This 50-mile HDTV antenna could help you boot cable once and for all

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A 50 Mile antenna will receive a signal of 1862 Hz. Maybe is a spurious emission of an HD TV set?


When did that start happening?


I built one like this:

I didn’t use the reflectors, and my design uses bigger whiskers. It has worked like a champ for 20 years. My partner has decorated it with paper butterflies and little wooden birds, and guests think it’s an art piece. Or they’re just blowing smoke up our drawers. Either way, no complaints.

And those amplified antennas aren’t very good. At least I’ve always found antenna amplification to be dodgy. Gain should come from the size of the antenna. And you can probably do more for yourself by moving the antenna to a better spot.

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Yes, people should definitely build a bowtie array like that. It’s easy, and cheap, and provides gain. If it’s not good enough, likely a simple antenna with amplifier like this thing for sale won’t help.

Of course the bowtiie is directional, which may be an issue if stations are not in the same direction. Since most DTVs scan for channels, it’s not so easy with a directional antenna. I made do with a loop on a long bamboo pole out the window. It got enough signal, but less directionality, so the antenna didn’t need to move during scanning. The bowtie was then fine for actual tv viewing.

One thing, and it applies to any indoor antenna. I did fine with the bowtie against a window, sort of facing the more distant stations (and a school is right behind us). But last fall the windows were finally upgraded, killing reception of the distant stations. I’m still not sure if it’s the metal frame (the old was wood) or the glass is somehow acting as shielding. An amplified antenna won’t fix that.

This sort of thing may work for some people, but this blurb is counting on impresding people to buy it. There’s too much hype and jargon, not unlike the ads on tv for simole antennas, giving magical results for a tiny bit of metal.


Because there’s nothing better than 2 minutes of commercials interrupting a show every 5 minutes, amirite? I’d rather read a book.



Do streamers carry news about your own neighbours?

I just want to put in a good word for OTA (over the air) reception at all.

I just got my first fan letter for my long, illustrated blog essay on cord-cutting, and what products I went with for the digital recording and storing OTA shows to computer for a more DVR experience. He went with different products, I think better options have come along. (My post is not a ad for the products, indeed it details problems with them I had to solve.)

But my annoyance is how few people even know that OTA still exists! They think they simply have no choice but cable bills, or paying about the same for five streaming services. Really, I find that with OTA for the news and a couple of decent shows that ARE on the air at any given time, Netflix, and one other streamer, we have more content than we can handle.

That holds us down under $500/year for video costs, about half what we used to pay to the cableco or satellite co (tried both). But the real joy was giving them the finger because they monopolized the DVR, had to buy from them, and it was crappy. Because monopolies can sell crap if they want.

story at


For that, I hack into the local Ring cameras.

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I got my antenna about 10 years ago from Radio Shack (when there WAS a Radio Shack). Comcast chose to double our rates from $100 to $200. Same service, no options. They had a monopoly deal with our apt. complex.
The regular was $20, the powered one was $30. Works great, gives me HD, and everything else, I stream on the laptop.
This actually seems like a darn good value, for once.

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Internal antennas work well when there are strong signals.
In less covered areas one has to resort to put one directional antenna on the roof. In some cases to get signal from more than one direction. Is more costly, but could be done.

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