Instructables

Homemade TV antenna

Picture of Homemade TV antenna
This TV antenna is not only omnidirectional, but also compatible with the new digital television. I actually get more stations with the new digital television signals than the old system. I get 35 channels and I an a long way from any large city. Some of the stations are over 60 miles away.

Construction is simple using copper tubing, PVC pipe and minimal tools. Tools include a hack saw, drill (hand or electric) screw driver and tape measure.
 
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Step 1: Making the antenna step 1

Picture of Making the antenna step 1
Start with some 3/8 or 1/2 inch copper tubing. Bend a half circle in a 26 inch diameter with an additional 1 inch extra on each end. Flatten the inch on the ends and bend them OUT. Now make another half circle and bend the ends IN.
dgwatson57 days ago

Check out my variation on the present design. They both work well from inside the house. Outside function should be great.

Dontenna 1.0 (1).jpgDontenna 1.0 (2).jpgDontenna 2.0.jpg
rbodell (author)  dgwatson56 days ago

Great, thanks. If it works out do an instructible and put a link to it here. You might experiment with the spacing between the two rings. That could affect the operation some.

clive singh23 days ago

Hi there,

I recently came across your homemade omni directional VHF antenna and I decided to make one. I live in Guyana and approximately 30-40 miles from the source of transmission. The antenna is picking up the signals at a guesstimate of 75 % of full clarity.
I tried adding a amplifier/ booster but somehow it just made the signal strength weaker and had to take it off. what addition/ or adjustment can I make to get a stronger signal? The current diameter of the copper circle is 28''. Does the diameter size pose a problem?

Awaiting your response. Thank you. I appreciate all the information that I have gathered from the website.

rbodell (author)  clive singh23 days ago

Try to get the diameter to 26 inches.

get it as high as possible. Trees and hills in the line of sight will weaken the signal.

Also make sure the two halves of the copper are electrically disconnected. You don't want them to tough.

omnitenna made it!1 month ago

Thank you rbodell for providing the instruction to build this great omnidirectional TV antenna. I also built it with excellent result, see picture below. Please take a look at my patent pending Circular Folded Crossed Dipole (CFCD) omni directional TV antenna "Omni UVOX" at http://www.omnitenna.com

Halo VU antenna plugged 010.jpg
rbodell (author)  omnitenna1 month ago

Glad it worked out for you. I like the one you also built. Very nice design.

Thanks, this commercial omni antenna design shown on the above image is the epitome of 2 prototypes I also built for testing, I'm very proud of it.

WiFi20001 month ago

This looks amazing; I appreciate the pics and instructions. However, I'm not wanting an antenna outside. Has anyone tried this model in an attic? Would any adjustments need to me made (besides omitting the 20' pole, of course)?

All my nearby HD broadcasters are within 11 miles (most are within 5), but I need an omni-directional antenna since ONE of them is nearly 110 degrees away from the cluster where all the other ones are.

rbodell (author)  WiFi20001 month ago

Being that close you could probably put it anywhere. In the attic would be out of the way. You shouldn't have to make any adjustments. Metal objects close by might affect it.

macabrebaby5 months ago
I noticed you used a 75ohm coaxial cable to connect to the matching transformer. Is this part of the design or would a 300 ohm ribbon work better instead?
rbodell (author)  macabrebaby5 months ago
Interesting question, thanks for asking. I see no reason it shouldn't work as long as you have an older television where the antenna connection has screws you can put the other end under. If not you will need the matching transformer on the television end of the 300 ohm cable to connect to the more modern coax connection.

As for it working better, I Don't THINK so.
The ground around the outside of the 75 ohm cable shields it from other signals where the 300 ohm wire won't be protected from spurious signals of different frequencies such as engine spark plugs florescent lights and transformers.

With the ribbon wire you mentioned, the spacing is determined by the frequency. I don't even know if the ribbon wire does reject any outside signals from other tv frequencies. AS FAR AS I KNOW the spacing only keeps the signal from interacting between television frequencies and coax protects it from all frequencies. Would somebody correct me if I am wrong.

In the end it will probably be harder to find the 300 ohm wire and I seriously doubt the price will be worth the hassle.

