Cheap and simple digital TV antenna

It’s been a long time since I posted the last one.  I got a new job and had to move to a new place in Windsor, Ontario and have been really busy with everything. Now I think I can resume this blogging with exciting projects.

Since I moved to this brand new house, I made a temporary TV antenna as shown below.
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I found this TV antenna design from internet some time ago and it really works quite well. A matching transformer in the middle in this picture is missing since I have already removed it to a new design. This one works fine but I don’t want to put this one on top of the roof because I don’t want to take any risk of thunder or even climbing up to the roof, nor to hang it on the living room wall because it is not that small (about 1m high) and doesn’t look pretty. So I decided to test very simple antenna that is cheap, small enough to be hidden behind a picture frame, and indoor.

The aluminum foil in the kitchen is always handy. I needed a support to attach two pieces of aluminum foil and found a piece of cardboard box. The size of each side of the aluminum foil is 250mm x 215mm. I didn’t test other than this size but it works good enough. You may want to try different size and shape of similar design for your TV. I could get over 20 channels with this.

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Since it is a brand new house, all the cable outlets on the walls in the living room (over the fireplace), in the master bedroom, and in the basement remain unconnected and exposed in front of the switch panel (power distribution panel) in the basement.

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I wanted to put the TV in the basement and wanted to put the antenna as high as possible and hopefully to be able to hide the antenna such as behind a picture frame (I don’t have it yet though.) above the fireplace. So I tested all the cables using my multimeter and identified which one was which and connected the two cables, one from the living room and one from the basement, and connected together as shown pictures below.

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Two pieces of the aluminum foil are connected to the TV antenna matching transformer and attached between the foil by using a hot glue.

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A short TV cable connects the antenna matching transformer and the outlet on the wall like this.

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Auto scanning of the DTV (digital TV) channels gave me 23 channels!
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Now I need a picture frame to hide the antenna.

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Soldering tips

I have heard complaints from many people that they couldn’t get the solder melted immediately on the spot where they want to solder. That’s because either the tip is not clean because of oxidant and burnt flux from the previous soldering or it is clean like the picture below after cleaning on a wet sponge but in this case, the contact surface of the tip and solder is not large enough to initiate melting the solder and while you are struggling to melt it, it starts form an oxidized layer (not shinny).

clean soldering iron tip

So, right after you clean the tip on a wet sponge, touch the tip immediately to the solder gently and this will make a small blob of solder as shown in the picture below.  Now there is melted solder on the tip, it is easy to start soldering.  Give it a try!  You will see what I mean.

soldering iron tip with a blob of solder