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Yaguy 25-Dec-2010 9:28 AM

Finding Appropriate Outdoor Antenna
Hi Everyone

I read a few answers to posts and I can see there are some very knowledgeable people here.

I'm in West Vancouver, BC, Canada. My elevation is 200 feet above sea level. I currently have a chimney mounted Vee Type VHF/UHF 39 Element Antenna on a rotator (35' height), similar to betwen a Channel Master 3018 and CM-3020. It might be from Antennacraft. It is not on any amp. I bought it at Radio Shack 18 years ago. Channel 6, non digital, is getting interferred with from FM radio stations in Vancouver- can hear the audio and the picture is affected too. I know the FM radio band is right there between VHF 6 and 7. I do think that it could also be the coax is degrading, as I happened to use RG59 that the cable company had put on the house, before I learned that it typically isn't as well shielded as RG6. The run is about 50' - 60'.

VHF channels 2 and 8 are very clear and strong. Channel 10 has slight ghosting, great sound; UHF-wise channel 32 is usually very clear and 17, 26, have some light snow, which is weather dependant. Channel 42 might be lower power, but usually is weaker. I did receive VHF Channel 12 KVOS in Bellingham clearly and KBCB, UHF 24, before the digital transition. Also did on occasion have KOMO 4 and KING 5 in Seattle come in. And when the antenna was new, during two summers on a very hot day, KEYT-3 in Santa Barbara, California, 1035 miles away! - That's why OTA is fun. :)

I'm on the same side of a mountain as the transmittor 10 miles northeast of me, and about 48 miles from KVOS-DT in the US.

My UHF part of the antenna has 5 elements on each dipole 'wing' and 12 directors and 1 driven element on the Yagi part. I think it was rated, when new, for UHF 45 miles.

So there's some distance to the US, and locally I'm about 10 miles from a transmittor on Mt. Seymour, and 38 miles from CHEK 6 on Saturna Island, due south of me, and somewhere in between for CKVU 10 in Vancouver.

My TV fool report is:

What setups or antennas should best work with me? I know that Corner reflector Yagis are currently optimized for channel 69. And that channels 52 to 69 are going to be reassigned; so should I wait until Winegard and Channel Master optimize a new one for Channel 51, for an overall better gain for me in the channels I'll be watching, or look at a Bowtie type 4 or 8 bay?

I really would like to try a digital converter box before I pull down the old antenna which isn't in bad shape, and doesn't have rust. But locally there isn't much in the way of quality or really much of any digital converter boxes yet, as our digital transition is to take place Aug 31, 2011 and cable penetration is much deeper in Canada, with only 2.8% people in my area using OTA.


Dave Loudin 25-Dec-2010 10:27 PM

You need to post you question in the right thread at Canada will be switching to digital broadcasting in 2011, and that site is keeping the closest eye on the situation. You will probably find someone in the same situation as you.

Tower Guy 25-Dec-2010 11:52 PM


Originally Posted by Yaguy (Post 4756)
I'm in West Vancouver, BC, Canada.


The TV fool report is for someone else.

John Candle 26-Dec-2010 2:37 AM

Tv Antennas and Reception
Your tvfool report is in Florida. Please repost the tvfool report. Yes I will help you with your reception situation. Canada is changing to Digital Now. And is transmitting Digital Tv Now. Full Power transmitters in Canadas Major Cities are to have completed the change to digital sometime in 2011. The rest of the analog transmitters in the major cities and through out Canada may not change for a long time , due to lack of funding. , , , ,

John Candle 26-Dec-2010 9:41 PM

Tv Antennas and Reception
If you provide the correct tvfool report I can help you with your tv reception

Yaguy 26-Dec-2010 11:24 PM

Finding Appropriate Outdoor Antenna
Thanks. I'm not sure why my tv fool report pasted in as Florida. I'll try again here.

I appreciate the advice.

TV signal analysis results for my West Vancouver, BC location, including stations and antenna position:

Thanks again.

