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Equipment to pick up digital tv signals directly from broadcast networks

August 21, 2009

Here is a threaded discussion on the equipment required to pick up free HD signals directly from the broadcasters, without cable or satelite (since they are now broadcasting in digital). All you need is an antennae, and amplifier.

These posts are from people in my area, who are talking about what equipment they used, and what channels they are able to get. Apparently, the quality is as good if not better than cable.

You Need:

An ATSC tuner (Most HDTV have one) or you can buy a STB tuner (Check on e-bay) and connect it to an analog TV (Won’t be HD but it will be Digital).

Antenna’s: A CM-4221 or a CM-4228 for UHF and a Channel 13 VHF antenna (Delhi 5Y13S or the 10y13S for ABC HD)

A Pre-Amp: A CM-7778 or an AP8700.

Where to get that?

In Montreal there’s Raybel and Montcalme for the antenna’s.

On the Canadian Web there the senzus.com for the CM-Antenna and pre-amp. TigerDirect for a dvd recorder.

But check the Web like Ebay, and have them ship your thing with USPS.

That’s it.

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If size is important go for a CM-4221 (4″ x 20″ x 35″)

The CM-4221 will cost you about 75$ shipping and tax include.

Then if you want ABC:

With that you should get all US station except ABC. For ABC you need a VHF channel 13 attenna. Again if size is important go for a delhi 5y13s (2’6 feets long) with it you should be able to lock but you might experience sound drop out and pixilisation (Nothing major). (~60$)

And then to give everything a Boost:

a CM-7778 pre-amp (75$)

For the pre-amp I suggest the CM-7778 because it has two input (One VHF and One UHF) wich simplify a lot joining the VHF and UHF anttenna. And because it does not have to much gain (Amplification).

Don’t buy a pre-amp right away, it’s better to try without it. In my case the pre-amp is a must because of the length of the cable and I split it 3 times, but it your case I don’t think you need it.

would i need to put it on the roof

On the roof is better, but if you have a balcony facing south then that could be just fine. (You have to try).

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Has anyone used the DB4 antenna? It can be picked up in Ile Perrot from this retailer: http://coolsatcanadasales.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=42&products_id=165&osCsid=c2743ae3ef4c6a9f388c936c46084002

It’s performance are very similar to the CM4221.

Has anyone used the DB4 antenna? It can be picked up in Ile Perrot from this retailer: http://coolsatcanadasales.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=42&products_id=165&osCsid=c2743ae3ef4c6a9f388c936c46084002

I would save myself some time and step straight to the CM 4228 but as my own results shown, the cm4221 (similar to the db4) give good results.

but… better be safe than sorry; I would go for the cm 4228 at Montcalm electronique in Laval.

j’ai aussi lu quelque part que la CM4221 est meilleure pour attraper le VHF que la DB4; quelque chose en rapport avec le réflecteur arrière en grillage !

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It’s only the 4228 that has some use for VHF-Hi, particularly ch 10 and above. See http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/comparing.html , and scroll to the bottom of the page for some info on using the 4228 for VHF Hi. Note that it’s probably not good enough to use for WVNY-DT on ch 13 in Montreal.

However, with a short leadin cable, the 4228 is better than rabbit ears for all VHF-Hi channels but ch 8. The 4221 is better than rabbit ears for channels 12 and 13.

Of course, these plots are based on simulations. If someone in your neighbourhood has good luck with a 4221, then go for it.

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Everyone seems to say that the channel master4228 is good.

I have an old CM4221 http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/cm4221.html (4 bays while the 4228 is 8 bays)

http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/cm4228.html

It’s good but I’m stretching it’s range at 120 miles. ( I live near St-Sauveur)

So I ordered a XG91 ( 91 elements Yagi ) http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/XG91.html

as it can be tilted to fine tune the gain versus your location ( like to clear that hill in front of your house)

http://search.ebay.ca/search/search.dll?from=R40&satitle=91xg

as you live near the border, You may find a Mail Forwarding service near you and just go pick the antenna avoiding the brokerage fees. People in Montreal use Freeport Forwarding in Champlain. they ask 2$ to receive your boxes in your name. PERFECT to take advantage of all the “free shipping” offers in the US.

http://www.antennasdirect.com/images/91XG-large2.jpg

http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/comparing.html

P.S. there’s no such thing as the perfect antenna. It’s specific to your location and surrounding. Using a supposely UHF only antenna (CM4221), I get all the channels from Sherbrooke. One major advantage from the channel master 4 and 8 bays antennas is that they can be relatively good for the channels from 7 to 12 on the vhf-h Band. I live 45 miles from Montreal and I pick all tv stations including src 2 and cbc 6

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I should get the 91XG at the same time as the ATSC ready 32″ HDTV I ordered for 499$can at www.hbc.com (free delivery to any zellers store in Canada).

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Does anyone have a more recent power listing for the channels near Montreal?

This list is almost a year out of date:

http://www.remotecentral.com/hdtv/ottawa_hdtv.htm

stampeder

02-26-08, 11:45 AM

This is from Industry Canada’s database:

http://www.user.dccnet.com/jonleblanc/Canada_TV_Stations/index.html

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I get 22.1 and 22.2 (test signal) in additiona to all the others you mentioned except 57.1-3 with a Philips SDV7400K/17 on the rooftop. I have oriented the antenna to between Mt Mansfield and Mt Royal. This positioning turns away from Lyon Mt in NY.

