Monday, February 15, 2010

My weekend project was a success!!

I read this how-to on making your own HD antenna for broadcast hi-def TV and as I was unhappy with my $40 radio shack 'professional' antenna I figured it wouldn't hurt to give this one a try. I did have to redesign it a bit because the wood screws were getting their heads popped off before I could get them tight enough to hold the two layers of coat hanger wire in place so instead I drilled 1/4" holes and used 1/4" bolts and nuts so I could get everything as tight as I needed. I also discovered that neither Wal-mart, Target OR K-Mart sells plain old bare-metal coat hangers anymore. I had to rely on the few we had in our own closets and replace them with the readily available plastic variety.

The cost was pretty minimal, a few bucks for a 3x24x3/4" piece of pine, a few more bucks for the hardware and then I think about $6 for the transformer that lets me plug the antenna into coax cable. The actual coax cable (50') was a LOT more expensive than the antenna was. So long story short, I got the antenna build, installed (in the attic), ran the coax cable down from the attic inside the wall and out below the TV and it works GREAT! We watched Nascar yesterday in Hi-Def and saw only a handful of pixels here and there (but NO disruption of the broadcast) over the course of 4 hours... AND it was during a moderate snow storm with quite a bit of wind. I expect it will work completely flawlessly in good weather.


Guy said...

Did you try your Radio Shack Antenna in the attic as well, of just the home made one?

Percussivity said...

I thought about it but I didn't want to have to run power as well as the coax in the attic. I did however do a side-by-side test with the home-made antenna and the radio shack antenna in my family room before installing it and the home-made one did outperform it handily (granted it does work better in the attic but when I compared them, there were FAR less pixelization events than the radio shack design and there were NO outright failures to get a channel which happens frequently with the raiod shack). The problem with the radioshack antenna is that it has only the two rabbit ears and as you change channels you have to sometimes adjust them and also the rabbit ears I think are only for VHF while there is a little saucer shaped antenna that rotates for UHF (or vice versa) and that also need adjusting depending on the channel and weather and thirdly there is a signal booster that needs to be occassionally adjusted... it can at times be too low and even at times set too high. The home-made antenna works for both UHF and VHF and because of its design does a better all around job of catching all the signals all the time without needing to be moved.

Guy said...

I did not realize the Radio Shack antenna requires external power. I think I will try running our antenna into our crawl space in our attic. If that doesn't improve our reception (not that it's bad, just not great) then I will build said antenna. Thanks for the info.