Some of my readers may have seen stuff like this before, but there's plenty who haven't. I came across a video about a month back over at makezine.tv that showed how to build this crazy looking tv antenna. Me being the dissatisfied owner of an overpriced store-bought version, I decided to embark on the journey of duplicating this miraculous antenna to see if it held up to the hype.
After watching the video I then turned to the PDF plans that they provided that correspond to the video which can be found here.
My original antenna looked like the following, a sleek flat ribbon-like antenna that had dreams of proving itself to its owner, only to fall short.
With the above antenna, after a fresh programming of my HDTV set, I could pick up 12 digital stations and 9 analog stations. The mere fact that I could "pick them up" does not mean that they were stable and watchable all the time. More often than not, many of the digital stations would constantly go from beautiful perfect quality to flat out darkness (one of the nice attributes of the digital era). This proved to be quite annoying and would eventually force me back toward its analog counterpart. Obviously in the near future (if they stop changing the freakin' date!) this will no longer be an option so I figured it was time to do something about this reception issue.
Now here's a couple shots of my finished product for the new antenna.
I didn't stray too far from the original PDF plans, although some minor liberties were taken, based on parts availability at the local hardware stores. I actually ended up buying a spool of 16 guage fencing wire from Lowes since all of our coat hangers in the house are made out of plastic. The spool was pretty cheap (< $5 for about 100ft. of it I think) so I figured it was worth picking it up rather than hanger hunting! The only other part where I marginally strayed was with some of the screw sizes / washer sizes, and of course, the plywood base which is more or less left up to the do-it-yourselfer.
Anyhow, onto the results. With the new antenna I merrily went about my way, pushing that magical reprogram button again on the tv, after confirming that the antenna was facing the optimal direction for my house (this can be done by visiting this site and typing in your address - they offer a map that will show you where to point the antenna from your exact house!). The results were amazing, with 24 digital stations and 12 analog stations, all picked up for free over the air. The 24 digital stations are very stable and rarely ever flicker off. I didn't care so much about the analog versions anymore and have saved off my favorites as to avoid them since they look horrible to begin with and will be phased out soon enough.
It's worth noting that folks who subscribe to cable television do not actually receive true HDTV quality television, as your cable provider actually compresses the quality of the broadcast through their lines as it makes its way to your house. Catching over-the-air broadcast actually catches the full HD quality. Kind of ironic that most people pay money for lesser quality. Now obviously if you want to watch stations that aren't available via antenna, well I can't help you there.
I hope you have all enjoyed the article and are inspired to make one of these antennas on your own, as it doesn't take too much cash nor time to get it up and running. Best of luck! Please let me know in the comments how your creations go.
Developer Survivalist Guide – Visual Studio 2010 keyboard shortcuts and general tools I can’t live without - Keyboard Shortcuts of the Trade I’ve always been a huge fan of keyboard shortcuts, they save you time after all, so who wouldn’t be a fan? Given the unive...
1 year ago