Keepin' It Simple, the $7 HD Antenna

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Introduction: Keepin' It Simple, the $7 HD Antenna

There are TONS of options to build your own tuned HD antenna, but if you're looking for a quick and easy[Lazy] way to get setup give this $7 rig a try!

This is a passive antenna and it rely's on a fair signal strength. Before you start make sure you have sufficient coverage in your area using this link http://transition.fcc.gov/mb/engineering/dtvmaps/ (USA Only, else check with your local governing body).

Step 1: Getting the Parts

I picked up all my components listed below at my local Lowes. We essentially need a matching transformer and some wire. Fortunately I found a H-bracket Sign Holder that works perfectly for this purpose.


Parts:

1xRCA Outdoor Matching Transformer

http://www.lowes.com/pd_302829-63374-VH101R_0__

2x The Hillman Group 17.25-in x 5.625-in Sign

http://www.lowes.com/pd_335778-37672-843318_0__?pr...

Total Cost: $6.71

Step 2: Setup

The setup is fairly simple.

  • Align the H-bracket aside with a gap of about 3 inches.
  • Connect the two terminals of the Matching transformer to the center of the H-bracket as shown the image. I've used binder clips to hold the terminals in place, you may want to consider a more secure connection.
  • Plug in the Coaxial cable from the TV to the transformer.

Thats all! Now tune in.

Step 3: Aha!

I live near the 35 Mile radius from most transmitting towers and my TV managed to tune into 123 Channels (Yes, 123 in SoCal ! ). It took me about 5-10mins to scan through all of them though.

I hope you've had fun checking this out :), and if you do make one shoot me a tweet! @nicolsson

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    71 Comments

    There seems to be a lot of knowledgeable people here. I have a question. I have great picture but no sound, but only on one station, the one that comes in the strongest. Did have sound until last week. Thought it was TV went and bought new TV and another antenna but the same kind. Same thing on both TV's Checked tv with a satellite connection, both of them, works there. Have narrowed the problem down to the antenna.. Could anyone point me the right direction??

    More than a comment, a question for those knowledgeable about TV signals: Why not use FLAT 300 ohms twisted cable to get less signal attenuation, instead of the only one type (75 ohm coaxial) input Jack in 99.99% of the modern TV sets?

    Years ago, I was able to get some very good quality TV antenna cable bought at Radio-Shack (when RS was in much better shape than now!) That cable had the very best characteristics of the other two: the lower signal attenuation of flat 300 Ohm cable with the interference rejection of the coaxial RG-59U cable, and good weathering protection. That cable was constructed by enclosing a paralell 300 Ohm cable inside a braided sleeve and heavy duty cover. Unfortunately, is seems that it is no longer avaliable. Amclaussen.

    300 ohm actually loses more signal than 75 0hm just read the name! 300 ohm impedance vs 75 ohm impedance the name says it all. your shielded cable you are referencing was just shielded 300 ohm... but it still had greater attenuation (loss) than 75 ohm...

    Your confusing impedance with resistance, I think. 300 ohm twin lead, does indeed have lower loss than RG-59 coax. If you step up to RG-6 coax, then loss is pretty similar. Line loss can be made up for with amplification at course (ie the antenna). Coax has become the wire of choice due to the preponderance of cable.
    I started assisting my dad with ota antenna installs, when I was about 10 years old, 2 years of college for electronics technology and returned to continue until my late 20's. We did antennas on towers, on tripod mounts on the roof (my favourite for cost/performance) and in attics (doesn't work well through aluminum siding or metal roofs). We were quite distant from any station, with only a very few to choose from, and our go to, was a 10 element yagi, tuned for the desired channel.

    I just made the antenna. Love it! however, I have some stations that come in clear then go to nothing and then it states that there is no signal. I would say that out of about 30 or so stations I get about 20 consistent. I tried it first inside behind my flat screen then I decided to mount it to my old disconnected Dish network Dish they left on my house. Now I get the stations I mentioned above but still have issues with some stations as mentioned. I do not have an amp but would be willing to try it with this if someone could enlighten me on how to hook it up to my antenna I made from this instructable. BTW, It was not stated if the Antenna should lay flat or upright when mounted? Please advise? Thanks for this great Antenna! Chris

    An amp will not prevent the signal from dropping. The purpose of the amp (to state the obvious) is to amplify the signal. If the signal drops or is interfered with in any way, the amp will not be able to amplify the signal.

    That said: You can purchase an antennae amplifier, most likely from your local radio shack or television accessory isle in your local hardware store. If you can't find one in your local brick and mortar store, Google will help you find one.

    An "antenna" amp is a signal amp.

    yes the signal will drop, however the question is how much, The purpose of the amp is to increase the signal above the DROP OUT level (trying not to make comments on Scott Walker's College education here). As with all receivers even digitals need a minimal strength level to work if an amp brings it up enough it will allow it to work. NOW here comes the rest of the story.. the amp's sensitivity and selectivity. That is, its ability to work I the appropriate frequency range and reject interfering signals. In most cases a high end amp isn't needed due to the relative lack of interference that affects digital signals, however in some situations they can be required so I wont come out and discount their use, its just that the majority of the time the extra expense isn't needed.

    Chris, I believe it will work best mounted vertically, since that is the way the TV waves travel. See my other note re the app I installed on my cell phone to determine which direction your signal is coming from, then orient your antenna toward that transmitter.