So I bought an interesting little toy for the compy- a digital TV tuner, the Elgato Hybrid USB. It's a little doobie with a USB plug on one end and a coax fiting at the other. Plug and play, as it were. It works reasonably well and there are no shortage of digital channels in Seattle, although most of them are boring.
So, in Seattle, there is some stupid bullshit with the Fox network. I have Dish Network and they rebroadcast all the local HD channels except Fox, which is in Tacoma. No idea how this came about, but the result of this is that I can't get Fox in HD over the television, and I watch House, 24, and football (and Schmoop is big on the Idol thing). So I'd hoped that I could record stuff to the compy and then burn DVD's to watch on the TV. The only rub? The distance/weakness of signal. I have now one through three alleged HD antennas, and some are pricey. Turns out the $9 one was the best, but it wouldn't tune in Fox from Tacoma. Damn it.
So I have dinked around with this fancy amplified one recently and it was a bust, and as I was considering what to do next, I thought I'd take an old coax cable and strip off one end down to the copper core and see how that would fare.
I farted about and cleared about 2.5' of copper on the end and bent it to a 10" loop and damned if that didn't tune and lock the Fox from Tacoma better than any of the other antennas. And that arbitrary diameter is apparently crucial, and highly directional. If I change the loop size, lights out. If I face the loop away from the transmitter, it's gets blocky and then goes out. That's nice with the digital transmissions in as much as there is no static- it either is perfect or out. So now I'm looking at returning the pricey antenna for another cheap one, and join the signals together.