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aluminum foil

How to Make an HDTV Antenna with Aluminium Foil (DIY Guide)

Updated On May 18, 2022

HDTV antennas do not cost much, however, if you are the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) type you might consider setting up an HDTV antenna at home. HDTV antennae are used to capture TV broadcasts using electromagnetic signals. They then translate these signals to video and audio. The process of making an HDTV Antenna with Aluminum foil is very simple.

What You Need to Build a TV Antenna at Home

set of materials to be used
Video | TV Antenna

  • A set of push pins
  • Aluminum foil
  • Duct tape
  • A bottle water cap
  • Glue stick
  • A transformer
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors for cutting the aluminum foil (You can just tear the foil with your hands)
  • A coaxial cable
  • Bolts
  • Drilling machine or hammer and chisels

Building your TV Antenna

Building a digital TV antenna at home is very easy. Once you have assembled the required tools, the rest will be just a walk-over task.

Now let’s build a TV antenna, the following steps will guide you through:

Step 1: Attach the Aluminum Foil/Sheet to the Board

man placing aluminum foil/sheet
Video | TV Antenna

Put your cardboard (about 2 feet in length and width) on a clean floor or piece of paper.

Begin by tearing a piece of aluminum foil into two sheets of about the same size. Then use a glue stick to attach the foil to the cardboard. (1)

Spread the glue evenly, then press the aluminum foil to make sure it is properly secured on the board. Ensure you leave an allowance of a few inches between the bottoms of the aluminum sheets on the cardboard. This room is necessary for the later attachment of the transformer. Also, make sure the two aluminum sheets do not touch each other.

You may use ordinary liquid glue but it is messy and takes a long time to dry. In contrast, a glue stick works almost immediately.

Identify spots where the foil is not properly connected to the cardboard. Add some more glue to those spots while pressing the foil against the board to secure it firmly.

Step 2: Attach the Transformer

attaching the transformer to the aluminum foil sheet
Video | TV Antenna

After successfully attaching the aluminum foil to the cardboard, continue and attach the transformer to the cardboard.

The transformer has two wires coming out from one end/terminal. Now, attach one wire to each aluminum sheet using a piece of duct tape. While placing the transformer, you should be careful to keep its yoke over the cardboard. You may use an extra piece of duct tape to attach the transformer to the cardboard, but it is not necessary.

You will use the pushpin to connect the transformer to the cardboard.

pushing the pushpin through transformer
Video | TV Antenna

Step 3: Securing the Transformer

Securing the transformer is needed to prevent it from falling off the cardboard or the aluminum foils. You will use the bottle water cap to do this.

securing the transformer with a cardboard
Video | TV Antenna

Turn your antenna over, and then push the bottle cap into the pin to attach the transformer to the cardboard.

The purposes of the pushpin:

  1. The push pin secures the transformer in place. If you hang the antenna on the wall without the pushpin, the weight of the coaxial cable will eventually disconnect the transformer wires from the aluminum sheets.
  2. The bottle cap will prevent the pushpin from scratching the wall.

Step 4: Connecting the Antenna

Now you can hang your antenna on a wall and attach your TV to it (antenna via the coaxial cabling). Then program your channels.

connecting the antenna
Video | TV Antenna

How to install your antenna you have just made – stream several free channels at home:

  1. Drill holes in the concrete sections of your wall. Do not drill the brick parts because the mortar area is softer.
  2. Get your antenna components for installation. Each part should be firm. That will keep your antenna from falling apart in case of incidents.
  3. Connect the coax cable to the antenna – specifically to the transformer.
  4. Do not erect your antenna near electrical wires in the case of outdoor installation. It might cause interference and electrical shock. Make sure the antenna is over ten ft. above your roof level. That will enhance signal reception.
  5. Next, disguise the coaxial cable. You can hide it behind gutters or anywhere convenient. 
  6. For this type of antenna, you do not need to connect the cables to the splitter. Just connect it to the TV directly.

Quick Summary of steps we covered:

To make a TV antenna at home that spans over a 45-mile range, spread two pieces of two aluminum sheets out. Glue the aluminum foil on the board, they should not touch each other. Use duct tape to attach the transformer and the 2 transformer wires to the aluminum sheets, each wire goes to one aluminum sheet. Make sure the yoke of the transformer is over the cardboard. Now, drive the pushpin into the board to fix the transformer to the board. Then push the bottle cap into the pin to keep the transformer in place. That’s all; attach the antenna to the TV using a coaxial cable. (2)

Wrapping Up

There are so many benefits you can have when you construct your TV antenna in the comfort of your home. You cut on costs, gain more experience, and have the luxury of building your antenna. You can use more materials to enhance signal reception.

We would love to know how you find this guide. Enjoy making your own TV antenna!

Take a look at some of our related articles below.





References
(1) aluminum foil – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/aluminum-foil
(2) cardboard – https://learn.adafruit.com/cardboard-fundamentals/cardboard-types

Video References

About the author 

John Temple