RF Shorts – Jan. 20, 2012

Optimizing Rabbit Ears

In another sign of increasing interest in off-air TV, I came upon this posting by Thorim Klosowski on LifeHacker.com: Set Up Your Rabbit Ears for Maximum Reception. I'm not sure that I understand the science behind his suggestion, but apparently it works. He says, "Start by angling the antennas in a 'V' shape. Next, angle one of the antennas at the broadcast tower you found above (if you're on the ground level assume it's a few stories high). HD signals take a few seconds to find, so give it five seconds before you start tweaking everything." Read the posting for complete instructions. And he cautions, "In some ways, getting reception is the equivalent to a sniper shooting a bullet straight into another sniper's gun barrel. If the above method doesn't work, angle both antennas at signal's origin. This gives you a wide barrel to catch the signal with." Given the reflections and scattering in most homes, I would say it is more like throwing a handful of buckshot and trying to strike the sniper's gun barrel with at least one of them.

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.