Homemade TV Antenna

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Introduction: 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.

Step 1: 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.

Step 2: Step 2

Take a 1/2 or 3/4 inch PVC cross (depending if you used 3/8 or 1/2 inch copper tubing). add a piece of PVC to each connection so you can bolt the flattened edges to two of the PVC ends and the middle will fit into a notch to support it. Notice the two pieces of copper tubing do NOT come into electrical contact with each other except for the 300 ohm matching transformer.

Bolt the cross to a 2" PVBC end cap. Use a lock washer or double nuts so it doesn't loosen up. Glue the cap to a 20 foot piece of 2" PVC pipe.

Connect a 300 ohm matching transformer to the two pieced of copper tubing as in the picture. Connect cable to transformer, tape and run down the 2" PVC pole.

Drive a piece of pipe in t ground with about a foot above the ground and set the antenna mast over it and firmly mount the mast at roof level. As long as you mount it at the edge of the roof and don't go over 20 feet you don't need guy wires. if you go higher I would suggest adding some guy wires.

Trees between you and the station could reduce the signal so you may have to go above trees for log distance stations.

If you use a metal pole, it should be grounded to the ground rod by your electric meter.

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4 Questions

Alright , I made 2 circles 26" with an additional 1" on each side, just a bit confused here , should I end up when assembled with a 52" diameter 26" radius?

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I'm a little confused about a couple of things. Should the 26" diameter measurement be the two halves together before mounting them to the PVC pipe? If so, won't this will make the final diameter more than 26"? Also, a 26" bicycle rim isn't 26" in diameter unless a tire is on it. Thanks.

2 Questions What A Guess Distance Pick Up Tv I'm On Top Big Mtn. My Setup 3o'-4o' 2nd Question Use 3/8'' Copper Whats The OAL Measurements In Inches Please !! B4 I goes Makes a Mess Waste My $$ & Time An Hack Up $3+ Per Foot Copper Not Free Here I Likes Get It Close Being The Same As Urs I Has No Way Tuning It Works Or Doesn't So Likes Do It Same As Yours Since Ur Having Great Luck Closest Possible I Can't Don't Knows The Size Pipe Makes Correct Length 26'' Circle Has Them 1'' Flatted Ends Then One Is Bent Out & Ends 1'' Is Flatten Then Gets Bent In Use This 3/8'' Copper Tubing Oil Heat I Has Left Over My Job Not Sure Has Same Luck I'll Not Knows Dont Try It Any Better $77 Mo Dish-Tv Was $54 Not Now Salty High Plays Same Tv Shows Day After Day Not Worth It I Likes Test Few Tv Diy Ideas See Best 4 Me Hope I Gets More 2 Ch We Has In 80's Growing Up Tv Was Poor Qty Snowy Now These Crystal Clear I Seen Friend tv Sure Come A long Ways I Was a Kid Here In Mtns No Tv Here Til 1990's 12ft Sat In Yard Or Smaller $600+ Box Kit Rca -Direct-tv or Others Had Prime-Star Was All New Loved 50+ Ch On Tv Got Used to $$ Month Bills Now To much Fixed Income Only See Same Show 2-4 x On Same Day We All Seen 10+ Yrs Ago Not Worth 1-2 shows Per wk U Watch These Most Is On Ch I Gets For Free Local Why Im Try Build Me a Much Better Qty Then Stuff From Store Fail Likes Most China Junk Thanks 4 Post Antenna Looks Great I seen lot Past 6mo This Looks Best One Beefy H-Duty

i just found this the other day and decided to give it a go. so I went and got the materials put it up at 16 feet off the ground and can only get 4 channels, flawless picture but only four. what will really help is specific measurements for the semi circles of cooper. what is the full measurement of the semi-circle 42" or 44" for the extra inch for screw and bolt?

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Never mind, I read all the comments and someone has done the math. Now i know that each semi-circle is 42" as Richard Yoza put it:
26 inch Diameter-- the circumference or length will be C= 3.14 x 26 = 81.64 inch length minimum of cooper tubing. So at least 2-two 42 inch cooper tube, bent in a semi 26 circle. NOT a 26 inch tube.. BUT more than 82 INCH COPPER TUBING !!! so am back to the drawing board to fix. Will update when done.

132 Comments

Just saying here, that looks like a good idea and I plan to build one , but I have found if all you need is a single tv, a short piece of coax with about 8" of the jacket removed a pretty darn good signal , I ended up with 23 channels.

I built this antenna, hoping for good results, set it up inside, and got zero channels. Moved it outside, and picked up 5 channels. Very disappointed in it. My homemade Gray Hoverman picks up 15 channels inside. I would like to pick up the towers from 58 miles away, but can't get them. Still better than paying Dish Network $104.00 a month.

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?

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.

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.

It also helps to put (2) Two twists per foot of run on twinlead!

This was standard practice up until coax started to replace the twinlead about 1975.

Also in Arizona we had to replace the twinlead about every 2 years as the sun would Bake the insulation making it brittle and then bye bye insulation.

Thanks for that.

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.

Ha-ha was just thinking about the pigeons sitting on my stacked yagi old school antennas when I came across your post. The design is great, as is Omnitennas above (going to try to back engineer that pup :) But I need to stand it on it's side 'cause we have lot's of pigeons.

I love old technology. Just scale things back to what really works best. I am in the process of building a house in Alaska that will have less living expenses than in the lower 48. Nothing new, just old technology and basic science.