Thursday, March 25, 2010

Site Admin Post


This is a Technorati claim token, so that EscapeVelocity Blog may be added to the Technorati Blog community.

Please ignore.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Onion NewsCast - Some Bullshit Happening Somewhere


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Antennas That Bend, Stretch, and Twist

Via US News & World Report

Antennas That Bend, Stretch and Twist 

Researchers have created a new type of antenna made of liquid metal that can bend, stretch and twist, then return to its original shape, an advance in technology that could lead to new uses where resiliency is especially important--in the military, for example, or for rugged outdoor activities. 
The scientists made the antennas by injecting an alloy made of the metals gallium and indium, which remains in liquid form at room temperature, into very small hollow channels the width of a human hair. They used elastic silicone channels to hold their alloy, and then fashioned wire-like antennas out of the material. The channels, which resemble straws that are open at both ends, can be manipulated into a variety of shapes.
Once the alloy has filled the channel, the surface of the alloy oxidizes, creating a “skin” that holds the alloy in place, while allowing it to retain its liquid properties. "Because the alloy remains a liquid, it takes on the mechanical properties of the material encasing it,” Dickey said. 
Another discovery: "If you cut this device just through the metal--not all the way through--it comes back together," Dickey said. "You can partially damage it, and it will self-heal."
Since the frequency of an antenna is determined by its shape, "you can tune these antennas by stretching them," Dickey said. 


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Cool Site of the Day

Check out this comprehensive photo gallery of some of the most coveted boomboxes of yesteryear.  Covers eras, so you can track the changing styles and ebb and flow of popularity.  The photo below is of the Panasonic RX-5350, which I would love to get my hands on!

Pocket Calculator's Online Vintage Boombox Museum

 Panasonic RX-5350

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FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski - Broadband Bill - PBS Newshour 3/15

Via PBS Newshour 

Video on this link.

Via  Television Broadcast Mag

FCC Proposes Reallocating 40 Percent of Broadcast Spectrum

WASHINGTON: Broadcasters stand to lose 40 percent of their spectrum under the FCC’s new National Broadband Plan, due on Capitol Hill tomorrow. The plan was released in Washington today; details emerged in several reports. The goal of the plan is to bring 100 Mbps broadband access to 100 million American homes in 10 years, nearly doubling the current reach of high-speed Internet access.

It calls for making 500 MHz of spectrum available in 10 years, and 300 MHz available within the next five years, for both licensed and unlicensed use. Of that, 120 MHz is to come from television broadcasters, who now occupy roughly 300 MHz.

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Cool Site of the Day

Register and participate.  Upload that vintage, esoteric, or otherwise A/V manual that you have laying about and help yourself to the mountain of manuals.  Fantastic site!

The HiFi Engine
Looking for a manual for your hi-fi equipment?
The HiFi Engine has thousands of owners manuals, service manuals, schematics and product catalogues covering amplifiers, pre-amps, power amps, tuners, tape decks, cd players etc.
The files are free to download, all that we ask is they are not redistributed for financial gain.
Thanks to the many visitors who have scanned documents and donated images to the gallery.

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Sencore SA 1454 and SLM 1456 TV RF Digital Spectrum Analyzers

The Sencore SA1454 and SLM1456 are popular amongst the prosumers.  The SLM1483 lacks graphing capability so is more of a signal analyzer.   Here is some information from Sencore to help you decide which one is right for you....and to understand the information that these units provide and how it can help you.

Sencore's Good - Better - Best TV RF Signal Analyzers 

How to read your spectrum analyzer...

Analyzing TV RF Signals

ATSC, NTSC, UHF, VHF, FM, TV, RF, 8VSB, Digital Television, Field Strength Meter

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

C-SPAN Posts Its Complete Archives Online

CSPAN Video Library 
Introducing the C‑SPAN Video Library. 160,000 hours of political events covered by the C‑SPAN Networks since 1987, with more added each day. Search it. Watch it. Clip it. Share it – all at no charge. Our Video Library lets you follow Washington your way – another public service created by America’s cable television companies. 

Via Television Broadcast 

WASHINGTON: The Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network has now made their entire archive available on the Web site. 
C-SPAN has now loaded up 160,000 hours of video, going back to 1987, on its Web site, with widgets for sharing on Facebook and Twitter. The database is now available online; a formal announcement is due on Wednesday.
The archives continues to record all three C-SPAN networks nonstop, indexing them and placing them in the database. Programs are indexed by subject, speaker names, titles, affiliations, sponsors, committees, categories, formats, policy groups, keywords and location. The congressional sessions and committee hearings are indexed by person with full-text.
Not all the resources are free of charge. All programs since 1993 are digital and can be viewed online for free. Duplicate copies of earlier programs can be obtained and used for education, research, review or home viewing purposes for a fee. Also, some programs are not copyright cleared for sale.

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Documentary - The War of the World - Niall Ferguson

Interesting slightly different perspective on the epic violence of the 20th Century.  Worldwide ethnic and racial conflict...and the rise of the Second and Third World.

The War of the World - YouTube Part 1 - 30 

This is one of the best documentaries of the 20th Century.   See here and here, also.

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EV's Best Recommended TV Antenna Rotors

Here are my favorite antenna rotators from yesteryear.