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upchuck247

09-22-08, 09:48 PM

I just put up a Channel Master 4228 on my roof yesterday (in Dollard-des-Ormeaux), and I’m getting Fox, CBS, and PBS with signal strength in the 80s, but NBC (WPTZ) is in the low 40s.

I was disappointed that I didn’t get ABC (VHF), nor CBC! I guess it’s impossible to get CBC from the West Island since they’re broadcasting from their building in downtown.

Can anyone recommend a good pre-amp? Channel Master 7777? I’m also planning to split the signal to two TVs, how much will that degrade the signal strength?

I live in Roxboro and get channel 6 but its not watchable I have a 91xg with a cm7777 and a rotor. I was considering adding a winegard hd-5030.

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Phonefriend

11-03-08, 06:15 PM

I’m also in the West Island and I installed a Winegard AP-8275 preamplifier over the weekend. My signal for NBC is 88-92, Fox is 74-85, and CBS is 50-66. I don’t know if my CBS signal dropped because of the Winegard amp or if something is truly wrong with their transmitter. Unfortunately, I wasn’t careful enough to write down all my signal levels right before the preamp installation.

How are you catching ABC? Which antenna do you have?

I am using a Philips SDV7400K/17 on the rooftop. I tried it with an amplifier at first and didn’t get ABC. Removing the amp actually allowed the ABC signal to break through, I guess that the amplifier was amplifying noise, you may have the same effect concerning your CBS signal. The ABC signal is only 36-40% in the position I have selected to pull in everything except PBS 57 and TQS.

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I installed the RCA ANT711 on the 7th floor in St-Laurent. I fixed it to the wall and I got:

PBS 57.1,2,3 at 85%

NBC 5.1,2 at 50%

PBS 33.1,2,3,4 at 45%

CBS 3.1,2 at 45%

SRC and CBC at 40%

TQS 35.1 at 55%

PBS 33, CBS, SRC and CBS are not reliable.

It seems that my antenna is pointing straight to PBS 57. I had no luck catching Fox or ABC. I guess if I put a decent antenna I’ll more the rest.

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d510d180

01-02-09, 11:24 AM

Would it be worth it for me to get something like a Channel Master CM4228 or similar to pick up Vermont and NY based stations like 3-1, 5-1, 33-1, 44-1 or 57-1 or would that be too optimistic considering where I’m located?

First of all, you are lucky if you are on the last floor and have access to the roof. From there, unless you see the south horizon, you are likely to see lots of other roof top and downtown mtl skyscrapers (if we can call’em that…). That stuff is in the way. The other guy posting before you in ville st-laurent has better chances…

Try making your own DB4, a 4 bay antenna (the equivalent of the channel master 4221). Lots of details specs in post #180 of

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=13920561#post13920561

This will show you what you could get from something else than rabbit ears. You will be impressed, assuming you are good at DIY stuff. I find it’s fun.

On ntsc, you should catch global (46) almost perfectly and CJNT (62) in color but a bit grainy, also with Savoir (29). If you didn’t know these existed, you will! Look at your reception quality (usually in advanced channels menus) on the 3 hdtv SRC, CBC, TQS (19, 20, 42) channels you have before and after, that should also tell you something about the improvement.

Then you may decide to build a DB8, and a reflector (or just buy it if you prefer.) In all cases, you need a very directional antenna to increase the gain for the us signals. You may need an antenna preamp (not a cheap one, think professional quality 15dB) to drive the feedline from the roof to inside, via RG6 quality coax.

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Okay, I finally got a tuner, its a Samsung DTB-H260F and here is what I get with a 91XG CM7777 mounted at 26FT above ground level with a CM 9510A rotor.

Pointed east

SRC and CBC at 70%

TQS 35.1 at 80%

Pointed south, south east

PBS 57.1,2,3 at 80%

NBC 5.1,2 at 100%

PBS 33.1,2,3,4 at 100%

CBS 3.1,2 at 100%

My location is Roxboro near Boul. Des Sources.

If I point south east I also get CBC but freezes every 3 to 5 minutes with lots of pixelation, but I was able to watch the whole hockey game last night with no pixelation when I pointed the antenna east.

All I have to say is “WOW” I never saw an HD image before. I am using a Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 720 with a 106 rollup screen. I think its a big upgrade from a 27″ Sony XBR from the early 90’s

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05-11-09, 11:24 PM

I’m also experimenting with HTPC doing HD. I’m using this antenna from Monoprice (http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10901&cs_id=1090101&p_id=4728&seq=1&format=2) indoors and picking up all of the local OTA HDTV stations currently broadcasting (CBC, SRC, TQS and Télé-Quebec) beautifully, but none of the US stations. I guess next step is to try an outdoor antenna, up on my 3rd storey roof? I’m downtown near McGill.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 10, 2009 2:29 am

    Excellent info!!….This is what everyone wants to know about HDTV. This is hdtv reviews blog. It pretty much covers HDTV related info.

  2. Simon Durham permalink
    February 14, 2010 6:20 pm

    A very useful blog.

    I am in NDG and can pick up all of the DTV US stations easily except for ABS. I am having trouble finding any of the Canadian broadcasters around here – I can’t even get one of them. Do you or anyone have any idea which direction the antenna should be pointing, and what sort of antenna I should be using.

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