Picture of Powerful Modern Homemade HDTV Antenna

TV Antennas have been around for many years - and people have tried all sorts of unsightly things to "fix" them or make them work better - anything from attaching a metal clothes hangar to aluminum foil! I realized it doesn't work and I don't want to waste my money on more of these faulty antennas. Sometimes the best way to fix something is to Do It Yourself!!!

I decided to get rid of cable television many months ago. My local cable company convinced me to pay $10 a month for local channels - it seemed alright. Antennas seemed to be a thing of the past - didn't even think about trying to use one. So, a few months went by and the lovely cable company raised my local channel price to $35 a month; ridiculous for a few channels. I got rid of it and purchased an antenna. The first one hardly got a channel - and it had horrible reception. Wasted money on a second one - which I used for a while. But, if my cat would walk near the window, the channels wouldn't work. I'd have to move the thing constantly to try to get reception - even then it would go out many times. I put aluminum foil all over it and looked crazy and horrendous - and that didn't help. I really wanted to watch Masterchef!

So, I researched all over the web and I found some info on how to make a modern-looking HDTV antenna out of cardboard and aluminum foil. I mentioned it to my dad and he laughed at first - but after he heard about how mine turned out, he wants me to make him one! I read a ton of comments from people who had made this type of antenna, and they were raving about how it was better than their high-end $70 one! So, I must give big thanks and credit to the guy who created this design here - thank you! You can also get the template there as well. The instructions were great, but I am not good with electronics and the fact that I was able to do this - means it is simple! I hope my guide here and pictures will help those who are like me, and need things broken down even more. I tried to take lots of clear pictures.

Before we start, I just want to say that after plugging this in, without even placing it up high or in any certain direction or special location - I got more channels than I've ever received on that TV. I have more channels than what I had when I paid the cable company for them! They are all crystal clear - I love it! Also, don't forget to rescan for channels after hooking this up - that also increased the number of channels I received.

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ajanuszczak2 years ago
Very cool! Does it matter what side of the foil you glue down - the shinny side or the dull side?
I glued the shiny side of the wings to the cardboard and the dull side of the main back piece to the cardboard and it still works great. I think it doesn't matter because it's the fact that it's metal that picks up the signal.
HollyMann (author)  ajanuszczak2 years ago
I don't think it matters - but I did glue the dull side to the cardboard.
I suppose it would be the dull side, but I can't be certain
asec2 years ago
thanks to sharing this ! the antenna work well you made my day ! i want hug you so much you so beauty women also !
ffcabral2 years ago
This got me curious. Worth giving it a shot :D
jn2452 years ago
I built one and it works GREAT! THANKS!!!
HollyMann (author)  jn2452 years ago
Yay that is great to hear!!!! Wonderful!
niels817 made it!5 days ago
I was skeptical, but I built this and I love it! At first I aimed the antenna the wrong way (backwards) and I still got more channels than my store bought one, around 20. As soon as I directed it the right way, boom, 46 channels clear as a bell. Thanks for the tutorial, now I'm going to go and enjoy some of my favorite shows.
paappraiser26 days ago

I made it. It works great !

It gets the same amount of channels as a Amazon prime $30 antenna. So if you have 1-2 hours to kill and all the crap laying around this will work great. It does not need to be 100% perfect cut out and it rocks.

PattyG21 month ago
I did NotTheDudes idea. It didnt do jack squat for me. Im very disappointed.
whois_pavan2 months ago

Thanks for sharing this HDTV Antenna design. I did not have any antenna before, so thought to give a try on this one. It is working good, and I am getting around 60 channels. All prime channels with very good quality w/o any signal drop. Initially I was getting less channels but when I aligned this antenna to tower direction, I got all good channels.

Once again, thanks a lot!!

whois_pavan2 months ago

Thanks for sharing this HDTV Antenna design. I never had any antenna before so thought to give a try on this one. It worked great, and I getting around 60 channels in my location.

whois_pavan2 months ago
de8632 months ago

NottheDude, the stripped coaxial cable "antenna" is an amazing discovery. I was already experimenting with antennas in my smallish apartment. I had found an excellent commercial antenna giving me 13 of the 15 available channels in Ottawa, with useable to excellent signal strength on all 13 once I located it in one particular area of the apartment window. It is about 20" by 20". Making your antenna, I found stripping the cable was hard at first (I had to watch a U-tube video to get the idea) and I cut my finger, but it was worth the slight bother and could now do it fairly quickly. RESULT: Using your simple stripped cable antenna in the same spot gave me about 85% as good performance as this commercial antenna (the HD Frequency Cable Cutter), It almost seems impossible but it's true!

NotTheDude2 years ago
It may not look as cool as this or other homemade HDTV antennas, but you can save yourself the cost of buying anything new and the work it takes to put one of these things together by simply taking a spare coaxial cable and cutting about 8 inches of insulation off the end so you have the center wire exposed. Then move it around until you get the best reception. You will not believe it until you try it, but this works better than any other antenna I have ever used for over-the-air digital TV.

I have tried every antenna possible from dollar store 10 buck antennas to $50 Phillips HDTV indoor/outdoor antenna and the bare wire works better than them all (even when I put the $50 antenna on my roof). I have removed the insulation from about a dozen or so coaxial cables for friends and families over the past 4 years and they are all still using them because they work better than anything else.they have bought themselves.

I would make an indestructible for this, but it's so easy I couldn't explain it any better except to take a picture of it. I will say that it can be hard to slide the entire 8 inches of insulation off the end all at once so just cut an inch or two of the insulation at a time and it comes off pretty easily.