Norm's Rotor Service has many rotors for sale refurbed and new.  They bought the remaining stock of Alliance rotor parts and units.

Hy-Gain continues to make many of the CDE model rotors.  They bought up CDE when they went defunct in the 1990s.

All of these rotors listed with the exception of the Yaseu, which is made in Japan, are Made in USA.



The U-100 and U-110 are more or less identical units.  Made in USA, they are well built, and feature worm gear drives. 4 Wires.  The worm gear drives are desireable in these units, they are more precise and stout than all the others here.  However these units have two peculiarities.  1, they are only adjustable to every 5 degrees or so, and 2, the controller boxes make an annoying clunk-clunk sound as they turn.  Fairly commonly found on eBay, and available new from Norm's Rotor Service.

Here is a video which demonstrates...


The Alliance T-45 is a manual control unit, with a sturdy rocker bar, used to rotate the antenna.  Its not as nice for television use, because 1 revolution on most all rotors is once per minute.  The automatic dials are preferable.  It is 5 wire and has worm gears like the U-100 and U-110 above.  The rocker bar is nice, as it allows for precise control for zeroing in on a signal.  Unlike the U-100 and U-110 above, this unit is infinitely adjustable.  Uncommon on eBay.



This is the classic TV antenna rotor series from Cornell Dubilier Electronics.  The AR-40 is still in production by Hy-Gain.  High quality rotors.  One interesting aspect of these, is that they are not offset rotors...the masts, above and below come into them in a straight line.   5 wires.  Fairly common on eBay.


These are a bit more stout than the AR series, which means they can take more weight and wind loading.   These are 8 wire units.  Fairly common on eBay.

Channel Master

9515 HD (Heavy Duty)

These are very rare.  A sturdier version of the 9510A below.

Colorotor 9510A

The CM Colorotor 9510A is made in USA.  The RadioShack/Archer rotors below are the same units, under different branding.  3 wire.  These are preferable to the new Chinese made Channel Master rotors (which are seemingly branded by everywhere).  The older style controller boxes are a bit more hefty and solidly built. You can also use these with the newer 9537 remote controlled controller boxes that ship with some of the newer Chinese made models.  Pretty commonly found new old stock on eBay.


Orbit 360

Also known as the OR-360, and Gemini is affiliated with Philips.  These were made in the US and sold in Walmart in the 1990s and early 2000s.  Discontinued now, you can still find them used and new old stock on eBay sometimes.  Pretty good little units, though not as stout as the CDE and Alliance rotors recommended here.  5 wire connection.  I use this personally.  Uncommon on eBay.

Radio Shack & Archer


These are clones of the Channel Master 9510A, see above for details.  Pretty commonly found new old stock on eBay.  3 wire.


The Alliance HD-73 and TailTwister TX2*, Yaseu G450A, CDE Ham M, II, III, IV, and V series are good as well, but are a bit more expensive generally, and are overkill for television antenna weight and size.

18 gauge solid copper core wire should be used for runs over 100 ft, 20 gauge is fine for under 100 feet.

Thrust bearings are available to allow the use of taller masts with these rotors.  There are 2 types.
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cool Site of the Day

Watch classic movies online!

Classic Cinema Online

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Friday, March 12, 2010

Vintage Tricraft VHF TV Antennas

Here is some information on unique vintage TriCraft antennas from yesteryear from Television and FM Antenna Guide, Noll & Mandl 1951.

An unusual design is incorporated in the folded dipoles of Tricraft models 300 and 500 (above and below). As shown above, the model 300 antenna consists of two dipoles, a thin one cut for 70 megacycles and a thick one cut for 128 megacycles.  The thick member is connected to the thin dipole by inductive rings, the latter connecting to the midpoints of the long 70 megacycle dipole.  These rings act to end feed the shorter dipole, besides which they also act as supports for the thin section.

When this antenna is used to bring in the lower channels, it behaves as a broad band folded dipole which is resonant at about 65 megacycles, the inductive rings acting as couplers of the two antennas and making them act as a folded dipole unit.  At the higher channels, the long thin dipole becomes a wavelength and a half antenna, but the short antenna, being end fed by the inductive rings, establishes and in-phase relationship between the two dipole currents.  This raises the radiation resistance of this antenna at the higher channels to a value much greater than it would be for a regular low band dipole working at the higher channels.  Thus, a substantial match between antenna and transmission line is maintained for both high and low band reception when using 300 ohm transmission line.


The Tricraft model 500 antenna is similar in construction, except that the long thin dipole section is mounted in a vertical position.  This model is designed for mounting outside a window or porch in those instances where roof installations are not feasible.

The Tricraft model 1000 antenna (see above) uses a pair of parasitic reflectors with both a near- and far-spaced reflector. This antenna has a rated 10 dB gain on the VHF high band and 5 1/2 dB on the VHF low  band channels, with unidirectional pattern at the same angle on both the low and high band.  Although a number of minor lobes are present on the high band a single lobe is made to dominate in the desired direction.

A typical broadside antenna is the Tricraft model 400 which consists of two of their broad band dipoles fed in phase.  Antennas are spaced a half wavelength on the VHF low band and fed with 300 ohm line at midpoint.  This antenna (see above) has a gain of approximately 3 to 5 dB, depending on frequency.
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Monday, March 8, 2010

Every Issue of Popular Science Online!

