8.22 Rotating TV Antenna

This is another one of those "always wanted to do it" projects that's really dirt-simple: it's just a low-RPM motor, a wire rod, and an antenna. With an era of the late 1950s, the layout perfectly falls into the earlier days of these "marvels," which began appearing in the late 1940s. Originally I was going to put it in the Davis Inn, since it's one of the only buildings left that isn't already crammed with stuff, but it made more sense to go in Josh's House, since it has a B&W television set. This required building a miniature mechanism because there was no room for one that descended through the first floor. No problem: I still have loads of surplus miniature low-RPM geared motor drives.

The entire drive was assembled on a slab of styrene that serves as the second floor floor. The large gear (above) has a piece of fine tubing mounted to it; the antenna (a Gold Medal Models item) was soldered to fine wire that simply fits into the tubing, making it very easy to assemble, or to remove for maintenance. The whole thing took about an hour and a half to build.

Reference Images

While I was growing up, my father was quite proud of his Alliance Tenna Rotor, which came in handy since we were situated roughly halfway between New York and Philadelphia. When I was old enough, I was given the arduous task of helping him sync the controller with the rotor whenever he'd tinkered with it, which seemed unnecessarily often. But touch the control while we were watching TV? Never! An indelible memory is the loud bzzz-cachunk sound the controller would make repeatedly while running, amplified by the TV set's big faux furniture enclosure.

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