[kwlug-disc] Home made indoor TV Antenna

Paul Gallaway paul at gallaway.ca
Thu May 1 15:23:44 EDT 2014

I installed a roof mount two years ago this spring. Before I put it on
my roof I got exactly one station with the antenna in my living room:
CKCO. In my front yard, facing mostly east, same thing. Turns out that
big tree in my (or my neighbours) front yard wasn't doing any favours
for the reception.

I was disappointed as I expected to pick up a couple more. Maybe a
hint of CBC Toronto, or Global - instead, nada from Toronto or
Hamilton or Paris. The only thing telling me it was going to work out
OK was the number of antennas in my neighbourhood - not a ton, but
enough new installs to tell me people are using them (in my
neighbourhood the new installs are big yagis and 8 bay bow-tie
antennas like the 4228 and DB8). At that point I took the risk and
installed it on my roof with the understanding I might only get CKCO.
I can report that I can successfully tune the Toronto stations
(Global, CITY, OMNI1&2, CBC, Radio Canada (CBC Francais) and Hamilton
(CITS, TVO, CHCH - problematic), and a couple out of, I think, Paris
(TVO, another Global - channel 6). I do not get anything from Buffalo
and I do not get CTV2 (CHCJ, channel 35 I think) out of Hamilton. In
the end I used a roof mount, 10' mast galvanized 1.5" conduit (might
have been 1.25"), Antennas Direct DB8 and a mast mounted Channel
Master preamp (model 7777, I think).

There's no need to guess what may or may not be a good antenna. The
digitalhome.ca OTA forum has a list of what's best and includes a
KW/Cambridge/Guelph reception sub-forum describing what equipment
people have and their reception results (which can vary substantially
by location in this area due to topography, apartments etc.). People
with the best results are on a hill, in an apartment or using a 50'
tower. To buy locally, Research Electronics
(http://www.researchelectronic.com) in Waterloo is a good local
resource for all things antenna related, including many of the brands
recommended in the digitalhome.ca OTA forums (I have no association
with this store, I did purchase a preamp from them). Even Sayal has
some stuff including tripods and Channel Master equipment (got my
tripod here). Save and Replay is in Mississauga and really isn't that
much out of town and they really do have all of the recommended
brands. If you read up on the subject at digitalhome.ca, you will
conclude you are far better off with a Antennas Direct DB8 and a good
preamplifier than any antenna with a built in amplifier. A
preamplifier is meant to overcome signal loss due to length of cable
from the antenna to the receiver. An amplifier is meant to boost your
signal so you can overcome splitting your signal to multiple TVs etc.
While both are rated in dB or dBm, noise floor on a preamplifier is
far less than that in an amplifier. An amplifier will probably do more
harm than good if you don't have a preamplifier (and if you aren't
using at least two receivers in your house). If you have a
preamplifier, you can generally drive two receivers from it without
adding an amplifier.

Also, of utmost importance, don't overlook grounding your antenna!

MythTV + OTA really is a wonderful thing! I am using a Hauppauge
HVR-2250 for recording, but if buying today I would seriously consider
the HDHomeRun Plus once more info is available on the tuner
sensitivity. It supposedly has an improved tuner over the previous HD
Homerun revisions (which is why I went Hauppauge) and does hardware
encoding to .h264 video which would save disk space (or CPU time


all good things, all in good time..

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