New! Browse the Complete PopSci Archive
We've partnered with Google to offer our entire 137-year archive for free browsing. Each issue appears just as it did at its original time of publication, complete with period advertisements. And today we're excited to announce you can browse the full archive right here on
As you will soon see, it's an amazing resource. Aside from bringing back memories for longtime readers, as a whole the archive beautifully encapsulates over a century of PopSci's fascination with the future, and science and technology's incredible potential to improve our lives. Tracing our dreams and visions of the future back through time, you'll see that not a lot has changed. Some things we projected with startling accuracy, and others remain today what they were then--dreams. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
In the future, we'll be adding more advanced features for searching and browsing, so stay tuned.


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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Best Site on the Web for CRT Projectors

Fantastic information resource, plus serviced used units and parts available for sale.  Snap one up before they are relics of history, great deals to be found.   Check em out!


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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cool Site of the Day

Great UK Aerial site, with lots of pics of antennas modern and vintage.  Also the Bozos roundup of bad or un intelligent installs or antenna orientation.

Wright's Aerials

Antenna in Ireland
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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Two Fantastic New FM Antennas!

Two fantastic new FM antennas available on the market.  These are in Sweden and made and sold by VHFTeknik.

The Korner 15.11, a 15 element yagi with plane reflector....which is further analyzed at 88-108 MHz...

and the FM5.1, a 5 element yagi with a swept driven element, designed by Brian Beazley, K6STI...which is further analyzed at 88-108 MHz.  Brian Beazley maintains the fantastic 88-108 MHz website.

Very Nice!  I'd like to get my hands on one of each of those! Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit Mixx Facebook squidoo newsvine

Audiophile Gag Product of the Day

Brilliant Pebbles
What the heck is it? Brilliant Pebbles is a unique and comprehensive system for tuning the room and audio system based on special physical properties of highly symmetrical crystal structures. Brilliant Pebbles has been evolving since its introduction 6 years ago at the London HI Fi Show, especially the number of applications, many of which were discovered by our customers. Brilliant Pebbles addresses specific resonance control and RFI/EMI absorption problems associated with audio electronics, speakers and cables, as well as acoustic wave problems associated with the listening room boundaries and the 3-dimensional space within the boundaries. Brilliant Pebbles comprises a number of precious and semi-precious stones (crystals) selected for their effectiveness. The original glass bottles for Brilliant Pebbles have been replaced by clear zip lock bags, which have a more linear response than glass. We employ a number of highly-specialized, proprietary techniques in the preparation/assembly of Brilliant Pebbles to enhance the crystals' inherent characteristics. The fundamental operating principle of Brilliant Pebbles involves a number of atomic mechanisms in the crystals. 
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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cool Site of the Day

Check out gear and antennas from yesteryear!  Goes back decades!  Complete Archer product reference!  It may be The Shack now, but it's still Radio Shack to me!

Also worth looking into is old Allied Radio and Lafayette Radio catalogs on eBay.


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New HD Radio Products - CES 2010

What's New In HD Radio On The Go, At Home


By Joseph Palenchar

CES 2010

LAS VEGAS — Here are some of the home and portable radios that dealers will find in the booths of suppliers or in the booth of HD Radio developer iBiquity:

Cydle: The company, an Asian OEM, is bringing out its first branded products, all with FM-only HD Radio and analog FM. The products are an MP3 player, a portable media player (PMP) and a portable navigation device (PND).

The P15 MP3 player features 2GB embedded memory, rechargeable battery, antenna in the headphones and an armband. The P29 PMP features a 2.9-inch capacitive touchscreen, 18 station presets, and a gravity sensor to rotate display automatically into landscape or portrait modes, but only for video viewing. Other features include photo viewer, voice recorder, alarm clock and rechargeable battery. Its target price is $99.

RadioShack Auvio: The retailer's first component HD Radio tuner is a 17-inch-wide component bearing the Auvio house brand and due around International CES time at an expected price of no more than $99 on an everyday basis, iBiquity said. It features digital AM and FM and joins Best Buy's currently available component HD Radio tuner, available under the chain's Insignia house brand.

RadioShack Gigaware: The retailer's second Gigaware HD Radio add-on for iPhones and iPod Touches is an FM-only model like the current model but takes on a different form. The new $69 model consists of a 0.25-inch by 1.5-inch by 1-inch tuner-embedded dongle that snaps directly into the iPhone and Touch multi-pin port. Headphones plug directly into the dongle. All HD Radio controls are accessed via a free downloadable iPod/iPhone app. The only control button on the dongle is an iTunes tagging button.

RadioShack's current $79 add-on consists of a tuner embedded in an in-line navigation controller, which connects via cable to a dongle inserted into the iPhone. A 3.5mm jack on the other side of the controller connects to headphones. It also uses a free downloadable app to control the tuner via the iPod/iPhone touchscreen display.

Both models use the headphone's cable as an FM antenna and feature iTunes tagging.

The new model will ship as soon as it's certified by Apple, iBiquity said.

Sangean: Two headphone-type tuner-only portables, both with HD FM radio, will be the first two HD Radio portables announced with AM tuner. One model features analog AM tuner chip, and the other features analog and digital AM tuner. Both feature LCD displays.

