BoostedBrandon
BoostedBrandon Dork
11/17/13 9:51 p.m.

Being as we're now becoming a one income household, and we're trying to trim our budgets, the TV was one of the first things to go. We use Netflix more than anything anyway, and I can save about $100 a month cutting out DishTv.

Now, anyone here using one of those digital TV antennas? If I can get my local channels for free, that would be awesome, since that was about all I watched anyway.

Spoolpigeon
Spoolpigeon SuperDork
11/17/13 9:53 p.m.

I'm curious about this as well. We cut cable last week too for the same reasons.

foxtrapper
foxtrapper UltimaDork
11/17/13 10:26 p.m.

My regular old channel master analog antenna has been capturing the digital signals sent out over sine wave shaped radio waves since the digital revolution began.

radio waves are not digital. Only the signal they carry is digital.

slow
slow Reader
11/17/13 10:29 p.m.

I use an attic antenna which feeds into a cable line (we don't have cable but the house was wired for cable). There isn't really any different between digital or analog antenna. They are on the same frequency.

RealMiniDriver
RealMiniDriver UltraDork
11/17/13 10:45 p.m.

I still get OTA Telly signal with my old, pre-digital age, attic antenna.

donalson
donalson GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
11/17/13 11:14 p.m.

as they said... antenna really doesn't care that it is digital... but it does matter for what channels you'll be receiving

this should give you a good idea of what you should get in your area... http://www.tvfool.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29

i'm on the outside of houston and pick up about 60 stations with a cheap $25 walmart antenna... could have done better with a decent sized attic mount style.

curtis73
curtis73 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
11/17/13 11:54 p.m.

I actually did the opposite last week, but I have several years experience with the digital antenna.

It started when I lived in Austin. The mandate came down from above that all stations would have to do digital. I used to have DirecTV and then ditched it to save money. For many years I had that old radio shack set-top contraption with the two rabbit ears and the round loop with the "fine tuning" dial in the middle.

Believe it or not, it worked remarkably well for pulling in the digital HD air channels. I eventually switched to a Terk brand digital antenna and I can't say that it was any better.

I recently added a cable bundle that gets me a bazillion channels, but honestly my plan was to reconnect the old aluminum VHF/UHF antenna that is on the roof of my house. There are 40 local digital channels here in Pittsburgh. I could pull in about 15 of them with my Terk antenna on the window sill, but I admittedly live in a pretty secluded valley.

Check here: http://transition.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/dtvmaps/

That is an interactive map that shows what networks broadcast in your zip code, their distance, and their direction. That will give you an idea of what you can view if you decide to ditch the pay TV.

AquaHusky
AquaHusky Reader
11/18/13 12:29 a.m.

Hell, my antenna consists of a 3' long 2x4, some cut and shaped metal hangers, and an outdoor 2-wire-to-coax bobble. I get channels from KC, Columbia/Jefferson City, and sometimes Springfield on a good night. I also use a signal booster. Look up coat hanger antenna for some ideas if need be.

mazdeuce
mazdeuce SuperDork
11/18/13 6:01 a.m.

I made an antenna that we used for almkst a year and it worked great. The only hitch is that we have just enough directionality in our local signals that sometimes it needs to be shifted 20 degrees or so to get the 'other' station. We finally bought a cheap one because my wife hated shifting the board on a pipe covered in wires.
Look up the coat hanger antenna stuff and screw one together. They work and the only cost is $5 for the little signal converter thingy.

wbjones
wbjones PowerDork
11/18/13 7:02 a.m.

guess this is about the only "downside" to living in the mountains … only 2 stations show up as "strong" and 2 others as weak … the other "local" stations show as no signal

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
11/18/13 7:09 a.m.

"Digital antennas" are a way manufacturers get you to buy a new chunk of metal. If you want an amplifier, that may be another thing. I have used CB antennas, ham radio antennas, UHF antennas, and amplified "digital" antennas. The best working one was the CB antenna.

All you're trying to pick up is an over-the-air UHF signal. Nothing needs to be special about the chunk of metal you are trying to pick up with it. Where you place it is key.

wae
wae Reader
11/18/13 7:15 a.m.
N Sperlo wrote: All you're trying to pick up is an over-the-air UHF signal. Nothing needs to be special about the chunk of metal you are trying to pick up with it. Where you place it is key.

Major truth. My parents' house is in an older neighborhood with lots of thick trees, and plenty of hills in the way. We had to fiddle with the placement of the antenna quite a bit to be able to get decent signal. I think in the end we wound up having to decide between two mounting locations that each had a slightly separate set of channels that would come in strong enough to watch. It probably would have been best with an old fashioned rooftop antenna, but I can't do roofs.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
11/18/13 7:22 a.m.

