Road to OTA Digital TV – Step ONE

OTA HDTV - Step One

A while back, YULBlogger, Laurent Lasalle posted an excellent heads up guide to getting Digital and HDTV Over The Air. The Brits call it Free to View or Free to Air and the Americans still don’t know what to do with it even though their cut over deadline came and went, but got pushed over a bit by the Big O in Office. One thing is for sure is that my recent issues with my Bell TV == FAILED service pushed my conversion plan a little forward.

My old pal Lineman Al recently took possession of a Channel Master roof top VHF antenna with a UHF combo which should have been ideal for capturing the Plattsburgh and Burlington broadcasts from ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and the various PBS flavours. The one thing I did not take into consideration is the fact that our attic is not very big. You see I don’t want to mount anything else to my chimney and erecting an antenna tower would not only be a little costly but also pretty ugly (The words of “Her Indoors”). So my main question was whether or not I could fit this Star Destroyer looking behemoth  that would not be out of place hanging out from under Cloud City on Bespin into the attic of our Magill Split.  Oh also, would I be able to position it to a bearing on 164 degrees: Plattsburgh, NY. The short answer is yes, but it will never turn of move again. The good news is that I did manage to capture CBS, NBC, PBS and TéléQubec; ABC and FOX are still MIA.  The bad news is that although the US stations are all on South Easterly Bearing , the best of Kanuckasthan are all coming from the North East of Valois Bay and are not strong enough to be picked up off the back of the antenna. This means I need another antenna in the loft, one that I can mount on a rotor and control from the living room, either by remote or child-mote. “Thing 1, turn the antenna 180 degrees!” What? It’s good for their math skills… Right?

So we’re looking a few options as far as antennae go. Laurent seems to like the Channel Master 4221 because of it’s omnidirectional ability and Lineman Al seems to prefer the Channel Master 2016. I am also leaning to the 2016 as we already have the USS Enterprise pointing in the right direction, having a smaller antenna with a preamp on it for the local stuff gives us little more versatility. My main fear with the 4221 is that it won’t have enough reach to capture the signal from inside the attic. Here is how my TVFool reception looks:

TV Fool for Pointe-Claire

Our intial test with the Star Destroyer went well and we have a little cabling to do as well as some choices to make, but I’m quite happy with the initial results. If you have any experience with OTA Digital TV or these two antennae, I would really appreciate some feedback in the comments.

10 comments

  1. They all look like UHF channels, so why bother with a combo (VHF/UHF) antenna and just go with two or three UHF antennas? Aren’t UHF antennas usually smaller anyways?

  2. AS we both know reasoning behind combo was availability. I agree with Schultzer as to UHF, hence the thinking along the lines of rotor driven “arrow” type. Have to do more searching. Doing panel heat re-installation. more later

  3. I must take exception to the quite liberal amount of “Ma Bell” bashing going on. More respect needs to be awarded the ” Grande Dame”.

  4. Am I the only one missing the industrial looks of these rooftops antenas? Anyway, ABC will always be though to catch because it broadcast over VHF, which its signal as a shorter range.

    I still haven’t purchased any antennas; My girlfriend and I plan on buying something in the near future (we are still renting) and the condo where I live won’t allow me to install anything on its roof.

  5. “Anyway, ABC will always be though to catch because it broadcast over VHF, which its signal as a shorter range.”

    Umm, that’s totally wrong. VHF is between 30 – 300Mhz while UHF is roughly from 350 – 850Mhz. The lower the frequency, the farther the signal is able to go and reach as there is less resistance when passing through air, trees, houses etc.

    Adi

  6. To Laurent Lasalle, Check out the Gray Hoverman UHF antenna. “fly swatter” type. Can be mounted indoor/outdoor, dependant on design. 40″ x30″ a DYI project.