Getting over the air (OTA) digital television (DTV) in Vancouver

For Christmas, Rebecca and I decided to upgrade our TV and move into the digital television age. Our previous TV was graciously given to us by our friends Gus and Russ shortly after I moved here when they upgraded as well. The present to ourselves wasn’t an easy one in terms of picking one out, but we were finally able to settle on a great 40″ Samsung that we found at London Drug.

Before I continue, let me just say that everyone should do their research when purchasing a TV like this. It’s not as much as finding out what is out there but what you can get in terms of where you can buy and the models they have in stock. When asking if this Samsung had a built-in digital turner for over the air reception of digital television signals (which is the main point of this post), no one had the answer. In fact, they even told me that the only way you could get HDTV, especially in the U.S. after February DTV switch(FAQ), was if you have cable, and if you didn’t have cable, then you wouldn’t be able to get HDTV at all.

I’m a broadcast technician in my day job. I worked along side TV engineers for Iowa Public Television and witnessed first hand as their transmitter site in West Branch, Iowa got massively overhauled for the DTV transition. Don’t let these sales people convince you of this false information, and I would bet that cable companies would prefer if everyone thought this. Over the air (OTA) digital television (DTV) is very possible, and more importantly, it’s free.

It wasn’t until I found the following video on YouTube until I started getting really excited about making our purchase. Everything in baby steps, and we weren’t going to do the upgrade all at once in terms of getting a HD box for our cable and bump up the monthly payments. However, if I could make my own antenna and get OTA DTV, then that is something to be excited about, even if there is only three digital stations in Vancouver so far.

This video sounded too good to be true, and poking around found a lot of people reporting success with it. While on our vacation in Iowa at the beginning on this month, I decided to take on a test with my parents’ television and built this contraption. Unfortunately it only worked well on the second floor of the house due to their location in a river valley. That’s not to say that it didn’t work at all. They just need to put an antenna up on the roof and everything will be peachy, but it worked like a charm otherwise.

I dismantled my prototype, threw the metal parts in our checked luggage, and put it back together when we got back to Vancouver. The result was this.

My homemade over the air (OTA) HDTV antenna

Living in the west end of Vancouver, we’re in a prime location to receive OTA DTV signals since Mt. Seymour is home to nearly everyone who broadcasts TV or FM signals. It’s worth noting, without getting overly technical about it, that UHF and VHF frequencies generally travel in a line of sight manner, and cement and wood can be problematic for reception.

My homemade over the air (OTA) HDTV antenna I took some of the extra pieces of the metal clothes hangers and fashioned a way to hang this in one of our windows. There has been some thick fog covering the city for about the past week, and it has caused some minor issues in terms of reception. Being that DTV is all or none, you shift the antenna a little and the picture pops back on in full glory. This little hook allows me to place it nearly where ever I want to.

Just for some extra proof, I snapped some photos during the newscast last night on CBC.

Camera shots of CBC HD from my homemade OTA DTV antenna

Camera shots of CBC HD from my homemade OTA DTV antenna

Honestly, since I can see this in HD for free, it makes me want to watch the news. The pretty, pretty news…

Camera shots of CBC HD from my homemade OTA DTV antenna

Currently in Vancouver, there are only three networks transmitting DTV signals, and you might find some U.S. signals from Washington state depending on your location in the lower mainland.

  • CBC – CH. 58.1
  • Global – CH. 22.2
  • CTV – CH. 33.1
  • Omni – CH. 42.1

My homemade over the air (OTA) HDTV antenna It’s not much in terms of selection. However, you might notice that OTA signals give a slightly better picture quality due to the lack of compression that you have occurring through your cable connection or digital satellite, so there is give and take. Not much selection, but three channels in eye popping quality, at least with their programming is in HD as well. Hopefully more stations come on line with DTV transmitters in the coming months, especially as Canada prepares for its own digital transition on August 31, 2011.

Update as of April 14, 2009: I found this great list of television stations in British Columbia on Wikipedia that has details on all terrestrial TV broadcasters as well as the digital channels they have been asigned. Took me a while to figure it out, but anything highlighted in red is currently “dark” until those stations do something with them.

Update as of December 30, 2009: Thanks to the comment from John Davis below, it appears that Omni is now running their digital signal on channel 42.1, but it doesn’t appear that they are broadcasting any digital programming at this time. I’ve also added this to the list of channels I am able to receive with my antenna as noted above.

Update as of January 10, 2010: Comments have seemed to trickle in on this post a lot as Christmas must have seen Santa bring the gift of new TV’s to people’s homes? Regardless, as the reports come in of where they built this antenna, I whipped up a Google Map to pinpoint what people are getting from their areas in the lower mainland.


View OTA HDTV Reception in Lower Mainland, B.C. in a larger map

Update as of January 6, 2012: It continues to amaze me how popular this post is in term of the comments that keep coming in. I just have a few things I’d like to add to respond to some comments as well as provide some addition information.

First, you cannot get cable based channels by switching to over the air digital television. You are at the mercy of what is being transmitted over the air in your area. This means, in terms of the Vancouver market, you can get CTV, CTV2 (formerly A Channel), CityTV, and CBC, but you won’t be able to view CBC News Network, TSN, Sportsnet, Discovery Channel, BBC World, or other various cable channels. This is just like the days of have two or three TV stations that you could only pick up with a pair of “rabbit ear” antenna, but much better quality.

Perhaps if Canada ever adopts digital subchannel broadcasts, local stations could provide some of those channels on those already established frequencies. Why this isn’t being done in Canada already is beyond me, but it would make so much sense to do so. I already knew this was coming in the DTV transition in the U.S. before I moved to Canada and always marvel at its availability when visiting my family back home.

I always like to look at the regional ABC affiliate KCRG. Their implementation of subchannels has allowed them to push more local programming to their 9.2 channel, promoting local high school sports, locally produced programs, and so on. Or if you missed their morning or evening newscasts on 9.1, they rerun it on 9.2 at various points throughout the day.

At least if CBC Vancouver were to employ digital subchannels, they could put their CBC News Network, Documentary, and Bold networks on a signal frequency. Then it would look something like:

  • 2.1 – CBC Vancouver
  • 2.2 – CBC News Network
  • 2.3 – Bold
  • 2.4 – Documentary

Remember that this is strictly hypothetical and is not in current operation. However, you could see how this would provide even more content over the air than just the single channels currently being broadcast in the Vancouver market. CTV could even do this with channels like CTV News Network, TSN, or RDS, being they are all apart of the same parent company. And to think it out further, imagine CityTV putting CityNews Channel and SportsNet on some side channels since they are also all owned by the same company.

And finally, I found this website that take the same concept that I’ve employed in here and added an extra element to the construction of the antenna. The idea is to add a reflector to the antenna to boost it’s signal reception, which makes a lot of sense upon first examination. I have yet to try to implement this, so take it for what you will.

146 Comments

  1. Gregg Gordon says:

    I’ve been waiting for this post since you mentioned it on Twitter! So far the only digital tuners we have are on TV cards in our computers (they are also analog with cable running into them). My research showed that attics and roofs are normally recommended even with the top rated digital antenna, and so living on the second floor of a condo in the Fraser Valley made me reluctant to spend money on a digital antenna that may or may not work. I will definitely be making one of these myself.

  2. Lisa says:

    This is awesome. We just upgraded from a hand-me-down TV to a 40-incher too. Time to get crafty with coathangers.

    And hey – thanks for watching CBC News@6!

  3. John Biehler says:

    Great stuff John!

    I tried out the OTA HD stuff when I first got my HDTV because I didn’t want to pay the huge cost for the Shaw HD box. I used a basic ‘HD’ antenna that a friend picked up at Fry’s ($20) and was able to get a couple of channels out in PoCo but it was a little fiddly. I eventually caved and paid the Shaw ransom because I wanted Discovery & National Geographic and I literally had to move the antenna to get better reception with the channels I could get. Wasn’t quite prepared to wire my attic for reception.

    It’s also worth noting too that OTA signals are generally better quality than what you get with a satellite or cable HD receiver since those use heavy compression whereas OTA is pure uncompressed HD goodness – for the most part – it depends on the station’s transmitter.

    CBC OTA HD is like a freakin’ window…especially with sports.

  4. GZ Expat says:

    Dude, that is freaking awesome. Damn…an antenna made of a coat hanger and a meter stick. Brilliant. This is definitely worth a save.

    Now…if only I could get HD OTA here, well, it wouldn’t matter much because I can’t understand it.

    This needs to be put up on Geekologie! Heh…

  5. MarkOLM™ says:

    Great post John.

    Having been in the computer hardware/consumer electronics industry for a long time, I know all about OTA set ups for HDTV PCI tuner cards, and TV’s. I was never into the antenna building business, but have been through various set-ups and demos to know what you went through.

    You’re right on about the salespeople at most of these outlets, few of them are trained well enough to know that with the right kind of antenna one can easily pick up a high quality signal. The downside, as you mentioned is the low number of channels that are available OTA in Vancouver. In Chicago, friends have mentioned having up to as many as 6 channels OTA, including the major networks. Not sure if that number has grown at all since that discussion, but should definitely grow with their digital conversion only weeks away.

