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Of course, cliams of reception range should be taken with grain of salt. UHF reception has been subject to a lot of factors. Look up the TV stations of interested at the FCC website. You should be able to find coverage area plots. In the event you are in a null of the pattern. there may not be much you cant do about that except to twist the antenna around to see if you can find a signal reflection off one of the stronger lobes. An amplifier mounted at the antenna may or may not help if you are in a null.
Interesting, but have qustions... How will the shelters be deployed and will they and the occupants run up against local ordinances and zoning? State law? How will the 12 VDC be provided? How easy will it be for the owners of the shelters to retain possession?
Go Green! Charge your phone with FIRE!
PC where placed inside the same cabinet that also housed a CRT, so I wouldn't be too worried about pugging it into a USB port. Just don't be poking around at PC components with the end of the HV cable