No, this is not a plug for Game of Thrones.
I took some time this week to finish the antenna system I started in the spring.
Up above was my first en devour from last year that lasted us, and worked well enough to get rid us of most of our cable bill, just killing the $150.00 per month cable bill, in exchange for a $30.00 a month Sling bill.
So, this spring I built two antennas to bring the majority of network TV stations into the house free. It worked, except ABC and the CW (Not really a huge network, but growing) were too far away and not in the right direction. So, I had the whole summer to research a UHF-VHF-Digital hybrid build and then build it.
I built this one first. A 4 bay antenna with a v reflector that I hand built, buying the parts, reading articles on-line and assembling it. It worked great, except a bay antenna is one direction, and I needed to mount it on the rear of the house to get both better reception and more height.
I get a kick out of antennas, they are advertised as reaching 50 miles, 200 miles, 990 miles, it seems the cheaper they are the more outrageous claims they make. The truth is if they are 200 feet up in the air on a tower they probably will bring channels from far away, but when you live in a valley as I do, you are not going to do well getting stuff from outside the valley. Lots of trees/forests/woods, bodies of water, and mountains in the way. So, my antennas, 20 feet up, are lucky to get much of anything.. So I built bay antennas for the first channels. Bay antennas can utilize reflections, bounced waves and such, better than boom antennas, because they are built with a reflector back. That can be a solid back, as with the first one I built using the old satt-dish, or a segmented back as I did with my two bay builds. I have even seen them with wire fencing used for the back/reflector.
Above was my first swing at a reflector antenna. It worked well, but could not bring in stable signals.
These are the two finished bay builds. One is a six bay, the other a four bay. Both have angled reflectors. I used equal length connectors and a splitter to wire these two. They work perfectly, do not cancel each other out, and are very stable builds.
The third antenna I had to build needed to reach long distance, yet also pick up in a fairly wide swath. I built a boom antenna.
It is the long antenna in the pictures with the odd looking lower protrusions and upper v or fin.
The boom is 7 feet long, the rounded UHF collector is about 3 feet wide. The bottom protrusions are also collectors, and there is a south facing anode and a north facing anode. It works awesome, brings in the last stations plus seven others, for a total of 20 channels… In a little village in a little valley, 70 miles from Syracuse, 30 miles from Canada.
The other antennas are on the rear of the house and pick up the other channels. Because of the reflectors they are pretty much directional, one is south and west several degrees, the other is South and East a few degrees. The new one is absolute North and South and is bi-directional because of the way I designed it. Now mom gets all the network feeds, plus TV Land, Grit and even a Canadian station in case we want to learn french, or how to say Aye?
The hornet nest is in the trees in the side yard. Look at the size of it. It was hidden by foliage all summer and so we could not figure out how we kept killing all the wasps at the front door and there would be replacements in a short time. Now we know. I’m waiting for the first hard freeze and then it’s coming down wrapped in plastic just in case those little buzzers like winter sports. They will not be around to see next year. Yes, I intend to kill them, smothered in the bag. I considered a hit man, er, hornet, but they are too expensive
The computer is my new PLEX server. There is a blog entry of me building it. I surpassed the longevity of two normal computers, and so I thought this replacement should be the last, so I built it from my own T-7400 Work-Station/Server board. I added more drives too, so there are now seven drives, several terabytes for movies and TV. And of course Mom, who is happy because she can access all her soaps, game shows, court TV programs, NASCAR and everything else she likes, and me, who is happy because it finally allows me to cut the last cable holdout, SLING, which I used to get our network TV. Folks, I have officially cut the last cord and gone from 150.00 per month for cable to zero*.
The * is there because I did spend money, and because I do pay one monthly bill, $5.99 for the PLEX service that also gives me Live TV, movies, TV shows and my server holds thousands of movies and TV/Web shows.
All together I paid about $300.00 U.S. dollars for the server parts and antenna parts to make it all come together. All of the rest was my labor and a few hours on the internet where you can easily pick up Antenna theory and design, templates, plans, schematics, and you can get actual stats from the builders: How they worked, range, etc. Then you can build one from the plans you find or go rouge and build one of your own design. But to be honest, I did an overall assessment of several builds and then build along those guidelines, so I didn’t reinvent the antenna, all I did was take the work that has already been done and use it as my base. Without the internet and that pool of knowledge I would not have gotten as far as I did, and probably would not have been successful.
Mentioned here: Plex. Read about it. Many people think that since Plex and Kodi are based on the same platform, both of them must be illegal. The truth is neither software are illegal at all, it is some users who use them in an illegal manner. They are both safe to use (Listen to users! Read Feedback and suggestions! Get a VPN service). My personal choice is Plex, and as I said I paid the 5.99 a month for the PLEX-Pass. Live TV, the ability to add a TV Tuner card and pipe my local antenna channels (And FTA (Free To Air) Satellite channels I intend to add in the next phase). Web shows/Podcasts Live news A ton of stuff, plus the ability to add your own content to your server. You can’t beat it, and if you use Roku you can access PLEX right on the Roku app: https://www.plex.tv/media-server-downloads/
Antennas: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Build+4+bay+antenna&qpvt=Build+4+bay+antenna&FORM=VDRE There’s a search to get you started. There are literally thousands upon thousands of videos, instructables, diagrams, schematics. What I did was study them and then make my own drawings with the pertinent information I needed.
More Antenna help: https://www.tvfool.com/ I went to that link to find what I could expect to get from an antenna build in my area. I actually exceeded what I could get by several channels. As I mentioned I am in a small village in a river valley. If you are close to a big city you can expect to do much better.
More Antenna: I purchased some of those cheap antenna kits. I found them on-line and found that buying in multiples saved even more money. They are shipped mostly unassembled, I used those disassembled parts to build my own antennas from. What I could not find, I made, such as wire and anodes. I found the parts I needed and made them or cut them to size.
And last but not least I am not endorsing any of these products or services. No sponsor content here. I buy what I like, build what I need from parts I buy so I can give an honest opinion.