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Old 12-03-2009, 12:58 AM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
295 posts, read 473,227 times
Reputation: 165

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I got fed up with paying for basic cable over a year ago just to get the local news and was bored with the other two or three cable channels worth watching on basic cable so I canceled Comcast and thought I'd hook my brand new digital LCD/TV up to a pair of cheap amplified rabbit ears and see what I could get for free over the old fashioned air waves here in the Tri-Cities. For my 20+ dollars blown on Philips rabbit ears I received the local station's digital signals just fine until mid summer when I could no longer reliably pull in my local station WJHL Channel 11 here in JC. I even made a long co-ax cable to take the rabbit ears outside onto my deck and point them in all directions but...no joy. I was disgusted since they had been coming in loud and clear and was ready to cave in to Dish but decided to try free tv one more time.
I live in on top of a ridge and an outside antenna should be the perfect solution but unfortunately I live in a condo so rooftop antennas and other exterior antennas are frowned upon [never mind the laws that say I cannot be prohibited from erecting one] Anyway, rather than fight city hall here in the neighborhood I found this plan for an antenna using 1/2 inch copper pipe to build what is called a "dipole antenna" [which looks like the letter 'T', you've all seen them.], and looked up Channel 11's frequency which I believe is 199.25 MHz. I used the formula you can find on the net to make a half wavelength antenna which for WJHL is just over two feet long at 28.2 inches in length if you don't care to check my math. I figured I would have to discreetly mount this on my deck but upon hooking it to my TV inside my living room I received 11 local stations loud and clear [as in 5-1, 5-2, 11-1, 11-2, 19-1,2,3, 36, 39-1&2, 68] all for free...inside my living room...not mounting it on my roof or deck!
I wanted to share this info for the Tri-City apartment/condo dwellers out there, with rudimentary construction skills that want basic TV and would like to shed their monthly cable bill to say that it is achievable. I'm no rocket scientist and this is something anyone with a hacksaw and a drill could reproduce. The dipole is simply two pieces of half inch copper water pipe pushed into a pvc t-connector with a 75/300 ohm transformer or "balun" as it is sometimes called which is available at RadioShack or Lowes for 3 dollars. The balun/transformer has two flat connector wires coming out of it and you drill a hole into each pipe on either side of the 'T-connector' to attach it with a screw and the other end of the balun attachs to a standard coax antenna cable and goes straight into your tv just like a pair of rabbit ears does. You set your tv to receive "Air" instead of "Cable" in the setup menu and then all you have to do is position it so you get the best reception. Not for everybody but easier than it may sound for people who like to tinker with such things.
I have built both of these antennas listed below for under ten dollars in parts and am experimenting with them. You should be able to replicate them also for the same amount or only slightly more $.

Dipole Antenna

How to Make a TV Antenna for HDTV | TV Antenna Plans

Last edited by NorthernLights; 12-03-2009 at 01:41 AM..
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:30 AM
 
Location: Gray, TN
1,519 posts, read 2,291,895 times
Reputation: 488
Thanks for the info. I've been wanting to drop cable, so obviously I'd love to do this, but I HAVE to have the internet. I have no phone line - cellular only.

So how does one acquire cheap internet sans a buying a phone line or hacking a neighbor's WPA1?
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Old 12-03-2009, 08:42 PM
 
Location: South Yarmouth, MA
138 posts, read 198,432 times
Reputation: 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by rccrain View Post
So how does one acquire cheap internet sans a buying a phone line or hacking a neighbor's WPA1?
Well, here in NH, TDS Telecom will provide DSL service "a la carte" without residential phone at a slightly higher rate. If you already have the phone wiring in place it's an option, and dump cable!

Couldn't hurt to ask!
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Old 01-22-2010, 01:04 AM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
295 posts, read 473,227 times
Reputation: 165
"at a slightly higher rate" seems to be the operative line here.

I wasn't talking about "a slightly higher rate" as embarq will gladly mount a dish to my front porch which will bring me scads of channels, most of which I could give a s--t about...for a "slightly higher rate". This post was about "Free", no charge, zero dollars, zilch, if you would like to dump cable, dsl, etc. so forth, yet enjoy all local network channels including PBS in High Definition reception. With the new HD broadcasting...it comes in crystal clear in HD...or not at all. I get all the stations I listed in the above post on an indoor antenna, an outdoor antenna will likely pull in one or two more channels.
This link below will help you determine what is likely available floating around in the air for free in this area. If you'd simply like to watch the national and local news, local and major sporting events, other network programs, and PBS...check into it. There's still good basic free television available out there...in high definition reception...for free. True, I can add on to my embarq contract and it isn't much more to add to their already ridiculous rates for phone service and internet, about 10 to 20 bucks a month or another 120 to 240 dollars a year, if I sign on to the two year contract, but...if you want to play with it...this is free. 0.00 a month, 0.00 a year, year after year.

It just seems to me that everybody out there, insurance companies, cell phone companies, cable/dish companies, etc. so on all want to trick us into adding another 10 to 20 bucks to our monthly expenses. It's amazing how, as my Grandfather used to say "Sooner or later, it all adds up to real money". If you shave 20 to 30 bucks a month off of all those little fees we all get sucked into in a year's time you could save enough for a new tv or a set of tires in one year. If you took that same amount of money and put it in savings over 20 years you could afford to pay for a year of your kid's college tuition or something even more useful a downpayment on their first home to get them out of your home and on their own two feet. It all adds up over time.