John Candle 27-Dec-2010 6:48 AM

Tv Antennas and Reception
If your house is not wrapped with any type or kind of metal such as but not limited to metal siding or stusko with stucko Wire and if the roof is not metal and if the walls are not poured concrete. Then the stations in the direction of 64 degrees magnetic compass will be received with a Simple Not Amplified indoor tv antenna directed to the east. And with a second antenna directed to the south it is highly likely that the stations to the south , the Canada stations 6 and 10 and stations KVOS 35 , KBCB 19 , K24IC 24 will be received with a Simple Not Amplified indoor tv antenna. , if the two simple indoor antennas receive Ok , then two simple indoor antennas at the tv location can be connected to a remote control A/B switch due to the fact that the two simple antennas will be directed in different directions one to the east and one to the south. You might be able to receive the channels to the east and south with one simple indoor antenna if you can get it turned just right. If the simple indoor antenna that is directed to the south does not receive the 3 american channels then you will need to install a out side antenna like one of these. Channelmaster 3016 or Winegard 7082P or Antennacraft HD 850 . Also read and understand this about Real and Virtual Digital Tv Channels.

John Candle 27-Dec-2010 7:09 AM

Tv Antennas and Reception
The other American stations to the south are out of reach. Here is inflammation about Canada tv transition ,

Yaguy 27-Dec-2010 8:25 AM

Finding Appropriate Outdoor Antenna
Thanks John Candle

I have read about the 'virtual' PSIP stream numbers that appear on the digital to analogue converter boxes, whereas the real UHF channel they're broadcasting on is usually quite different. I was checking what all the local and ones within reach of me are, and what signal strength the station is transmitting in helping to determine an antenna as well. (Plus some could be "reassigned" to high VHF, so I guess I'll still hold on to my old antenna for now- it's like the CM-3020 but less on the UHF side.) I did figure that the local stations and KBCB and KVOS in Bellingham were something I could still receive. I don't know if tropospheric bounce phenomena can be expected with UHF in summer.

I'm just waiting for there to be more availability of Digital Converter Boxes up here, as of right now there isn't much and they're significantly more expensive than the same cheap ones in the US.

I had not thought about an indoor antenna again. What about the CM-4221HD, CM-4228HD, or the Winegard 9032 for UHF. The Antennacraft U8000 looks a bit more flimsy than the CM-4228HD. What's your opinion on these or the HBU Antennacraft line?

From what I read earlier, the CRTC in Canada doesn't think a coupon for converter box program is needed and is leaving it up to the Federal Government to make that decision.

John Candle 27-Dec-2010 9:03 AM

Tv Antennas and Reception
Using a Outdoor antenna 'indoors' will receive better then a simple rods and loop indoor antenna. The outdoor antennas you have listed have a narrower beam width. The a simple rods and loop has a Very Wide beam width. Beam width is the angles off to the sides of the antenna that the signal will be received. Half power beam width of the left and right sides angles means that the antenna will be receiving half the power as in front of the antenna. And the more the angle becomes away from front center the less signal will be received. UHF antennas metal receiving elements are sized in length to receive UHF. UHF antennas will receive VHF , however at reduced reception. That ok if the VHF signals are strong however if the VHF signals are weak , a UHF antenna will not receive is not the correct antenna . In this transition time when the Tv stations are finding out what Real channel will be transmitting on , I like to recommend All channel antennas.

John Candle 27-Dec-2010 9:29 AM

Tv Antennas and Reception
The four American channels listed are LOS Line Of Sight , moderetly strong and easy to receive. The other American Channels on down the line are Very weak. 0 NM(dB) is the 'reference number' for reliable reception with a simple 2 element dipole 30 feet in the air. Plus 10 NM(dB) gives some elbow room and more then that is better and better. Minus 10 NM(dB) is the point at which the signal is said to be not receivable with out extreme measures. You can go to the >>Start MAPS<< part of tvfool and see how high the antenna will have to be to Pull Up the other American stations NM (dB) numbers. And will also need a extreme fringe antenna such as Winegard HD 7084P. And Yes it is fun to get the very weak Tv stations coming in on the skip or tropo. Digitalhome may have DX'ers , D = Distance , X = Unknown , you can be involved with. And here is a web site

Yaguy 27-Dec-2010 6:47 PM

Thanks John Candle

I'll check out those things. I have always liked the bigger deep fringe antennas. I think their sheer size helps them. I will see how high up I would have to have the antenna to get some of those more distant channels. I think the best thing for now is to run some new high quality RG6 and maybe a new balun on the antenna as well, because the weather boot did come off for a while and is cracked. I have heard of people both taping it with special "self-vulcanizing rubber tape" and also using roofing tar to seal it from the elements. I wondered if using plumbers tape on the connector threads would help as well.

Thanks again for the good info.

John Candle 27-Dec-2010 9:59 PM

Tv Antennas and Reception
Do Not put plumbers tape on the connector threads. The best use on the outside of the connector is the self sealing live rubber tape. It seals to it's self and what it is applied to , it works so good that the only way to remove it is to cut it off. Here are some examples of amalgamating tape . Electrical supply business sell the self sealing tapes. With it taped a weather boot is not needed. The coax the connector the matching transformer and the matching transformer wire leads that connect to the antenna can be incased with this tape. Always look inside the connector on the end of the coax to see if the shield and shield wires are pushed in toward the center conductor wire , if so push away from center conductor wire.

Yaguy 27-Dec-2010 11:36 PM

Finding Appropriate Outdoor Antenna
Thanks John Candle

That self-amalgamating tape looks like what I need. (I had thought about hockey tape over electrical tape, if I couldn't get self-amalgamating.) I'd rather use tape than roofing tar. I have to wait a bit to get on the roof. It's been raining for the past week and supposed to freeze in a couple days.

Do you think I should get prefabricated RG6 coax that I might end up with a few extra feet, or have a professional crimp it to length for me with the proper weather proof f-connectors and weather boots? I'd love to have the professional type stripper, crimping tools, but to just do a bit every 15 years doesn't really warrant it. Thanks for the links.

Yaguy 16-Feb-2011 8:56 AM

Hi John Candle

Where do I go or click to find this on my TV Fool report:

"You can go to the >>Start MAPS<< part of tvfool and see how high the antenna will have to be to Pull Up the other American stations NM (dB) numbers."

I might have just missed where it is.


Yaguy 18-Feb-2011 8:09 AM

Finding Appropriate TV Antenna
Does anyone have experience with using an antenna like the Antennacraft MXU59 vs. say a 4 bay Antenna like the Antennacraft U4000? The manufacturer's gain figures for the MXU59 is a conservative 10.7dbd and the U4000 is rated at 10dbd. I have a rotator so I could move it easily. I hear a lot about the Channel Master 4221 4 bay, but very little about the American made Antennacraft U4000. I would believe that the corner reflector Yagi MXU59 would stand up to the elements and birds better over time than the 4 bay U-4000.

Because digital transmissions typically use lower power than analogue, post transition would it be possible to use a preamp even if some stations are only 10 miles away N/E, as some, in the opposing direction, are around 40-50 miles South. It's just now while there's still analogue VHF, I know that two stations, VHF 2 and 8, would overload my tuner if they were amplified.


Dave Loudin 18-Feb-2011 11:27 AM

Please read the signal analysis FAQ that's linked to at the top of your report. Your report accounts for power levels among other things.

You need to consult with the OTA forum at before you buy anything.

Yaguy 2-Apr-2011 8:53 AM

Help with Reception
This is where I should have put it.

My TV fool Report is posted in this thread and is:

Analogue Channel 2 is quite strong and clear: -10.4 dBm
Analogue Channel 32 is picture and sound perfect
Analogue Channel 8 is also near perfect, only slight occasional ghosting

The digital channels are weaker in the sense that they are broadcast at much lower power but many from the exact same location only 9 to 10 miles away. But what I've noticed in connecting my first Digital to Analogue Converter Box, a Zinwell ZAT-970A, is that there is a noticeable and distracting series of evenly spaced diagonal lines oriented at about 60 degrees, spaced about 1" apart, going from the left of the screen to the right on all digital channels. There is sometimes a slight hint of the same type of interference-type lines but tighter together and much fainter, only on Analogue VHF Channel 2. Rooftop antenna is made by Antennacraft: VHF/UHF/FM sold by Radio Shack as RS VU-160XR with Antennacraft Rotator.
Thanks for your ideas. :)