    I’m one of the few enjoying Shaw HD through a Motorola PVR box. One of my biggest frustrations though is the waiting game for HD Tuner cards that allow Set-top box signals for purpose of recording and archiving on my PC. Every thing I’ve recorded and converted through my analog tuner looks great, but not quite the same thing as real HD.

  6. Duane Storey says:

    I think I’m going to pull out my electrical engineering books and read the section on antennae design again! Good stuff!

  7. Chris says:

    I’m not surprised that the signal quality for CBC was good considering the power they pump out, but how were CTV and Global? As I work for the local provider, I’ve spoken to people who’ve found OTA to be the be all and end all, while others (mostly in Downtown for that matter) find there to be too much interference. If I didn’t have the benefit of working for the cable guy, I’d seriously consider OTA as an option but it would be tough to give up channels like TSN and RSN..

  8. Michael says:

    I bought a $30 OTA antenna that looks prettier and works just as well from here in East Van. The problem with some channels is the broadcast power, like for some reason CTV broadcasts with a lower output so if you’re outside of Vancouver/Burnaby you get a crappy signal.

    Anyways, Channel M is going HD soon which will be nice. Between Global/CTV for primetime shows and CBC for news/sports, there’s no need to pay for expensive shaw HD :P

    I also have and eyeTV HD tuner for my Mac and that allows you to plug in the tuner and schedule show recordings.

  9. please make me one of these! i will pay you! i am enjoying the 3 DTV channels I get here in East Van. we’re on a hill! I bet with your contraption i could get some more Seattle channels!

  10. Morten says:

    I’ve been considering this OTA thing for a while. On a visit to relatives in Seattle I observed an OTA setup hooked up to a Windows Media Centre computer and I was absolutely floored by the results.

    The problem is I’m a total Discovery Channel, BBC and CNN junkie and I need my daily fix. I’m not going to shell out the money for a Shaw HD box any time soon but I also don’t want to restrict my viewing to three channels. The question is if there is a way of hooking up both the antenna and regular cable at the same time. I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking.

  11. Mom says:

    You are your father’s son.

  12. Gravy says:

    I believe your mom just called you ghetto. Gold!

  13. Richard says:

    This is great, John! Last year I bought a digital receiver and HD stick for my Mac and it turned my computer into a PVR. The original stick I bought didn’t have an antenna, so I returned it for a cheaper (!) one that did. Even with the antenna (which I considered making) I would still need the tuner, since the TV I had at the time wasn’t HD.

    John Biehler said: “CBC OTA HD is like a freakin’ window…especially with sports.”

    So true. Blue Jays baseball never looked so good!

  14. Anessa says:

    That is the antenna I made and it works great. I get CBC, CTV, Global, KVOS and King in digital. I’m going to make another one and try it in a different location. Just be aware that sometimes the location has to be VERY specific to pick up the channels. I have to have mine tilted slightly (straight vertical doesn’t work for some reason) and turned exactly right and in a certain place in my house for it to pick up all the channels clearly. So be patient and use a program that tests the digital signal to get it just right.

  15. Big Bro says:

    “Hey Alex, check out Uncle John’s blog. Maybe you can make something like that”

    “Uh, o.k. Dad, I’ll try but I’m not as smart as Uncle John”

  16. David says:

    Very, cool!

    This might be worth a workshop at Workspace where everybody builds their own together.

    Or, seeing that there are probably thousands of folks like Roland (and me), who would pay a reasonable price for one, you could create a little side business.

  17. Nice! This looks like a good antenna. I made one about a year ago and was able to pick up CBC in HD.

    Here is the one I made: http://members.shaw.ca/hdtvantenna/

    did you find you needed a good view of Mt. Seymour to get good reception?

  18. I think you’re right about the cable companies actively discouraging people about OTA DTV. I had (wrongly) assumed that there were not OTA DTV channels in Vancouver. Of course, once you rule out CBC, that’s pretty much true but you’re still right.

    I haven’t been watching HD Cable on my nice, shiny 42″ HDTV because there’s nothing really good on TV. I use my TV to watch movies and to play games. My BluRay player upscales old DVDs and my XBOX outputs to 1080p.

    I’m in Surrey. Does anyone know if you can get any OTA DTV channels out there?

  19. Donovan Hill says:

    Great Article. I saw the same youtube video and made one like that but also added a reflector to the back made of tinfoil over some plywood scraps. (I also used steel strapping called All-Round for the elements).

    I’d be curious to see what other people get from other antenna designs.

  20. [...] to John’s homemade antenna we caught Super Bowl XVIII in HD (and this meant we couldn’t switch over to the other [...]

  21. Lesser Ape says:

    FWIW, I tried a regular commercial antenna without success. Then I tried this antenna from the youtube video, and got all three DTV channels. My apartment is in the Douglas Park area.

  22. WOW. This post is way more popular than I expected it to be, but I’m really happy to hear so many people getting some great results with their own projects.

    @Morten – I know that my brother has a Dish Network HD-PVR with a dual tuner takes one input from his satellite while there is another input for his aerial antenna for local HD reception. His receiver goes between the two seamlessly, so it’s a great setup. Otherwise, and in our case, it’s a separate input for aerial reception going into our TV, then I have our digital (non-HD) cable going into a another input. To watch either/or, you have to change the input manually.

    @Michael – I will certainly monitor CH. 42.1 for Channel M’s digital signal.

    I will agree with a lot of people that three channels is lacking in terms of content, but it’s tough to argue with it’s HD for only the cost of coat hangers, wood, screws, washers, and balun. It’s in our plans to make the move to HD via our cable provider, but this is great to start with.

  23. [...] ????????????????OTA channels??ATSC???NTSC?????????????????????????????????blog????????????????????????????????????? [...]

  24. Radio Randy says:

    I think just about anyone in Vancouver should be able to get OTA HD with the right antenna, pointing at Mt. Seymour’ish, and getting the thing high as you can.
    At our home we have been cable free for about 5 years maybe more with a rooftop VHF/UHF TV antenna and rotater from Radio Shack, (just like the sixties Martha) and overall it works not bad. We had cable here in N.Van (about Capilano and Marine Dr.) but we were watching stuff that the set could receive with a roof antenna. So with that we said hi to OTA and by to Shaw cable.
    So November 08 comes along and we decide that we need a new set, the old CRT equipt GE was still working but the remote was getting flaky and it was 17 years old. I was afraid it was going to outlive the remote, and who walks to the TV to change channels these days, not that we all can’t use the exercise.
    Anyways I hooked up the Samsung 40 incher to the to the TV coax and put it on seek and it found all three HD channels plus A channel comes in much better now too. Because of our location we get 4 channels with the antenna pointed at Mt.Seymour 3HD and 1 analog A-channel. Turning the antenna South gets KVOS 12 and South west CHEK TV-6 or what ever its called now both fuzzy, the antenna lives pointed at Seymour most of the time. It would be nice to have the antenna higher to get more channels but I’m not sure if the HD UHF signals travel as far as the analog VHF/UHF ones do, so no Seattle at this time. All the HD channels will be on UHF and thus no need for a large VHF antenna, but you’ll need the big rig till 2011 though. If you want a project, Google UHF Yagi design or UHF Log Periodic designs as well, and add TV to the search mix too.
    You may find more info at Radio Amateurs of Canada rac.ca and look at The American Radio Relay League, arrl.org
    The picture we get now with OTA HD is outstanding, very nice, now if I can get the VCR to work!

  25. LesserApe says:

    As an enhancement to the antenna, put a piece of paper to act as an insulator in the two places where the wires cross. On a day with bad reception, this made a dramatic difference on the worst station.

  26. Radio Randy says:

    Just hearing a bit on CBC this morning, that “A”channel Victoria may not survive much longer and that OTA is at risk too. The TV stations are going to try and cut costs witch may put OTA off air, read cable only! Really, this OTA thing works nicely. I guess we’ll have to stay tuned.

    R

  27. S B Price says:

    Tradtional broadcasters have their financial challenges with the cable companies, but DTV is a long term game-changer. One benefit is the ability to simulcast, so CBC could, for example, begin transmitting Newsworld adjacent to its local programming and even add another DTV channel. Judging by the reaction people are having to this site, DTV will gain momentum at the expense of cable providers. if you have been following the CRTC hearings, broadcasters and cable cos are not warm bedfellows.

    As for content variety, within a few years, more and more of your favourite content will be on line and you won’t need the cable co. Already I can pay for the ATP (tennis) games and watch Jon Stewart thanks to the Internet. All I am missing is a PVR for OTA.

    I built the same antenna in north Van and pick up five DTV stations: CBC, CTV, Global, KVOS and the dreaded shopping channel. I plan to increase the gain with 8 bays – four extra coat hangers in laymen’s terms – to try and reach further south. I’ll let you know.

  28. Gerry says:

    I too built the “coat-hanger” antenna and was very happy with the results. However, my wife took exception to the ‘look’ of this rig in the living room. It was also a little finicky and tempting for the kids to mess with.
    So, I splurged and bought a fancy MetroTenna from Channel Master for 45 bucks on-line at http://www.channelmasterintl.com/terr/METROtenna.html
    Along with 30 bucks in cable and a couple of connectors I had it up and mounted on the side of the house in about twenty minutes. The reception is great, it’s up and out of the way and all the OTA (Digital and Analog) stations come in crystal clear.

