Plattsburgh, NY (90 or so miles). The Digiwave 4 bay I had before didn't pick up Fox or CBS at all, and PBS Plattsburgh only occasionally.

schnauz

join:2007-12-10
Nepean, ON
Lol, double post on the digitalhome forum, oops!

Misaow

join:2010-10-19
Ottawa, ON
reply to robman50
If you live in an apartment building/high rise condo, you can ask your landlord if they have an antenna on the roof already setup for the building and you could ideally connect to that. If not ask if you can setup your on the roof.

If you live in a house, try to see if you can set it up on the roof.

The difference between antennas isn't much. Some more expensive antennas don't work as well in some areas where less expensive antennas work wonderfully. If you are concerned about this, try to purchase antennas that you are able to return and test some out.

Also not knowing where you live, i assume Toronto area, but coordinates or a google map location would help. You can check which direction would be optimal to point your antenna towards.

Ill assume you live in the Hamilton area from your tower distances. You might get away by pointing your antenna between the CN tower and the Buffalo Grand Island tower to get most channels without having to move the antenna, otherwise you should get an antenna that is easily adjustable (rotational one?) to point it towards the CN tower or the Buffalo area (depending on what you want to watch).

Depending where you plant your antenna (roof, fence, etc) make sure you are not in violation of any municipal code (some places dont like to see ''ugly'' antennas on fences, especially 8bay ones). Also make sure your cable is long enough to get from the antenna to inside your house.

robman50

join:2010-12-14
Beamsville, ON
I live in a house so yeah the roof should work
I included where I am and a map of the near by towers in my original post.
For the cable line, would the RG-6 work or should I use the RG-59?

robman50

join:2010-12-14
Beamsville, ON
reply to schnauz
I did see a 8 bay Digiwave for $65 and the 8 bay CM4228HD for $99. Both had the same design so I thought it is not worth getting the 8 bay Digiwave (to cheap) lol.

Misaow

join:2010-10-19
Ottawa, ON
reply to robman50
More expensive antenna doesn't mean its better, but it might offer a better build quality. like i said before, see what the return policies are and test some out if you can. As for the cable, remember, its a 1 time investment in cable, dont be cheap and get the high quality stuff (it helps if you know someone who works at rogers and can cut you a nice long cable for 5$ with connectors)

vintagewino

join:2003-07-22
Grimsby, ON
kudos:2
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reply to robman50
said by robman50:

I did see a 8 bay Digiwave for $65 and the 8 bay CM4228HD for $99. Both had the same design so I thought it is not worth getting the 8 bay Digiwave (to cheap) lol.

Look at both heads, and see which has a sturdier build. Watch where there is plastic. Last thing you want is steel rivets into aluminum/aluminum or aluminum/plastic. The plastic connector blocks may also give grief in time.

Most expensive part of the whole exercise is the tower, rotator and good feed-line. RG-11 has a lower loss per unit distance than RG-6, although the ends are easier to put on the RG-6.

jackie999

join:2008-08-13
Aurora, ON
Reviews:
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reply to robman50
This thread is very interesting! I've been wondering about an antenna as well..and have read over on digitalhome - but it's too technical..it's like diving into the deep end when I only know how to 'dog paddle'.
I'm in Aurora and think I might be able to pick up some OTA - what is the basic equipment I'd need?
My sat dish is mounted on side of house aimed at nimiq - does antenna need to be on roof or could I use the sat mount?
I've seen antennas in the local factorydirect - are they junk?
My tv doesn't have the tuner - is there a digital to analog conversion box available until I update my tv?

Thanks to anyone who is able to answer some of my questions!

vintagewino

join:2003-07-22
Grimsby, ON
kudos:2
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1 edit
Here's an interesting URL:
»www.tvfool.com/index.php?option=···temid=29

Type in your street address, city, postal code (or preferably, your longitude & latitude, and how high above ground level you will want your antenna. It will tell you where the channels are on a plot, indicating North, as to which direction your antenna will will have to point to find the desired channel.

