Build A High Efficiency HDTV Antenna
By James Grahame
I wrote "The End Of The Television Age" several years ago, lamenting the disappearance of TV antennas across North America.
It looks like I spoke too soon -- the lowly TV antenna is going through a massive resurgence thanks to the arrival of HDTV. It turns out that many over-the-air HDTV channels are of higher quality than their highly compressed cable or satellite counterparts. Most viewers in urban areas now have access to crystal clear broadcasts without traditional problems like ghosting, snow and interference.
Things are a bit trickier for people living in the suburbs. Weak signals don't merely result in a degraded picture, they often cause ugly dropouts that can make a channel unwatchable. The solution is to install a high-efficiency UHF antenna, which can be an expensive proposition. It turns out that one of the best models is actually a DIY design based on a couple of patents filed by Doyt R. Hoverman in the late 1950s.
A team of Canadian amateur designers set about improving Hoverman's work with the help of modern computer modeling. They managed to achieve an "extraordinary leap in UHF Television Antenna reception performance that rivals and beats most or all of today's commercially available UHF Television antennas." Flush with their success, they turned around and released their design as a free project.
I recently moved about 40 km outside Calgary, so I'm looking forward to building and testing one of these... as soon as the major networks get around to offering HD OTA broadcasts in Canuckistan, that is.