OTA Antenna FAQs

Here are some Frequently asked questions I get about TV Antennas in my town:

  • What is the best antenna?
  • Can I go bigger?
  • Can I pick up channels from both Madison and Cedar Rapids?

What is the best antenna?

The best antenna is the one that fits your budget. Here is my handout I give folks who ask. I have it broken into three budgets. < $50 / $120 / $200
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1x113jqeepDhK4VtcKPQecNvcxV7hLQJXG0ZTiL3sqp0

Can I go bigger?

Short answer, no. Long answer, it depends but probably is not worth it. You can explore this page which describes running multiple DB8 antennas. Midway down the page you will find “Why this 16-bay antenna might not work”. Take a read through.
http://www.hdtvprimer.com/antennas/16bay.html
http://www.hdtvprimer.com/ANTENNAS/32bay.html

Can I pick up channels from both Madison and Cedar Rapids?

Again, short answer no. Long answer, maybe. Antennas like the DB8e have multiple elements that can be pointed in different directions. Aside from halving your antennas efficiency by splitting it in two, the next problem is that some of the signal picked up by Side A is then radiated out of Side B. This results in your received signal dropping by more than 50% !
If you are thinking about adding a second antenna to overcome these losses, see above “Can I go bigger?”

OTA Channel List – Aug 2017

I did a scan tonight and found FIVE new channels I wasn’t aware of. If you have an antenna, do a channel scan on your tv to find the new channels. ION, 24/7 PBS Kids, TBD TV, American Sports Network, and QVC.

Here is an updated list of stations from Madison that we can receive in Platteville~! All primary channels are broadcast in 1080i or 720p HD, with the exception of CW, all subchannels are 480i.

3.1 CBS channel3000.com
3.2 MyN mynetworktv.com
3.3 ION iontelevision.com
15.1 NBC nbc15.com
15.2 CW cwtv.com
15.3 Antenna TV antennatv.tv
15.4 Weather weathernationtv.com
21.1 PBS wpt.org
21.2 Wisconsin wpt.org/wisconsinchannel
21.3 Create createtv.com
21.4 PBS Kids pbskids.org
27.1 ABC wkow.com
27.2 Me-TV metvnetwork.com
27.3 Decades decades.com
40.1 Christian kfxb.net
47.1 FOX fox47.com
47.2 Comet comettv.com
47.3 Charge watchcharge.com
47.4 TBD tbd.com
57.1 Independent wi57.tv
57.2 Movies! moviestvnetwork.com
57.3 H&I handitvnetwork.com
57.4 ASN americansportsnet.com
57.5 QVC qvc.com

DaftMike Clone DIY Electronics Kit

This has been a long time coming! ANNOUNCING AVAILABILITY of a DaftMike Clone DIY Electronics Kit !!!!

https://www.etsy.com/listing/523973930/mini-nespi-electronics-kit?ref=shop_home_active_2

If you already have a 3D printed case, raspberry pi, arduino, NFC reader, and all you are missing is something to tie them all together. This kit is for you!!

I can answer questions here, by PM, or email thatdecade@gmail.com

Special thanks to Joshua Kane, Jared Kirchgatter, Jason Victoria, Dave Hicks, Ruud Lok, Jeff Moore, and everyone else who helped me debug the design! This kit fixes several issues with the DaftMike’s original design: broken mosfets, non working controllers, and other assembly difficulties.

Assembly Guide is here:
http://www.westaby.net/nespi/arduino_electonics_assembly.html

Amazon Fire TV or Roku TV?

I think the Amazon Fire TV will replace my current recommendation for the Roku TV as my favorite “Over The Air” receiver. Just like the Roku TV, the Fire TV will have the ability to pause and rewind live TV.

However, Fire TV adds the ability to pull up a TV Guide. A feature I sorely miss from my cable days and I supplement with a TV Guide app on my phone.

You can checkout the features here:
Fire 55 inch TV: http://amzn.to/2xKWMtw
Roku 55 inch TV: http://amzn.to/2xtrrLb

Ammo Counters – Researching Competition to Push a New Generation

I have been selling ammo counters since 2009. After I made my energy sword, ammo counters were the most requested kit. Over the years, I have probably sold 200-300 kits. Back then, I easily beat out the lame old competition. However, sales dried up last year. I was busy with my EMF and NES projects so I didn’t look into it.

Today, I searched around for new competition. Oh man. Things have changed. I think I still got them beat on size and price, but I need to work on my offerings to stay competitive.

