HDTV- Getting Liberally Artful

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by bamabikeguy, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Well, Sparky's HDTV thread sure took a weird turn....

    Meanwhile, FREE TV ended up costing me close to $300 to convert, not counting the umpteen hours of labor to sculpt 1 ugly chestnut tree and 2 huge oaks along the driveway.

    But the project that was timed to beat the FEB 17 deadline is complete, and I might as well debunk 2 pieces of misinformation about antennas...


    My main unit came from Lowes, who are worthless for info. Midway between Birmingham and Huntsville, I wanted a second smaller UHF pointed at Huntsville.

    The local antenna guy wanted to sell me a $70 rotator, said I couldn't pick up both SIMULTANEOUS. I said "yes I can, I've seen how to do it", all I need is a 5-6 foot piece of flat 300 ohm antenna wire to connect the small UHF to the larger combined one.

    They don't sell flat wire anymore, but he scrounged up a piece in the back of the shop. AND IT WORKS, H'ville/B'ham side by side up the channel spectrum, no waiting for the rotation to happen.

    Second fallacy is you can't go more than 50 foot from the house. When I beta-tested it for a month (leaning against the fence) with a white 50' coax cable, I was "satisfactory" using the Radio Shack 2 piece BOOSTER.

    When my neighbor with the spool of heavier duty coax finally dropped off the cable and his crimper, I got it mounted up in the tree, guy-wired and steadied, and ALL my signals improved, even though I was using about 60' of cable. Before I had the heaviest duty coax, my strongest signal was less than 30 (most were in the 20's), now I have 3-4 that are over 50.

    Does anybody know if the stations are going to UP the signal after the analog shutdown?

    Or is "what I got" all I get? (Picking up about 15 separate signals, quite an improvement....)

    But if "what I get" is 5 separate weather radar displays, I'll be screaming in the Letters to the Editors sections come Feb 18.

    So, to recap in pictures, I took ugly tree (*1) and turned it into camouflaged antenna mount (*5), with a huge bonfire in between.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2009

  2. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    Sparky's HDTV thread was spawned from my gubmint cheese DTV converter box thread. Both died horrible deaths! :devilish:

    You can still buy 300 ohm twinlead at Radio Shaft!

    Obama extended the DTV transition date to June 12th. He apparently wants to make sure that not one single old/poor/minority person will lose one minute of public television. Lemme tellya, if you watch TV and you aren't aware of the digital transition, you deserve to be left in the dark.

    Apparently, some stations will be upping their transmit power after the transition is complete. It must be pretty expensive running two transmitters at full power!

    My solution was a UHF antenna in my garage, hooked up to a rotator with a line amplifier. I can now pick up the Phila and NY markets, but reception is weather dependent. If there is heavy cloud cover, I lose most of the NY stations and the Philly stations sometimes get pixelated.
  3. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    Two of my local stations say they are switching on the 17th anyway!!

    CBS & FOX


    That's ME !!!

    Last edited: Feb 13, 2009
  4. jimraysr

    jimraysr Member

    Delay In Digital

    The people who were not ready for the 17th won't be ready in four months either!

    Fox 10 Phoenix has been broadcasting that their digital signal (which has been on the air for a year) will not be full power for a couple of months. That indicates to me that they have been transmitting the digital signal at less than full power.

    Kind of like the big CB days when most ran barefoot and truckers ran a "foot warmer". So in order to shake out the digital system they may have been running the basic transmitter without the main amplifier?

    Locally I receive 26 channels with a 12" magnetic vertical whip connected to a dongal that plugs into the USB of the laptop. Cheap way to go and have a portable digital TV set.

    A 6" square amplified rabbit ears (no ears) from Sam's Club works for all the sets in the house. Tucson signals are 100 miles away and not worth the rig to receive them.

    When politicians get involved in anything the problem is sure to get worse.

    As for the empty suite, he can sell it but doesn't have a clue how it works.

    Reminds me of the farmer at the county fair. After spending money on all the prize games and loosing he bought his first cotton candy. He ate a piece and commented: "Gypped again, sweetened air." )

  5. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Statewide our PBS is switching 2/17, the commercial implies "our customers KNOW its coming, so what the heck".

    B'ham CW and H'ville ABC just decided last week, and I'm thinking more will go ahead and do it.

    Upping the power is all I need for complete satisfaction.

    I found a PDF file, where you scroll down to your market hub i.e. B'ham, and the ones switching in FEB are highlighted in RED. Apparantly 500 are switching in Feb ready or not.

