Pull tabs on McCourtesy page
Five plastic garbage bags, 10 cents each: $0.50; 350 pounds of pull-tabs, scrap metal value $0.13; one photo op with a little girl on crutches, Pricele$$!

Every once in a while I run into a friend (not always the same one, multiple friends) who insist that everyone should save the little pull-tabs off the top of soda-pop cans.

A few years ago, it was supposed to help fund kidney-dialysis charities. It turned out to be an urban legend.

Later, it was Ronald-McDonald House, which is apparently part true. It seems that RMDH capitalized on the urban legend to use it as an activity. The value of the tabs, however, is so small, that the programs value is mostly an activity promoting the charity itself.

It’s easy to find all sorts of information about this on the internet. The most obvious and reliable, in my opinion is Snopes.com, which usually has the straight dope on any of these questionable rumours. Another good article was Associated Content, which I know less about, but had actually checked it out with aluminum recyclers to verify it’s value.

Charity watchdog, Where Most Needed also chimes in with their site.

The only verifiable site supporting pull-tab collection was the McDonalds-sponsored Courtesy Corporation which clearly is collecting pull-tabs, despite any tangible value to them.
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DTV Ready

I decided not to build a high-gain UHF TV antenna. I looked into it and while it’s an interesting project and something I may still do, the materials would have cost me more than buying a new antenna, if I did it the way I want to do. That says something for the principle of cost reduction due to mass production.

Antenna installation

This is what I ended up with. The top antenna, a Antennas Direct DB4, is pointed nearly south to pick up the Buffalo stations in the southern hills. The stations in Grand Island are only 12 miles away and come in with a rock-crushing signal no matter where you point the antenna. You might be able to get a null off the side if you needed to cut them out, but it would take some careful aiming.

The antenna below that, a multi-element corner-reflector yagi from Radio Shack, purchased in the 70’s, but never used outdoors, is aimed at Toronto. Specifically at the CN Tower. Almost every TV station in Toronto is located on the tower, or within a mile of it. That’s just about line-of-sight. I’m sure if they cut down every tree between my house and the escarpment, about a mile away, I could see the CN Tower from my roof. I know it can be seen from an overlook at a park in town on the edge of the escarpment.

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