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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