    FYI…you can buy the Channel Master with or without a mounting arm….be careful if you’re up on the roof, on a ladder or near any hydro lines….

    Between those three FREE HD channels, our Blue Ray player and the internet……we find we have plenty of entertainment choices and the price is right…..

  29. Laurie says:

    I tried to change over from cable to satellite this weekend and found that HD OTA channels that were there last time I tried, have disappeared. I suspect that the cut-backs have taken place even as our cable provider has just issued a notice of price increase.
    Hey, I thought I was just paying a community enterprise to be my antenna for me for a low cost! Bring back the neighborhood co-op.

  30. Rob says:

    Facing Southwest in E.Van and I just bought a Jensen amplified antenna and can only get CBC and Global so far… Might just build my own, but I’m afraid if I don’t amp the signal I won’t get these two at all, or as clear as I do now. No tearing or dropouts at all so far (I hooked it up about an hour ago). I’m liking your DIY unit a lot though. Good work!

  31. Jim says:

    What about sound? My TV has crappy sound, how do I get 5.1 into my receiver?

  32. Jim says:

    For now got it working like a charm with the sound through the TV. I didn’t have scrap wood lying around so I just used a bit of cardboard. Insulated where the wires cross. Brilliant !! I used flag wire from Princess Auto and tape.

  33. Jim says:

    Update on the sound, my plasma had an optical out, so I plumbed that back to the receiver. Now I get Dolby Digital for my Hockey too as well as HD !!!!!

  34. Dan says:

    For those who opt to purchase an antenna, has anyone found any stores in the lower mainland selling Channel Master antennas?

    I’d be curious to try building my own and purchasing one and comparing the two.

  35. Greg says:

    Does anybody know if I can use this setup on a Shaw/Novus HD receiver (rather than built in HD TV tunner ?).

    I have a working HD Motorola Receiver that I used with Novus (Downtown) but I recently decided to disconnect my cable TV.

    Thanks

    Greg

  36. Ed says:

    Hi all,
    I am in Fort Langley and also built the coat-hanger antenna a few weeks back. I’ve been enjoying the NHL play-offs on CBC-HD without hardly a problem for the past few weeks but couldn’t get CBC-HD at all for last night’s first game against Chicago. Tried every possible location for the antenna but nothing. I was getting CBC-HD on channel 2.1 but I see above that it is available on 58.1 as well? I’ll try that tonight and the insulation tip which may be the problem. It’s strange that CTV-HD and Global-HD come in perfectly no matter how I position the antenna but CBC-HD is always a little finicky and now registering zero signal strength?

    One warning about these antenna’s, they are not grounded so do not leave them connected to your tv in bad weather if it’s outside.

  37. Josh says:

    I’m in Walnut Grove(North Langley near the River). I was able to pick up fox HD from seattle on 62-4 but it disappeared a couple of months ago. Ed which direction are you aiming your antenna to get ctv, global and cbc? I’m pretty close to you so we should both be getting the same signals.

  38. Josh says:

    Ok so I decided to test this out using the shoebox method (http://members.shaw.ca/hdtvantenna/) before I invested the time and effort into the GH method shown above. I picked up

    CBC(2.1)
    Global (8.1)
    CTV (32.1)

    I also got A channel which is pretty decent depending on how I aim the box. Channel M is watchable but City TV is pretty unwatchable and that’s if I can even get it to connect. My house faces slighty southwest(mostly south) and the antenna is facing west sitting behind 2 walls and a window. Still working on trying to get the US channels, I’ll either have to build this GH rig or pick up a ZSS.

  39. Andrew says:

    Even less expensive is to use your old Rabbit ear antenna.

    I do, and pick up:
    CBC – CH. 58.1
    Global – CH. 22.2
    CTV – CH. 33.1

    Sometimes need to adjust antenna somewhat though. But excellent otherwise.

  40. tim says:

    I’ve been using rabbit ears (4 foot span) for the last year as well, and can pick up the following in HD in various orientations, though no single spot in our west-ward facing 3rd floor apartment in Richmond can pick up all the stations at the same time.

    CBC
    Global
    CTV
    KVOS
    Home Shopping (from Washington, though I delete that one right after it’s detected)

  41. keith says:

    I recently purchased an RCA dtv converter from Walmart for $60 and have connected it to on an old 1982 14″ Candle TV . I am using a $10 rabbit ear antenna that someone threw out in the garbage. It works! Five channels OTA. No more blur vision. Coronation Street looks fabulous.
    My antenna is located on the window ledge facing Southeast in North Vancouver, Lower Lonsdale.
    KVOS and KBCB come in strongest and they are 45 miles away.
    CBC and Global are good with only a 20 percent signal bouncing of the condo accross the street. CTV is finicky with only a 16 per cent signal.
    Once the analogue is shut down there should be more power to the digital.
    By then I hope to have a new LED TV and a decent antenna.

  42. Jan says:

    I was lucky enough to pick up the 3 hd channels by just using a coat hanger as is. They come in perfectly! (Grandview/Renfrew area)

  43. Jeremy says:

    Thanks! – excellent article on the topic which I’m going to forward to a few friends.

    Just to share my recent experience: I’d had a lovely Samsung 40″ HDTV for a few months and was completely ignorant of OTA HTV and the TV’s in-built OTA tuner (strange how there’s no info on this when you get your TV, eh?) A friend at work who lives in Delta told me about this, and lent me his first stab at a home-made antenna (a bacofoil tin reflector with a coat hanger ‘bow-tie’ on a piece of wood) to see if I could get a signal. I’m in the Mount Pleasant area of Van, nr City Hall. Indeed I could – woohoo! – just plugged the antenna into the tv, ran the TV’s built in Autoscan and it found a few analog channels and CBC and Global. Easy-peasy lemon-squeezy. However signal was only around 10-20% and got a lot of dropping out, mostly because it was difficult to position the antenna.

    I went looking for a manufactured antenna and checked out the Source (a few antennas), Best Buy (none) and London Drugs (one) and settled on a $30 one from there. It’s basically a horizontal 2′ metal ‘bow-tie’ on a rotating base – only around 6″ high – and claims to be combined VHF and UHF. Not sure if it’s as ‘high precision’ etc as the accompanying blurb claims, but with a bit of moving around and rotating I’ve improved the signal to around 40-50% (fluctuates a bit) and now CBC and Global are coming in a treat. Still can’t get CTV though – I understand their signal is particularly weak.

    It was all worth it as I saw the Wimbledon final in awesome HD on Sunday morning on Global – totally stunning picture! Even ended up watching some stuff I wouldn’t normally just because the picture was so entrancing! Free HDTV is here!

  44. Ken Hay says:

    Has anyone on Vancouver Island any luck with OTA?
    I am 20k North of Nanaimo.

  45. Dave says:

    This is a very useful site!

    My story. Got tired of paying Shaw for summer reruns, and cancelled. Built the coathanger antenna with no real expectation, other than being able to pick up the news.

    Wow. I didn’t even know my system was HD, and now I have been spoiled with HD on Global, CTV and CBC. Also low definition digital signals from KVOS and NBC Shopping.

    I live on the top of the hill in White Rock, but can’t get Seattle stations. Boo.

    The other noteworthy thing is that my TV arrives thru my Media Centre computer which has both a digital input and an analog one. When media centre detected the digital signals, a whole new array of features were presented to me. I had to tell MC that my zip code was in Blaine, then it gave me guide listings for all my channels! Now I can have my viewing recorded in HD as well.

    All in all, I may never go back to Shaw. HD is amazing, and the PVR features on Media Centre are hard to beat.

  46. Wow, those pictures you posted are *spectacular*! I can only imagine how much better it is in-person! :-) Thanks for doing all this. Much appreciated.

  47. Dave says:

    I have no babies or pets to worry about, but…

    If you build one of the coathanger antennae, it will be very unsafe for them, with clipped sharp wires sticking out all around.

    Word to the wise.

  48. Gustavo Garcia says:

    I bought a $24 antenna at London Drugs and I get the following in HD from East Van:
    CBC 2.1
    GlobalTV 8.1
    and a few analog channels

    I need CTV for the Olympics! Has anyone been able to get CTV HD from East Van? If so, what antenna are you using?

    Thanks,
    gg

  49. Peter says:

    I built the coat hanger one, and live in East Van near Main and 12th Ave.

    I can get CBC HD, CTV HD, and Global BC HD. Also A Channel very clear, and Omni (not so clear)

  50. jim says:

    has anyone pick up signal in maple ridge. maple crest area.

  51. dave says:

    I only have a RCA CANT711 indoor/outdoor antenna (paid $80, currently $60 at the Source), lying on the floor in front of a year old 52″Samsung Plasma. Did a scan and got all 3 digitad (free HD, wow!) a few fair to poor analogue.
    Taking the antenna 10′ out my ground basement ste window gained nothing so i brought it back inside.
    According to dtv.com, it should be possible for me to get both KVOS 12.1 AND KBCB 24.1 (both dtv). I live at 126 St/70 Ave,Surrey.
    I’m wondering how high the antenna has to be to get them?
    Can anyone get Seattle from Surey? , although $60 for a lifetime of 2 HD channels is a bargain.

