In mid-2010, Slovakia had been converting into DVB-T and analog terrestrial TV transmitters were continually phased out. On April 30th, a new DVB-T transmitter, located just a few kilometers away from me, was put into service. I was already using an IP TV with two receivers (set-top-boxes) at that time, however there was no TV in my bedroom and I got a different idea: if there’s a transmitter nearby, it should be a cinch to receive its broadcast, even indoors and on a computer, and with minimum antenna hassle. And so I have stumbled upon online auction sites, offering cheap USB DVB-T adapters, and decided to give one a try.
I got one for 8 EUR at a local auction site back in 2010, with a black “HDTV USB DVB-T” sticker on it; i.e. unbranded. I will make a fair bet that eBay must be overfilled with these dongles and for an even cheaper price nowadays.
The build quality of this product was expected to be crap, and indeed I was right. Along with a driver CD, which is not needed under current Windows operating systems, and the world’s thinnest remote control that was supplied, the dongle came with a fixed-size magnetic antenna with a weird male micro-coaxial connector, which was not making good contact with the female located on the dongle. The “antenna” was a joke and couldn’t catch any reasonable quality DVB-T signal. So I chopped its cable off and got rid of it quickly, and then I carefully pryed open the dongle with a small screwdriver and soldered in the antenna jack permanently. Then I got myself a pair of classic TV antenna coaxial connectors and made an adapter, seen in the picture above and below.
So now the dongle got a real antenna connector with a good contact. With this finished, I wanted to get myself a hold on those classic indoor pre-amplified TV antennas, however I have chosen the DIY-approach once more and made a vertical telescopic whip antenna, with magnetic mount, out of everyday items:
Had no nice DIY plastic boxes at that time, so I grabbed the first option, which was a food box. I have used the telescopic antenna out of an old FM radio, and duct taped some magnets to the bottom. Hot glue was used for support. However crazy this may look, it vastly outperforms the small black chink joke, which was supplied with the dongle.
Combined with some proper receiving software, this cheap HD “television rig” is now complete. For this purpose, DVB Dream was my tool of choice; receiving 6 TV and some 13 radio channels in “100% quality”: