In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Almost there…

My second antenna arrived today! Jessica suggested that my balcony would look like a forest. Since both antennas would be mounted on a single mast, I said there would only be a single tree, but it would be a dense one.

The upper vertical antenna is the Channel Master CM-4221HD that you’ve seen here before. The lower horizontal antenna, the Winegard YA-1713, is the new arrival. Since VHF is a longer wavelength, a VHF antenna must be larger to receive it. Although it’s 254 cm (100″) long, the 1713 is one of the smaller VHF antennas.

I had to get a signal coupler to combine the signals from both antennas. This can be troublesome if the antennas both receive signals from the same frequency band, but that’s not the case here. The 4221 is a UHF antenna and the 1713 is a VHF-high antenna. The UHF/VHF Coupler I used has a UHF input that filters out VHF, a VHF input that filters out UHF, and a combined output. Perfect!

The arrival and installation of this second antenna means I’m pretty much done. All that remains is getting two proper cables to replace the stand-ins I pressed into service to make sure everything works. I can then tie-down the cables to the mast properly. I can then leave it alone and just watch the signals it pulls in.

In the longer term, I might play with the antennas’ aim to try and tweak the reception. I’ve been toying with the idea of replacing the 4221 with a 4228. It’s a larger antenna with  more gain and narrower reception. My thought is that narrower reception might cut-down the multi-path I’m currently experiencing. Given the coming cold weather, I’ll just see how this set-up serves over the winter. I’ve read that winter makes for poorer over-the-air reception so it’s the best time to try different things. Of course, the cold makes it the worst time to actually make changes. I suppose I ought not to complain because I don’t have to climb any ladders.

I also need to research whether antennas interfere with each other’s reception. I know they can, but I’m uncertain if antennas receiving different frequency bands can also interfere with each other. If they interfere, I may need to get a taller mast and increase the distance between them.

The result of adding a dedicated VHF antenna is channel 13 (CHRO) is much improved. There’s still some multi-path, but the signal itself is one of the strongest I receive. Channel 11 (CHCH) is better, but not watchable. This isn’t entirely a surprise because the antenna is pointed almost exactly away from the transmitter. To my surprise, channel 6 (Global) comes in very well even though it’s in the VHF-low range and the antenna is designed for VHF-high reception. Perhaps even more surprising is that channel 65 (City-TV) is much improved, and channel 24 (TVO) shows some improvement as well. These are received by the antenna I already had so I didn’t expect any change in their signal reception at all. Not that I’m complaining, mind you!

The 1713 was $105 (including $25 shipping) and the signal coupler was $15. Added to my previous total of $135, this whole set-up had cost me about $255, tax included. The point at which my not having cable will pay for this equipment has moved to mid-March, 2010.

In the meantime, I couldn’t be more pleased.


VW diesel refuel #49


Force of will


  1. Jessica

    Ahem, *who* made the comment about the forest?

  2. Shawn

    Shades of 1994 when I last did the whole antenna thing. We lived in Oxford Mills at the time and satellite was non existent. I remember the satisfaction of receiving TV without a cable bill. We had a big ass 10′ antenna on a mast with a rotator. Life was so simple back then and cheap too. In 1998 the ice storm made short work of the antenna and ExpressVu had just come on the market, so we switched. Yes, we got more channels, but now I had to climb up on the roof to keep the dish clean of ice and snow. Now that’s progress for you.

  3. Rick

    Ooops, sorry Jessica. I’ve corrected the error.

  4. Rick

    Shawn, I certainly know how the dark side can be appealing…at least initially! How I’d love the necessary space for one of those big antennas… If I had that kind of room, I wouldn’t be in an apartment so most (or all!) of this multi-path would be a non-issue as well.

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