Question: How much money do you have into your OTA antenna system?


Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
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Okay I am curious, at what point does your setup cost too much, and conversly, how cheaply can you do it? And who has the most outrageously pricey setup? :eek:

Here's what I have into it:

Radio shack U-75 antenna, $35
Piece of PVC attic mount $ 0 (leftover from sprinkler installation)
House already wired $ 0
Various splitters cables $20
"Mystery" Distribution Amp $15 (clearance at Kmart)
*TOTAL* $70 - plus taxes, of course!

With this I get signal from 3 sets of translators @ 10, 18, & 33 miles in a Utah Valley. 12 distinct channels, lots of sub channels.

In the future, I'll probably replace that amp ($45), move that antenna to the roof ($40) and maybe, if feasible add a second UHF antenna to get a single station just at the fringe in Malad, Idaho THAT could be pricey.


Fringe Reception

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Project 35 was my first recent build. I had a shop weld the parasitic elements to the boom on my old VHF-12 antenna and he charged me $20, so I have around $22 in it. That's far to expensive, so I came up with a better plan for future builds.

Project 38 and 48 Yagis cost about $5.00 for both booms (a single piece of aluminum tubing), the parasitic elements, reflector and driven element (folded dipoles) were formed from a spool of Radio Shack aluminum grounding wire I bought at a garage sale for $1.00, the insulators for the elements are 'picture hanger plugs' for drywall and probably cost $2.00, I made my own baluns from RG-59CU I already had (retired) here, and the 'U' bolts came from Radio Shack at about $7.00 per pair, so each antenna cost about $7.50.

I also use an old-style CM-4228 and I found it on Craigslist for around $50.

I use no amplifiers but I did replaced the coax with RG-6 which goes to the $5.00 surplus CM antenna switch I found at a recycle shop.

Both telescopic masts were purchased used on Craigslist, at about $80, total. I already had the wall brackets and ancillary hardware like turnbuckles for guy wires, rotors, etc.

So in closing, it all cost about the same as one month of Premium Cable and I'll laugh all the way to the bank! :D



Moderator, , Webmaster of Cache Free TV
Staff member
Damn jim!

And I thought I was cheap!

How far out are you getting with that rig?

Good work... Now, if you could give us some DETAILED plans, mmmm? I am looking to get a directional station specific UHF to try to get the last of the networks (ION, Qubo for my kids) that I *might* get... Trip says there's a application for CW in my closest set of translators. If only Retro TV were anywhere close to me...

Mr. "If it's free, it's for me!" Pogi
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Moderator, , Webmaster of EV's Antenna Blog
About $175 in the system.

Kosmic SuperQuad
Gemini Orbit 360 Rotator
Channel Master 7777 Amp
50 ft RG6

Chimney Mount is from legacy system.


Hand-built Hoverman variant... $20.

Winegard HD-9032... $46.

AntennaCraft Y5-7-13... $28.

Cable, splitter, UVSJ, etc. ... $20.

Forty-one channels of free, over-the-air TV, not counting duplicates... priceless.


I also use an old-style Channel Master CM-4228. If I recall correctly it was something like $60 shipped to the house from an online dealer. I bought RG-6 locally for maybe $15 or $20 for about 75 feet. I am sure I can add in another $20 for other accessories. Maybe it has been more, since things were not added all at once. One thing I learned locally is that no one store was the cheapest on everything. Sometimes Menard's would have a sale, other times Mill's Fleet Farm beat them. I guess call it $100 to $125, depending on what is considered part of the system.

Oh, and mine is exactly what I DON'T recommend. It is mounted in the crawl space above my attached garage. That is absolutely NOT what I wanted, but when I bought my hobby farm there already was a VHF-UHF log periodic in the attic above the garage. It went to the horse barn when I bought the CM-4228. I decided to try it there and it has worked just fine. I did have some issues with MPDI (Multi Path Distortion Interference) at first, but once I found the "sweet spot" all is well. Granted, I would rather have it on the roof outside, but I am married. (And if Momma ain't happy, there ain't nobody happy!)


AntennasDirect 91XG: $60.94
AntennaCraft Y5-2-6 & Pico-Macom HLSJ: $41.93
AntennasDirect C5 (Open Box): $75.00
Channel Master CM-7777: $73.96

All prices include shipping, total: $251.83

This setup, about 40 miles north of D/FW (which I refer to my as my attic ``antenna farm''), pulls in a total 62 ATSC channels and three NTSC stations.
Channel Master 4228 on rotor with preamp
Radio Shack U-100 aimed at WYPX no preamp
Winegard HD7015 fixed at Albany antenna farm no preamp
Antennacraft Y5-7-13 fixed on Rutland, VT no preamp

Antenna support
120' Rohn 45
20' section 1 1/2" galvanized water pipe
CDE Ham-m rotor
400' 9 conductor #14 rotor cable
2 ea 12" wall mount brackets
2 ea 5' TV mast

400' 3/4" CATV hardline
100' RG-6

HDP-269 with UVSJ used as a high pass filter.

For channels 9 and 50
A/B switch for 4228/preamp

I have no idea what it cost.
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Zero Dollars for me. I use old coax from a satellite dish upgrade at work. I use a Blonder Tongue antenna cut to channel 20 for one transmitter, courtesy of the station, and I use a 20 plus year old V/U combo picked up on the side of the road with mast pole still intact only for its VHF capability.

All of the UHF antennas I use except for the one mentioned above are home made out of junk that was lying around in my garage, and from my replacing my electrical service panel from 150 amp to 200 amps 2 years ago. 8 gauge copper wire makes good bow tie elements for UHF antenna fabrication. But I do imagine I am an exception to the average response though.


Not much...

i had a spool of rg-6 from years ago.
I bought a commercial grade balun with a rubber boot for .99 so I bought 10 of them just to have them.
I got a few bags of r connectors i bought from Radio shack when I worked there as a teen and kept them all these years.
I bought an Ant-108, which didnt work all that well, the company refunded my money but told me to keep the antenna.
So guess I have about 5 bucks in my system.
its a temp fix only as i am still trying to find something better all the time..