If you do give it a try, please comment back and let me know the results of your experiment.
It's a perfect tv antenna. Its omnidirectional design is just right where we live considering the source of the signals from different tv stations at different strengths. Now, I can pick em all up like they come from just one direction only. But my only problem was that the loop offers a strong invitation to birds to alight on the tubes. One medium sized bird did alight one day and broke my PVC ... I redesigned the loop to face the wind instead ... the signal is still the same. . . but the birds are gone. Thanks a load.
Actually, coax and twinlead prettymuch equally reject noise. The reason twinlead rejects it is because it's a balanced pair - and the noise is equal on both leads - it gets canceled out in the input transformer, as long as the noise signal is equal on both leads.
The disadvantage with twinlead is that it shouldn't touch metal, which can change the impedance on the cable. That's why the standoff insulators are important when using twinlead.
rbodell (author)  deirdrehbrt3 months ago
Thanks for that.
dcannaday1 year ago
Could you use a 26" rim to bend your copper tubing around?
rbodell (author)  dcannaday3 months ago
Yes, that is what I used to use till I found that it didn't have to be that exact. It looks better but approximate works too. In fact the first one O made was just cutting 26 inch rim in half, but it eventually got rusty so I switched to copper.
peapod734 months ago
Thank you for posting! You mention using a 300 ohm matching transformer. Can I just buy a 75 ohm balun from the store? If not, where can I get the transformer? Do you need to use an amplifier with this?
rbodell (author)  peapod734 months ago
The transformer is found in any store that sells tv accessories. Most are rated 75 to 300 ohm. I have never seen just a 75 ohm transformer. hey are commonly used to connect the cable to the old style connector on the back of the older tvs with screw connections instead of cable connections. I did a search on google shopping and found thios results. These are all the same thing 75-300. If these are what you are looking at look closely at the package, it probably says 75-300 ohm. I can't imagine just a straight 75 ohm. If it ois in the TV section, it will work

https://www.google.com/search?newwindow=1&hl=en&tbm=shop&sclient=psy-ab&q=75+ohm+matching+transformer&oq=75+ohm+matching+transformer&gs_l=serp.3...269274.269508.1.271068.2.2.0.0.0.1.296.436.0j1j1.2.0.ernk_timecombined...0...1.1.32.serp..2.0.0.bolY0eZ3zWA&psj=1
peapod73 rbodell4 months ago
Thanks! I think I get it now: 300 is the antenna side and 75 is the coax side. (I thought they were two different kinds before.) If moving my current antenna to the attic doesn't get me the CW, this looks like it will!
rbodell (author)  peapod734 months ago
The higher you can get it the better it works. Mine is 20 feet. Don't go overboard though. You can get great roof mounts. Trees make a good place to mount an antenna. Just don't get yourself killed before you see how good this works LOL
rbodell (author)  peapod734 months ago
OOPS I forgot, No you don't need an amplifier. If you have the old style TV you will need the converter box. this converts the new frequency to the frequency recognized by the old style TV.

If you are not sure what tv you have you will need to either get a converter or newer tv. Check prices for both. I got a real nice small flat screen at Walmart for about 125 dollars. It worked so well I bought two more, One for the xbox so I could watch TV and play the xbox at the same time LOL. Walmart has flat screen tvs for $99 up

http://www.walmart.com/search/search-ng.do?Find=Find&_refineresult=true&ic=16_0&search_constraint=0&search_query=flat+screen+tv&search_sort=4&_mm=
29tom297 months ago
Built this quickly and it works very well VHF. However doesn't work for digital. freqs required are 562MHz,578MHz, and 594MHz. Any suggestions what to try? smaller diameter?
29tom29 29tom296 months ago
Got your original to work - problem was faulty uhf tuner box. Redesigned your ant. specifically for UHF frequencies ( 578MHz) - worked well.. Diameter = 16.9cm
rbodell (author)  29tom296 months ago
Great, would you put up an instructable for it and give a link here so people coming here can see it.
rbodell (author)  29tom296 months ago
OK I found out your problem. This is not a converter it is an antenna. You still need the converter unless you have a newer television that receives those frequencies.
rbodell (author)  29tom297 months ago
Unless you have some trees in the way of the stations or they are out of range or there is a BIG change in the diameter from the plans you should not have a problem.

