Fri Jun 6, 2003 4:13:21 PM
Low-Tech Electronics

Not everybody shells out for cable; most of what I want to see (The Simpsons, Enterprise, Law and Order, PBS) is spewed out over the public airwaves for free. So I was looking to improve my reception, maybe by getting a rotator for my antenna, or by getting an omnidirectional antenna, and I found a site that shows you a map of which direction local television stations are from your house!

I thought that was pretty cool. It's from the Consumer Electronics Association, the same guys that put the little "CE" logo all over our microwave ovens and clock radios.

It turns out my antenna was pretty much already pointed in the right direction, due to my climbing up on the roof a couple months ago with a cell phone and asking "better or worse?" a couple dozen times, like some telecommuting optometrist. The fact that Fox suddenly comes in terribly is probably related to the fact that it's sunny for the first time in months.

Also to the fact that the antenna I'm using is a foot long, and thus clearly meant for UHF only. There's another, much larger, VHF or combo antenna mounted to the chimney, but I'll need to get some more coaxial cable to run it inside. I just discovered that I should really be hooking up a grounding block where it enters the house, as well. The VHF antenna has a rotator attached to it, but I have no idea whether the motor works. I stripped enough of the rotor cable to hook up a 9-volt battery (if I could only remember where the hell I put the last one I bought) and see if that makes it spring to life.

Meanwhile, my wife declared that the sunlight streaming in through the hatch in the roof is so nice, she wants a skylight. I guess we'll do that when we get the roof (a nice metal job, but with several hundred gallons of tar dumped on it) replaced. And when I'm finally done today, I get the fun of scraping all the tar off the ladder and my sneakers. Ah, the joys of home ownership.