Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Living on land there are tons of options for television in your home.  Most of them you have to pay for (Cable, Satellite).  Moving aboard a boat changes those options a least if you don't have infinite funds and/or don't plan on staying put.  Sure, there are tracking satellite dishes or you can get satellite or cable at a marina (one guy at the marina has one of these), but if you are like me and don't want to spend a lot of any money on television, then you will be looking for other options.

Many networks and popular shows can be found on the internet. I'm a fan of the Daily Show and you can see the show (admittedly a day after it airs) on their web site. Of course there are a few that either don't stream all their shows or want you to pay to see them. And, of course, there can be problems with unreliable or slow internet assuming you can find it at all (this could be the subject of a post itself...and for me recently was). So, if you can't live without your favorite television shows, you might have a problem cruising unless you can find an alternate way to get your fix.

Fortunately in most metropolitan areas, there are a number of "over the air" broadcasts of the major networks available and with the digital sub-channel system, there are a number of sub-channels available on each channel. Unfortunately, I seem to be in a fringe area of the Jacksonville broadcast area and getting reception is a bit of a challenge.

Now I didn't think I would miss Television all that much, and the truth is that for the most part I don't.  But I used to turn on the news in the morning as background noise when I was getting ready and this is actually the part I miss.  Even as slanted and poorly investigated most "news" stories are these days, it still did apparently give me a bit of an idea of what is going on.  Ok, maybe it is just to get the day's weather that I find useful.  In any case, I do find access to local news is occasionally worthwhile.

Knowing that the antenna (a small amplified set of "rabbit ears") that the prior owner had wouldn't pick up a channel and knowing I wasn't going to go to the trouble of putting one up on the mast, I picked up an interesting option when we were shopping at Costco just before I left.  I figured for the small cost, it was worth giving a try.  The antenna I am using is not a regular type of antenna but is an amplified thin flat panel called the FlatWave.

The results have been pretty good.  Where the original antenna would maybe pick up one channel on a good day if you oriented it perfectly, the Flat Wave mounted in the salon back window usually picks up at least three of the six primary channels and their associated sub-channels when using the amplifier (and the amplifier uses USB power so can be run from an AC or DC transformer or even a TV with a USB jack).  Good enough to find some news in the morning or to have it playing in the background while I write this.

So, if you are looking for a simple amplified antenna that doesn't require much space (or running cables and a climb up the mast) you might want to give this one a try.

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