John Candle 2-Apr-2011 8:46 PM

Tv Antennas and Reception
The digital channels at your location are Strong not weak. You are saying that the interference lines are with both analog and digital , this is telling me to look for interference generators at your location. ANY electrical or electronic device can be interference generators. Lights of all types and kinds , motors , computers , Tv's , radios , washing machine , dryer , electric tooth brush charger , electric fence charger , door bell transformer , are you getting the idea--> ANY electrical or electronic device. The best way to find it or them is unpluging and unpluging and unpluging every thing inside the house and out side the house.

John Candle 2-Apr-2011 8:55 PM

Tv Antennas and Reception
You could have a defective converter box or a Defective Tv , Might be bad coax ( Any piece or part of coax ) and or bad matching transformer. Is the coax grounded with a coax grounding block ??

GroundUrMast 2-Apr-2011 9:20 PM

The ZAT970 can connect to your TV with RCA Video/L/R cable(s). If your TV has the inputs for that type connection, you should expect a slightly better quality signal when viewing digital sources. You could leave the coax connected between the ZAT970 and the TV to support analog reception, but it needs to be in serviceable condition.

JC is correct to wonder if there is a problem with the coax between the ZAT970 and TV. Poor shielding (caused by a faulty connector for example) may allow the strong RF in your area to interfere. Use of the V/L/R connection would eliminate the RF link between the ZAT970 and your TV, thus eliminating a complex process that may be interfered with.

Yaguy 3-Apr-2011 12:33 AM

Thanks for the advice everyone.

I did try running the Zinwell ZAT-970A D2A converter box from it's RCA outputs directly to Input Video 1 on my TV, and voilą, no interference at all. It seems that the Toshiba DVD/VCR introduces some noise during its input > output route; so by running directly to the TV (Video 1) and the DVD/VCR to Video 2 on the TV, and the Ouput on the TV back to L1 on the VCR, I can watch clear TV and still record it, and use pass-through for the next 5 months. Of note, even pointed at Mt. Seymour N/E direction, I can easily get KBCB and KVOS to the South with the side lobes of my 20 year old Antennacraft "RS VU-160XR VHF/UHF/FM" antenna- they're about 48 miles away in Bellingham, WA.

I put in a new piece of copper RG6 from the Converter box to TV, for analogue pass-through, replacing the push-on patch one used from the VCR to TV, which wasn't copper, or very thick. I should run new RG6 from the antenna to the grounding block, because it is old, but it does look to be in good shape.

And again, thanks for the friendly advice and good suggestions. :)

GroundUrMast 3-Apr-2011 12:44 AM


Originally Posted by Yaguy (Post 7470)
...I can easily get KBCB and KVOS to the South with the side lobes of my 20 year old Antennacraft "RS VU-160XR VHF/UHF/FM" antenna- they're about 48 miles away in Bellingham, WA... And again, thanks for the friendly advice and good suggestions. :)

KVOS is a treat... lots of stuff no one else will carry. I get it on the back side of one of my antennas too. :)

Glad to hear of your success.

Yaguy 4-May-2011 11:03 PM

Antenna options
I have discovered that my outdoor antenna is an RS VU-160XR. An Antennacraft VHF/FM/UHF made for Radio Shack. I see that the wing nuts look rusted for the balun connection but the feed lines on top look pretty clean. Strangely, it doesn't pick up K24IC-D which is close to KVOS that I easily pick up, but K24IC-D is at -54.9dB vs. KVOS -41.4dB. I'm wondering if this is the current limit for my reception, -41dB.

Has anyone used this antenna in the past and what are their opinions? It looks to be in pretty shape, just one VHF element near the front came a bit loose so I secured it. I was thinking of maybe getting an Antennacraft U8000 because all of my post transition stations are UHF, but I haven't heard of many people using it.

I was also thinking because I have my VU-160XR on a rotator that I could use the U8000 on that or have a fixed mast with a 4 bay pointing to my 63-65 degree transmitters and one 4 bay, or an 8 bay, pointed towards the 145 to 160 degree stations to the south.