Enter your zipcode in the search box and click "enter"
http://www.antennapoint.com/antennas/show

Last edited by NorthernLights; 01-22-2010 at 02:26 AM..
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Old 01-22-2010, 08:23 PM
 
Location: South Yarmouth, MA
138 posts, read 198,432 times
Reputation: 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernLights View Post
"at a slightly higher rate" seems to be the operative line here.
Sure, if you're willing to give up the cable channels that some of us are "addicted" to, CNN, ESPN, most sports, etc., you can get lots of channels in digital and HD for free with an over the air antenna, especially if you're not in a rural area or deep in a valley.

My "slightly higher rate" comment was aimed at rccrain who, like me, "has to have the internet". It's a way to get DSL sans landline phone.
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Old 01-26-2010, 01:24 AM
 
Location: Johnson City, TN
295 posts, read 473,227 times
Reputation: 165
Right you are Mark.
Discussing this very subject recently I had a friend back in Maryland over the holidays make a statement to the affect of "...that's fine, but those of us who want to live in the modern world", etc. so on. [laugh] Every member of her family down to their pre-schooler has got hot and cold running Blackberries, iPhones/pods, etc., whatever, with all the premium upgrades in their SUVs and tri-cycles and pay more a month for their peripheral goodies than I spend on silly stuff like...my mortgage and utilities and beer and dining out and 'mad-money' and they could never dream of life without such utensils. It would be like reverting to an outhouse or something for them.
It's a small fee for me to add the dish to my phone/dsl service from Embarq but I'm feisty like that I guess. Super Bowl will come in just fine in my living room just the same. Free tv may be cool for folks who might be looking to save some bucks in these tight economic times.

Last edited by NorthernLights; 01-26-2010 at 01:36 AM..
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:40 PM
 
51 posts, read 52,316 times
Reputation: 16
Looks like I'm gonna bring this 3 yr old thread back.
I decided to drop cable and have tried 2 different antenna for ota stations with the same result. I'm picking up cbs, abc, fox, tnn and a couple more but can't get nbc or pbs with either antenna.
I tried an RCA flat panel amplified antenna and an RCA indoor antenna (rabbit ears with a loop and a dial for fine tuning) and live on Chilhowie Ave in Johnson City.
Like I said both antennas give me the same result, no NBCs or PBS.
According to everything I've seen online, it looks like I should be able to pick them up. Are any of you using OTA antennas and able to pick up these channels?
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Old 05-31-2013, 11:16 AM
 
92 posts, read 151,282 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by s_wall98 View Post
Looks like I'm gonna bring this 3 yr old thread back.
I decided to drop cable and have tried 2 different antenna for ota stations with the same result. I'm picking up cbs, abc, fox, tnn and a couple more but can't get nbc or pbs with either antenna.
I tried an RCA flat panel amplified antenna and an RCA indoor antenna (rabbit ears with a loop and a dial for fine tuning) and live on Chilhowie Ave in Johnson City.
Like I said both antennas give me the same result, no NBCs or PBS.
According to everything I've seen online, it looks like I should be able to pick them up. Are any of you using OTA antennas and able to pick up these channels?
I made one of the antennas mentioned above. I only get the Kingsport channels--wkpt, etc. There seems to be a problem with the stations themselves. One minute you get an excellent signal, and the next, it is breaking up or disappearing. Incidently, we live in Bristol near Steele Creek Park.
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Old 07-30-2013, 09:16 AM
 
7 posts, read 8,750 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by s_wall98 View Post
Looks like I'm gonna bring this 3 yr old thread back.
I decided to drop cable and have tried 2 different antenna for ota stations with the same result. I'm picking up cbs, abc, fox, tnn and a couple more but can't get nbc or pbs with either antenna.
I tried an RCA flat panel amplified antenna and an RCA indoor antenna (rabbit ears with a loop and a dial for fine tuning) and live on Chilhowie Ave in Johnson City.
Like I said both antennas give me the same result, no NBCs or PBS.
According to everything I've seen online, it looks like I should be able to pick them up. Are any of you using OTA antennas and able to pick up these channels?
I work at the Radio Shack at Oakland Center in Johnson City.

How high do you have the antenna mounted? It's always a good idea to mount it as high as possible. The 2 antennas you are speaking of, we've sold a lot of and people have given us feedback that they are pleased with them. I'm assuming you may have them close to the TV itself. Sometimes if you have an attic, or a higher mounting location, they seem to do better.

I'll keep an ear open for specifically NBC and PBS with a few customers that have come in the store recently and let you know what I can find out.

-Pat
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Old 07-30-2013, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Kingsport
83 posts, read 42,084 times
Reputation: 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by rccrain View Post
Thanks for the info. I've been wanting to drop cable, so obviously I'd love to do this, but I HAVE to have the internet. I have no phone line - cellular only.

So how does one acquire cheap internet sans a buying a phone line or hacking a neighbor's WPA1?
I set up a friends access account on my wireless for my next door neighbor. She works a couple of part-time jobs and is also enrolled in NE State. I did it to help her out, but I know a couple of people who share the cost of wifi access. You might want to chat with a neighbor and see if you can work out something. If you need the name of little device that picks up and amplifies wifi signals do a Google search for Bear Extender. I use one when I'm on the road. It's not expensive and it works.
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