All digital channels are on UHF, which is LOS (Line of Site). Your antenna has to "visually see" the transmitter antenna. These signals do not bend, but they can bounce.

From Aurora, the chances of picking up US stations will be rough. But, put your location in, and see what you might get.

At least you will get an idea what's available OTA, and then you can decide whether it might be financially viable.

Good luck.

PS: where I live, there is absolutely no hope of picking up the Buffalo stations. The Escarpment makes a fantastic shield.

robman50

join:2010-12-14
Beamsville, ON
said by vintagewino:

PS: where I live, there is absolutely no hope of picking up the Buffalo stations. The Escarpment makes a fantastic shield.


I am in Beamsville (right next to Grimsby) and I can pick up 23-1, 17-1, 17-2, 17-3, 29-1, 29-2. I just used a very long coax wire that I stripped to the center core that is hooked up to an old RCA distobution amp. That is all the Buffalo stations I can get even though the base of the escarpment is less then 3 minutes away from me.


robman50

join:2010-12-14
Beamsville, ON
reply to jackie999
said by jackie999:

My tv doesn't have the tuner - is there a digital to analog conversion box available until I update my tv?

Yes there are some boxes that will let the old tv's watch the ATSC stations.

»www.wintroniccomputers.com/wintr···98230004

vintagewino

join:2003-07-22
Grimsby, ON
kudos:2
Reviews:
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reply to robman50
Those 12-14 km and slight bend makes all the difference in the world. Even if I would cross the QEW & park near the CFTR towers (Oakes Rd & North SR), there is extreme difficulty in getting the US stations. Things might improve going the extra 50-100 meters toward the lake.


Gone
Premium
join:2011-01-24
Fort Erie, ON
kudos:4
reply to robman50
said by robman50:

I am in Beamsville (right next to Grimsby) and I can pick up 23-1, 17-1, 17-2, 17-3, 29-1, 29-2. I just used a very long coax wire that I stripped to the center core that is hooked up to an old RCA distobution amp. That is all the Buffalo stations I can get even though the base of the escarpment is less then 3 minutes away from me.

If you're below the escarpment that explains why you're not having much luck with Buffalo. Reception from Buffalo is very difficult below the escarpment regardless of the antenna you use.

Ssid Silver

join:2010-11-04
reply to robman50
I've read that sometimes a 4 bay antenna can be preferable to an 8 bay if you're trying to pick up stations in multiple directions, can anyone comment on that?

robman50

join:2010-12-14
Beamsville, ON
reply to robman50
At my grandparents place (they are right at the bottom of the escarpment and they have a small forest accross the road but they have way more trees then I do) They have the CM4228HD, CM777 pre amp on the mast, RG-6 coax that runs to a splitter that goes to 2 tv's.
They can get 51-1, 51-2, 51-3, 26-1, 26-2, 26-3, 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 4-1, 7-1, 9-1, 5-1, 11-1, 17-1, 17-2, 17-3, 49-1 and 49-2.
And that is just with a 15 foot pole.

schnauz

join:2007-12-10
Nepean, ON
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reply to Ssid Silver
said by Ssid Silver:

I've read that sometimes a 4 bay antenna can be preferable to an 8 bay if you're trying to pick up stations in multiple directions, can anyone comment on that?

Yes, 4 bay antennas tend to have a much wider beamwidth than an 8 bay, but less gain overall. This is a really good reference for various well known antennas and their gain and beamwidth patterns:

»www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/comparing.html

robman50

join:2010-12-14
Beamsville, ON
said by schnauz:

said by Ssid Silver:

I've read that sometimes a 4 bay antenna can be preferable to an 8 bay if you're trying to pick up stations in multiple directions, can anyone comment on that?