The model with analog AM is available for shipment. Pricing was expected to be $99 or more, iBiquity said. The model with AM HD Radio tuner, due in the fall, will be the first portable with a portable digital AM/FM IC, iBiquity said.

In another development, an HD Radio add-on accessory for iPhones and iPod touches was expected to turn up at the show, joining RadioShack's $79-everyday Gigaware-brand add-on. Both feature FM tuner and iTunes tagging. The accessories company developing the products did not want to publicize the product, however.

Sherwood: The 7x50-watt RD-7405HDR A/V receiver, at a suggested $219.95, features digital AM/FM HD Radio, HD2 and HD3 reception, display of station-broadcast artist and song IDs, 7x50-watt amplification (with no more than 0.1 percent THD into 6 ohms), two HDMI inputs and one HDMI output, 30 radio-station presets, Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic IIx decoding, 192kHz/24-bit DACs on all channels, and multisource dual-zone capability.

Also at the show, another HD Radio dongle for the iPhone was expected to be displayed by an accessories supplier, but the company did not want to publicize the device.

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EV's Best Television Antenna Books

This is a list of my favorite Television & FM Antenna Books.  The first 2 books have multiple revisions, new editions, and are really ham radio oriented..  I generally favor older versions of these books, as they were a lot simpler, back in the day.  The rest are generally in order from more favored to lessor favored....though they all made the list....some others didnt.    

ARRL Antenna Handbook

Practical Antenna Handbook -- Joseph J. Carr

Television and FM Antenna Guide -- Noll & Mandl,  1951

TV Installation Techniques -- Samuel L. Marshall, 1950

TV Antennas and Signal Distribution Systems -- M. J. Salvati, 1979

How to Install TV Antennas -- Samuel L. Marshall,  1955

Improving TV Signal Reception -- Dick Glass,  1988

Television Antenna Handbook -- Jack Darr,  1959

Home TV-FM Antenna -- Paul Lawrence & Hansen Elroy,  1974

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Sunday, January 31, 2010

How to Do a TV News Report

UK comedian Charles Booker shows you in 2 minutes...

HatTip Harry's Place

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Antenna Spotting Through the Windshield

I admit to consciously scanning for antennas, towers, and other television and radio receive and transmit antennas and equipment, on the road.   Didnt know it was so common!

Surfin': Radio-Spotting Through the Windshield

By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
January 29, 2010

On the road, Surfin' views the world of radio through the windshield

Last week, I wrote how as a ham, I see radio everywhere. I cited, for example, spotting ham radios in motion pictures that I happen to be viewing for entertainment -- not for their ham radio content.
I am not alone. Some Surfin' readers wrote to say that they also view the world through radio-colored glasses.
One reader reminded me of a facet of radio-spotting that I do so automatically that I do not even think about anymore. In his memory-rattling comment, he wrote, "I am often reminded by my wife to watch the road as we drive along when I spot an interesting antenna on a house or a hill."
I am in the same driver's seat whenever I am on the road. You probably are, too. I am always making mental notes of new antenna installations that I spot during my travels.
It never gets old. Every day during my morning commute, I skirt West Peak in Meriden, Connecticut; this hill spots an impressive collection of antenna farms resting on its crown. Depending on traffic, I try to sneak a peek to admire the hardware installed up there.
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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cool Site of the Day 

This great site of a The Early Television Museum and Foundation in Ohio, has lots of photos and advertising scans of old televisions, television accessories and equipment and antennas.  Below is the legendary dual quad loop with reflector elements VHF Low & VHF High Telesine.

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FM Radio Extends Efforts to Help Haiti

 Nothing like terrestrial broadcast radio and televsion in an emergency to get news and information out to help organize the efforts and save lives.  Read it all here...

Radio Extends Efforts to Help Haiti

Via RadioWorld Online

Also this from NPR...

Haitians Find Lifeline In Local Radio Station 

Listen or read on the link...

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Tiny Motz Wooden FM Radio

Via Technabob

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Friday, January 29, 2010

The Antenna as Art

Move over Charles Eames and Herman Miller.  Antennas Direct's design team has been changing the face of antenna design.  This photograph is from an exhibition last year at Abstrakt Art Gallery, sponsored by Objex Design.  Featuring the ClearStream line of antennas.  Hat's off to the people at Antennas Direct/Terrestrial Digital for bringing this innovative and beautiful line of antennas to market.

Link to original article.

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LG's NEW Retro CRT Television

Speaking of mid century retro design....check out the new Series 1 Retro Classic TV from LG!


Hat Tip Jim_in_Seattle & Technobob 

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WaPo Article on Internet TV - Boxee & Hulu

Replacing Your TV Antenna with an Internet Connection by Using Boxee or Hulu

By Rob Pegoraro
Washington Post, Sunday, January 31, 2010 

Last weekend, I caught up on a few TV shows I'd missed, but the experience wasn't a rerun of my usual viewing routines.
Although I watched these programs on the high-definition set in the living room, no digital video recorder or cable on-demand service brought them there.
Instead, I turned to the Web -- but using an Internet connection as a TV antenna didn't mean I had to tap a keyboard to summon my choice of content.
I just had to install two free programs on a computer, Boxee ( and Hulu Desktop (, that bridge the gap between the Web and the biggest screen at home.
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Apple iPad: Bashed by Bloggers Around the Web

Apple iPad: Bashed by Bloggers Around the Web

The Guardian

The iPad turned out to be, at bottom, an iPod Touch with a big screen. It failed to offer a magical new 3D interface, or an OLED screen, or a built-in projector, or any other revolutionary features. Indeed, it doesn't even have basic features such as a webcam, microphone, USB port, SD card slot, HDMI port, or a standard mobile phone SIM slot, though some of these will be provided at extra cost, via adaptors.

