Out of boredom, I decided to hook up a piece of wire to act as an antenna for my upstairs TV. And behold, I was receiving all local High Definition channels in all their glory. Crystal clear with no disruptions. So, why pay $75/mo to the cable company? They have been eliminated from my monthly bills. Ta ta.

Cable TV in my part of the world is a racket. When you sign up for service, they ask you for your address. Your rates are based on your location, i.e. if there is no competition in your neighborhood, up go the rates. I had been paying $75/mo for it in the Town’N’Country area of Tampa. They also force you to rent their cable box which requires extra power, wires and remote control. But as it turns out, there are a lot of channels available off the air for free. Things have become really good since the advent of digital broadcasting. You don’t really need a large antenna for it. For example, with rabbit-ear antenna, NBC analog is barely visible, but the HD simulcast is of perfect quality. Apparently, analog stations will disappear in 2008 (but I have heard this before).

Anywho, long story short… here is the list of channels I can watch over the air. See for youself if you really need Cable TV. The only channels which I miss are Travel Channel, Science Channel and Discovery. Thankfully, PBS HD is broadcast locally. FYI, most transmitters are about 20-25 miles away from me. A piece of wire works to pick up all channels, but I bought a $10 antenna because it hides well behind the TV and provides a stronger signal. The stronger signal has no affect on digital channels, however. TV says average signal strength is around 60. I am not sure what the units of this measurement are – Pints? Donkeys? Fathoms? Decibels? Who-knows! If you do, please drop me a note.

graphic displaying of antenna use

How to build your own antenna

List of OTA Channels in Tampa

Channel Designation Network Description
3.1 WEDU-SD1 PBS Educational programming, digital
3.2 WEDU-SD2 PBS Educational programming, digital
3.5 WEDU-HD PBS High Definition Widescreen, excellent programs
8.1 WFLA-HD NBC Some programs in high definition
8.1 WFLA-WX NBC Live weather radar
10.1 WTSP-HD CBS Some programs in high definition
10.1 10WxN CBS Weather
13.1 WTVT-DT FOX The Simpsons
15 ??? HSN Home Shopping Network, ANALOG
16.1 WUSF-D1 PBS University of South Florida
16.2 WUSF-D2 PBS University of South Florida
16.3 WUSF-D3 PBS University of South Florida
16.4 WUSF-D4 PBS University of South Florida
20 WARP-CA BOX Analog, ???
22.1 WCLF-DT CTN Something religious
22.2 CTN CTN More of the above
28.1 WFTS-HD ABC Some programs in high definition
30 ??? ??? Spanish language, analog
32.1 WMOR-DT IND More TV 32
38.1 WTTA-HD MNT Religious
44.1 WTOG-DT CW Used to be UPN
46 WVEA-LP UNI Jewelry Television, Analog
49 ??? ??? Spanish language, Analog
50.1 WFTT-DT TFA Telefutura
62.1 WVEA-DT UNI Univision
66.1 ion ION ???
66.2 qubo ION ???
66.3 ion-W ION ???
66.4 Worship ION Religious

VHF Television Frequencies

BAND    CH #   FREQUENCY       BAND     CH #    FREQUENCY
-------------------------      -----------------------------
VHF LOW  02    54-60 Mhz       VHF HIGH  07     174-180 Mhz

VHF LOW  03    60-66 Mhz       VHF HIGH  08     180-186 Mhz

VHF LOW  04    66-72 Mhz       VHF HIGH  09     186-192 Mhz

VHF LOW  05    76-82 Mhz       VHF HIGH  10     192-198 Mhz

VHF LOW  06    82-88 Mhz       VHF HIGH  11     198-204 Mhz

                               VHF HIGH  12     204-210 Mhz

                               VHF HIGH  13     210-216 Mhz

UHF Television Frequencies

CH #   FREQUENCY        CH #   FREQUENCY        CH #   FREQUENCY
------------------      ------------------      -------------------
 14   470-476 Mhz        38   614-620 Mhz        62    758-764 Mhz

 15   476-482 Mhz        39   620-626 Mhz        63    764-770 Mhz

 16   482-488 Mhz        40   626-632 Mhz        64    770-776 Mhz

 17   488-494 Mhz        41   632-638 Mhz        65    776-782 Mhz

 18   494-500 Mhz        42   638-644 Mhz        66    782-788 Mhz

 19   500-506 Mhz        43   644-650 Mhz        67    788-794 Mhz

 20   506-512 Mhz        44   650-656 Mhz        68    794-800 Mhz

 21   512-518 Mhz        45   656-662 Mhz        69    800-806 Mhz

 22   518-524 Mhz        46   662-668 Mhz        70    806-812 Mhz

 23   524-530 Mhz        47   668-674 Mhz        71    812-818 Mhz

 24   530-536 Mhz        48   674-680 Mhz        72    818-824 Mhz

 25   536-542 Mhz        49   680-686 Mhz        73    824-830 Mhz

 26   542-548 Mhz        50   686-692 Mhz        74    830-836 Mhz

 27   548-554 Mhz        51   692-698 Mhz        75    836-842 Mhz

 28   554-560 Mhz        52   698-704 Mhz        76    842-848 Mhz

 29   560-566 Mhz        53   704-710 Mhz        77    848-854 Mhz

 30   566-572 Mhz        54   710-716 Mhz        78    854-860 Mhz

 31   572-578 Mhz        55   716-722 Mhz        79    860-866 Mhz

 32   578-584 Mhz        56   722-728 Mhz        80    866-872 Mhz

 33   584-590 Mhz        57   728-734 Mhz        81    872-878 Mhz

 34   590-596 Mhz        58   734-740 Mhz        82    878-884 Mhz

 35   596-602 Mhz        59   740-746 Mhz        83    884-890 Mhz

 36   602-608 Mhz        60   746-752 Mhz

 37   608-614 Mhz        61   752-758 Mhz
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