  52. dave says:

    Oops, apparently KBCB is just a shopping channel, must get Seattle or it aint worth it.

  53. Kareem El-Hommosani says:

    Hi John,

    Thank you!!! This video and the information on how to build the digital antenna ROCK!!! I made one yesterday. I get the following:

    ch 2 HD global – crystal clear
    ch 8 HD global – crystal clear
    ch 32 HD global – crystal clear
    17 good quality
    26 good quality
    42 good quality

    I am quite excited and proud of building this device (that actually works)!

    I was wondering if you have any FTA (free to air) information?

    Regards,

    Kareem :)

  54. Dheeraj Mahtani says:

    I have been able to pick up the same three channels (CTV, CBC, Global) in HD in Vancouver, except I did not have to go through the trouble of building the antenna mentioned above. I just picked up a basic set of rabbit ears for $8 and it works great. So save yourself the trouble and just get the rabbit ears. =)

    - Dheeraj

  55. Noah Bloom says:

    John, thanks for posting this. Even months later it’s so useful. Now I have direct line of site with Seymour, but am using the rabbit ears the guy in the video just chucks! Ha! I’m getting CBC, CTV, and Global (not quite as clear) in HD.

    So, what is it about that specific medieval torture styled device that makes it work the best?

    If I already get these channels, is there still value to building this torture ornament, ie. will I get any other channels (US) or other non-HD channels more clearly?

  56. John Davis says:

    Just to let you know I get OMNI in Vancouver on channel 42 on my laptop. I’ve only got a small 20cm antenna and a USB TV stick. Can record in HD as well.

  57. Gary Hoffman says:

    Hi I just built this Antenna , I live in North Langley and the hd tv is on mainfloor .
    I am getting crystal clear channel 2.1 CBC HD
    8.1 Global HD
    32.1 CTV HD
    42.1 Omni HD
    12.1 KVOS Digital
    All Pix are crystal Clear! Thanks for the Info .
    Gary

  58. Lee says:

    I did a lot of research before I bought my Samsung 32″ LCD TV and I made sure it had an HDTV tuner built-in. I went to Walmart, bought a Phillips digital antenna for $20, and I get all 3 HD channels for free and it is fantastic!!!

  59. kwa says:

    I found similar websites on how to build my very own antenna. Mine looks just like Johns and many others. However, my signal is weak. Am I doing something wrong? I live in E. Coquitlam behind Mundy park so my house and neighborhood is covered with big trees. Although I am on top of a hill, and the TV is located on the main level.

    I’ve heard of people having success with the antenna placed indoors, but my next step will be to run a cable from the TV to the outside to where the antenna will be placed.

    Any suggestions?

  60. Dave says:

    I had a friend tell me about this HD OTA and I couldn’t believe it.
    I have a Samsung 48″ HD/HDCP TV that plugs into my computer via HDMI so that I can watch P2P signals as well.

    I built a small make shift antenea from coathangers and stuff I had lying around, and I was very surprised that it worked, not great, but it worked.
    So Off to the hardware store I go and I bought some heavy guage copper wire, a box of screws & lockwashers, a coax cable adapter, an in line fuse for the Coax cable (just in case of lighting), and a 10 ft PVC pole.

    I ran a length of Coax down the inside of the pole, connected the adapter, screwed it intothe pvc and ran 6 antennea nodes of each side of the pvc pole about 5 inches apart – Alternating connections left to right. I connected the left on the top and the rigth on the bottom so as not to cross wires.

    Stuck it off my balcony in New Westminster, plugged the other end into the tv, and ran the Auto setup.
    I get all of these channels, plus a bunch of audio channels for free.

    Hockey Night in Canada in HD for free! Hooray!
    Dave

  61. dave says:

    Built it as described pretty much as described and am now receiving 4 digital and 6 analog channels. It seems a little bit choppy in bad weather, but the analog channels are good back-up. CBC analog is a bit rough, but I understand that is to be expected of a low frequency (channel 2) VHF when using a UHF antenna.

    One thing to remember: INSULATE the long wires from each other in the two spots where they cross-over each other.

  62. Stephen says:

    Can you get PBS Seattle ?

  63. Greg says:

    I built an antenna pretty much the same as John’s, although I used Make magazine’s instructions and 10 gauge copper wire. Propped it up in my living room, hooked it up to my TV, and immediately got all four HD channels (plus KVOS digital 480i)! I’m pretty impressed, because I’m in a second-floor condo just south of Edmonds SkyTrain station, and I didn’t think I’d be able to “see” Seymour, let alone Orcas Island (where KVOS broadcasts from).

    Next things to try:
    • go up to rooftop deck with antenna and portable TV (when I get a portable TV…) to see if I can get anything from Seattle
    • build a much smaller, fractal antenna (as show on Instructables, for example) to see if I can get the same channels from an easier-to-ignore-in-the-living-room design.
    • install ATSC tuner card in my HTPC, to see if I can get a home-brew HD-PVR working in time for the Olympics!

  64. Bob says:

    Thanks for the post! Do you know where I can get the UHF/VHF transformer in Vancouver? I’ve looked at several places and they don’t have it.

  65. peterbrian says:

    We live on the northern end of the Saanich Peninsula (Vancouver Island) and have just built our HD antenna as described in the video. The only change we made was we used some scrap house electrical wire instead of the coat hangers. We just stripped the wire in the connection areas. It worked great ! We now get CBC HD, CTV HD, Global HD and OMNI HD from Vancouver, as well as KVOS and KCBC from Washington. We also get 8 other stations (standard definition). This will make us rethink whether we continue our cable service (which never gave us Vancouver’s Global HD or CTV HD stations anyway !).

    Incidentally, we got our UHV/VHF transformer at the Great Canadian Dollar Store ($1.25)

    Thanks for your site. It was very inspiring !

  66. Lu says:

    Blame the mountains! Without the rockies, we’d be getting tons of HD channels…my dad who lives in Montreal gets OTA HD channels from across the border, it’s unreal!

  67. Ken Tough says:

    I live in Port Moody (Moody centre, south of the inlet, base of Chineside) and with a regular UHF loop antenna get excellent digital signal on CBC, Global, and 42-1. My CTV signal (32-1) shows as good digital strength (80%) and gives a great picture, but just has black-out gaps of less than a second once or twice a minute. It’s not like a normal digital drop out, I don’t see the picture pixelate, it just stops. The strength is good, and between the gaps the picture and sound are perfect.

    I may try another “HDTV” UHF loop antenna. The other 3 HD channels are absolutely perfect in all weather conditions, no complaints.

  68. Steve says:

    Re: Ken’s black out gaps on CTV.

    I’m in Kits with a clear line of sight to Seymour Mtn, where the transmitter’s located
    and I’m having exactly the same problem with CTV. It just started two weeks ago. I e-mailed their Tech dept. no response yet.

  69. Gary says:

    Won’t coat hangers rust in the weather? This would be a problem in Vancouver.

  70. Dave says:

    Hi. I’m working on a problem and hope to solve it soon.

    First the good news: Omni is now broadcasting in digital on 42.1.

    Now the bad news. Sometime around Feb. 1, Media Center on my computer somehow changed and I can no longer get any digital Canadian channels. HD on TV is fine, HD on computer is screwed.

    For now.

  71. Rick says:

    I have an older (2003) Toshiba but need a digital to analog converter as well as a antenna in order to receive HD. I live in West Van without a view of Mount Seymour as Grouse Mountain blocks. Has anyone in West Van had any experience with capturing over the air HD signals and what has been the outcome?

  72. Philippe says:

    Great post! I built one yesterday and I can now get the three HD channels in Vancouver perfectly!. My previous antenna (amplified one I got from Future Shop) allowed me to (sometimes) get CBC and Global, but never CTV. We are now ready for the Olympics. Thanks for the tip.

  73. mmmmx4 says:

    Hi, i built one a couple of weeks ago. Watched all the Olympic coverage in HD for free…awesome! I live in Richmond, near Steveston Village. Can’t get enough of this free HD. This will definitely push back my purchase of a Shaw or Telus HD package.

    Thanks

  74. Ed says:

    CItyTV is up and running.

    CKVU-DT
    47.1 remaps to 10.1

  75. Jimmy Ng says:

    I am getting these channels too, but only 480i, not 1080?

  76. Adam says:

    Hi John, great post – inspiring… and funny! I just today am experimenting with an HD antenna – store bought – and have to put it in a relatively inaccessible place to access a line-of-sight to the mountains. I plugged it in and lo and behold, CBC in glorious high-def! BUT…

    I can’t seem to tune in any other channels (all 2 of them). Does the antenna require repositioning for different channels? I’m hopeful it doesn’t but I really am in uncharted territory here… thought you or one of your readers might have an answer.

    Thanks!
    adam

  77. Adam says:

    Whoops, I guess “funny” is more the word for the sentence used in the link to your article: “lucky he didn’t try to take it in his carry-on luggage!”