No Flashplayer too?

Ay, yay yay!

The list gets longer and longer...

Lots of links off the article to what the iPad doesnt have (but should or could have had).

Is this the reincarnation of the Apple Newton?

Money line...
Fake Steve Jobs (actually, Newsweek's technology editor Dan Lyons) summed it all up in his live-blog of the launch:
11:01– and i know what you're thinking – we came up with a new device and all we could think to do with it is run the apps that run on your iphone, and have a clone of Kindle, and now run iWork apps? um, yes. that's all we could come up with.
11:04– good lord, did i really say this is the most important thing i've ever done in my life?

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The Return of the Rabbit Ears!

Great article in the LA Times.  Check it out!

Rabbit Ears Make Comeback in Digital TV Era

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Winegard FreeVision FV-HD30

Winegard FreeVision FV-HD30

I havent gotten my mind around this one real well. However it seems to be a rather uninspiring antenna.  It has negative gain on VHF High and the UHF gain curve is a huge hump producing 6 dB gain in the middle and sloping off at the upper and lower ends.   It may be better than the HD 1080, but you would think that Winegard would have improved from their last less than stellar performing offering.  The 76 series remains the last great series from Winegard. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit Mixx Facebook squidoo newsvine

The Best Cold War Documentary of All Time!

Yesterday I blogged about the Best comprehensive WW2 documentaries of All Time.   I think that the Cold War deserves a mention as well.  And CNN has the goods!

The 1999 CNN production of The Cold War 

From Wikipedia

Cold War is a twenty-four episode television documentary series about the Cold War (1947–1990). Jeremy Isaacs produced the 1998 program in a style similar to his previous series, The World at War (1973). Businessman Ted Turner created the series as a joint production between the Turner Broadcasting System and the BBC, originally broadcast on CNN in the U.S. and BBC Two in the U.K.. It was narrated by Kenneth Branagh. It featured interviews with leading political figures and people who witnessed and lived through the conflict. The complete Cold War series was released on VHS in the U.S. and the U.K., but has not been reissued.

There is quite a bit of video on the net. Here is the first episode.

There was quite a bit of criticism of the series as it appeared, debates in newspapers and television programs at the time.  This is just the nature of the territory with regards to Western Leftists and their apologetic revisionist history.  Commentary Magazine printed this comprehensive criticism, and noted auther and former Communist and New Leftist Ronald Radosh produced this criticism.

Never the less, this stands uncontested as the single greatest video overview of the Cold War and is well worth seeking out.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Antennas Direct Micron & Micron XG

Antennas Direct now has available the Micron and soon the Micron XG.   Can be used on a table top, or mounted to the wall.  The XG version will also have a reflector screen for improved gain and directivity.  Looks pretty sharp.

Word on the street is that it is basically a ClearStream1 Convertible with a different skin that some may find more aesthetically pleasing, however the Micron is not designed to be used outdoors like the ClearStream1...and that is good news, because the ClearStream1 is a great small antenna that performs well with its tapered wide surface area loop!

Another great product from Antennas Direct!


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The Future of Video Entertainment & Television Broadcasting

The Future on TV

The Wall Street Journal, January 5, 2010

 Creative destruction and a new scramble for America's couch potatoes.


In this world, Fox Broadcasting's victory Friday in winning retransmission fees from Time Warner Cable might seem a case of one corpse feeding on another, slightly healthier corpse. Broadcasters are supposed to be on suicide watch because they lack even cable's dual revenue streams (advertising and subscription). But the free-to-air TV distributors may yet have a card up their sleeves.

... live-transmission TV doesn't make much sense in an on-demand world—that is, except news and sports, the only programming that large numbers of people are likely to want to consume at exactly the same moment.

It just so happens that over-the-air broadcasters, now that they have multiple, crystalline hi-def digital channels at their disposal, may prove the best way to deliver live programming over a given geographical area. After a recent column on this subject, several readers emailed to say they've already dropped cable and now get their video from a combination of free HDTV plus on-demand downloads from the likes of Netflix, iTunes or Amazon.

And surely one of Ben Bernanke's unenumerated greenshoots lately has been the unexpected surge in HDTV antenna sales since last year's digital switch. Look to Western Europe, where the digital transition began earlier. Viewers willing to rely on over-the-air digital broadcast TV have grown to 42 million from 31 million in three years, according to the International Television Expert Group. They are expected to hit 59 million in 2013. A new European standard-setting body called HbbTV (for hybrid broadcast-broadband TV) has even been launched to consecrate the wedding of on-demand and over-the-air.
In the long run, we wouldn't care to bet which programming aggregator will be a winner, but here's a guess at what TV viewing will look in five years: You will point an iPhone-like device at the nearest screen in order to play any kind of video, whether stored on the device's own memory, downloaded from a third-party site or plucked from an over-the-air signal.