Maybe check to see that the two halves of the antenna are not electrically connected causing a short. It is pretty foolproof. . I have had people just guess at the diameter because they didn't have anything to measure with and they had good results.
rvtodd8 months ago
Well I finally built one for the rv. It works quite well for being about 15ft off the ground.I couldn't get the cross portion mount, so I drilled holes through pvc.Poked the smaller pvc through,to form the frame.Then drilled into place . Using number 10 aluminium ground wire I already had for years,for the hoop portion. Then fastened them the same way in the pic.This is the best ant for the rv cause it weighs less than 3 lbs.total including support pvc pole.Coudn't get the white ,so got the 1 1/4 electrical grey type pvc conduit.All I do is slide it up higher alongside my rv back roof ladder,and fasten it. When driving I lower it to the roof line to not cause problems. Now to make one for my 50 ft tv tower, should be interesting. Thanks rbodell.
rbodell (author)  rvtodd8 months ago
Glad it worked for you. That is what is so great about it, pretty much anything will work for materials. You are going to love it on that 50 foot tower. I had one that high once and I got so many channels I couldn't keep track of them all LOL.
thirrrsty8 months ago
I built this and it works loads better than the directional "bow-tie" type wire antenna I built last year. I didn't even need to mount it on a pole; I just put it on the roof and get great reception. Still trying to work out the perfect spot for it and then I'll anchor it. Thanks rbodell!
rvtodd9 months ago
Well as luck would have it.Wife and I took the dog for a walk in a nearby 94 acre field. Well stuck along the fence was a 10 ft piece of 1/2 in abs . So I've got my start, now to find a cross piece.Or at least a way to fasten them at a cross point.I will be using heavy aluminum ground wire as the antenna,because I have a large roll of it.We will figure this out.Thanks for help.
rvtodd9 months ago
Well checked out home depot and other places for parts.Home depot carry the pvc lengths.However no longer carry the connectors like the x fitting needed.Also checked local plumbing stores.The tell me they no longer stock the fittings .They all use pex now so no fittings needed.So my question, is there another frame material usefull for this? I'm thinking good quality wood.Any ideas, because I really want to build this. Thanks
rbodell (author)  rvtodd9 months ago
My hardware still stocks them so keep looking, they didn't stop making them.

Basically anything that will hold the two pieces of tubing in a horizontal position and doesn't conduct electricity. Another option might be a galvanized "CROSS" then a pipe thread to pvc fitting to convert it to pvc on the part that holds the tubing. Maybe a piece of plywood with the tubing u-bolted to it or you could drill some holes in the tubing and screw it to the plywood. The easiest way is to keep calling around to plumbing supplies. My hardware store stocks them so they shouldn't be that hard to find. I am really surprised that Home depot didn't have it.
thejunkman1 year ago
what is the 300 ohm transformer?
rbodell (author)  thejunkman9 months ago
it is the little thing you buy at the hardware store in the tv accessories that has a coax connector on one end and the old style flat cable on the other end. it matches the antenna to the tv which requires 300 OHM.
davidv4171 year ago
I made this antenna after a snow storm destroyed the new antenna I had bought a week ago. It works great and much better than the one I had bought. It was made with scraps I had around the house. Thanks so much David V. I am out in the country( Missouri Ozarks) 90 miles from any station. I get nine chanels clear
rvtodd1 year ago
I'm going to try to make one for my RV and house reception too.Looks easy to construct.
rbodell (author) 4 years ago
 Just a little update here, it is snowing big puffy flakes this morning and my directTV is not working. The antenna is working great. I really didn't expect it to work so good in snow.
rbodell (author)  rbodell1 year ago
Directv gets it's signal from satellites so it not only has to deal with snow and rain, but also heavy cloud cover will also steal the signal.
I used your basic design with some #6 aluminum ground wire I had, along with 3/4" pvc pipe and fittings. I was testing it against a 4 bay home made bow tie antenna. Signal on my "local" stations that are all about 40 miles away is 100% across the board, and I now pick up some out of market stations as far away as 100 miles at 75% signal strength. It really is an excellent design and cheaper than commercially available antennas and quick to throw together. Thanks for the inspiration!
IMG_20120825_065241.jpg
rbodell (author)  chrstphr19611 year ago
Thanks for your comment, Simplicity is the name of the game here. Pretty much anything even close will get good results. My mother had one of top of the line radio shack antennas and she was not happy with it on one of her favorite stations, even aimed directly at the station, but this one made her happy.

Most commercial stations usually have low signals off the back of the store bought antennas, but this has as good of a signal on any direction. What does amaze me, is that it works so good over such long distances. I originally started this antenna when I was living on my boat on the anchor. The boat continually swung back and forth causing the signal to fade in and out necessitating the omnidirectional design.

I really don't have any background in electronics or antenna design other than some research into antenna length formulas so anybody can do this. Have fun everybody..
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