Old competition

New competition

  • Nathaniel Deal: Nerf Ammo Counters
    • Good price for what you get.
    • Offers both bare bones and complete kits. Some kits include 3d printed shells.
    • Mostly focused on nerf builds. Requires additional circuit boards that must be hidden inside your build.
    • ammocounter.com

    Nathaniel Deal: Nerf Ammo Counters

What is most interesting about Nathaniel Deal’s offerings are the complete kits for a reasonable price, the 3D printed shells, and YouTube tutorials.

Comparing Nathan’s Ammo Counter design to my own Ammo Counter design. We both use a custom display board, but mine is much much smaller in size because I mount the microcontroller on the same board as the display. While he uses an off the shelf microcontroller development board (arduino) to run the display over a cable harness and additional shift register / display resistors shield board. That is a lot of extra bulk that he is asking the builder to hide in their project! The additional switches he places under the display are on/off, reset, and clip select. In my Ammo Counter kit, I do away with the need of extra switches by using button combinations to select clip size (hold a dart in front of the light break sensor or hold the fire trigger while also cycling the ammo clip to activate the clip size selection menu).

My own ammo counter design is minimalistic. The size can be fit into any project and does not need any additional circuit boards.
Ammo Counter v3

I love my design so much! However, there are a few things I can learn from Nathan Deal.

  • Create kit listings on Etsy – etsy.com/shop/WestabyElectronics
  • Add a count up mode to my Ammo Counter software
  • 3D printed shells to fit a variety of rail systems
  • Make the light break sensor as a standard option
    • I already do have a light break sensor kit, but I only make them on request.
  • YouTube tutorial videos


MiniNES – Non-NFC Guide

Here is a step by step guide for non nfc builders.
http://www.westaby.net/nespi/assembly2.html

Thanks to Evan and his original work..
https://www.facebook.com/groups/miniNESbuilders/permalink/489956341190644/

MiniNES: Projector

I found an $50 micro projector on ebay that has a USB power output. The 480 resolution is plenty for all the game systems!  Fits perfectly below the MiniNES case!

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I do get undervoltage warnings, but I should be fine as long as I have a clone image to use when my SD card goes corrupt.  Here is the link if anyone wants to take a chance on a “untested” “might be broken” “sold as-is” “no power cable included” projector
http://www.ebay.com/itm/332073234702

Mini NES Build w/ Functioning Cartridge Loader

Mini NES Build

This is a summary post about my Mini NES build.  This project is a derivative of the original efforts of DaftMike.  I used his 3D print files and basic source code, then reverse engineered the circuit from his Electronics Kit that allows the Raspberry Pi to talk to a NFC reader and an Arduino to control power.  Improving on the design with added features such as Fan Control and NFC Writing.  While also fixing bugs including lost Controller Configuration, Bad Power, and allowing  Out of Order Assembly.

If you are interested in making one of these, you can checkout my build instructions here:

Complete Guide: How to make a Mini NES~!

Features:

  • NFC Reader I2C will read tags to launch games AND write tags based on the last played game selected from EmulationStation. No additional devices or software needed to write tags.
  • Working Front Panel POWER and RESET Buttons with functionality not limited to launching games and safe shutdown of the pi.
  • Red Front Power LED (basic system status)
  • MultiColor RGB LED (advanced system status), can be disabled if distracting while playing with a simple double button press.
  • Power cut off circuit, similar to the popular Pi PowerBlock kits.
  • Cooling Fan turns on/off based on temperature.
  • USB Socket Extender to reposition the Raspberry Pi’s USB ports to the front of the case.

A full set of the design files (pcb and software) are available on Etsy (WestabyElectronics).

 

 

NES Raspberry Pi - 3D PrintedFront button alignmentButton AssemblyPCB: Pi Power and NFC wiringTesting fit of PCB design

MiniNES Progress Update

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Progress update on my rev2 boards. Returned from holiday and am picking up this project again. New boards fix all issues found on rev1 boards (see previous post and sale for those).

I am not taking sales yet. However, I can say that my kit will require soldering (difficulty=easy) and include the following: the PCBs pictured, switches, LED, USB jack. Not included: wire, solder, raspberry pi, arduino pro micro, fan, and NFC.

Features: This is a daftmike clone. Has identical features such as NFC, usb extender, fan control, and multicolor status LED.

MiniNES: NFC Progress Video

Today’s progress, tag reading !