Beam me down Scotty!

I’v been working on trying to get decent Over the Air reception for my TV over the past couple of years. First, I’m pretty cheap and just hate paying for the Dish service. Most of the shows we watch are on the top 3 and Dish doesn’t transmit some of the secondary channels that are available over the air.

My first try was actually pretty good. It was a multiple bow tie configuration that was highly directional. I really needed to build two of those and link them together. It seems like you can get most of the channels in one direction except for channel 3. I should have kept this one because it was a little more involved to build, but I gave it away and never built another.

My  second attempt was only half hearted. I was trying to build a dipole type antenna that should have been omni-directional.  I was going to make it from scratch and do all of the scientific measurements to make sure that it would receive the appropriate signals but I got lazy. I went to my shed and found some tomato cages that I wasn’t using and tried to circumvent the science.

This final attempt seems to be the prize. The original design comes from Taiwan where I understand their TV signals are near the same frequencies as ours. It’s made from a 7′ piece of copper wire that I formed into four 4.96″ diamond shapes.  You can see the wires for the top and bottom intersections cross over each other and are insulated from each other as well. The center intersection doesn’t really cross over but bend back to start another diamond without touching. This is the point where the connection is made to the antenna cable.

The designs that I have seen on the web always show a 300/75o
hm balun to make this connection but I just connected the 75ohm cable directly to it and it seems to work great. I probably should look up the reasoning for that. I’d hate to blow up my 50″ Plasma.

So the only thing left now is to get easy access to a TV guide and something that can do DVR like functions. I’ll save that for another post.


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