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   When I decided to try Free OTA HD TV (Free Over The Air High Definition TV), A few years ago after being a long term customer with the cable company I was calling for the latest greatest deal and on that day there was not a deal and the Customer service representative really didn't care that I had been a customer for almost 2o years. When I mentioned that I was a customer for 20 years, I was quickly corrected by no sir it has been 18 years and 10 months. Well I certainly felt like I was a loyal customer but at the end of the day my time with the cable company did not get me any type of discount and I switched to a Direct TV. I went on to finish my two contract with Direct Tv but was tired of paying bills for TV service. During the last six months of my Direct Tv contract I started fooling around with Free OTA HD broadcasted tv. 

The Journey to Free OTA HD TV

  I started the journey with a piece of bailing wire shaped into a configuration to make a cheap antenna and attached a balun with coaxial cable to my TV I had in the garage and instantly I started receiving TV channels. That was an eye opening experience and hilarious at the same time how easy it was to receive FREE  OTA tv and thanks to all the you tube videos I watched about making your own TV Antenna. Trust me it works but there are lots of factors involved, line of sight to the tv tower, hills, trees, height of antenna to name a few.

  I continued to fool around with the antenna and I could get several channels and two network channels NBC, CBS but not ABC, in my area ABC is on a different band so there was some frustration and I knew if I was ever to cancel my paid subscription I definitely needed ABC since a lot of my wifes favorite shows are on ABC and I needed a way to record shows. 

   The time had come to do more research and I used the  Tv fool website to assist in giving me an idea of what TV signals I could really receive in addition to going to the tv stations website to find what mhz the station was being broadcasted on. Tv Fool has a free tool where you key in your address and you will get a report of what channels you may receive. In my instance I could receive many free channels including all the network channels. Below is my report from TV fool.


tv fool sample station spreadsheet and directional graph


   Tv antennas are not created equal of course there are top of the line and cheap antennas. My goal was to not break the bank but receive all the stations I wanted and not mount an Antenna on my house. We have home owners association where I live and I did not want to go through all the hassle of trying to get my antenna approved or possibly denied. I started with a cheap antenna less than $20 and was able to pick up a lot of channels but not ABC and then I thought to myself well now I would have to buy several cheap antennas to put on all the Tv's in my house ( 5 of them) which now would run the price up times 5 and I am still not receiving ABC so that was a deal breaker for the cheapest antenna which I gave to my daughter who lives in the city and she was able to get all the channels including ABC so she has no cable bill and enjoys free OTA HD tv. I live over 30 miles away from the TV towers with lots of hills and trees in the line of sight to the towers.

The Resolution

   My next antenna was a GE attic antenna which I mounted in the attic and connected to the master bedroom tv which got a lot of channels but not ABC. Frustration again, and Spent about $40 dollars for the GE antenna but I was not going to give up. My next purchase was the Clearstream 4  - 70 mile range antenna which I installed in the attic even though it is an outdoor antenna and I received all the channels 36 of them to be exact including ABC which really was not supposed to be picked up since the Abc channel is broadcast around 280 Mhz and this antenna went from 400 Mhz to 750 Mhz. I called clearstream customer support and explained how I was receiving ABC and the representative told me that is not uncommon however, you may wake up one day and not receive ABC and never get it back. He said he receives lots of calls from customers losing out of band channels. His suggestion was to get a VHF specific antenna to receive ABC and a antenna combiner to combine both signals into one coaxial cable. I followed the suggestion and purchased the Clearstream 5 antenna  and have been receiving all 36 channels with no problem even in rainstorms and high wind. Recording tv I went with a basic box only records one channel at a time, has loop through function so you can record and watch a different channel, and allows for external USB drive and did not break the bank coming in under $35 is the mediasonic Homeworx digital convertor box with recording.

   I also used attached the coaxial cable from the combiner to my house's cable box  and switched out the cable splitter with a new splitter and was able to receive Free OTA HD tv in my entire house using the existing cabling in the house that ran to every tv in our home. The OTA HD picture is incredible since it is an uncompressed signal not like the compressed signal the cable companies send you. 

   Please feel free to leave a comment, ask questions I would be happy to help you cut the cable bill.

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