Coat Hanger Antennas Help Local Refugees Get Digital - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 -

Coat Hanger Antennas Help Local Refugees Get Digital

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A local man is helping African refugees convert their televisions to receive digital signals. He's making HDTV antennas using coat hangers, and believe it or not, they actually work.

Escondido resident Jim Lipka spends his free time making digital television antennas out of coat hangers and spare parts. Total cost - less than $10.

He gives the antennas away for free to African refugees at his church in City Heights.

"I am worried that maybe if I don't get the right antenna, I will not be watching TV," refugee Merina Oryem said.

To pick up digital signals over the air on older television sets, you need both a converter box and a digital TV antenna. Jim says his homemade antennas actually work better than the store-bought ones. They may not be the most attractive antennas, but Jim's working on that angle too.

"My wife came up with this. She's an interior designer and this design has a picture frame," he said.

Jim recommends trying your existing rabbit ears first to see how they work. If the picture cuts in and out, you may want to try making your own. Just be careful - those coat hangers can be dangerous.

"I got hit with an antenna and had to get a tetanus shot, so we know that building these can be hazardous," Jim said.

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