  78. Zoids says:

    Need help. I happen to live in Burnaby, around the Highgate area. Built one of those coat hanger antennas. Was able to get CBC, Global, KVOS and Shop Channel was also able to Get FOX on OTA. THe problem is I’m unable to get CTV HD OTA. Any solutions?

  79. Wally says:

    Hi Folks!
    I made this antenna quite some time back when a freind of mine pointed it out on youtube. I got some channels but it wasn’t working the way it was supposed to!

    Then I came across this article by John and I decIded to give it another try. Again I was getting some channels, but not everything that I should be able to get.

    As a comparison I used an antena that I made of about 36 inches of telephone wire that formed a loop attached to a cable connector, similiar to this one, ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmyFLynmAoE ) and I was getting 5 – 6 channels on this antenna when the loop was laying in different directions.

    So then I decided to take another look at the coat hanger antenna and see if improvements could be made to it! I found that my coax connector was not making a good connection! After making the neccesary repairs I gave it another try and now it is working magnificently. I am now getting 8 analogue channels and 7 digital channels! I live in Surrey about 5-6 blocks south of Guildford Mall.

    Thanks to John and everyone else for their input on this subject. It has been most informative!

    Ciao fer now, Wally
    Incidenally I am getting the following digital channels:
    2.1 CBC
    8.1 CHAN Global
    10.1 CKVU City TV
    12.1 KVOS Bellingham
    24.1 KCBC Shoppers Channel
    32.1 CTV
    42.1 CHNM

  80. Dave F says:

    These postings are useful – keep talking. But it would be better if everyone gave their location. Earlier I mentioned problems with Media Center on my PC. Problem solved, due to Zap2it adjusting their listings, which are picked up by Microsoft and passed along to me. And it only took a month.

    Anyhow, from the hilltop in White Rock, my coathangers get digital TV on KVOS, KCBC, CTV and CBC. I get Global hit or miss depending on the weather and time of day. I wish they would boost their signal. I got 42.1 just one time and can’t see any signal on 10.1.

    Now that I’m hooked on HD, I can’t see where Shaw is going to get my business with their crappy cable. And if they raise rates for ‘local tv’, I can see a wave of city customers all over Canada dropping cable in favour of over the air HD.

  81. John says:

    I have made the antenna and live at the bottom of the hill in Mallardville Coquitlam, on the 3rd floor of a 3 level condo facing North about 2 minutes from the Ikea.
    I’ve made the wire antenna and I dont get ANY reception of ANY channels.
    Is this due to my location or am I improperly accessing the antenna through my tv.
    I had no problems making the antenna, but it definitely wasnt as easy as plugging it in and getting HDTV like in the Youtube video!
    Anybody have any further direction I can take as to what to do with the TV once the antenna is plugged in? As it is I only get a terrible reception of Channel 10 that is really finicky with where the antenna is placed.
    If it helps I have a 42@ Samsung HP-R4272C.
    Thanks Alot!

  82. Byron says:

    I have a ATI TV wonder USB tv tuner for my computer which lets me watch cable on my computer. I noticed it had HDTV OTA capability and found an antenna I had lying in a box. It is basically a length of copper wire that splits into a T. I plugged it into the TV tuner and attached the tips of the cable to the wall facing Mt Seymour and it worked right away. I get all the local Vancouver stations very well except the resolution is so high it chokes out my ancient laptop. I think I will try to make the antenna on this site to see if I can get the American channels.

  83. Joseph says:

    Hi everyone, sorry for the long post. I’ve been thinking about building this antenna for a few days now. I found this website this morning, ran out and bought all the parts i needed (noon – 3pm), started putting together the Coat hanger antenna (4pm-7pm), now I’m watching the Avalanche and Sharks in HD.

    I live 1/4 of a block west of to the intersection at Renfrew and E. 21st Avenue, I have 5 HD channels(appears quite good) and 6 non-HD (none are very good, but thats okay). My antenna is on the second floor and right now faces East. Theres 3 walls between the antenna and a clear view at mount Seymour.

    I got CBC, CTV, City, Omni, and Global. Only City is giving me some grief, but I haven’t moved my antenna around yet. I know all HD channels work well when the antenna is placed in front of my TV. When the game is on, everything looks sharp, but the fast skating players look a little pixellated. Not sure if thats normal.

    I had a couple minor problems. First I couldn’t find the transformer at any dollar stores. I finally gave up and spent $5 + tax at The source (if you find it cheaper somewhere please post, I will most likely be forced to build a few for siblings and friends). The only other problem was putting the 2 wires under the screw and washer and then drilling it in. Definitely not easy, but gets better with practice.

    Overall, I spent about $5+tax for the transformer, and about $9.60 at Rona on wood, screws, washers, and sandpaper. For $15ish dollars, I can now watch the Canucks in HD for the rest of the playoffs, definitely worth it =)

  84. robin graves says:

    After reading the comments, one thing MISSING is that most DIGITAL TUNERS, do NOT like the old TV set tuners, ” FADE in and FADE out” as you rotate the antenna– many people cannot get the signals but do not realize that you cannot MOVE The antenna around as you could in the old days- the TUNER has to lock in on the signal, decrypt the information, register the information, and THEN display it! Waving an antenna around will guarantee that you see nothing. Also, although many people “can” get a number of stations all at once and NOT move their antenna, I found that different stations came in ONLY by pointing the antenna directly at them… The art of getting a weak channel is one of patience- many people are unaware of the length of TIME it takes for the tuner to lock onto the signal, and that they may have to slowly rotate the antenna in tiny increments and STOP and wait, in order to ‘lock onto’ specific channels…. This will enable a lot more people to ‘see’ channels that are already there…. I recommend waiting 45 seconds at each step of a rotation, to see if the tuner can find anything…
    good luck

  85. jamie says:

    thanks so much! you have been very helpful :)
    btw..i am from iowa (QCA) too, now live in vancouver!

  86. Marc says:

    I’m looking to get this setup so I can watch the playoffs, but there’s one thing I’m confused about.. how are you guys connecting to channels like 58.1 as opposed to just 58? According to its spec, my Samsung LCD has an ATSC tuner, but I wouldn’t know where/how to enter decimal places when selecting channels.

    Is this an RTFM thing or is channel 58 basically the same as 58.1?

    Thanks for all in the info in the post and comments so far, btw, very helpful :)

  87. Joseph says:

    Marc – If your Samsung is anything like my Samsung, it should be Menu –> Channel –> Auto Program –> aIR/aUTO –> and then it will scan and memorize some channels for you. Then you can just hit channel up and channel down. What it gets depends on your location.

  88. bebe says:

    Lookign for some clarification:
    Built this antenna, and was looking forward to watching playoff hockey in HD. I also live in west end Vancouver and have the line of sight to Seymour from rooftop access. Have a new Samsung LN32B350 TV, which as far as I can tell has the required ATSC tuner. Hooked it up and nothing. Best if can get is normal CBC channel 2 with ghosted images (in other words, no better than rabbit ears.)
    I am looking for CDC-HD on Ch 58. Is that correct?

    Do I need an external HD tuner box?

    Any help would be appreciated. Round 2 is about to start and I am off to a friends house to watch,while my new TV is collecting dust. Help! Go Canucks.

  89. @bebe: It looks like this is what you have:
    http://milo.com/samsung-32-720p-lcd-hdtv-ln32b350

    According to that, you have the built-in tuner that you need. Your remote should have a “.” or “-” button near the numerical ones. Tune the TV to CH. 58.1, or do a auto channel search.

  90. Zeek says:

    I just built this antenna, it works pretty well, i am in central richmond on the top floor of a 3 story building. I get all the usual stuff without much problem. 2.1, 10.1, 12.1, 22.1, 24.1 and 32.1. I cant seem to pickup 42.1 (omni) for some reason. I have downloaded the Google transmission maps from tv fool and see i am almost in line to get some of the other channels from WA.
    I was wondering if anyone has had any success getting KOMO? I see the the signal does land around the marpole area of vancouver, and some of north van and burnaby, but not sure if i would be able to get it here in central richmond even if i added some height to my antenna.

    Anyone had any luck with WA channels? :)

  91. Scott says:

    Just built the attena today…. it works great! Wish i had done it ages ago…… bye bye cable bills!

    I am in Surrey near Guilford and get CBC,Global,Omni CITV and KVOS.

    Reception is great except CITV which occasionally drops out some video and audio.

    Thanks so much for the great and easy to follow info!

  92. wanderer says:

    In South-East Van. Built the above coat-hanger antenna and faced it South-East. With a bit of tilting and aiming, managed to get the 5 local digital channels and 2 KBCB (PBS) digital stations.

    Virtual Channel
    CBUT CBC 2.1
    CHAN Global 8.1
    CKVU CITY 10.1
    CIVT CTV 33.1
    CHNM OMNI 42.1
    KBTC PBS 28.1
    MHZ WLD PBS 28.2

    Getting all 7 stations without turning the antenna caused occasional drop-outs (from the northshore stations to the NE). So dismantled the antenna and converted the same coat hangers to a (Single Bay) Gray-Hoverman clone. (http://www.digitalhome.ca/ota/superantenna/) I found the GH easier to build — no vertical phasing wires or cross-overs.