My TV Fool report again is:

Thanks again. :)

GroundUrMast 4-May-2011 11:17 PM

1 Attachment(s)
K24IC is a translator for KBTC a PBS affiliate. They carry three virtual channels , PBS in HD, MHz, and TVW a State government information channel.

A 4-bay panel should have no trouble with the three US stations 47 miles south of you. An 8-bay will offer gain you don't need and a narrow forward beam, which is also going to work against you. You might get lucky with a 4-bay and find a compromise aim point that lets you watch all channels but I won't be surprised if you need a rotator or a two antenna system.

The RS VU-160 should have been quite capable also. It sounds like it has problems though. The attached file indicates UHF gain similar to what you would expect from a 4-bay panel.

I see KVOS has started to carry 'ME' network programing instead of local production and locally selected syndicated oldies.

Yaguy 5-May-2011 2:58 AM

RE: Antenna options
Thanks GroundUrMast

I think my antenna could benefit from newer outdoor RG6 and a balun. The nice thing about the VU-160XR is that you can have it pointed at Mt. Seymour, 64 degrees, and the side lobes pick up KVOS at about 145 degrees. You're probably quite right that a big, heavy 8 bay isn't going to be as useful in my situation as a quality 4 bay. I had been looking at an 91XG but there seems to be differing opinions as to what it's beam width is. My current Antennacraft 160XR lists a 30 degree beam width, but I think that takes into account the VHF because I have found the corner reflector yagi part is much more directional with the digital channels.

No static at all 5-May-2011 3:44 AM


Originally Posted by Yaguy (Post 8149)
I had been looking at an 91XG but there seems to be differing opinions as to what it's beam width is.

I'm seeing about a 30-35° beam width on my 2 weakest channels according to the TV Fool report. The 91-XG is hard to beat for picking up weaker channels when surrounded by powerful locals.

GroundUrMast 5-May-2011 5:08 AM

My personal experience with the XG91 is that it has a relatively narrow forward beam. Don't count on a lucky side lobe, it's inherently very directional. I'm using mine to deal with some tough 2-edge weak signals while being hit hard by strong locals. My XG91 terminates in one of several network attached tuners so I don't have to deal with a rotator or A/B switch.

Yaguy 5-May-2011 6:36 AM

RE: Antenna options
Thanks No Static at all and GroundUrMast

How weak a powered signal can say a combo antenna like an RS VU-160XR be able to pick up without a preamp? Right now, I'm having difficulty with stations below -41 to -45dB. I'm running about 50' of coax to the grounding block outside, another 10' to the 2-way splitter inside, then 15' to the basement TV, and about 25' to the upstairs one. Total: 100'

Can the 300 Ohm to 75 Ohm balun on the antenna go bad over time? It's the stock one that came with the Antennacraft antenna. Age: 20 years.

I'm trying to sleuth my way through it all. :)

Yaguy 6-Jun-2011 7:56 AM

I am on the side of a mountain and the 2 local transmitting towers are about 10 miles east on the mountain, about 1500' further up, so there is the real possibility of multipath- trees, buildings, varying topography. (Analogue does have some 'ghosting' issues that the rotator usually mostly cures.) Would that preclude the Channel Master 4221HD because it has a wide 45° receiving beamwidth? And, of the newer outdoor antennas, which ones would be best for local 9 to 10 mile reception on the leeward side of a mountain and yet still be good for Bellingham, WA, 48 miles south of me. For me, it looks like almost all the stations I will receive will be UHF.

Yaguy 17-Jul-2011 6:54 AM

When would the 91XG be specifically recommended over vs. say the Channel Master 4221HD? I can accomodate either one on the roof, and I have a rotator that works. I suppose my concern is that the 91XG just looks a bit lighter in build quality, but I've read a lot of happy people using it to pull in both local and distant signals. - I could get a few local ones with an indoor antenna, but I like to sometimes try to get the further ones- it's fun. A local store has the Channel Master 4221/4228HD's but not the 91XG- or any other Antennas Direct products. Thanks. :)

GroundUrMast 17-Jul-2011 8:11 AM


Originally Posted by Yaguy (Post 8153)
Thanks No Static at all and GroundUrMast

How weak a powered signal can say a combo antenna like an RS VU-160XR be able to pick up without a preamp? Right now, I'm having difficulty with stations below -41 to -45dB. I'm running about 50' of coax to the grounding block outside, another 10' to the 2-way splitter inside, then 15' to the basement TV, and about 25' to the upstairs one. Total: 100'

Can the 300 Ohm to 75 Ohm balun on the antenna go bad over time? It's the stock one that came with the Antennacraft antenna. Age: 20 years.

