I live about 18 miles from South Mountain where all the TV stations in the Phoenix area broadcast from. I can use rabbit ears to get about 14 stations (about 9 in english). But I can't get them all with out fiddling around with my rabbit ears. The same configuration that pulls in one station, doesn't necessarily work for the next one. And the weak stations can be very temperamental. The configuration that works this evening might not work tomorrow.I've put a fairly large antenna in my attic (the kind you normally see on rooftops in rural areas) and aimed it at South Mountain. Using that, I can get all 14 station all the time - no fiddling or tuning required.My father lives in a fairly remote part of Southern Illinois. He uses an antenna mounted on a 50 foot tower with a motor that allows him to aim it at the transmitter he wants to receive from. He pulls in stations from about 60 miles away without much problem. Stations that are 90 miles away are iffy - depending on weather.This kind of defines what you might expect to get from the ether. If you live within about 20 miles of transmitters, rabbit ears should be pretty effective. A raised antenna with wider cross sectional area will do even better. If you live in the 20 mile to 60 or 70 mile range, an antenna on a rooftop or tower should be pretty effective. In the 80+ mile range, reception is not likely to be acceptable. Obviously, terrain and weather can impact these generalizations.Tubes are still used for very high power and very high frequency. Solid state electronics can't compete in these applications. Transistors keep improving their power and frequency capabilities, but they are a long way from providing the kind of power that television and radio transmitters use.
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