    Without horizontal reflector rods or screens, I was able to get the previous 7 plus
    KVOS 12.1
    KBCB Shopping 24.1
    by tilting the antenna upwards slightly to clear trees, etc. Added a reflective foam car-shade as a reflector (a few inches behind the antenna) and I was able to simply hang it in front of a SE-facing window.

    Construction Hint: Aligning the coat hangers and keeping them in place can be made easier if you pre-dimple / groove the wood with a chisel or screwdriver, etc. Then slightly hammer the hangers into the grooves before screwing down the washer.

    As previously mentioned by others, a bit more care is required in aiming the antenna. The bowties should be horizontal and all face the weakest signal (SE). Hold the antenna still while trying to lock onto the signal. Try tilting the antenna so the bowties face slightly upwards helped me.

  93. Kelvin says:

    I just built this antenna yesterday, but I cant seem to get any of the LOCAL channels. I can receive KVOS, ABC (once), and the Washington Shopping Channel, but I can’t seem to get CTV, Global, Omni. It’s not even a matter of getting a weak signal or getting it once and having it cut out, I simply can’t seem to get the local channels. I am in South Van and didnt think I would have such an issue getting the local channels. Anyone have any suggestions? If you do please email me! K3lvin_88@hotmail.com

  94. David says:

    If you can’t see the land on which the transmitter sits you probably won’t get the signal. People in South Vancouver like Kelvin are on the wrong side of the hill to have much hope of getting UHF from Mt. Seymour. Likewise those of us on the north side of the hill can only dream about signals coming from the USA.

    I’m stuck paying for cable because I have young kids who would kill me if they couldn’t have Knowledge Network and Treehouse TV.

  95. yuji says:

    S.Van might not get good reception…facing away from Seymour…did you get your trv to do a scan? I had to rescan when citytv came on board.

    I’m in E.Van with clear line of sight to Mt.Seymour. I bought a cheap HD antenna and it works great. Hockey night in Canada, Olympics, CSI, Global news, CItytv love it!
    I hated it when the Canucks would be on Sportsnet or TSN heh.

    Sadly moving to the burns so we’ll see how the reception is before throwing $ at the cable providers :(….

    My friend near KNight and 49th built the coat hanger antenna and gets good HD reception.

  96. Gord Orlikow says:

    We recently moved back to Vancouver from Toronto and brought our roof-mounted digital antennae with us. We had a reasonably good selection of channels from Canada and the US and, per your blog, expect fewer here. I’m wondering if you have any suggestions of firms I can contact who can install the antennae for us? The house is wired for cable so ideally we’d tie it into the existing outlets.

  97. I’m in Vancouver and still with a Tube TV which predates built in Digital tuners. It’s still a great set and will last me for a good time to come. I just terminated Shaw because I wasn’t really watching TV anyway but it’s still nice to have something. Currently dealing with rabbit ears and the old analogue service. I’d like to see what OTA digital is like.

    Anyone have any recommendations on a tuner that will handle OTA signals? And where I can purchase the device? I’m looking for a set top box instead of a PC/USB add on.

  98. Alan says:

    Hi, was wondering if I could get some help from you guys.

    I actually live in North Vancouver, just up off Mount Seymour Parkway. I do live in the basement of a house, but my windows face East towards (I assume) the transmitter. I built the Coat Hanger Antenna and am able to receive only a few SD channels.

    I’m hoping to get CBC-HD OTA, so my questions are as follows:

    Would switching to copper wire from coat hanger improve reception?

    Would placing the antenna outside improve reception?

    Would raising the height of the antenna improve reception?

    Thanks for your help!

  99. mike says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks for this post, it’s very useful. What indoor antenna would you recommend to buy? I don’t wan to build the coat hanger one

    Regards, Mike

  100. Rich says:

    Thanks for the great site. Decided that I needed to give this a try. Picked up an ATI TV Wonder HD 750 this morning, and had all of the items on hand to make the antenna. In about 1.5 hours, I had made my antenna, installed the PC card, and am watching HD OTA!

    I live at 23rd and Cambie – I’m trying this from the 2nd storey of my house. I used this cool site to get an approximate bearing on Mt. Seymour – http://www.acsdg.com – came up with a bearing of ~48 degrees for me. I and am picking up reasonably good signal for CBC, Omni and CityTV.

    I made a little stand for my antenna, and it’s sitting on my desk pointing out the window. I don’t have “clear” line-of-sight to Mt. Seymour, as there are some tall oak trees on the next street over that block my view. On a nicer day, I’m going to try and move it up a little higher (tack it to the outside of my house above the window) and see if it improves my channels.

    I wish I had discovered this before the FIFA World Cup!

  101. Ted says:

    Great information. I am located in Surrey, close to Hyw 10 and 120th (Scott Rd) so fairly far south, with No chance of a view of Mt. Seymour. I built the Antenna, and hooked it up to an Hauppauge WinTV-HVR 2250 in My office. Which is a ground floor North facing room. After a bit of fiddling to get Windows Media Center to play nicely (http://thegreenbutton.com/blogs/pnear/archive/2009/08/10/enabling-atsc-amp-qam-in-canada-for-windows-7-rtm.aspx) I was able to get all the local channels:

    2.1 CBC
    8.1 CHAN Global
    10.1 CKVU City TV
    12.1 KVOS Bellingham
    24.1 KCBC Shoppers Channel
    32.1 CTV
    42.1 CHNM

    I plan to use the XBox 360 Media Center Capabilities to extend the live TV “Watchability” to my Living room. That way i can Hide the Antenna in the office and Use my stereo for the sound. I added Netflix last month, So can’t see any reason to pay for cable.

    Thanks for the maintaining this info!

  102. Stephen says:

    November 29, 2010… Gidday. I have built this aerial and must say it works quiet well. I live @ Murwillumbah NSW Australia and i could pick up all my digital stations including HDTV from Brisbane to Lismore. My antenna was slightly different as it had a backing plate with alfoil…. unfortunatley i don’t have any web sites to post a picture of it, but if you email me @ quiet24@hotmail.com (sublect=homemade tvantenna) i could send you a picture of it.

  103. chuck says:

    Just bought a Samsung digital TV and got a digital antenna online from Monoprice (only $35 Us including shipping) . From my 10th floor apt. near Vancouver City Hall (facing North) I can only pick up CBC and Omni reliably. I think it is because there is another tall building to the Northeast probably blocking the other signals coming from the North Shore. My antenna is in the window facing North but I have yet to try installing it outside. Just wondering if anyone has any other suggestions. -Chuck in Fairview slopes

  104. Rick says:

    Question:
    I live in north Maple Ridge on a mountain crest with a roof-top array.
    I have been watching analog OTA TV for (ever) and have had great success – particularly with CBC, which I receive very clearly. I’ve purchased a new TV, looking forward to digital reception. Receiving Global, KVOS, OMNI very clearly (on clear atmospheric conditions), but not CBC-digital! How could that be when I get CBC-analog very clearly, and when it and Global broadcasts from the same location – Mt. Seymour?
    Anyone with a suggestion?

  105. David Riehm says:

    I bought a Channel Master (Craigslist) but it doesn’t work
    when plugged directly into my TV. I assume that there is no digital
    tuner in the TV. Is there a black box tuner available? Preferably
    with an HDMI output. There is a Channel Master 7000 that is a PVR
    or DVR – whatever you call it. A recorder to tape, pause, rewind
    shows etc but it costs $350 US. A nice feature to be sure but I was
    hoping to do this on the cheap. Do you know any TV digital tuners?
    Thanks

  106. Splitting Hairs says:

    South Burnaby area (Kingsway and Edmonds) with a modified
    DB4 antenna (M4) outside over roof, the following channels are
    received year round (including snow and rain): 20 digital channels:
    Received 24/7 (9/10 days) 2.1 HD CBC 4.1 HD ABC 4.2 SD This TV 5.1
    HD NBC 5.2 SD Universal Sports 7.1 HD CBS 7.2 SD RTV 8.1 HD Global
    10.1 HD CITY 12.1 SD KVOS 16.1 HD KONG 16.2 SD KONG 24.1 SD Shop
    NBC 24.2 SD TBA 24.3 SD TBA 28.1 HD PBS 28.2 SD MHZ 28.3 SD TVW
    32.1 HD CTV 42.1 HD OMNI Channels received: warm clear days 22.1 HD
    KZJO 22.2 SD FOX 22.3 SD Antenna TV Channels received: hot summer
    weather 11.1 HD KSTW 13.1 HD FOX 44.1 SD KFFV 44.2 SD Acteca 44.3
    SD AAT 50.1 SD KUNS The Canadian digital conversion is scheduled
    for completion by August 2011, and another 4 digital channels will
    be available. The strong analog channels are being shutdown which
    should help with tuner sensitivity and adjacent channel
    interference, and improve reception in Greater Vancouver
    area.

