More fun with digital TV

The great digital TV antenna project continues.  I found out that the cheapie UHF antennas I built are known as “4 bay bowtie dipoles,” and they are very similar to the Model 4221 by Channel Master.   Based on my reading, I’ve decided not to try using a combiner to join the antenna signals.  Instead I picked up a remote control A/B switch at Radio Shack, model 15-1968, and it seems to work great.  I’m going to buy a second one for our other TV.  Providing most of your stations are in 1 of 2 different directions (as mine are), this switch is a great alternative to a rotator.  In particular, multiple TVs can watch signals from different antennas simultaneously, which is not possible with a rotor.  The down side, of course, is that you need to run two separate antenna cables to each TV.  But that only needs to be done once.  I’ve also ordered a couple of Sony model RM-VL600 universal remotes, based on all the positive reviews.  My hope is that I can use these to work the A/B switches.  We’ll see how they work out once they get here.

I may need to move my Baltimore antenna.  It’s aimed NNE directly at TV hill, but there are a lot of tall trees blocking its path.  It seems to pick up most of the Baltimore stations just fine..  WMAR-2, WBAL-11 and WBFF-45 all come in perfectly with 95%+ signal strength consistently and no dropouts.  WJZ-13 is my problem child, though.  I was watching it this afternoon and it started dropping out as soon as the wind kicked up.  Wondering if the frequency WJZ-DT is currently using has something to do with it — WMAR, WBAL and WBFF are all currently at the higher end of the UHF spectrum, while WJZ is lower at 38.  Dunno, but I’m going to try moving the antenna to the other end of the house, where it can hopefully get a clear shot through the foliage.  Just need a longer length of RG-6.

All bets are going to be off come February 2009, when a lot of these stations will be shifting back to the VHF band.  At that point, I may need to add a VHF antenna to my setup.  Looks like all of my local stations will end up on the high VHF band (channels 7-13), so I should be able to get by with a smaller VHF antenna.  I’m going to hold off before I do anything, though.  My current antennas seem to pick up the analog channels in the VHF-hi band pretty well, so they may do the job with the digital channels.

Stay tuned..  (no pun intended)

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