Somehow, too, programmers will get paid, or there won't be programming. One thing is also clear: If you're playing in this sandbox, there is no better leverage than owning rights to college and professional football, especially during bowl season.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The 100th Anniversary of Public Broadcasting

Radio Activity: The 100th Anniversary of Public Broadcasting

Since its inception, public radio has had a crucial role in broadcasting history - from FDR's "Fireside Chats" to the Internet Age 

By Marina Koestler Ruben, January 26, 2010


On January 13, 1910, tenor Enrico Caruso prepared to perform an entirely new activity: sing opera over the airwaves, broadcasting his voice from the Metropolitan Opera House to locations throughout New York City. Inventor Lee deForest had suspended microphones above the Opera House stage and in the wings and set up a transmitter and antenna. A flip of a switch magically sent forth sound.

The evening would usher out an old era—one of dot-dash telegraphs, of evening newspapers, of silent films, and of soap box corner announcements. In its place, radio communications would provide instant, long-distance wireless communication. In 2009, America celebrated the 40th anniversary of the creation of National Public Radio; thanks to deForest, 2010 marks the centennial of the true birth of the era of public broadcasting.



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EV's Favorite UHF/FM/VHF TV Amplifiers

Here is a list of some of the best amplifiers on the market.  I highly recommend these units.

AntennaCraft 10G212

The 10G212 is a mast mounted pre-amplifier.  It offers high variable gain of 20 dB to 30 dB on both UHF and VHF with low 3 dB noise.  Includes a switchable FM Trap and Variable Gain knob easily accessed on the Power Supply unit.  This amplifier has been sold for decades under the Radio Shack brand.  Weatherproof.

Channel Master Titan 7777
The CM 7777 is a mast mounted preamplifier.  It offers high gain on UHF and medium gain on VHF of 26 dB and 17 dB repspectively at the very low noise of 2 dB.  It also includes an FM Trap, switchable from inside the mast mounted box.  Plus UHF/VHF combined input, UHF only, VHF only, or VHF & UHF...essentially having a switchable UVSJ in the unit.  Weatherproof.

Winegard HDP-269
The Winegard 269 is a mast mounted preamplifier.  It offers 12 dB gain on UHF and VHF at 3 dB noise.  It has an integrated 12 dB FM Trap, non switchable.  Its claim to fame is that it is by far and away the most overload resistant amp out there.  Weatherproof.

KitzTech KT-100VG
The KitzTech is an ultra low noise UHF/VHF amplifier or preamplifier.  It's noise figure is 1 dB.  Variable gain 0 to 20 dB.  No FM Trap. Very high quality build and components. Made in Canada!

Motorola BDA series

This is a nice little series of bi-directional cable modem TV amplifiers.   Noise figure of 2.5 dB.   GAsFET design.  No FM Trap.  It comes in 3 flavors.  The BDA-S1 has one output with 15 dB gain, the BDA-S2 has 2 outputs with 11 dB gain, and the BDA-S4 has 4 outputs of 7 dB gain.  Solid high quality build.  Weather resistant.

Pico Macom TA-52
This is the ultimate monster amplifier.  It seemingly does it all.  Ill just post the description since it's so sophisticated.  More specs on the link.

54~108MHz, 174~216MHz, 470~806MHz frequency range (Chan. 2-6/FM Band, Chan. 7-13, Chan. 14-69)
52dB high gain typical, provides excellent carrier to noise performance for superior picture quality
3 independently adjustable band, gain, and slope controls (VHF-low, VHF-high, UHF) for optimal carrier to noise ratio and easy system balancing
Dual switchable input attenuators eliminate overloading and reduce harmonic distortion preserving picture quality
Convenient front access switchable FM trap filter eliminates high level local FM radio stations reducing harmonic distortion
-20dB output test point enables simplified setup and performance monitoring without service interruption
Combined or separate VHF/UHF inputs provide application flexibility
Internal power supply employs voltage surge protection circuitry for increased life
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The Best WW2 Documentary of All Time

The BBC 1973 production of The World at War.

From Wikipedia 
The World at War is a 26-episode British television documentary series on World War II and the events immediately prior to and after it. It was produced by Jeremy Isaacs, narrated by Laurence Olivier and its score composed by Carl Davis. A book, The World at War, was written by Mark Arnold-Forster to accompany it.
The series was commissioned by Thames Television during 1969. Such was the extent of its research, it took four years to produce at a cost of £900,000 (2009 equivalent: £11.4 million[1]). At the time, this was a record for a British television series. It was first shown during 1973, on ITV.
The series interviewed major members of the Allied and Axis campaigns, including eyewitness accounts by civilians, enlisted men, officers and politicians, amongst them Albert Speer, Karl Dönitz, Walter Warlimont, Jimmy Stewart, Bill Mauldin, Curtis LeMay, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, Alger Hiss, Toshikazu Kase, Mitsuo Fuchida, Minoru Genda, J.B. Priestley, Brian Horrocks, John J. McCloy, Lawrence Durrell, Arthur Harris, Charles Sweeney, Paul Tibbets, Anthony Eden, Traudl Junge, Mark Clark, Adolf Galland and historian Stephen Ambrose.
In the programme The Making of "The World at War", included in the DVD set, Jeremy Isaacs explains that priority was given to interviews with surviving aides and assistants rather than recognised figures. The most difficult person to locate and persuade to be interviewed was Heinrich Himmler's adjutant, Karl Wolff. During the interview, he admitted to witnessing a large-scale execution in Himmler's presence.It is often considered to be the definitive television history of the Second World War. Some consider it the finest example of documentary. It also presented rare colour film footage of some of the war's events.