  107. Digital Treesloth says:

    Wonderful! I live on the border of New Westminster and Burnaby on a southern-ish slope. I built the antenna as descirbed and mounted it to a playstructure in the backyard, about 12 feet off the ground. Pointed it SSE, and get the following digital channels:

    2-1 CBUT (CBC-HD)
    8-1 CHAN-DT (Global-HD)
    10-1 CKVU-DT (CityTV-HD)
    12-1 KVOS-DT (KVOS12 – SD)
    24-1 KBCB (US shopping); 24-2 KBCB (test pattern); 24-3 KBCB (station logo);
    24-4 KBCB (test tone); 24-5 KBCB (test tone); 24-6 KBCB (test tone);
    28-1 KBTC-HD (HD)
    28-2 MHZ WLD (SD)
    28-3 KBTC-3 (SD)
    32-1 CITV-DT (CTV-HD)
    42-1 CHNM-DT (OMNI-HD)

  108. Steve says:

    With the Antenna, if i were to make one like in the video, except instead of making one i made four of them and tied them all together and put this antenna on my roof would this increase the ability of the antenna to receive signals? does the size of the antenna matter? for instance rather than using a coat hanger, what if i used something like copper wire? anyone know the science behind these things and what you could do to get the absolute best possible signal?

    Thanks,
    Steve (Burnaby)

  109. Steve says:

    Ok i made the antenna and fired shaw. Best thing i ever did. I have a hard drive recorder and so now just record the shows i want, like dragons den and coronation street. I’m getting to know the channels so i know whats on rather than aimlessly surfing through 60 channels of crap. I also have a dlink media player connected to the tv so i download movies and watch them in HD on my plasma. Also, Telus internet service is cheaper than shaw and right now they are throwing in a free xbox if you sign up with them so i’ve done that as well. I can use the xbox to access netflix. I can see no reason any more to pay for cable tv. I’m going to save about $50 per month and end up with a better entertainment setup.

  110. Alan says:

    Mission BC south slope, antenna due south, no line of sight to Mt Seymour
    poor analog reception of Canadian stations 3, 8, 10 some others (may it will improve
    when they go digital with full power)
    clear digital reception:

    4-1 KOMO DT
    4-2 KOMO SD
    5-1 KING DT
    5-2 KING SD
    7-1 KIRO DT
    7-2 KIRO SD
    9-1 KCTS HD
    9-2 V-me
    9-3 Create
    11-1 KSTW HD
    12-1 KVOS DT
    13-1 KCPQ
    13-2 KCPQ SD
    16-1 KONG HD
    16-2 KONG SD
    19-2 ?
    20-1 KTBW-D1
    20-2 KTBW-D2
    20-3 KTBW-D3
    20-4 KTBW-D4
    20-5 KTBW-D6

  111. John Smith says:

    I am paying Shaw a lot for the privilege of getting a few channels that I want. Specifically, the Golf, Food, Bravo, etc. Is there an antenna that will get these, and other similar ones? I live in an apartment in Vancouver facing south. I have a balcony that sees east and west as well. Thank you.

  112. Philip Westwood says:

    It works! I am getting 5 HDTV channels in East Vancouver!
    CTV
    CBC
    OMNI
    CityTV
    Global National
    Thanks for your post, now I am considering canceling my Shaw Cable TV.

  113. John Davis says:

    With regards to specific channels or special interest channels, at this stage, these channels (bravo, Food, TLC, etc) are not available over the air. But if Europe and Australia are anything to go by, we may be able to receive more channels once all of them come on air and the full allocated broadcast spectrum is utilised. Australia had 5 channels when digital broadcasting began in 2001 but now that has increased to 15 as a result of the regulator there providing broadcast spectrum to the 5 channel providers.

  114. Miguel says:

    Splitting Hairs says:
    01.04.11 at 18:35

    do you have a link or photos of the antenna ? i looking to be able to watch one channel in specific from Seattle 50.1 SD KUNS. ( univision spanish channel )

    any info much appreciated.
    mikelo20@ gmail. com

  115. Miguel says:

    anyone with success getting channels from seattle ? i wonder if i could get two spanish channels .

  116. Peter Mc says:

    I built the coat hanger rig in high hopes.. But sadly it doesn’t work. I get 6 fuzzy, squiggly crappy channels. They are almost not worth watching.

    I was really hoping for more – oh well – only $16.00 buks worth.

    Thanks for your site – It was a fun project.

    I live in Port Coquitlam, BC,

    Pete

  117. torin says:

    @ Peter Mc

    If you are getting fuzzy, squiggly crappy channels that means those channels are not digital. You either don’t have a digital tuner or you are not scanning for the channels properly.

  118. Bernie says:

    Watched game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals in HD OTA. Nothing more than a long cable to the East West top corner of the room. I live in North Van near Capilano Road and the Highway. Go Canucks! in HD!

  119. Ed says:

    I know I’m a bit late to the game but I set an antenna up just like this in Richmond last week. I’m getting 5 local stations in crystal clear HD. I have mine set up to my windows 7 PC and stream it to all my tvs in the house using Xbox 360′s as a media extender. It acts like a PVR and I have access to all my music and videos from my computer too. What types of setup are you all using?

  120. Dale says:

    Shaw/Telus are getting away with murder. They take widescreen High Def free over the air channels, and downgrade them to chopped, centre cut “Full Screen” presentation and charge 75.00 per month for the privilege. Even with the basic digital box from Shaw, you still get a chopped view of the major networks, CBC, CTV Global, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS. etc. You only get proper widescreen if you upgrade to a Shaw HIgh Def converter,$350, or $15.00 per month rental. This antenna is a great weapon for ripped off consumers.

  121. David says:

    I built a coat wire antenna. It is place on my porch facing south and I can get all the local channels plus MeTV in Bellingham and the two Komo Stations out of Seattle. Once, I received King TV also out of Seattle, but the signal was broken and poor. Any one know why I can receive Komo, but not King ?

  122. skeptikool says:

    I used aluminum wire of slightly heavier gauge than standard wire hanger. Also made one from 3/4 inch steel strapping. Both work well. What do you think about scaling up – 7 inches becomes 14, 5 3/4 becomes 11 1/2 etc ? How critical is that spacing between the opposite antenna assemblies? You appear to show about a one inch spacing. I thank you – and my son for sending me your link.

  123. Reza says:

    Tomorrow im gonna make one for my shop tv. Hopefully it works. If it works then ill have to make for my friend who dont have cable tv.

  124. C0BALT says:

    The coathanger antenna does work nicely.
    I’m also in Vancouver 10 blocks south of City Hall and easily get 7 channels.
    2,8,10,17,26,32,42
    My next challenge is to get an american channel or two as well. It might be a bit of a problem with the big Queen Elizebeth Park hill as an obstruction, and the antenna currently on the north side of the house.

    PHD-205LE ATSC QAM HDTV STB Tuner – $125 (craigslist)
    I also purchased a dedicated tuner. Hopefully this will prove to be a half decent piece of equipment to own over the next few years. With this box I am able to use my old Svideo input LCD screen, plus my composite in/out VCR still.

    I don’t know how good other DTV tuners work which are built into TV’s or other boxes, but I must say the options and abilities of this box fulfill all my needs plus it does have RGB/component and VGA and HDMI outputs as well.

  125. Kurt says:

    Just wondering if the August 31 CRTC deadline changing all OTA signals to digital affects how this works?

  126. Madelaine says:

    We live in the Cowichan Valley (central Vancouver Island), and have no access to cable and don’t want to spend a fortune on satellite so have used a roof antenna for the past 18 years. Recognizing the digital switch was coming, we recently upgraded to a new Panasonic flatscreen, and invested in a digital antenna….With the switchover last week, all that remains is CHEK (Victoria). We have lost CBC (2), CityTV(10) and Global (8) (not that the last 2 were worth having), and now have METV (12.1), CoolTV (12.3) and some Spanish game show and a shopping channel. Where did my local programming go? We are in a higher location, and the antenna is located on the 2nd floor roof, in a clear area, facing E(to Vancouver)…It is far higher than the old metal one we had. Anyone know what I can do to get my Vancouver stations and KVOS (which we had until the US switch).

  127. Roger says:

    The antennae worked really well in Nanaimo. However, within the last week or two we have lost our CBC signal. Anyone know why?

  128. Alex says:

    This page is ranking high with Google, so I thought I’d add my recent experience.
    I live in a basement apartment in Kitsilano and bought a Terk HDTVa antenna last year in preparation for the digital signal switch. I was pleasantly surprised that with some fiddling I could get half a dozen local channels via analog. With the recent addition of an LG/Insignia converter box, I get perfect digital reception of CBC (2-1), Global (8-1), Citytv (10-1), CTV (17-1), and french CBC (26-1). I no longer get Omni (42-1) like I used to, but I’m going to experiment with antenna positioning to see if I can fix that. Hoping that works for KVOS (35-1) too.

  129. Trevor says:

    Just finished this, and now I get CBC, Global, City, CTV 2, CBC Fr, CTV, and Omni for free! Awesome.

  130. don says:

    I built this antenna over a year ago, and it still works awesome!!!