  6. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    By the way, if you want to keep a site on your bookmarks that has the best channel preview, it's tvguides....here's mine, you just have to change location, then you design the grid to fit your preferences.

    It gives you the shows summary when you put the mouse arrow on top of it, which is convenient with the movies.


    I run firefox, with two windows open/multiple tabs open, and since I'm trying to track two tv markets, I have to use this sorry AOL preview to keep up with B'ham.

    I vowed long ago NEVER to sign up on AOL, not going to do it just to customize the grid, so it has listings that I've deleted from my converter box.....

  7. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Your local stations WANT feedback, I contacted my weakest link when the good parts of THIS Movie network kept p*****ing me off, but engineering is giving me insta-response !!

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2015
  8. mabman

    mabman Member

    Watching TV rots your brain. Seriously.
  9. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    The June switch is about to happen, and I detect a conspiracy against us ex-rabbitears. After I wrote NBC-Huntsville, they disappeared from my scanning spectrum, never to return since late Feb.

    Then NBC-Bham goes fuzzy 2 Fridays ago, right at the only show I watch, 30 Rock !!

    All the Huntsville antennas are on Monte Sano mountain, all the Birmingham transmissions come from Vulcan Boulevard.

    And according to the bogus FCC coverage maps, I'm well inside of both market boundaries.

    So, why are certain stations beaming at different strengths??? It can't be interference, else I'd get no signal, and my previously weakie PBS is now one of my most consistent.

    I'm going to snitch out NBC to the FCC daily until the June switch.

  10. kerf

    kerf Guest

    Dish Net or Direct, maybe? 300 clams on antenna only to still have issues, not good, anyway Fox news would make you happy.
  11. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    With tons of goat manure in my barn, and chickens fertilizing the yard, I have no need for Faux's ********.
  12. kerf

    kerf Guest

    I was in hope, as a fellow Alabamian, you would be brave enough to hear another viewpoint. I've watched NBC, didn't know what planet the were on but I watched.
  13. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Well, the switch happened, and I've figured out the Magnavox converter I got early on, when it was the ONLY one for sale before my coupon ran out, is a POS, lowest ratings.

    So, I sent for another coupon, gonna get a 5 star unit:


    I'll try that before I move the antenna to the side of the light pole, to cut 20 feet off my coaxial cable distance, (they say anything over 50 feet is bad, and I'm definitely 60+).

    I got just enough NBC signal to see the final period of the Stanley cup.

    Picked up this Tuscaloosa station showing re-runs of old Bama football games, but in lieu of the NCAA penalties, they aren't now calling the Tulane game a LOSS !!
  14. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    Well, my dtv reception did not improve with the transition. I thought that they might boost transmitter power with only one transmitter to run, but reception still sucks with rabbit ears.
  15. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member

    Also -

    I bet that the price of these converter boxes will fall well under 40 bucks in a few months when the last of the gubmint cheese coupons expires. I bet that manufacturers and retailers are taking advantage of the gubmint subsidy and keeping prices high.

    I was at Best Buy earlier, and they sell an "APEX" brand dtv box. Even for 10 bucks (with the coupon) I wonder if it's worth that. Anybody buy one?
  16. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    I've solved the whole problem of television conversion to HDTV signals.

    I turned the TV off the last time in mid-March 2006, and haven't switched on for any reason since.
  17. arceeguy

    arceeguy Active Member


    I think Janet Napolitano and the DHS are keeping an eye on people like you. :detective:
  18. jimraysr

    jimraysr Member

    Prices will fall for Converter Boxes.

    I agree that the prices will fall after the coupon program is finished and the 90 day valid date for them is over.

    I will keep an eye on places like Tiger Direct, Computer Geeks and All Electronics. They buy up excess, refrib and outdated products.


  19. machiasmort

    machiasmort Active Member

    It's so nice to see everybody get along here. I guess the magic bannana will stay in his cage for a while.

    Is that a hot dog your using as an antenna AG?

    I bring this up as a possible novelty for your cart. Has anybody ever cooked one with a car battery? They ain't bad either! You can call it your eco-weenie, AG! LOL Make people laugh out there these day's and you will prosper Brother!
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2009
  20. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    Marty, I used to have a 12 volt resistance heater (intended for in cab cooking for truckers) that was basically a 7 inch long rod that got really hot, really quickly. About the diameter of a parker pen, it had a rounded tip. I frequently used it to cook polish sausage links - shove the thing up the middle, plug it into the cigarette lightrt socket, wait for the sausage to start spewing steam. It worked great, till it burned out and nearly electrocuted me one day.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2009