Yes, 4 bay antennas tend to have a much wider beamwidth than an 8 bay, but less gain overall. This is a really good reference for various well known antennas and their gain and beamwidth patterns:

»www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/comparing.html

So for me, what antenna should I look at getting?

vintagewino

join:2003-07-22
Grimsby, ON
kudos:2
Reviews:
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reply to schnauz
said by schnauz:

Yes, 4 bay antennas tend to have a much wider beamwidth than an 8 bay, but less gain overall.


That is the tradeoff: forward gain vs directionality. With fewer bays, the forward gain is less, but you also don't have to be as accurate in pointing the antenna. As the # of bays increase, so does the forward gain, BUT you have to be more accurate in pointing the antenna AND maintaining position as it is much more directional. Therein lies the rub. What is the "happy medium"?

»www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/16bay.html (read 1st)
and
»www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/32bay.html

shows how accurate the pointing can be. +/- 5 degrees will start making a significant difference in accepting (or rejecting) the signal (16 bay antenna).

Antenna height makes a significant increase in gain, but then you get bitten by cable losses. At UHF, 1/2" to 3/4" (but can go to 1 1/4") diameter hardline becomes the cable of choice for low loss. The negative: pricing the connectors is not a job for the faint of heart.

Ssid Silver

join:2010-11-04

1 edit
reply to robman50
I am not well versed in this stuff but I thought the 4221 sounded like it might be a good fit in my own case (don't have one yet), cheaper than the 4228 and it seems like it doesn't need to be aimed as precisely. I managed to find some other graphs from the hdtv primer site that seem to give a visual idea of directionality:

»www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/cm4228.html
»www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/cm4221.html

Edit: the page on the 4228 seems to be on an older version of the antenna.

Another thing I was wondering about when someone mentioned cable loss, what about using an ethernet based tuner like HDhomerun and mounting it near the antenna, say in the attic or in some kind of outdoor enclosure?

robman50

join:2010-12-14
Beamsville, ON
reply to robman50
Should I get the same stuff that I got my grandparents?
If I aim their antenna east they can pick up Rochester, NY (digital).
If I aim it North it can pick up far as Peterbrough (12 CHEX on analogue.)

schnauz

join:2007-12-10
Nepean, ON
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Without seeing your TV Fool plot indicating where the transmitters are in context to your location, it's hard to say what antenna would work for you. But, if what you bought for your grandparents works well and they're in the same neighbourhood as you, I'd say go for it. Otherwise, I'd want to see your TV Fool results and to know where you plan on mounting the antenna (indoors, attic, or rooftop) before making any specific recommendations for you. Either that or shoot the Save and Replay guys in Mississauga an email...

robman50

join:2010-12-14
Beamsville, ON
Here it is.

»www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapp···4898117e

And I plan to mount it up on the roof.

schnauz

join:2007-12-10
Nepean, ON
Reviews:
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Interesting plot, since you basically have you have Hamilton to one side, Buffalo to the other, and Toronto at a right angle, you'd probably do alright with a CM4221HD aimed at Buffalo. It looks like your TO reception is strong enough that the side lobe of the 4221's pattern would pick it up, and Hamilton is probably strong enough to pick up from the rear. You're probably going to need a preamp like a CM7777 mounted on the antenna mast too, especially if you have a long cable run from the mast to your TV or any splitters along the way. I think a 4228 might have too much side and rear signal rejection to be useful to you unless you had it on a rotor, or had two of them ganged with one aimed for Buffalo and the other to pull in Toronto and Hamilton.

robman50

join:2010-12-14
Beamsville, ON
So
Antenna: CM-4228HD or CM-4221HD ??
Preamp: CM7777
Rotor: CM9554-100

robman50

join:2010-12-14
Beamsville, ON
reply to schnauz
how about the cm4228hd with the cm7777 preamp connected to a 2 in 1 signal combiner and have my old antenna (that is broken) to pick up Toronto and the 4228 aiming at Buffalo?

robman50

join:2010-12-14
Beamsville, ON
reply to Ssid Silver
said by Ssid Silver:

Edit: the page on the 4228 seems to be on an older version of the antenna.

4228HD is the new version.