Sunday, May 03, 2009

OPERATION: BYE BYE CABLE

So recently, I was going over my finances and discovered I was paying out more then I was making. So that meant, I had to ditch something. And that something was Cable TV. With the switch to Digital TV more channels would be available to the masses for free. So doing some
research, I found out I could get those channels for little money and as good as quality as Cable TV offered. So I decided to see just how good it could be. I first did a few experiments at my friend Miker's house with a simple dipole. Yeah, it was crude and only got him 3 channels, but since he HAS no cable, 3 channels is better than 0, and he was very happy. So after checking out Antenna Web to see what I could possibly get, I got started with planning out what I needed to do.

First up, I needed to know what kind of antenna I should get. Yeah, I could have built one, but I wanted to do this in a reasonable amount of time. And with my work schedule, sometimes that makes it difficult. So first, I tried this one. I got a few more channels then Miker did, but no where near as many was listed from Antenna Web. After doing a little more research and throwing together some ideas, I decided that an outdoor antenna would be the best bet for getting more stations.

So I did a little reading and narrowed down the antenna to this beauty! The same one that is pictured above. After assembling it, I first put it on the shorter mast that has my 2 meter/70 cm antenna, and hooked it up to my LCD TV in my kitchen. I only had 50 feet of coax, so yeah, I moved the TV. After having it scan, it found 25 channels!! SWEET! But what if I put it up higher on the other mast? Hmm. Well, I moved it and found out I actually LOST 10 channels! SO I figured I should just move it back. But only one problem. I was half scared putting up on the higher mast, and getting it down myself wasn't going to happen. So I called my friend and fellow Ham Op Andrew (KC2EUS) and asked him if he could just take it down so I could move it back to the other mast. I'm not too big with heights.

So about 30 minutes later, Andrew showed up and he took down the antenna and discovered a small mistake I had made. I had installed the radials backwards. they were supposed to point forward, not back, so we switched those around and reinstalled the antenna on the shorter mast. After coming back into the house and hooking it up to the TV, I was able to get all the channels I had gotten before. So while I didn't get EVERY single channel on the list, I did get a big chunck of them.

Overall cost of Phase I? $90

So now, with all the new info I now have, it's time for Phase 2! What is Phase 2? Come back and see.

Labels: , , ,