  131. Robert says:

    I just cancelled my Shaw Cable TV (which was costing me around $70/month), put up an antenna on the roof, and subscribed to Canadian Netflix ($8/month). Because I cancelled cable and no longer have a Shaw bundle, my Internet now increased in price by %10/month. But I still will save around $50+/month in making this change.

    I’m in Coquitlam near Austin and Mundy. I bought an SR15 directional antenna for $30 off of ebay and mounted it on the roof, aiming it directly at Mt Seymour which is exactly 10 miles away and within line of site. I easily picked up all the stations perfectly.

    As an experiment I swiveled the antenna to point south towards the US. Strangely I still get all the Canadian channels, but I now also get several smaller US channels. Unfortunately I do not get ABC, NBC, CBS, nor FOX – but I really didn’t expect to pick them up when I bought the antenna.

    So the final list of 10 HD channels I pick up with the antenna are:

    2-1 CBUT-DT (CBC)
    6-1 CHEK-TV (Vancouver Island)
    8-1 CHAN-HD (Global)
    10-1 CKVU-DT (CityTV)
    17-1 CIVI-2 (CTV2)
    24-1 KBCB (Infomercial selling junk)
    26-1 CBUFT (French CBC)
    32-1 CIVT (CTV)
    42-1 CHNM-DT
    66-1 CHNV-DT

    And the 4 Standard Def channels I receive are:

    12-1 KVOS-DT
    12-2 KVOS-DT
    24-2 KBCB-2 (Spanish)
    28-1 KBTC-SD (Public TV)

    Man it feels good to say good riddance to Shaw. I am so angry at the lack of competition in Canada. We seem to pay twice as much for cable, telephone, internet, and cell phone services as the rest of the world!! I read that, in France, it costs $40 total for ALL of those services in a bundle!

  132. Keith says:

    Capitol Hill Burnaby- I am running two of the home made antennas on my balcony both facing north/south and receive:
    2.1 cbc
    5.1 nbc
    5.2 nbc(these 2 are sporadic)
    6.1 chek
    8.1 global
    10.1 ckvu
    12.1 kvos
    12.2 kvos
    17.1 A channel
    24.1
    24.2 (both are skipped- no interest for me)
    26.1 cbc french
    28.1 PBS Tacoma…I was receiving 28.2 and 28.3 but not anymore
    32.1 ctv
    42.1 omni
    50.1 which is also skipped

    I cancelled cable right away when I found out about this.

  133. Harry says:

    I have been without television for 1 1/2 years, but I made an HD Antenna before the 2011 NHL playoffs. At that time I had CBC, CTV, Global, A Channel, CBC (french) and OMNI. I am in a north facing apartment.

    After the playoffs, the TV went off again and was not turned on again until this season started. Unfortunately, I now can get only Global and Omni. I pick up no signal at all on 2.1 and snow on the other channels I used to get.

    If anyone can offer some help, it would be gratefully received. I thought maybe it was an issue with the leaves on the trees but, come to think of it, there were likely as many leaves in June as there are today.

  134. Harry says:

    As a follow up – My north facing apartment is in Port Moody (south of the inlet).

  135. Krish says:

    I Spent 7 bucks on materials and built a homemade coat hanger antenna exactly like the video. I’m in Langley and I get 7 HD channels with the antenna right beside the tv. Next week i’ll try it on the roof and point it towards the U.S. and see what happens.

  136. Chris says:

    Stumbled on this page through Google.

    I plan on building this antenna in the near future but currently using a homemade “shoe box” antenna. Surprised that I can get CBC (and french), Global, CTV 1 & 2, KVOS (both), and Omni. Can’t find CityTV for some reason and Chek shows up in the scan but was never able to see the channel.

    BTW I live in East Vancouver near the T&T.

  137. norm w says:

    here in nanaimo bc canada
    cbut-dt 2-1 kbcb 1-dt 24-1 shopping
    chan-hd 8-1 kbcb 2-dt 24-2 spanish
    ckvu-dt 10-1 kbcb 3-sd 24-3 shopping
    kvos-dt 12-1 cbuft-dt 26-1 french
    kvos-dt 12-2 civt-dt 32-1
    civi-dt2 17-1
    chan-air 23 analog

  138. David says:

    I have been getting reasonable OTA reception using a Motorola set-top box and a Sony analog TV. Now I am looking to buy an HDTV 32″ LCD TV and I wonder if anyone can point me to information regarding the quality of their digital OTA reception capabilities… It seems that the tuner sections of available HDTV sets are poorly specified regarding sensitivity etc.
    To put it more plainly, can someone advise me on the best LG, Samsung, Sony, Phillips or Panasonic 32″ TVs for OTA use…?

    Thanks
    David

  139. Jay says:

    This is great. I recently cancelled my Shaw in frustration because i really only watch a few channels but was paying over $70. Can I use my Shaw cable box (Motorola DTC700) as the digital converter to my TV? In particular, attach the cable box to my TV and then the antenna to the cable box. I tried this but couldn’t get to work (although i was using a cheapo store bought antenna). will have to make the new antenna. Also, i assume it isn’t likely/possible to get any of the sports stations (eg. sportsnet)?

    Thanks
    Jay

  140. Bill55 says:

    To answer the question of better built in atsc tuners: I have an RCA(mfg by Pioneer), now about 5 years old and compared it to a set top atsc tuner and there were no differences except the outside tuner had a decent signal strength meter. I am using a single dipole in a corner reflector and have a solid 11 channels and 4 sporatic (atmospheric conditions). I have ordered an 8 bay Channel Master clone (CM no longer makes their 8 bay). I should have it running soon. I am at 64 and 132 in Surrey. Antenna on the roof and using 35 or so feet of rg59. I am considering upgrading to rg6, but the length is not long enough to make a huge difference (let me know if someone finds otherwise).
    My question is if anyone in my area (Surrey) has been successful in receiving signals south of Bellingham? Thanks.

  141. Rick says:

    I live on the West side of Vancouver, on the side of a hill. I have clear line of sight to Mt. Seymour. With rabbit ears, I get the 7 local channels that everybody else gets. I use a Sharp LCD TV with a built-in ATSC tuner.

    I wonder if anyone has been successful in getting Seattle stations using a decent antenna, such as a Channel Master 4228?

    Second question: I have an A/B switch at the TV, with the rabbit ears on one side, and my Shaw cable (cheapo package) on the other. I hate having to get up and flip the switch to see the other channels. Any ideas here?

  142. Chris says:

    My house is just a few blocks below the plateau at Lonsdale and 13th.

    The Bellingham and Victoria transmitters out in the San Juan/Gulf Islands come in reliably. The Lower Lonsdale slope faces south, so that might explain receiving the transmitters at 166°.

    Sadly, I see none of the Mt. Seymour channels (CBC, CTV, OMNI, GLOBAL). Maybe I’m in the shadow of the high rises clustered around central Lonsdale. Or it might be because my TV and indoor antenna are on the South West corner of house (ie, opposite corner of Mt. Seymour).

    6.1 CHEK-HD 16-19 dB
    12.1 KVOS-DT 28-29 dB (also, 12.2)
    24.1 KBCB 19-20 dB (also 24.2; 24.3)

    I thought the Mt. Seymour signals might even be overloading, but removing the amplifier didn’t help. It’s puzzling, because the CBC (CBUT) transmitter should be 10 dB stronger than KVOS (according to TVFool which takes terrain – but not buildings – into account). Mt. Seymour is only 6 miles away.

    Terk CFDTV1a amplified omnidirectional indoor antenna connected to a Sony Bravia. Unfortunately, I don’t have a tv tuner for my laptop, otherwise I could experiment with location a little more.

    Any thoughts? Could getting a higher, outdoor antenna overcome the high rises?

  143. rhisc says:

    I’ve got a picture of my antenna. Built it with stuff lying around the house.
    http://yfrog.com/n8hc23j

    I can get all the Vancouver channels except for Chek and JoyTV. Don’t even need to adjust the position.
    http://yfrog.com/5em4m8j

  144. Halloween Dude says:

    Hi – I just started to research this option as I too am tired of paying 80 bucks a month for redundant cable programming saturated with commercials and punctuated by prolonged strings of infomercials!

    I am located on the top (16th) floor of an uptown high rise in New Westminster and my view is unobstructed and ranges from Grouse Mt to the Alex Fraser Bridge (Southwest).

    I am wondering if due to my location and height if I shouldn’t invest in a more advanced antenna and if so, recommendations would be appreciated.

    I am so going to build this antenna though :)

  145. kitsgirl says:

    Great board. I have a similar question from above – Can I use my Shaw cable box (Motorola Dct 3080) as the digital converter to my TV? Will I still be able to record shows?

  146. Screwdriver says:

    I built my antenna as per these instructions. It works great!!
    I live near steveston in richmond. I put the antenna up in the attic facing 168 degrees south. I get the following channels in glorious hd: CBC, CTV, CTV2, CITY, GLOBAL, OMNI and CBC French. I also receive PBS in HD. but PBS is very weak and unwatchable. I have a couple of questions though. If I add a reflector behind the coat hangers, Will I get any more channels? Will the reflector block any signals from the north? Is there any other way to boost my reception? Other than putting it outside, I want to keep it in the attic.

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