(alt. title: While Roberta X Gently Weeps)
So earlier this year our Time-Warner Cable bill went up by about 50%. Somewhat peeved, I called up and demanded an adjustment, but the best they could do was not quite good enough. Voting with our dollars, we gave the TV portion the boot and are now only paying for internet service. Netflix makes up a lot of our viewing, but we still wanted local stations.
I bought a $20 rabbit ears antenna from Walmart, but it sucked. It only picked up a few stations and even then with some pixelation and dropout.
Looking for alternatives, I cranked up the google and turned up some plans for a DIY antenna. Recognizing most of the materials list in my parts pile, I hit Lowes for the remainder and knocked it together in one evening.
Here’s how it looks:
Stop laughing, because it works great!
I used 14ga utility wire (look for it with the picture hanging stuff) for the 4 v-shaped antennae, being shocked at the price for a few feet of copper household wire and not having any wire coat hangers around. I used big-ass fender washers because that’s what I had that fit the wood screws, but smaller ones would probably make the job easier. If you’re more dextrous than I, you could probably wire it with two lengths, but I had trouble stripping the wire in the middle and went with individual lengths. The balun was the most expensive part at about $3.50, but they’re available online for less. I cheated and screwed the balun to the 2nd set of antenna screws, but you may get better results by putting exactly in the middle. I only flunked out of EE school, you’ll have to ask someone who knows what they’re doing.
I tested it without the reflector screens installed, but it works great without them. For testing I propped it up behind the TV, but I’m going to drop some coax down from the attic and hang it up there, out of sight.
The TV scanned twice as many channels as with the rabbit ears, and they all come through crystal clear without any drops.
If you’re looking for a cheap way to cut the cable and give your local service monopoly the finger, I can recommend this highly! You can check what TV stations are broadcasting in your area over here, and see what direction you should point your antenna.