As committed cable cord cutters, we had experimented with several HDTV antenna and antenna placements, with mixed results. We live between different towers, so sometimes we want to turn the antenna 180 degrees. We also discovered that placing the antenna too low left us susceptible to signal disruption whenever we moved. Here is the low-cost but very effective solution we found.
Running cable outside to a mounted roof antenna, or defacing ceiling or walls with hardware, were not good options. We like the paper-thin wall-mount antennas available (and use one in another room for another TV), but this one reliably brings in more channels.
We now have an excellent, strong antenna designed for outdoor mounting, but on an indoor free-standing installation. It works great!
Antenna with mast mount ($50-$90, ours was a deeply discounted, returned model from Best Buy)
8-foot metal closet rod ($8-$10)
A few wire ties
2 hose spools (free, an auto parts store was going to throw them out)
Material for making a skirt, if desired
Step 1: Attach the Antenna to Closet Rod Using Supplied Mount
The antenna mount is a simple u-clamp. Assemble as instructed, or adapt an existing antenna to be mounted as high as possible, but still allowing for rotation.
Step 2: Dress the Cable With Zip Ties
A few zip ties will dress the cable nicely on the upper mast, but don't go too far down the mast or rotation will be impeded.
Step 3: Is Rotation Necessary?
If you want to use your antenna in an area where all the desired tv tower signals are from the same direction, and rotation won't be necessary, simply trim or shim to the necessary length to hold the rod firmly in place floor to ceiling. (There are spring expansion rods of this length available, designed to hold lights from photo supply companies, but they're expensive.) You can dress the cable all the way down the back of the rod to hide it, for a nice neat appearance. Enjoy having your antenna close to the ceiling but out of the way!
Step 4: 360 Degrees of Rotation
We salvaged a wooden spool and a plastic one. The wooden one is heavier, so as pictured the stacked spools make a nice secure base for holding the mast and allowing rotation. We needed to shorten the mast about four inches, replacing the rubber cover after making the quick cut with a hacksaw.
If the spools you encounter have a substantially larger diameter center opening than the closet rod you wish to use, you could easily cut the right size of PVC pipe as a sleeve adapter to the proper length. This would straighten and stabilize.
We'll either make a skirt from suitable material, with a slit in the top or velcro closures, or maybe we'll just paint the wooden spool black and make use of the knick knack shelves. That last step is yet to be determined.