Television reception is somewhat of a hit and miss lately. Even though there are a lot of services that aim to replace the “common” way of watching TV, there are still people who prefer the traditional way. However, getting a signal can be difficult, especially if you live in an area that has a lot of interference. A solution might be found in buying an antenna(check our guide) or a satellite dish, but both tend to be expensive.
But, what if you could make an antenna, and out of items you most likely have in your household? And it wouldn’t cost you a lot? Well, you actually can, and it isn’t that difficult. The guide above will show you how to make one that’s based on a DB4, a commercially available antenna that has incredibly good reception. Let’s begin. One thing to note – make sure you read the whole guide before you begin, in order not to mess something up.
Choose where you’ll put it
The best option would be to mount the antenna outside, on the rooftop. If you can’t, however, a nearby pole or mount will suffice. Make sure you can reach the place where you would put the antenna, as you’ll need to do some work there, too.
Let’s begin building
The first thing you’ll need is a piece of wood, 3.5 feet long, 1 by 3 inches. You’ll also need eight screws and matching washers. You will attach the screws in two rows of four, as described below. Make sure you get the screws’ placement right, as this is crucial. The first row should be .75 inches from the left hand side of the piece of wood, and the second one should be .75 inches from the right hand side wood. The topmost screw should be attached 2 inches from the top, with the second, third and fourth screws all 5.25 inches from one another. Make sure you don’t screw them all the way in. You will need to attach other parts to them before you do that.
You will now need 8 wire coat hangers. Cut their tops off, and unfold them so you have 8 pieces of wire that are 14 inches long. Fold them in the middle, into a “V” shape. Each arm should be 7 inches long, and the distance from tip to tip should be 3 inches.
Attaching the hangers to the construction
Each of the wire coat hangers should be attached to each of the screws. Just slide them down until you have the screw resting at the “V”’s base. Make sure that all hangers stick out directly, and they don’t touch each other. This can cause problems, so be careful here.
Now you’ll need two lengths of copper wire. Run it along each row of screws, as follows: the wires should cross over between the topmost screws and the second topmost screws, and then go back between the bottom-most screws, and the second bottom-most screws. Since you’re using insulated copper wire, make sure you strip the insulation at each point where it touches the screws. You’ll want it to make contact with the metal. You will also want to strip a piece of insulation from the center of both wires. This is done between the second and the third screw. Now, you can tighten the screws. Make sure they all hold both the coat hangers, and the wiring, firmly in place.
Taking care of the other side
We’re done with one side of the piece of wood. On the opposite side, you’ll want to screw in one pair of 15 by 9 inch metal grill screens, along the length. You should be careful, as you don’t want the grill screens touching any of the coat hangers you have on the other side. Let’s go back to the first side of the piece of wood.
Remember where you stripped part of the insulation away, at the center of both wires? Connect an ohm transformer to that point. At this point, you’re pretty much done with building the antenna itself. You’ll need to mount it next.
Mounting the antenna
This is actually somewhat of a tricky process when you have a DIY antenna. With a pre-bought one, you would need to assemble the mounting bracket, and then just screw in the whole thing outside, on your roof. However, in this case, you’ll need to figure out a way to attach it to the roof.
We won’t be getting into too much details here, because how you choose to attach it varies greatly on your specific rooftop situation. However, if you have a pole at your disposal, mounting it to that would be the best option. Make sure you use a service such as Antennas Direct to find the nearest broadcast tower. All you need to do is input your location and it gives you the nearest tower. Once you’ve found it, make sure your antenna is facing that way.
Connecting it to your TV
When everything is done and mounted, you’ll want to run a coaxial cable from the ohm transformer on the antenna, to your TV. Attach it to the “Antenna In” jack, and turn on the TV. The signal should be now much better! Compared to watching TV without an antenna, the difference will be massive.
Wrapping things up – do you really need to make an outdoor TV antenna yourself?
Well, you might not need to. Sometimes just buying one might be a better option. However, many of us have an adventure spirit inside us, and making some things yourself might be a fun little experience. If all else fails, you can always buy one. But if you try to make it first, you’ll at least know that you did your best. And if it works, you’ve solved yourself a problem, very easily!