[Cue Deep Dramatic Narrator Voice] “In a world where there is no cable TV….”
[Cue dramatic apocalyptic background music]
Yeh, well, it happens.
You’re just going about living your life and something happens. Whether it’s because of some major event from mother nature, a traffic accident that takes a local box or the outcome of some “hey bubba, watch this” event, sooner or later we all have a cable outage.
So what do we do about it? Well, I’m certainly not inclined to miss a game if I can help it. Nor do I want to be left in the dark if our area is hit with some emergency.
Do like I did. Make a really cheap antenna in advance. File it away and pull it out when you need it.
Some people might go “What?! TV without cable? Is that legal?” Yes. It’s legal. People have been doing it since TV’s were invented. The FCC says it’s okay.
First, I’ll give you the link to the instructions, then I’ll share how I did it differently and how well it worked out.
How did I do it differently? I followed the majority of the instructions and found all the parts I needed in a local odd lots place that had them all very cheap. To make it extra simple, I simply glued the aluminum fractal pattern directly on a 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of card stock cut from a file folder. I also used a piece of paint stirring stick as a backing piece to provide a firm means of screw mounting the balun to the fractal pattern. I had no intention of putting mine somewhere appearances might actually matter. But to make it weather proof, I slipped it into a plastic sleeve like you use for notebooks to insert pages.
How does it work? Great considering it’s less than $6 for materials with most things you probably have already around. How do I mount mine? With thumbtacks. Cheap easy and simple to locate. I mounted one on the roof fascia of our shed, left it in place for several months during Florida rainy season and received excellent reception with a tiny little 6 inch TV. It’s been through several severe downpours and weathered fine.
Now that we’re in a cable outage, I simply climbed a ladder to access the attic area, thumb tacked it in place on a rafter and ran the cable to the TV across the floor. We cover the cable with rugs and it’s fine for a temporary situation. At least until the cable is restored. Several channels are available at full HD.
How’s the reception? You really have to experiment to find the best spot. I discovered that in the attic where it is currently, the garage door should be closed for the best reception. Higher and obstruction free especially from metals and electrical is best.
Considering the cost, it’s ease of mounting there is no reason a person can’t make one and then just keep it in their bag of tricks for when the right time comes.