HDTV Antenna constructed of baling wire and duct tape - CHEAP

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More and more people are foregoing cable and satellite television to save a bit of family income, realizing that there is plenty of free television out there to watch.  Many of those people are purchasing overpriced and underperforming commercial HDTV antennae, when you can make a simple antenna yourself out of an inexpensive 3' or 4' long 1" X 4" or 2" X 4" board, some short wood screws and washers, and some inexpensive metallic wire (galvanized "baling" wire works just fine), and a couple of short pieces of tape (electrical tape; or if you want to truly construct a quality product, of course consider duct tape to go with your selection of baling wire).  You also want to find a piece of heavy cardboard about 2' X 3' in size, enough aluminum foil to cover one side of the cardboard, and some spray mount or other adhesive to glue the aluminum foil to the cardboard.

As far as tools go, you'll need a drill with a bit to match the size of your screws, a screwdriver to match your screw heads, needlenose or pointed pliers, and wirecutters.

As explained in the OPTIONAL last step, it is possible to construct two of these antennae facing different directions and obtain signal from multiple sources and directions.

This is a variation of the plans that are found on-line at another website at

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Step 1: Measure - mark - drill your board

Picture of Measure - mark - drill your board
Measure and mark your board in the manner shown, and pre-drill with the appropriate size drill bit starter holes for the screws that will hold the antenna to the board, which essentially forms the "spine" for your antenna
KrassiS9 days ago

Interesting article - thank you for sharing and we'll give it a go. Does this have to be galvanised or would some of these other types do:

weblar (author)  KrassiS8 days ago
Other types of wire will also work well for construction of the antenna, PROVIDED the wire is not insulated.
PhilKE3FL10 months ago

Nice additions to the first version of this I came across, and which you mentioned on page 1.

However, I do have one point to perhaps reduce the work load. You stated that if you want to receive signals from more than one direction one could build a second antenna and then add more aluminum to the back of the first reflector.

Adding more aluminum is not necessary since the first coating of aluminum will reflect to the second antenna just as well as more aluminum will. The RF will have no difficulty going through a thin piece of wood or cardboard to reflect off the aluminum on the other side.

Next, I've done experiments that show that the length of each element doesn't change the overall characteristics of the antenna very much so as long as they are cut to the same length and the lengths are close to the design length all will be well. I haven't yet tested two or four different lengths to see what difference, if any, that makes. Humm, in some ways that's what a log periodic is all designed around, but not for the same reasons.

On the other hand if you don't need the reflector, I don't think it will add much but I haven't tested to see if I'm right, yet, and if you have stations in more than one direction I'd suggest making my 3D version of this antenna.

I designed what my wife calls the porcupine antenna which uses no reflectors and two of this type of antenna at 90 degrees from each other so that stations from any direction are received. We use two of these for TVs in two different locations in our house and we get stations from North East to South East, to South West and to West. The one TV station to our North is too far away for this antenna and is just another NBC station anyway.

You can see this antenna on my web site at:

Or, if you're in the heart of the city you can simply use only one section of the porcupine antenna, just a simple 3D version of the ol' bow tie antenna. I designed that antenna back in 2002 and the article was published in Popular Communications, January 2003, p 6-10 , "Phil's Easy Way To Improve Your UHF TV Reception"

Oh, one last note here. This antenna is a UHF antenna and while it will receive VHF stations it doesn't do it well so if you have VHF stations at the same or further distance than your UHF stations you may need to add a longer section, a VHF dipole, to the center of this antenna to improve the VHF reception. I've seen articles about this, but again I have not yet tested the idea.

To see my TV antenna tests you can go to my articles on I've tested, "Bow Tie Element Length Evaluation", "Transformer Tests", and "Bow Tie Antenna Angle Tests". They can be found at:

I moved recently and while I previously had a 'profe$$ional' roof mount installation my new place was not going to accommodate such a setup. I cobbled this together last night from some odds and ends then just generally shoved it in to a window. Receiving 19 of a potential 26 channels which I am sure I can improve on with a little tweaking and/or getting this up in to the attic.

My son was impressed....'hey Dad how did you know how to make that?'..... instructables son, instructables.

thank you for posting.

TBriggs001 year ago
Other designs that I use.

Use this site to find the best direction for your area to point antenna

Great website for HD antenna design
SOFISINTOWN2 years ago
I made it with fencing wire and it works GREAT!
I get a lot more channels than before, and all crystal clear.
I did not add the reflector, and I wrapped the whole thing with electric tape.

Thank you so much!

: )
ktriplej2 years ago
I built one out of scraps and all I can say is thank you. It works!
I made one...a smaller version that hangs on an interior wall. Without the backing. Smaller...only 16" long but every single channel still comes in. Pretty cool!!!!
Tv antenna.jpg
Nicely Done.
MacGyver would be proud.
carlos66ba3 years ago
I have built a similar antenna and it works EXTREMELY WELL in the UHF, but not so well (for the sizes of this particular model) in VHF.
weblar (author)  carlos66ba3 years ago
One of the comments I read relating to the original design that I modified for this Instructable was that the lengths of wires for the "Vs" in the original design favored either UHF or VHF (right now, I don't recall which); but the commentator suggested the alternative wire lengths in order to accomodate a broader range of signal.

I am able to pick up and watch television stations from Channel 2 (the lowest station I can pick up, and one of the stations further away from me - over 130 miles) to Channel 50 (the highest available station, and again far away - over 150 miles) using the antenna dimensions/wire lengths depicted in this Instructable.
Excellent! I am quite sure the lengths you are using are best for UHF, but then again, you know it works and that's what counts!

When I built an antenna like yours (almost identical!) it worked very well in the UHF but I could not get any VHF. Then the design I used for a DIY VHF was more like this:

I built it out of wood and some copper wires and put it in the attic, and worked wonderfully well.