Why pay for cable when you can make your own digital TV antenna?

It’s true, you can and you should make one of these. It’s much less expensive than purchasing the prefabricated product from a store, it uses materials you can find easily/around your home, and it will be great when tv signals switch from analog to digital (September in Canada).

I’ve made two of these now, one for myself and one for a friend. Interested in making one for yourself? Here’s how, as adapted from this tutorial:

Supplies:

  1. One piece of wood, 3″ wide x 20″ long x 3/4″ thick (I bought a long piece of wood (3″ x 3/4″ and had it cut by the store into 20″ sections – most hardware stores should do this for you)
  2. Four wire coat hangers
  3. Ten round head wood screws 3/4″ long
  4. Ten washers (screws should fit inside and they should be wide enough to hold the coat hangers/copper wire in place)
  5. Two 22″ lengths of insulated copper wire
  6. One 75 to 300 ohm matching transformer with spade clips on one end and female F connector on the other
  7. One coaxial cable (available in a variety of lengths)

All of the above items are readily available at any local hardware store.

Instructions (open this .pdf instruction file obtained from this website to go along with the below instructions – note that I have made some modifications to the instructions, which are reflected below):

  1. On your 20″ piece of wood, mark out the dimensions making note of the placement of screws.
  2. Pre-drill holes for your screws using an electric screw driver (if you have one) to make assembly easier.
  3. Screw in the screws half-way, with the washers in place.
  4. Cut the corners of your coat hangers to make 8 “V” shapes with each part of the “V” being 8″ long.
  5. Sand the area where the “V”s bend to ensure contact with the copper wire.
  6. Bend the copper wire around the screws as seen in the diagram and make a 1″ mark on the plastic covering at each contact point.
  7. With an exacto knife, cut out the 1″ pieces of plastic covering on the copper wire to make the actual wire have contact with each of the screws.
  8. Attach the copper wire and coat hangers as seen in the diagram, holding them in place with the washer on top. Tighten the screws to secure everything.
  9. For the middle screws that don’t have coat hanger “V”s, attach the two ends of the transformer – the tips of the transformer should be between the copper wire and the washer. Tighten the screws to hold them in place.
  10. Finally, attach one end of the coaxial cable to the transformer and the other end to your tv.

Now that you’re all hooked you can prepare yourself for some awesome digital viewing. Use the “tv tuner” on your tv (located in the menus) to “search” for digital signals. Try a few times, placing the antenna in different locations, to find the best results.

I hope you try out this project. It’s definitely rewarding when you can build something yourself and, with the additional benefit of no monthly bill, you’ve got the best hook-up in town!

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