Antenna Hacks
  • Trying to evaluate various off the shelf HDTV antennas?
  • Looking for a way to tweak the performance of an existing antenna?
  • Ever hacked an antenna yourself, for any reason, and think your "How To" info might be useful to someone else?

Check the links below for some hopefully useful info!
IMPORTANT! See "A More Important Message" below!

While these pages are initially focused on VHF and UHF antennas for Over The Air (OTA) digital television (DTV) reception, well documented hacks of any antenna, for any purpose, are welcome.

Antenna Comparisons Actual field measured signal strength comparisons of popular VHF/UHF Antennas.
Antenna Hacks Documented modifications of several VHF and UHF antennas.
Combiner Comparisons For antenna DIY enthusiasts.  This page includes some spectrum analyzer screen shots comparing the performance of various off the shelf combiners. Top trace is the input, bottom trace is output.
(Note: this page contains a number of large .jpg pictures.  Be patient.)
Combiner Measurements The measurement test setup used in the "Combiner Measurements" are detailed here.
(Note: this page contains a number of large .jpg pictures.  Be patient.)
DVR+ Review This is the full review of the Channel Master DVR+ review whose "Summary" section has been posted to It provides full details of all issues encountered.
An HDTV Primer Another web site that provides extensive technical background on antenna choice, installation, and modification, including performance models of many commercial designs.
Contact Us If you have comments, criticisms, flames, or suggestions, send 'em!
Email Bug #1: A server address change caused email to be lost for a few months!
Email Bug #2: For some time the "Contact Us" form did not verify valid email address were entered in the "From:" field.
Email Bug #3: 2012.06.05 - Discovered we're brain dead via Google Chrome.
If you've sent email that has not been responded to please try again.  Our humble apologies.
An Important Message: TV Antennas continue to work after the "DTV Cutover" !!!
  Somehow, in spite of all the promotional ads carried by TV Stations prior to the DTV cutover, people continue to ask questions like "Why would you put an antenna?  Didn't they stop working after the cutover?"  The answer is "absolutely not!".  The info here is intended to help in choosing, installing, and/or hacking antenna systems that provide over the air reception of the best HD quality TV possible - Free TV!

A More Important Message:  Free TV Is Under Attack!
  The FCC is currently entertaining proposals from wireless industry proponents that could end free over the air television broadcasting!  The proposal would require television broadcasters to give up the radio spectrum now allocated to broadcasting so that it can be used for mobile applications.  The only recourse for viewers would be to subscribe and pay for cable or satellite service.

National Security and Public Safety could be severely impacted.   Over the air broadcast is decentralized by design.  Each broadcaster maintains independent transmission equipment, and in many cases they broadcast from different locations around a given area, and are powered from different sources.  In contrast, Satellite distribution depends on relatively few transmission facilities; common uplinks, backhaul, satellites, etc.  Likewise, many cable distribution systems depend on common satellite and or fiber backhaul facilities.  A well planned terrorist attack could much more easily cut off large geographic areas from public information by disrupting fewer common and centralized systems like satellite and cable than they could the more de-centralized over the air transmission facilities.

Who will suffer the most?  The lower income, under priveledged, and elderly.  Those who can least afford to spend $50 to $70 per month.  They won't be able to pay; they'll just go dark.  The government is suppossed to serve the public!  How can it be in the best interest of these people to cut them off from public information?

Statistics on percentage of Over The Air viewership.
Some broadcasters indicate the percentage of over the air viewers as closer to 20% rather than the 10% FCC Chairman Genachowski keeps citing. These numbers need to be credibly qualified before making a decision based on them.

Who says the TV spectrum is only solution?
To arrive at such a conclusion one would expect an unbiased study of multiple spectrum choices, followed by review and consensus by all industries utilizing those choices.  To push forward a proposal based on the recommendation of single industry segment, as is being done now, and then to make a decision based on it, is clearly irresponsible.
What can you do?
[1] I urge you to go to this FCC link where you can file a public comment.  Select  "09-51 National Broadband Plan Notice of Inquiry".  Keep it objective; it is numbers that will count.
[2] Write to your Senators and Representatives.
[3] Write to the Secretary of Homeland Security:
       Secretary Janet Napolitano
       Department of Homeland Security
       U.S. Department of Homeland Security
       Washington, DC 20528
[4] Send an email to President Obama asking him to encourage FCC Chairman Genachowski to back off on the issue of shutting down over the air TV broadcasting.

You've got to get vocal if you want to preserve Free TV!
Contribute A Hack!
  If you'd like to contribute a hack click on the "Contact Us" link above.  Submissions should reasonably include more than just a proud photo of the antenna in service.  Drawings and/or additional photos sufficient enough to enable someone else to duplicate the work should be included.

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