Introduction: Pie-tenna, the Simplest HDTV Antenna Possible, Possibly.

Pie-tenna was born out of a desire to make as simple an HDTV antenna as possible.

Retail antennas are too expensive for what they are. And other antenna plans? Who wants to measure, make fractals and really, who keeps baluns on hand anymore? So, after much googling, and patent searches......

The only supplies you'll need are a disposable aluminum pie plate, and a section of coax, with a connector on one end. The only tools, a CD, a pair of scissors, and some thumbtacks.

The video should be self explanatory, if not, ask.


MichaelR226 (author)2016-07-30

Wow, that was easy. Mocked this up in under 5 minutes, with just tin foil and cardboard. I live in a fringe area, but managed 8 channels. Doubtful a indoor antenna bought would do better.

octosloth (author)2016-04-10

i'm so mad i did what you did in the vid and it didn't get any stations at all, it appears that everybody's else's works... so frustrated

octosloth (author)octosloth2016-04-10

i did use tin foil but otherwise nothing please answer ASAP

Jamesmac442 (author)2016-03-05

I was out in the country with no antenna and no pie plate, so I tried this with a loop of 4 conductor speaker wire about 9" in diameter. Both hot and ground were connected to different wires in the same end of the loop. I got 40 channels.

Superbummed (author)2016-03-04

Did not work for me! Followed instructions to a T, even made some adjustments when it wouldn't work, still didn't work. Super pissed. :/

frivolas made it! (author)2016-02-28

Once more it's confirmed that all you need to beat the system is some foil, scotch tape, and youtube! Thanks to this able my wife was able to watch the Oscars. Yeah!

AntoniaR made it! (author)2016-01-29

I used tin foil and cardboard, took like 20 min. Got 41 channels, works great. Awesome idea. Thanks

rrace001 (author)2015-10-24

Awesome! I just made one out of aluminum foil and it picked up most the stations around my home just as the one I ordered on line. I used a splitter and some wire to connect to the foil. Taped the foil to some cardboard and hot glued the splitter to the cardboard then connected. Works great! Thanks!

Aerycks made it! (author)2015-08-30

I was skeptical at first, but since I already had the cable, I figured why not give it a try. We got rid of cable TV and started streaming a few months ago, and admittedly miss some of the shows. Plus, football season is almost here and there is no free streaming of live sports. I got two 8" pie pans from Dollar Tree for $1.49 and within 10 minutes of starting, I had the antenna installed and had the TV scanning for stations. I live about 50 miles from Denver and was blown away when I got 33 channels! I was so impressed (as was my wife) that I decided to make one for the TV in the basement. Incredibly, I also get 33 channels in the basement. So for 75 cents per antenna we can now supplement our streaming with some broadcast TV. Thank you for this instructable.

ronakmdave (author)2015-08-28

Did you mod a coax cable to have only one connector (strip the wire casing on one end)? Or did you buy it with only one connector? (I've been having trouble finding one like that)

lane.weast made it! (author)2015-08-24

I was unable to find the aluminum pie pan for cheap so I used our tin pie pan to trace the size onto Aluminum foil. Cut it out and taped it to cardboard.
It works fantastic. A little flimsy but it works. 24 channels.

rmissildine (author)2015-07-10

Scstar made it! (author)2015-07-05

Thanks for this! I only used what I had in my home: tin foil, an old coax cable, and push pins. Initially the cable was directly on the foil but for some reason the channels came in better when the cable was slightly off the wall. I ended up with 18 UHF channels! It was really easy to make and it's not all that noticeable on my wall.

stuckonails (author)2014-11-09

Made this with cardboard and tinfoil. Connected coax to antenna with paper clips. As you can see, this is a total hack-job but it works beautifully. Didn't even mount it, just rested it on the edge of my bookshelf. Picture attached of setup and me watching the green Bay game.

joej9 (author)stuckonails2015-03-09

Cool antenna. My question is, "Did the Pack win?"

jason.salvatori (author)2015-01-12

Great if you have that strong of a signal near by. Something like that is very low gain though - I'm using an 8-bay bow-tie to get signals from over 100 miles away, and no pie-plate antenna will do that. Possibly some coat hangers and an oven liner?

sweller (author)jason.salvatori2015-02-26

Apples and bananas. This you can hide indoors, disguised as a picture or whatever your imagination allows. An 8-bay *anything* is going to be ugly - even in an attic. Outside, I have a > 24" folded dipole in PVC that pulls in everything broadcast in my native language (12+ stations) from almost 50 miles away. It's almost invisible and virtually weatherproof.

rha207 (author)2015-02-25

I made one and got 14 channels and decided to buy a real one, an RCA digital antenna. It only got 7 stations. The one I made outperformed it hands down, so I returned it and the one I make. Thanks.

czarjim (author)2014-11-26

Too cool! My Xfinity (cable TV) service went out several times over the past month - again today. We're hosting Thanksgiving and I used this Instructable to see if we could get the game tomorrow. It works! I now get 20 channels. Many thanks!

pparker4 (author)2014-10-15


wwhitt (author)2013-01-17

My brother said that if you are in front of the antenna you could get cancer. Is this true? Btw I made it and love it!

breedm (author)wwhitt2013-01-18

Pie tins have long been known to be carcinogens!

nolan.kriegel (author)breedm2014-10-07

Maybe that is why they are not considered edible.

nolan.kriegel (author)wwhitt2014-10-07

You brother has been misinformed. The same TV signal is around you even without an antenna. Think of taking a shower. Then you get a glass and let it fill so you can water your plants. The glass is the antenna, (Collector). So you brother is still wet, with or without an antenna. pun intended!

gomibakou (author)wwhitt2013-01-20

Emitter or receiver antenna? Emitters... emitts... signals with a frequency, intensity, amplitude... and they can be dangerous depending on the type of the signal, moreover the real problem is the power in the signal. A simple light with 100 mc of intensity won't hurt, but that one with 1.000.000 surely will burn your sking. Is the light dangerous?

