HDTv Antenna on a Direct TV Mount.





Introduction: HDTv Antenna on a Direct TV Mount.

I got my Tv converter Box (with the Government program Coupon). I hooked up with a regular rabbit ear antenna and although the signal and quality are waaaay better that the analog ones, I couldn't get all the stations and some where a bit erratic. I went on Google and start looking for HDTV antennas and I found several easy to make DIYs setups, but they can be big and ugly to keep in my living room. So, I build the antenna but and I use an old Direct TV dish mounted in my garage (I don't have the subscription and I don't want too), the dish has been in my place since I move, and the best thing, it's wired to my living room.

Note: The antenna works independently from the dish, I'm just using the dish as a mounting device and since it's already wired to the living room works great for me.

Step 1: Materials

Wire , can be romex or cloth hanger wire.
Screws and washers, assorted ones
Standard wire mesh or similar wire screen, can use a metal rack shelves, chicken wire, etc. mine is 24" x 14"
Coaxial cable connection plug.
1 piece of wood, can be 2"x2" ir 2"x4" 14" to 16" long.
and of course a used Direct Tv or similar Dish.
soldier gun and electrical tape.

Note: I did mine with only 3 pairs of "Vs" (or ears if you may) but I have seen other antennas with 4 or 6 pair, which I guess incresses the reception.

Step 2: Antenna

The configuration of the antenna is quite simple, lumelab.com used to have a page with the plans and measurements but it's been down for a long time now.
The idea is basically to have 2, 3 or more sets of pair of wires in a "V" shape interconnected together in a cross series. Make sure that the cables connecting the "V"s don't touch each other, so is better to use isolated wires.
I spread my "V"so 7" apart, screwed in the piece of wood of 2"x2" and 14" long, using washers to keep them in place and as good contact point to the antennas and the bare wire.
Finally I soldier the end of the wire to a regular Tv male connection.
The antenna needs a "screen", I used a regular wire screen for landscaping but any type of screen will work (I have seen cardboard wrapped with tin foil as screen).

Step 3: Mounting the Antenna

I took down the Dish and rip all the wires and receivers that I wont use anymore.
The mounting was quite easy, I measure the middle of the dish to make a hole for the mounting. The dish is made out of plastic or fiver glass so is easy to drill a hole in it.
After that I placed the wire screen on top of the dish and I centered. The antenna came later, to attach the antenna, basically the piece of 2"x2", I use a electrical pipe hanger, as shown in the pictures, and bolted to the dish it kept the screen and the antenna in place neatly.
After that it was just to put the Dish back in place, hooked up the cable and it's done.

Step 4: Final Product

The only thing left was setting the direction of the antenna to get a better reception, I'm Berkeley Ca, and facing the antenna to the southwest works better for most of the channels. from almost 30 channels, some with a weak or none signal, it went up to almost 40 with noticeable improvement and quite happy that I don't need an antenna in the living room anymore.



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    What is the 'mileage' on this antenna? My 'local' channels are 60 miles away,75 miles away and 97 miles away!;as the crow flies. Way back in analog days I had to use 14ft antenna 25ft up a pole which is giving me intermittent signal strength unless the weather is so bad as to make it foolish to have the TV plugged in at all lol Will these flat panel antennas improve my signal or not?

    Made this and the reception is flawless!!! Had 2 DirecTV dishes, so I re-purposed one, used an old power chord for the wiring and leftover 2x4s and mesh wire I already owned. Only had to buy the rods at the local hardware store. Took longer to mount it back on the existing mount than it did to make. Totally recommend this one!!!

    You guys in the States are so lucky, we in the UK have to pay for a converter box and in a lot of cases a new aerial. You can pick up a box for about £15 but these tend to be crappy and a good one will cost £50 then another £50 for a decent aerial Plus £100 for installation of the aerial. If you want to watch one channel whilst recording another you need two boxes, and when bad weather is around forget it, digital signals only like good weather conditions.

    3 replies

    Maybe so, but you also have FREESAT, a free satellite service and you only have to pay for the equipment.

    We have nothing like that here, all satellite TV is pay, and the only free channels you get with a 1 meter dish are mostly international and PBS. You need a 6-12 foot dish to get anything on C-band and homeowner's associations can legally ban you from having them.

    A couple of hundred pounds for a half decent HD Freesat box with only a couple of HD channels, lots of shopping and God channels some movie channels showing 40 year old B movies and soft porn, I should really say soft soft soft porn, you see more in soaps. Freeview is a better option as long as you can get a good signal, more channels and all new TVs come with Freeview built in but still only a couple of HD Channels.

    But the sting in the tail is we all have to buy a 150 pound licence every year for the privilege of having a TV in our homes and we face a thousand pound fine and jail time if caught without the licence, they have detector vans traveling the country checking every address that hasn't got one. George Orwell got it right in his book 1984.

    Something we both have in common though is that crook Rupert Murdoch and his media empire, hopefully he'll do some prison time for all the hacking is reporters have been doing. We will not buy his newspapers in Liverpool after the comments his paper, The Sun printed about the Hillsborough disaster and the 96 soccer supporters who were crushed to death.

    Heehee, see the advantages of being a socialist state? Of course, we pay for the converter, and we also pay several bureaucrats to first take our money and then give it back to us, but at least we have universal...TV.

