Monday, October 13, 2008

DIY Television Technology

Our local NBC station is currently in a contract dispute with Time Warner, the only cable provider in my area. That means the cable company does not carry NBC at the moment, so no Chuck, Heroes or The Office.

We kept thinking the contract thing would get resolved, but it still hasn't. So, last Monday, 15 minutes before Chuck started, Kim suggested we rig up an antenna and see if we could get the broadcast signal in time to see everyone's favorite nerd/spy. 

I looked at the back of the tv, had no idea what to do, then ran to Google and searched for instructions on making an antenna. I found this 3 minute video, watched it, tracked down the necessary parts, made it and plugged it in with minutes to spare. It works great - we get a perfectly clear signal.

How cool is that! I went from knowing nothing about building an antenna, to actually building it (out of a coaxial cable and a soup can) and using it. 

I said to Kim "it's not just an antenna - it's a can-tenna..." To which she replied, "No, it's a Dan-tenna."

7 comments:

Rhet said...

Nice...but your homemade antenna will cease working on 17 Feb 2009 when the FCC forces all analog TV off the air. Along similar lines, you can make a pretty nifty wifi antenna from a Pringles can to steal your neighbor's wifi, er, I mean extend the range of your wifi signal!

Mark said...

Didn't you learn soup-can-antenna making at Clarkson? What kind of EE curriculum are they running there anyway?

Deb said...

A Dan-Can-tenna.....great! There's such talent in this family!! :)

The Dan Ward said...

Good point, Rhet! I actually intended to point that out in the original post, pointing out that opportunities for the DIY hobbiest to do things like this is diminishing (along with DIY auto repair in our increasingly computerized age)... but I was so excited I forgot. :)

Gabe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gabe said...

Mmmmmmmm.....

Antennas......

Passante said...

Truly, awesomely cool, Dan.

When I was a student, I hot wired a transistor radio (how I date myself) to a reel-to-reel tape recorder (oops dating myself again) that had a marginally bigger speaker in order to get slightly superior sound. I had no clue what I was doing -- I just got into the innards of both and poked wires here and there until it worked.

Then there's what I did to the shilling-in-the-slot electric meter in my dorm room when I ran short of shillings, but we'll draw a veil over that because it was illegal.