This guy lives by me and has no problem getting all your digital channels.

ultraclyde
ultraclyde SuperDork
11/18/13 8:12 a.m.

Make this out of stuff you already have around and mount it in your attic. Run a coax cable down to your TV. I did this when I dropped cable about 3 yrs ago, and the OTA picture is far better than what I was paying for digital cable. Seriously, scrap wire and 15 minutes and I have the best DTV antenna you can imagine.

Single Bay Gray-Hovermann antenna

failboat
failboat SuperDork
11/18/13 8:43 a.m.
ultraclyde wrote: Make this out of stuff you already have around and mount it in your attic. Run a coax cable down to your TV. I did this when I dropped cable about 3 yrs ago, and the OTA picture is far better than what I was paying for digital cable. Seriously, scrap wire and 15 minutes and I have the best DTV antenna you can imagine. Single Bay Gray-Hovermann antenna

thats interesting. we have directv with no immediate plans on dropping the service, but I would be interested to make one of those just to see how well it would work.

bigdaddylee82
bigdaddylee82 Reader
11/18/13 8:55 a.m.

I did similar to Aquahusky. There's a lot of plans for how to make an antenna out of clothes hangers and a 300-75 Ohm balun, just Google "DIY HDTV antenna."

This is the first one I made, actually 2 antennas. Worked great on SE side of Columbus. It vanished in a storm last June. I recently made a new one, but since we've moved back to AR we don't have as many signals to pick up as we did in OH.

  • Lee
DaveEstey
DaveEstey UltraDork
11/18/13 12:19 p.m.

I'm in a bit of a dead zone for signals so I use Aereo.com instead.

bgkast
bgkast GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/18/13 2:29 p.m.

I use something like this:

I recall this site was a helpful resource when I was setting up my system a few years ago: http://www.antennaweb.org/

Hal
Hal SuperDork
11/19/13 8:19 p.m.
curtis73 wrote: Check here: http://transition.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/dtvmaps/ That is an interactive map that shows what networks broadcast in your zip code, their distance, and their direction. That will give you an idea of what you can view if you decide to ditch the pay TV.

That shows why I keep my cable. All of the DC-Baltimore channels are weak or no signal. Only have one strong signal from the local PBS station. Zipcode is 21701.

failboat
failboat UltraDork
8/24/14 12:57 p.m.

bumping this thread because now I am in need of an antenna, and a bit confused as to what type of FM antenna i should build.

long story short got an old reciever and some speakers from dad. reciever has a coaxial style "75 ohm unbalanced" connection for the FM antenna. oem antenna is missing, still available for a few bucks but looks weak as E36 M3. I would like to be able to pull in more radio stations in the garage than I currently do with an old boombox. I will set/hang the newly constructed antenna in the rafters of the garage.

my confusion is about construction and antenna style.

I THINK this is what i need to construct. http://www.mikestechblog.com/joomla/misc/fm-antenna/130-build-indoor-fm-antenna-plans.html

a couple questions/concerns.. -blog specifically mentions a 75ohm antenna. several other DIYs mention that you need a 300ohm to 75ohm converter but this one does not so....?
-i believe i have loads of scrap coaxial cable from cable tv use, enough that I could cut up to make a wire to connect to the reciever and antenna. is this acceptable?
-blog suggests 20ga wire for the antenna. does it matter if it is a thicker gauge? again... i like to keep cables and not throw them away exactly for things like this so i probably have something close enough, maybe a roll of speaker wire.

this looks like a similar design but specifies use of a 300ohm ribbon cable. I dont have terminals on the reciever for that and would also prefer not to have to buy anything if i dont need to. http://www.wryr.org/Antenna_instructions.pdf

Other designs, although I guess in theory they are kind of the same specify more of a T shaped antenna, just that the upper and lower loop are as close together as the 2 leads of the cable are. I feel like this is not really what I want/need. I dont really know why but it seems like it might be a good idea to have the extra vertical length built into the antenna as well to broaden reception? maybe? http://techwebz.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/how-to-build-an-indoor-fm-antenna/

Please learn me, or just tell me to start cutting and splicing E36 M3 to see what works.

mtn
mtn UltimaDork
8/24/14 1:22 p.m.

I have one that you can buy for about $30 at Costco, and stick in your window. Here in a metropolitan area of about 300,000 across maybe 5 counties, I get about 5 channels. When I was in Chicago still living at home, we got about 12, and each of those 12 had at least 2-3 other channels (5.1, 5.2, 5.3).

So figure out what channels you will actually get, but I like it even with only 5 channels.

Hal
Hal SuperDork
8/24/14 2:51 p.m.

You can find a 300-75 balun/matching transformer for under $2.00 at Radio Shack, Lowe's, etc. You may even have one laying around. They used to be included with every TV sold. Just Google 300 to 75 balun to see what they look like.

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