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RF Shorts – March 1, 2012

Tokyo Sky Tower Officially Completed
Steve Levenstein, writing on, reports Tower of Power: Tokyo Sky Tree Officially Completed on Leap Day 2012. Tokyo Sky Tree, the world's tallest free-standing broadcasting tower, was officially completed on Leap Day of 2012. The 2,080-foot (634-meter) tall tower soars almost twice as high as the 1958-built Tokyo Tower and will take over most of the orange and white downtown landmark's digital broadcasting duties." The article includes some excellent pictures of the Tokyo Sky Tree. Don't expect to be able to visit the observatory level at 1,476 feet until the Sky Tree opens on May 22. Tickets are available by reservation only. See the English language Tokyo Sky Tree Web site for more information.

"Hands-On" Review of Aereo TV in NYC Offered
Christina Warren had a chance to test Aereo in New York City, and reports on it in her article Aereo Gives New Yorkers Online Access to Live TV [HANDS ON] on See writes, "Logging in using my iPhone, iPad or Safari for Mac OS X has allowed me easy access to live programming as well as show recordings. The interface is clean and easy to navigate and it includes a searchable programming guide."

The article also discusses the legal problems that plagued other services offering broadcast TV over the Internet. Warren says: "It's a bit sad, and also very telling, that after describing Aereo to various friends and colleagues, the gut reaction is 'they are so sued.' Aereo, which has already raised $20 million in venture funding, led by IAC, is prepared for these challenges. CEO Chet Kanojia has joked that the funding is going towards infrastructure and legal fees."

Soda Can TV Antenna
Growing interest in off-air TV has led to an increasing number of articles on odd, home-built, TV antennas. The latest is from contributor Rich Reynolds on Over-the-Air Antenna describes how to build an indoor antenna a soda can, a piece of wood, two short lengths of small gauge wire, a 300 Ohm balun, and a piece of coax with F-connectors for attaching the balun to the TV. The developer says, "I have to admit mine works really well. We now get about eight channels, all local. The picture and audio are great! I even have the antenna set up in our basement family room, which has no windows or anything. Here is a picture of the TV displaying the local weather. Not too shabby for less than $10. Now the wife can watch the Olympics!"

The design is a simple dipole. While the 300 Ohm balun will not provide the correct impedance match to the antenna, the advantage of having a balanced feed should offset mismatch losses. I'm not sure how much the soda can improves reception, considering the wires are not soldered to it (difficult with an aluminum can), but they probably provide some end-loading, improving performance at VHF.