I have two antenna masts at the moment on my house. Mast A is used for my regular reception. I also have another mast "Mast B", which is used to test antennas. I have scripts running every hour "DXing" my antennas. The results can be seen here. I normally receive 21 channels 24/7. I get all the Canadian networks plus CBS, FOX & PBS. My standard stations are listed below. However for fun I am attempting to get regular reception of fringe stations including ABC, METV and NBC. CRTC station allotment purposely makes it difficult for Canadians to do just that.
I really have wanted to consolidate my setup and put a tower up, but time was always short with the two kids and various projects. I decided on a DMX40MD tower. DMX is a premium Canadian made tower. It is a freestanding tower requiring a cement base.
Mast A is on the right side of my house. It is the antenna setup I normally use for everyday reception. I have a Winegard HD8800 8 bay UHF antenna pointed directly to South Coulton N.Y. In addition I have a Wade/Delhi (model unknown) VHF-hi (I think) 6 element yagi antenna pointed to Watertown. Originally this antenna was pointed to Camp Fortune when Global was on channel 6 and a problematic reception. Global is now on 14.1. Realistically I don't get Watertown 7 CBS/FOX very often with the VHF antenna as the gain is too low for fringe reception. As I get CBS/Fox regularly on 18/28.1/28.2 and there are no VHF stations anywhere else, save maybe 12 (CTV Montreal) thus I plan to ditch VHF soon. My local CTV is also VHF (13), however I have never not received CTV on UHF antenna. The top of the HD8800 is at approximately 40ft. The VHF at 35ft. Both antennas are going through a dual input Channel Master 7777 preamp.
What's really neat about this mast is it is on a hinge which I can lower very easily. I would never recommend a configuration like this as it is a 23ft mast!! It is about 20ft above the chimney. Really 10ft is about the most you ever want. However in my case my house is heavily sheltered from winds by the trees. I addition I found the mast at the Cohen Brothers recyclers and it was obviously used as a commercial mast previously. It is much thicker gauge than any mast I have seen before. The base hinge is really neat. It was fun bringing that across ottawa strapped to the top of my truck.
This mast is used as a bit of a test bed. It currently contains two antennas on a rotor. The rotor is your basic Channel Master rotor. On the rotor are two antennas. Top antenna is a Delhi CYD-1430 UHF antenna. Gain is spec'ed at 13-14 dbd or 15-16 dbi!! The antenna is about at 38ft height. It has a CPA19 preamp and quad RG6 directly to a HDHomerun unit. The other antenna is my single cut channel 21 antenna (an estimated 13.9 dbd or a 16 dbi gain!). I built this antenna with the intent of getting ABC from Watertown. The antenna works well, gets 21 occasionally but I have never seem to manage to pair it with a suitable preamp. Currently it is connected to a Kitztech KT-200 preamp and then directly to a hdhomerun. Unfortunately the KT-200 has always been flaky and unpredictable. I will play with it in my upcoming "remodel", but I am tempted to get a new version of th KT-200 or try something else. When I was trying to get it to work Jeffrey from Kiztech suggested I put an fm trap before the preamp. I did this, it helped a bit, but I am concerned about it adding maybe 3 or more db loss. It all has to be revisited.
I originally planed to put the tower on a hidden taller side of the house (it's a side split). The height of the second story is about 28ft so the 40ft tower will be 12 ft above the peak with another 8ft mast above that. Thus the antenna mast will top out at 50ft. The picture on the left shows the approximate location of the tower. Only two sections are shown in the picture.
I will take down and test all my antennas individually with each preamp to see the best combo that will be used for regular reception. I will then probably pop 2 more on the tower for future testing. I will probably use the hinged mast (Mast A) for the testing before final placement on the tower.
I was considering either getting the new DB8e or getting another HD8800. I would then use either the DB8e or the stacked HD8800s (equivalent to a 16 bay!) as my primary antenna. I was leaning towards the 16 bay but the DB8e has a spec'ed gain of 17.4 dbi and on paper the stacked HD8800s would be maybe 16 dbi at best. However it's all just crazy to compare hypothetical values between manufacturers. Looks like I will be going with the DB8e.
My tower placement strategy is still to be decided. At the moment I am leaning towards putting the best of the four UHF antennas on the rotor on the top. I would then put the channel 21 single cut towards Watertown on the tower second and finally at the bottom I may mount the second best UHF directly towards South Colton for regular reception.
Beyond that my preamp strategy is to be determined. I am currently investigating a non standard preamp POE ethernet strategy, which I will test next week. Although it is a freestanding tower, in addition to a cement base, I will also loosely affix the tower to the house at the 27ft mark with a Channel Master eave mount. Other than having spare eave mounts, I have my reasons.
Change of plan! I originally wanted to install my antenna tower on the two floor side of my side split house. The plan was that I probably could have climbed the final section and a half easily for maintenance. I have since changed up the plan and will design a hinge base for the tower. That only leaves me with a small section on the other side of the house where a tower could be lowered without hitting a tree. My other worry about the North side of my house was that all the stations are to the south and I would be receiving signals over 40+ feet of metal roof. They say that if you 10 feet above the the roof diffraction would not be an issue but I was not convinced.
First step was to manually push up two section against the wall. I was unable to safely raise three sections at once. So in the end I "walked up" the bottom two and then carried the third section on my back up the ladder. This worked surprisingly well! I then attached the third section to the eaves. I forget what I used for facia when I built the house but that tower is solidly attached to the house. I am very happy with the results.