I'm trying to sleuth my way through it all. :)

A good quality receiver should be seeing signals at predicted levels in the -60 dBm range (and even lower).

Coax and balun left in the weather for 20 years are ready for some R&R. Yes, they can go bad.

A 4-bay panel antenna (such as the 4221) will have moderate gain and directivity. More gain than you need, and I expect, more than enough directivity (unless you have neighbors who have proven the presence of difficult multi-path interference.

An XG-91 is most often used when dealing with weak (-70 dBm down to -90 or so). The XG-91 is occasionally needed when there is a problem with multi-path, adjacent or co-channel interference. I see none of these in your situation.

All that said, you can hope for an aim point that receives all channels simultaneously but don't bet on it. If your rotator works, you should have no trouble seeing real channels 19, 24 and 35 from Mt. Constitution (Orcas Island, WA) when the antenna faces that direction.

John Candle 17-Jul-2011 9:24 AM

Tv Antennas and Reception
I know that you know that the American stations that are in the gray and are very weak signal strength are not all UHF stations. Like KCPQ-DT 13 Fox and KSTC-DT 11 The CW and others. You can use the all channel antenna you have to go after the very weak American stations or you can install a Winegard HD7698P antyenna , . There are TV DX web sites on the internet , and you can entertain us with how you received KSTP-DT 11 FOX for 3 hours with no dropouts and signal strength meter was at 90% and signal quality meter was at 80%.

John Candle 17-Jul-2011 9:39 AM

Tv Antennas and Reception
Here is more inflammation about Canada digital and analog Tv , , , , , , , , , is a interesting Canada web site that has sellers with new and used Tv antennas and other Tv related stuff.

Yaguy 17-Jul-2011 7:26 PM

Thanks GoundUrMast and John Candle

Very good and helpful information.

I suspect I should buckle down and redo the whole antenna setup and hope it lasts as long. I think there could be water getting in the cable or balun area, as after a rain the VHF, particulary VHF 2 (CBUT), has prounounced diagonal lines and the colours seem too bright- almost like when one could manually fine tune a signal on their tv and it was just a little off in one direction. But the next day it's fine. Oddly, this 'water effect' has no effect on the digital channels. It would be nice to get the odd grey area channel. And I would announce here if I did. - Thanks again.

John Candle 17-Jul-2011 10:10 PM

Tv Antennas and Reception
The digital signal has built in information that corrects reception problems up to a certain point.

John Candle 19-Jul-2011 10:51 PM

Tv Antennas and Reception
As you already know by searching the internet. Here are some but not all DX websites that you can get involved in. Entertainment and knowledge to keep you going and thinking. , , , , , ,

Yaguy 26-Jul-2011 8:26 AM

Antenna System
I just thought of this. What about the small grounding block? Do these have a limited lifespan? If so, about how long? I bought mine at Radioshack when I installed everything. I don't think water is getting into it. And I did tape it, but with electrical tape that has stuck on pretty well to this day.
If I put on a new one, I would have it in a weather-proof box, even though it doesn't get rain on it, where it is tight to the house, on the north side.

Yaguy 5-Aug-2011 7:01 PM

Combining Antenna Masts
Can two 10' mast sections (without the tapered end) be combined by other means? I thought that U-Bolts and clamps over a 1' or so overlap area would be sufficient if the lower 12' is below my porch roofline, but there could be a better and safer way, so I'm asking. - There has to be a good way of doing this, short of making a small tower.

GroundUrMast 5-Aug-2011 7:21 PM

Lacking the swedged ends implies that the material may not be TV antenna mast. What material are you using? Without precise dimensions it's hard to offer any helpful advise.

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