    It would work better if you used a single bowtie driven element and moved it forward to the focal point of the dish.

    Great way to recycle those old dishes!

    Not sure why the chickenwire backplane would ever be needed, unless it's to increase the overall dimensions of the reflector - although these dishes appear to be made strictly of fibreglass or other plastics, they are still required to be inherently RF-reflective, and, therefore, metallic in some regard, or they wouldn't work at all...

    Most are built using one of these methods:

    1. "DIY screen" - aluminim sheet is punched with a gazillion tiny holes, making a "screen" of it, then it's stamped into a semiparabolic shape and powder-coated.

    2. wire-mesh "sandwich" on fibreglass "bread" - pre-made metallic screening or "wire cloth" is laminated with fibreglass and resins and stamped into a semiparabolic shape.

    3. "soup mix" - metal powder is blended directly into the resins, resulting in a conductive plastic, which is then molded or stamped, etc....

    3 replies

    These Dish's are made of very thin steel and painted grey to reflect satellite signal from plate onto eye of satellite dish.

    good to know, I can get rid off the ugly chicken wire then!,

    It's at least worth a try, since, as simple and elegant as your construction is, it shouldn't be much hassle to put back if reception goes in the dumper without it. 

    This assumes that, as froggyman mentioned, there's no electrical connection between the "screen" and the pickup elements. If such a connection WERE needed, you'd need the chicken wire, after all, as it can be a considerable challenge getting at the conductive part(s) of the dish's own architecture.

    I also wondered:

    Would a single "V", standing-off the dish at the same "focal point" where the original LNB pickup was hung, perhaps gain enough from the dish's parabolic properties to make up for the fewer elements? Or would so few "sticks" compromise the bandwidth beyond usefulness?

    It appears the digital converter boxes require an antenna for UHF. Some of these include an amplifier, which may not be necessary for your area. It depends on signal strength. I made a UHF antenna that worked quite well. It was highly directional and you might have to reposition it for different stations. I drew a parabolic curve on a piece of wood. A parabolic curve is a line equally distant between a point and a line. Start with a large sheet of paper or several pieces of newsprint taped together. Draw a straight line across the bottom of the paper. Make the line about three long. Find the center of the line. Make a point a foot or more above the center of the line. With two yardsticks, measure from the line at a right angle to the line and from the point. Look for the point at which the distance on both yardsticks is the same. Make a mark on the paper. Continue plotting points in this way. Some of the points will be ten inches from the point and ten inches from the line. Some will be six inches from both some will be twelve or fifteen inches from both. Many will be dimensions that end with various fractions of an inch. When you are finished, connect the dots. Cut the wood to fit this curve. Screw a piece of sheet aluminum a foot wide to the wooden curve. Make it long enough to follow the whole curve. At the center of the curve drill a hole and insert a dowel rod. Make it so it goes to the location of the original point you used in plotting the curve. Attach two strips of aluminum about an inch or so wide and six inches long, like dog ears. Connect your leads to these dog ears. The parabolic curve will gather signals and focus them at the dog ears very nicely.

    4 replies

     Phil B
    Have you done your instructable?  I'm having difficulty understanding - could use some pics.  Thanks

    (can the curve be created with a pencil compass, or the old pencil and string idea?)

     I have done the Instructable.  It is at this link: www.instructables.com/id/Good_HDTV_antenna_cheap/  The antenna works pretty well without the parabolic reflector, depending on how far you are from the broadcast towers.  One person attempted a simple curved reflector without plotting a precise parabolic curve and got an increase in signal strength of 3x.  Google "make a parabola" for numerous pages on how to plot a parabolic curve.  A compass will not do the job.  There is a way to use string, but I did not find it very accurate because the string and device were not very precise. 

    Phil, I can understand the concept you are talking about here but can not quite picture the process. Would you be willing to do an instructable for us?

    Yes, I would. I have thought about doing one on this, anyway. Right now I am traveling. I will be home in a couple of days and will try to get an Instructable done on it by the weekend. When i tried this it was back in the 1970s. No one had heard of HDTV. I used it to pull in some UHF stations. We were getting stations from more than 50 miles away with this parabolic antenna. Thanks for asking. Oops! I meant to say, "Make the line three feet long." in the description above.

    Ok so I built one...or my frankenstein version of one..Had everything on hand except $3.50 worth of nuts and bolts. Sorry pics are at night, but I just finished and had to set it up first. Scrapped the dish after building framework too large, but did use the mounting pole/bracket. Works great!! Getting 2 more channels than I was with the 7' Radio Shack antenna. Thanks for the idea.

    1 reply

    Here's a couple of daytime photos:


    So far, I've made at least 12 of these antennas(inside use)and my biggest expense has been for the 300 to 75 ohm balun connectors. If you're looking for these, SKIP your local "shack",which sells them for around $5.99,and order them from for ONLY $0.43 ea. in qtys of 10 or more!! I picked up 15 for the price of 3 at the "shack", and that includes shipping.
    Hope this helps any of you. Before I forget, after you finish the project, remember to do a rescan every now and then as some stations my be on-line, but not up to speed. you may pick up a new channel when you do this. GOOD LUCK to you all.

    what kind of wire did you use for the connection between the v's. was it electrical wire or coaxial wire? how did you connect it to the cable that ran into your living room?