Friday, August 19, 2011

Reception of Global-TV OTA DTV in Ottawa (Kanata)

Update: Nov 27th - Finally got it; see the bottom for details


Global TV started broadcasting in Digital (HD) over the air in mid august.  Like many others I was not able to receive it.

The Problem:
Due to the DTV Transition Global-TV Ottawa (Channel-6) has changed transmitters.  Their previous transmitter was 50KW; their new transmitter is 3KW...  As you can imagine its much more difficult to tune it in now.

My original setup:
- A digiwave 4-bay UHF antenna (ANT-2048 - which I bought for $20 at Canada Computers) in an upstairs bedroom, connected to a cheap radioshack distribution amplifier I have had for years

I was able to pick up Global TV analog with this setup despite using a UHF only antenna; and Global TV being on Channel 6 (VHF-Low band).

Here is my tvfool report: http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29&q=id%3d9e748956995e10

First Attempt:
In looking for the cheapest possible solution I have decided to add a VHF-Low dipole (rabbit ears - extended horizontally) to my setup; as well as replace the distribution amplifier with a UHF/VHF combiner - amplifier

First Attempt Equipment:
- VHF Dipole (Rabbit Ears): http://www.thesource.ca/estore/product.aspx?language=en-CA&catalog=Online&category=Indoor+Antennas&product=1500235
- UHF/VHF Combiner / preamp thing:  Digiwave ANT-1028: http://canadacomputers.com/product_info.php?cPath=164_165&item_id=021144

Some thoughts on the Digiwave ANT-1028:
(1) Don't buy it:  its seriously made as cheaply as I can ever imagine, the F connectors were loose, its not weather shielded; the ampilfier unit doesn't have F-connectors; you have to strip your coax and clamp it on to.  The connections on the combiner / preamp are not labelled at all.  You have to take the tin box apart and read the silkscreen on the pcb (which is under the connectors) to see what they are.  No instructions.

Update:
The good part is Canada Computers is a reputable company and they allowed me to return it without issue.

Here are some pictures of the construction of the device:




Results:
Didn't give me any better performance versus just my UHF antenna :( Infact many UHF channels came in worse compared to not using the amplifier/combiner.  CJOH was slightly clearer, but not much better.

Second Attempt:
http://www.otacanada.com to the rescue.  I stumbled across this site while searching for Canadian OTA suppliers.  I was happy to discover they share a store with motofoto in the Carlingwood mall in Ottawa.  I visited one lunch hour and boy was I surprised, nice to find a small business which stocks this stuff and knows what they're talking about.  I definitely would recommend them to anyone looking for OTA stuff in Ottawa, they even have an antenna guide on their website: http://www.otacanada.com/cgi-bin/ota_recs.pl

Second Attempt Equipment:
- VHF Dipole (Rabbit Ears): http://www.thesource.ca/estore/product.aspx?language=en-CA&catalog=Online&category=Indoor+Antennas&product=1500235
- Channel Master CM-7777

CM-7777 impression:
- Huge step up from the digiwave (also more than twice the price mind you).  Build quality is excellent; its actually shielded properly, includes instructions and labelled connectors, as well as an FM trap which is good when trying to receive channel 6.



Results:
This box made a huge difference compared to not; and compared to the digiwave box.  I now receive 20 OTA channels; but unfortunately still no global...  But all other channels are clearer and have better strength.



Attempt 3: Diy Folded Dipole
I followed this guide (http://www.wfu.edu/~matthews/misc/dipole.html)  to determine the length of antenna to make.

Jeff at http://www.otacanada.com was nice enough to sell me some 300ohm wire for cheap, so for channel 6 (centered at 85MHz)
The wavelength on 300ohm twin-lead is 3.352 meters; so the antenna length is half that; at 1.676m.  I installed a 300-75ohm converter right at the antenna.

Update:
I soldered up the antenna; but no luck receiving global.  No better reception compared to rabbit ears.


Update: Moving to the antennas to the attic worked; so I gave up on this...  Attempt 4 (A)  DIY Channel 6 Tuned Yagi:
Starting to plan a build of a "Channel Cut" directional Yagi antenna tuned for channel 6.


Since it will be going in the attic; not much needed in the way of weather proofing;  So I'm going to go with a design with a wood frame and copper wire based directors / reflector.


Planning a design similar to this:
http://members.ziggo.nl/astrid.vanunnik/446/446pmrantyagi.htm


I have decided that before I attempt taking on a new antenna; I'll move my setup to the attic

Attempt 4 (B)  Antennas to the attic:
I'm in progress of moving my antennas to the attic of my home; I don't want to put them outside for cosmetic reasons, so I thought I would try the attic before building a new antenna (which would need to go in the attic anyways).


having a house built in the 80's there is no convenient way to get the wire into the attic.  I have resorted to running the coax to the second floor via a cold air return; then going to the attic in the corner of the closet (which backs on to the same cold air return).  Not an easy task as the cold air return has some corners in it.  I have had success using a wire pulling fish.  I am using this one: http://www.princessauto.com/workshop/hand-tools/measuring-tools/distance-measuring/8067944-50-ft-fish-tape-with-lighted-end it works quite well (though I have never bothered with the illuminated end) and its cheap and available locally.

Update - Nov 27th 2011


Finally got some coax to the attic.  No luck getting global with rabbit ears; but I finally had success with my home made folded dipole.  With everything pointed properly I know get all of the local stations!  So I'm using my home made channel folded dipole pointed at camp fortune; and my 4 bay UHF pointed at HC.  These antennas are combined with a CM-7777.




Resources;
Global-TV Ottawa Reception Thread:http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=143890
Current Digital TV Broadasting Status: http://www.user.dccnet.com/jonleblanc/Canada_TV_Stations/DT.html



9 comments:

rjlorenz said...

Hi buddy, thanks for your webpage; I hope I remember to check back to see how you make out. I'm in Kanata too, running just a dipole and balun to HDTV. I get CBC English, CBC French, CTV and TVO perfect, but that's it. The TV detects a signal from Sun TV (20), and barely gets the analog broadcasts (ending soon I suppose) from CHCH, City, TVA 40, and Tele Quebec 30. It doesn't see Global at all!! I'm glad to know about the Channel Master which would probably enable me to get the these.

-Rick Lorenz

Roberto Milev said...

Great stuff! I am too in Kanata and in a similar situation. I am very interested to know the final outcome.

EricD said...

Interesting Article.

I also wrote a blog entry on getting all 13 local Digital TV channels in Stittsville, using 2 attic mounted antennas and a splitter used in reverse. Each antenna is a simple loop (ie UHF style). Full details, and pictures are provided.

See www.dormerhost.com/erics_soapbox

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, I was also able to get Global TV to my south Kanata home by putting a homemade dipole in my attic.

Mark W said...

You may be the best person to answer this, up until this morning I was picking up global on 6.1 with an amplified Terk internal antenna in an upstairs bedroom. But this morning, no global. All the other channels are there, the antenna hasn't moved. Any ideas?

Mark W said...

Looks like its back.

EricD said...

I put a channel 6 folded dipole up above my 2nd story roof in Stittsville, and was still unable to get Global. Frustrating!

Anonymous said...

Kanata South...using just a digital tv I simply connected a cable from the tv to a wall plate light switch cover screw and get CBC4,Global6,french9,CTV13,TVO24 not a fancy antenna but it really works....Found this out testing for a bad antenna that I had on the roof

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