Here\'s Part 1 and the first post.
We actually can watch television through a signal from DFW now! We are so far out that couldn\'t get a signal before, but after bulding the antenna, we can watch... FREE!!!
Here\'s a picture of the first part of this, with the cheapo cooling racks from the Dollar Store to be screwed onto a 2x30 board.
And here with blocks that will have the antenna V\'s
We used thes bigger washers to anchor on the cooling racks which act as reflector
Ended up not using these smaller washers.
Closeup. I should mention here that the two long crossover lines are not all one piece as other instructions show. This was because the wire was so thick, so you see that the pieces are actually smaller ones that equate to one long one. I don\'t know if that caused any antenna loss, doesn\'t seem to have made any difference for us. Again suggesting if you use wire get something in line of the thickness of a coat hanger for ease of bending. On the other hand it was easy to make sure that the crossover wires didn\'t touch.
Like a champ.
Now, a few notes about what we would have done differently. I got some thick copper wire and it would have been better thinner, if only because it was a litttle difficult to shape. Something more of the diameter of a coat hanger would have been better, and in fact, we could have used wire coat hangers. Becuase it was thicker,all the more important to have wider washers to help hold it down, still watching to make sure they didn\'t touch. Also have reflectors in the form of the cooling racks all the way down-this will be an indoor antenna so we could have used a foil background-that said, the cooling racks were 2 for a buck.
The first place we tested it was upstairs hooked to an old analog television. We got all the DFW local channels and the reception was very crisp-in fact, it surprised me just how good it was. Tried it in an interior closet that wasn\'t on the side of the house with a clear shot at DFW and not all the stations came in, but 13 (PBS-KERA) was amazingly clear. Next tests will be to face it towards Waco and see how the channels come in, and if they come in better, and also to get an amplifier and see how that works.
I\'ll say this- on one of the channels I was watching while we testing, I think 8, there was a bit about what people should do with their *old* analog television sets and taking them to landfills, etc, in preparation for the digital signal cutoff coming in the next month or so. Well, heck, if you like the picture on your analog television, why upgrade to HDTV unless you just want to? I think a set box that does conversion from the digital signal to analog so it will work with your tv YOU HAVE NOW should be fine.
P.P.S Lest you think we\'re hillbillies who somehow just stumbled into civilization, let it be known that we, being rural and having no cable out here, did have Dish satellite for some 10 years. We decided, in order to get more frugal when the economy started nose-diving to Ditch Dish. Another factor was that we have NetFlix and one of the main types of stations we watched on Dish were movies. We didn\'t even watch most of the channels. To add to that, we were able to watch video clips or streaming video of just about every other type of topic we wanted. For example, we watch Countdown video even though we don\'t have cable and we watched the Democratic Primary through the DNC website with Silverlight video. I can watch Congress via the C-span website, and the Texas Lege via their website with a Realplayer. Neither of us cares much for sitcoms. Saying that it wasn\'a huge hit on what we did with our time. But, with the advent of the HD signals switchover, thought it was a good time to bring back the teevee, and we may watch Letterman. We\'d also like to watch the debates. And while watching movies on HDTV is a glorious thing, it isn\'t like analog is that bad. Our existing teevees are fine until the prices drop so much in the next few years on HDTVs that it makes it worthwhile to get one. I think the tevee people will be trying to cash in, with higher prices, on people who don\'t realize all they need is a 30-50 buck converter box to keep watching their old teevee. And an antenna.
Now that that\'s done, I may also try to make a coat hanger antenna, with cardboard backing and foil over it. The cost of doing THAT (assuming scrap lumber) would only be for the screws, the washers, and the UHF transformer-I actually bought two from Radio Shack the other day so I have the one I could use. (That was abut 7 bucks). All things being equal, it ought to be, like 10 bucks, if that, worth of cost to make a nice antenna. But no matter what, as I said on a different post, the Radio Shack guy tried to tell me we\'d end spending 100 bucks on this antenna so why didn\'t I just buy one already made. The actual total cost of parts for the antenna you see above is about 32.00. I\'d say that was well worth the time.
UPDATE 10/14/2010- Lots of people have looked at this, so thought I'd put in a couple more things. First, we've been using that homemade antenna now since we made it. We did get a pre-amp for it to boost the signal because we're pretty far out away from DFW. It has worked GREAT. We also have another expensive store-bought antenna we got for testing other things but guess what, it didn't even work as well as the one we made. We might try to do some testing to have it face towards Waco to see if we can also get the television market down there, too (because you can't get both-you aim the antenna one way or the other). The other thing I wanted to point out is that we have the antenna sitting on a shelf upstairs INSIDE THE HOUSE and it works great. We got one of those signal testers where you can find out the best signal strength for how to position the antenna. Anyway, overall, pretty good, because, as we said on part 1, I got the antenna *parts* from the Dollar store, 2 cooling racks for a buck, bought the wire and made the other parts from scrap wood.