Receivers are so dangerous as having nothing because the waves are spread everywhere. The antennas only focuses the incoming signal to increase the levels to be usable for the devices.
So, they aren't dangerous.

snoopybr made it! (author)2014-06-09

I Like that. It's simple and functionaly. I used a aluminum paper (!) glued on cardboard, with 2 screws to fix the wires... It's works! Thanks! ------------ É ótimo. Simples e funcional. Usei uma folha de papel aluminio colada num papelão de embalagem, com 2 parafusos pra fixar os fios do cabo. Funcionou! Obrigado! Canoas - RS - Brasil

tyzh (author)2014-03-27

Will cardboard wrapped with aluminum foil work? Is it possible to make this omnidirectional? Like 2 or 3 of them put togetter? Thanks

edgrolvr (author)2014-01-20

This totally works! Amazing. I have a digital tv but no cable service and have had rabbit ears on my tv forever. The reception was spotty at best. I made this antenna in less than 10 minutes and I get all the previous channels + a few more with PERFECT reception.

Eleyan (author)2013-12-14

When you say HDtv are you meaning Analog or digital, please.
I've just picked up an old antenna of mine and am getting nowhere
with using it, even with a HD set top box. Melbourne is now Digital signal only.

breedm (author)2013-01-18

My rabbit ears can't seem to be able to pick up ch 8 in my area, a Hi-V station, despite my close proximity to the transmission tower. Would this be able to do a better job of picking up hi-v broadcasts?

fizprof (author)breedm2013-11-23

nope... you need a loop of diameter of about 22 inches for channel 8 VHF

tom5555 (author)2013-02-04

Made this with a 10 inch pie pan. Comments below say 8 inch should have been used. I am missing one slightly lower power OTA station. Would redo-ing with an 8 inch pie tin make a difference?

fizprof (author)tom55552013-11-23

UHF digital TV frequencies are centered around 600 MHz (ok...maybe 550 for people outside of Utah). This makes the ideal diameter for a "ring" antenna to be jsut over 6 inches... so the 8in pie plate + the about 4in hole of the CD makes it a somewhat "wide-band" ring antenna for the digital TV frequencies. 10 in is too big...

Ottoclav (author)2013-09-07

could i just connect a 75-300 ohm transformer to the pie plate ends instead of stripping coax?

zappenfusen (author)2012-12-02

Video instructables should be banned!

dchall8 (author)zappenfusen2013-01-17

I used to think video Instructables should be banned until Kipkay and Giannyl proved it can be done better than many written ones.

DIY-Guy (author)dchall82013-04-18

I liked the idea, I liked the information, but-
My .pdf download option does me no good with video only. Both written and video combined are a rich solution to a poor compatibility problem.

DWFMBA (author)zappenfusen2013-01-17


fireplume (author)zappenfusen2013-01-17

No way! Best Instructables soundtrack ever!

cwaggoner (author)2013-04-17

It works great! When we have a weather outage it sure is nice. Thank You.

paul.t.obrien (author)2013-01-18

> So, after much googling, and patent searches......

Might I suggest an Instructable on efficient patent searching for the gleaning of sweet ideas?

bobby sissom (author)2012-12-02

Is this a case of the bigger the better or is this example about the limit?

Ideally, the inner circle can remain the same, the outer circle should be about 8 inches. I was just working with the constraints of the material. I might post an idealized antenna instructable, in video format, just for zappenfusen, in the near or distant future. After all, I didn't think I'd be 2 years since my last instructable.

Do the cheapness of material,I believe i will give this a try but i am located in the deep woods.I will offer up my results when I am done,I am curious enough to give it a go.I have a DB8 started but only halfway complete,if this is marginally successfull i might just never finish the other lol

dchall8 (author)2012-12-02

Would aluminum foil work as well?  How important is it that the antenna be flat?  Should you glue it to something flat?

I assume you were crimping the wires to the pie plate there toward the end of the video.  Is that correct?  Your arm covered what you were doing. 

Is this a directional antenna?  Do you mount it horizontal or vertical?

Yes, I'm crimping, and then jammed the tacks through to secure, any conductive material should work. Flatness is important, as is mounting with the opening down. Yes it's a directional antenna, you can use to find where the transmission towers are relative to you, for me, 90% are at 102 degrees, so I just mounted to an east facing wall

temper (author)2012-11-30

aaaah the delights of living under a HDTV transmission tower...

Tool Using Animal (author)temper2012-12-01

If ,by under, you mean an average of 15 miles, yes, I live under a transmission tower.

rimar2000 (author)2012-11-30


About This Instructable




Bio: Working my dream job in the Telecom industry, so chances are, i'll never have time to respond to comments or messages, nothing personal.
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