How to Make a Homemade TV Antenna

DIY TV Antenna

TV Antennas do not need to be complicated or expensive. There are some simple yet effective homemade TV Antenna designs that can be built at home with parts you may already have around your house.

Build a HDTV Antenna

One of the most effective "Build Your Own HDTV Antenna" plans is based on a design called the DB4. The DB4 is regarded as one of the better "general use" designs for pulling in HDTV signals in many situations. Most flat screen TV's have a digital tuner for HDTV built in, but if you have an older set you may need a digital converter box to convert a signal from an antenna like this into something the older analog sets can display.

DB4 antennas are available commercially starting around $40 and up, but here I will show you how to build your own for much less than that.

On the right screen, digital TV can be a much different experience than what TV used to be, so set-up your home theater with the best flat screen tv to get the best value from an antenna like this.

Build your own HDTV Antenna Plans

Here's what you need to get started:
  1. 22 inch section of 2x3 or 1x3 board
  2. 18 Screws
  3. 18 Washers, sized to fit on the screws to clamp down wire
  4. 15 feet of wire. Roughly 5 feet of copper three conductor house wiring will do fine. Coat-hangers can work if stripped of paint at all connections.
  5. Reflector grid (Mesh like reflective metallic material.) Two 15x9 grill screens work well for a few dollars. (See first video below.)
  6. One Balun - A thing with a coax plug on one side, two wires with screw holes on the other. These are commonly used to attach old TV's to coax antenna's (or cable.) They are inexpensive (I've seen them in bulk for as little as 30 cents each), and commonly available. My local dollar store carries them!
Tools:
  1. Drill
  2. Screw driver, or screw bit for drill
  3. Wire cutters
  4. Pliers

Step 1 - Find, Measure and Mark a piece of wood

  1. Find a board similar to a 2x3 or 1x3
  2. Mark lines at the marks pictured below

Step 2 - Make 8 wire V's out of wire

  1. Cut eight 14" long sections of wire.
  2. Find the center, and bend each wire into two 7" long legs, with a 3" gap. (7" legs with a 3" gap is important!)

Step 3 - Attach wires to board

  1. Attach the "V" wires the to board using screws and washers, as shown in the image.
  2. Zig-Zag the two connection wires down and across the center of the board as shown. It is important that when the wires cross each other, they do not touch.

Step 4 - Attach Reflector

  1. Attach the Reflectors to the back using screws. The Reflectors must not touch the "V" wires.

Step 5 - Attach the Balun

  1. Attach the Balun to the two center sections of wire. Make sure the two connections do not touch each other.

Step 6 - You're Done! Test your antenna!

  1. Attach your antenna to your HDTV using a coax cable, and see how it works!

These plans to ugly for you?

These plans are functional, but some people describe them as ugly...and they'd be right. The same core technical design and base measurements can be used in other ways. Here's one example I made:
Here's the same core design, as a mission style tv antenna.

Build your own TV Antenna Videos

There are a number of videos on YouTube for how to construct one of these. Here are some of the better ones:

My other projects...

  • If you like building things like this yourself and you have children, I've also created a site with soccer goal plans. My kids, and all the neighbor friends, love the one I built.
  • Recently, I have been working on an arduino pool controller to automate our swimming pool equipment.
  • Please share this or any of my sites/projects if you find them interesting or helpful.

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