lots of Connecticut television in the air
Monday, April 20 2020
During the ongoing pandemic, we're even more dependent on the delivery of parcels than usual. Today a great many arrived. These included bathroom and other items for Powerful, the soon-to-be resident of our Gunther Room (all from Target), a number of books (including Gretchen's old Hebrew Bible, shipped by her parents, who've been using the pandemic to go through things in their Watergate apartment), and that cloverleaf television antenna I'd ordered the other day.
I excitedly put that antenna together, eager to see if it could pull in any stations at all. But when I attached it to our big-screen television in the teevee room, I couldn't get it to receive even one station. True, I was indoors with the antenna and was holding it in my hands. But shouldn't it've managed to receive something? Maybe it was worthless, though it seemed a little too clever to be completely so. The only thing about it that is obviously a joke is its single dipole antenna, the only part of it designed to received VHS stations. I didn't have much hope that would pull in anything at all. But the four petals of the cloverleaf, each of which produce a 75 ohm signal that is somehow merged into on, seemed too complicated to be a fraud.
So early this evening I climbed up onto the laboratory deck and mounted the cloverleaf antenna on top of the eastern rail, behind which one can stand and have a good view of a horizon that might be partly in Connecticut. I then attached it to one of the several coax wires that pass into the laboratory. There are other cables that continue on into the teevee room. But instead of figuring all that out, I busted out an old digital television box, the kind that were heavily subsidized by the government back when they were in the process of sunsetting analog television signals. For a monitor, I used a tiny black & white television I keep around for such purposes. Amazingly, using this setup I was able to receive over 20 separate channels, some of which were being broadcast by the same station. This included public television from two different stations, stations belonging to both the Fox and NBC networks, a Telemundo station, and three shopping channels. All of these stations seemed to be in Connecticut, and one of them was from Hartford, about 75 miles to the east-south-east. I thought surely one of these would carry Jeopardy!, but when I checked their schedules, none of them did. Still, if I could get all of this with a non-directional 11db antenna, imagine what I could get with a high-gain directional antenna?
This afternoon Gretchen had worked a shift at the Woodstock bookstore under pandemic rules, and had managed to sell as much as she would've on a good weekday before the pandemic. She returned home with a bunch of food from the Garden Café, including four tomato & whitebean soups and another big order of that eggplant rollatini she'd gotten me last time. We ate it while watching an episode of Big Mouth. As I watched the show, I realized it was too relentlessly sexual (in a mostly raunchy aspirational way) even for my sensibilities. I found myself wishing they would find a way to talk about something else now and then. I don't think that the problem is just that I've grown old either. I think would've felt that way had I watched it as an actual teenager.
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