Which brings us to the 2nd best World War II documentary ever...

The 1952 NBC production Victory at Sea

From Wikipedia

Victory at Sea was a documentary TV series[1] about naval warfare during World War II that was originally aired by NBC in the USA during 1952-1953. It was condensed into a film in 1954. The music soundtrack, by Richard Rodgers and Robert Russell Bennett, was re-recorded and sold as record albums. The original TV broadcasts were in 26 half-hour segments on Sunday afternoons at 3pm (EST), starting October 26, 1952[1] and ending May 3, 1953. The series, which won an Emmy in 1954 as best public affairs program, played a major role in establishing historic documentaries as a viable television genre.

What are the differences?

The Victory at Sea series is very US centric and a bit jingoistic in that regard. It's target audience was US and people that actually experienced the war first hand. The Korean conflict was underway at this point as well. Being so close to the event and for a US only audience, those show. Also the Rodgers soundtrack is fantastic!

In comparison, the BBC being produced 30 years later, had been tempered by time. The British POV shows a bit, but its not as evident as the Victory at Sea production. It takes a broader view of the war and covers more aspects of it, from multiple perspectives.  It also shows more of the non military side of the conflict. Many who participated in the war were still alive and interviewed for the production...any production these days lacks that first hand interviewing ability. It may forever stand as the penultimate all encompassing documentary of WW2.

Enjoy! I know I did.

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Monday, January 25, 2010


Antennas Direct is rumored to be working on a new N-Bay bowtie collinear broadside array antenna, to supersede the the current DB Series. The DB8, DB4, and DB2. This new design will probably be tailored to the new more compact US digital television spectrum. 

Let's hope they keep the nice thick aluminum elements!

I also hope they keep the DB2 around as it makes a nice small indoor antenna.

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Battle over Tower in Minnesota

Who should take over radio tower: County or township?

The privately owned tower was donated to the township, but Carver County uses it for public safety communications.


Looks like the Township from all accounts owns the property and the tower. Either the county can pay the rental fees or buy it out right. … read more

A public fight over a privately owned radio tower is generating a lot of static between Carver County and Hollywood Township.

The township, with about 1,100 residents, is set to take possession of the 659-foot radio tower in the coming weeks as part of a donation from Northern Lights Broadcasting. But the county has $250,000 worth of equipment atop the tower that it uses for public safety radio communications with firefighters, paramedics, sheriff's deputies and other emergency personnel.

And Hollywood Township wants to increase its rent.


What rankles the county is not only the prospect that the township might try to charge more, but that such a vital safety link will be out of county control.


The tower, built in 1999, stands on 13 acres of township-owned land. It was built by a private company and later bought by Northern Lights, which has a new tower and facilities in New Hope. Northern Lights was paying about $9,000 a year in rent to the township.

Read more here...

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Cool Site of the Day

This site is fantastic!

Some highlights include, history of drive in theaters, old intermission videos, list of still operating drive ins nationwide, Route 66 map of drive ins.

These Drive-Ins are making somewhat of a comeback due to baby boomer nostalgia.  I sure hope they do.

Find one on the link near you and make a date for the Drive In!

Check it out!

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Gizmo of the Day

Today EV is starting a new recurring installment, known as Gizmo of the Day.  

And the First Gizmo is...

Balanced 3 Way Splitter

These are relatively rare, and you will have to specifically seek them out.  Often times you wont need such precsicion and a regular 3 (or 4) Way splitterwill suffice.  

What do they do?

A regular 3 way splitter splits the signal once, and then from one of those splits, splits the signal again, to produce 3 outputs.  However the first split, that is not split again has only 3.5 dB loss or so.  The split that was split again into two, has an insertion loss on each output of 7 dB or so.  So the output ports are 3.5 dB down, 7 dB down, and 7 dB down from the input signal.  This can often be advantageous as you run the lowest lost (3.5 dB) output port and thus highest signal to your longest run of coax (which has correspondingly higher losses) or where there is another split down the line, or to your weakest tuner.   But sometimes you will be working with slim margins to dropout or would prefer the precision of Balanced 3 Way Splitter, which equalizes the loss to each of the 3 output ports to 5.5 dB or so.  

As I said it's uncommonly used and thus uncommonly found.  But now you know it exists! Pictured is a Regal Balanced 3 Way splitter.  Note that its looks exactly like a typical 3 Way splitter.

And that is the Gizmo of the Day! 

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Parents Say No to High Powered Wi-Fi Antenna at Elementary School

Big antenna brouhaha!  I don't know enough to comment, so presented for your illumination.

Parents: No Antenna at Elementary School

By Elisabeth Nardi

Via The Silicon Valley Mercury News


The simmering concern over exposure to omnipresent radio and other kinds of electromagnetic waves boiled over this week as parents angrily reacted to the idea of putting an Internet antenna on a school campus near its playground.

The district is looking at $15,000 a year; the parents fear harm to their children.

At a sometimes raucous meeting this week, Walnut Creek parents likened the antenna, which would emit radio waves 24 hours a day, to a "science experiment."

"I don't want my kids used as an experiment," said John Johnson. "Wi-Fi is not that important."

More than 100 people showed up to voice their concerns about the proposed 37-foot antenna tower, which would be disguised to look like an evergreen tree at Walnut Heights Elementary School. It would be at the back of school, on the edge of the neighboring Shell Ridge Open Space.

Proposed by Clearwire of Kirkland, Wash., the antenna would support subscribers to the company's WiMax broadband service, touted as much stronger than standard Wi-Fi.

If approved, the Clearwire contract could bring in around $15,000 a year for the district.


James Gray with TRK Engineering, which researched the antenna for Clearwire, said the tower would emit radiation only at levels considered acceptable by the Federal Communications Commission. But those levels have been called into question in recent years.

A Columbia University biophysics professor questioned the federal standards and said there is research that links radio waves to health problems.

Martin Blank cited numerous potential health effects of electromagnetic radiation, including Alzheimer's disease and leukemia, and studies backing the link.

Some districts have expressed concern about antenna placement. The Los Angeles school board adopted resolutions in 2000 and 2009 opposing cellular facilities on or near school campuses to minimize exposure to electromagnetic and radio frequency radiation.

Parents and neighbors at Wednesday night's meeting, frustrated by a lack of research on the effects of radio waves, said the Walnut Creek tower would not be worth the public health risk.

Some said the district did not properly notify parents and neighbors of the informational meeting. Chuck Carroll, whose house would be 300 feet away from the antenna, said he worried he would have to wear a "tinfoil hat."


Read it all on the link...

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Two New FM Antennas from APS

Antenna Performance Specialties have 2 new FM antenna designs available.   My guess is that these are decent performers "out of spec'd band",  so that they would be good across the FM band for at least receive purposes.  

Catchy names too! 

FM High-5

Specs & Details

Price: $149.95 
Boom Length: 53.5"
Elements: 5 (1 driven)
Turning Radius: 29"
Frequency Range: 104.5-108 MHz
Average Gain: 5.3 dBd
Average Front-to-Back Ratio: 17 dB
Impedence: 75 0hms
Average SWR: <1.5:1

FM Low-6

Specs & Details

Price: $149.95 
Boom Length: 80" 
Elements: 6 (1 driven)
Turning Radius: 44.5"
Frequency Range: 88-92 MHz
Average Gain: 7.3 dBd
Average Front-to-Back Ratio: 19 dB
Impedence: 75 0hms
Average SWR: <1.5:1>

Features  Common to Both

Computer designed using State-of-the-Art software.
Weather sealed coaxial direct-connection for protection against the elements.
Closely spaced and coupled driven element/1st director for a superior impedance match.
Element lengths and spacings tapered for highest efficiency.
Real 75 ohm impedence; no balun transformer is used.

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New TV Antennas Coming out of China

DigiWave out of Canada has a slew of new antenna are the highlights.

Digiwave ANT 3045

This Chinese antenna is designed for Chinese television bands which are slightly different than the US. This means that the VHF High loops are a bit undersized, and thus performance takes a hit. Furthermore the rotor is a disappointment and the electronics are horrendous. However I still love this innovative design with the VHF Double Loops around the UHF reflector screen, plus the UHF Double Loops. Very promising, design. The elements are nice thick aluminum as well, and the VHF and UHF sections each have their own circuit board matching transformer baluns. For myself, I removed all the superfluous electronics and keep the antenna and the baluns tying them together with a UVSJ, and performance is pretty darn good. The build quality is lacking, bu the design is promising.

Digiwave ANT 2075

Another Chinese import which is tuned to slightly different television bands than the US market. I however love the VHF High through UHF Log Perodic design of this antenna, and it works fairly well for the US. I know a fellow that has 2 of these ganged. Like the Double Double Loop from Digiwave above, would like to see something similar designed specifically for the US market. The double boom design adds strength to the antenna.

Digiwave ANT 7287 & ANT 7288

These are interesting twists on the 8 Bay Collinear Broadside Fan Dipole Array, commonly known as the 8 Bay Bowtie. They include a center hinge so that the 4 Bay sections can be angled wider apart or in toward each other. While aiming the 2 sections in these manner are somewhat unpredictable, I really like the versatility this gives the advanced antenna experimenter...or those with difficult situations, with TV transmissions coming from a wide angle of directions.

Dont know if I like the 7287 or 7288 better, as I havent had these to physically inspect there build and dimensions.

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

This Old House How to Install a Roof Antenna

Ask This Old House - Installing a Rooftop TV Antenna

There are several issues with improper installation in this video, but it gives you a nice overview of what an antenna installation entails.

Segment starts at about 5 minutes 26 seconds on first video, or about half way.

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Happy Birth Day to EscapeVelocity Blog!

It begins!

Hope that others will find this blog informative and entertaining. I will be discussing antennas, gadgets, A/V equipment and perhaps optics on this blog. Sharing ideas and insights.

Looking forward to comments from readers.

Happy New Year 2010!


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