Try it and you will be surprised how well it works. What do you have to lose?

I must admit, NotTheDude's antenna works great! It's pretty sad when a "nontenna" works better than any of the storebought antennae I have tried -- even the amplified omni-directional ones! Granted, I don't get every channel but I get most of them without having to constantly re-adjust it.

Aa8ron NotTheDude3 months ago

This tip worked amazingly! Thank you! I had been fighting with my store bought amplified antenna for weeks with no luck in getting more than 6 channels. I followed your instructions and hooked up the coax cable, and now I have every single channel coming through flawlessly. Thanks again.

@Not the dude This worked extremely well! Would recommend if you dont want to do the nicer one. Thanx!!

Do I need a digital converter box or is this coaxial cable only attached to TV? My Toshiba TV was made in 2007 so its considered 'old' by LCD TV standards.

You are right. I would not have believed it until I tried it. It works as good as any antenna I have had. I am 30 miles from stations and pick up 23.

Thanks NotTheDude! I had a spare room and I didn't want to pay for another satellite receiver. Got a bunch of channels from your simple tip. :)

Worked great, NotTheDude; way better than the factory made antenna. And I didn't have to go out any buy any more parts. I live about 30 miles from the towers that broadcast the signals and I got all the hard to reach channels I was trying to get. Thanks!

JRisME NotTheDude10 months ago

Thanks for posting this simple solution. I just tried it and it worked very well. I immediately got better reception than my $50 RadioShack antenna. How is this not more widely known?!?! I will be happy to give you credit, but where/ how did you discover this? Just curious.

It worked great for me. All the channels were found with best quality. Took me 2 min to make that antenna. The only problem is that it works if the open cable sits just in the middle of the wall :) Will try to move it around and find a place where it also works but not that visible. Thanks again.

So, I tried this, and what did I have to lose? A previously useful coax cable! I did get ONE channel with it. And then buried my "experiment" in the recycle bin so my husband wouldn't ask embarrassing questions.
He mocked my antenna making efforts while making HollyMann's antenna, but when I got 30 channels, and they are super clear compared to what the cable company was giving us, he stopped laughing.
The only downside, is which channels I get depends heavily on the direction the antenna faces. Right now I have it angled to get most channels...all except ABC. But I'm gonna have to reorient it once The Bachelor season starts!
@NotTheDude... Thank you, thank you, thank you! It works brilliantly. I am 62 and have fkd with antennas my entire life. I refuse to pay for cable. Years before cable became reality the propaganda was "TV with no commercials!" Huh! Now we have to pay for TV with commercials? Ugh! No way. So I have tried many. My space currently faces the wrong way to receive half the stations in the Bay Area and with digital, new antennas, so they have said. Everyone has failed from repeatedly moving to adjust reception and breaks. None work well. When our new flat panel failed, from a loose wire I assume, i broke the wires connecting three different rigs and was on the verge of giving up. I looked up DIY solutions here on instructibles, saw your response and cut away on an extra coaxial cable as prescribed and viola! ...awesome!. Makes me think the manufacturers and industry are just friggin' wack job thieves or ...maybe you've made a super simple discovery!!!. In any sense i will repost this to friends on FaceBrick. Awesome disclosure man. This event inspires me to return and follow up on some instructibles which I have long postponed but will have time to post in the next few months. Cheers!
HollyMann (author)  sandysanders1 year ago
Yay! So happy you made on and are enjoying the reception quality! :) I have had tons of problems with antennas until this one - so I am really happy with it! Great reception and lots of channels! I also refuse to pay for cable and despise the commercials!!!
HollyMann (author)  NotTheDude1 year ago
My dad said he's tried this but it didn't help him too much with channels or reception...
Best antenna I've ever seen wasn't an antenna at all, or even anything A/V. Got bored one summer (out in the sticks), teenage imagination. Took the 2 lead wire that went to the tree-like thing on the roof and you had to turn a knob on a clunky plastic box to turn that antenna, which was always breaking something... anyway, took that wire and attached one lead to each post on an old alternator (copper windings?). Never saw such a crisp clear signal. Dad wondered why the old farm truck wouldn't start though...
Nice post. Going to try it out. Happiness. B>}
HollyMann (author)  NotTheDude2 years ago
Sounds interesting - if it works - awesome!

I went to a swapmeet and found a splitter with two wires and stripped both and I'm still in the process of finding the right spot to get all of the channels but this idea works really good, I just can't get one channel but the rest come in better than before, my one suggestion is you learn from my mistake and do the stripping or don't do the stripping inside actually if you don't get all the way to the core when you cut the case you'll end up with a little mess to clean up so do the stripping over a trash can so if anything goes flying it goes into the trash, but overall I'm pretty happy I found this and will pass it along to whoever I think wants it

fancyfelciya5 months ago
which type of ruler you used here?kindly reply me fast..
fancyfelciya5 months ago

kindly reply me fast..

fancyfelciya5 months ago

can i use this antenna in any type of television?..is there any restriction to use .

JonathonG5 months ago

I just made it in a few days and I'm just fourteen years old. I got twenty-four channels FROM MY BASEMENT!!!

JonathonG5 months ago

I made antenna in a few days and I'm just fourteen years old. Super easy and it got me twenty-four channels FROM MY BASEMENT!!!

kjheinmiller made it!6 months ago

"I don't believe it. Prove it to me, and I still won't believe it." ~Ford Prefect

Well I don't believe it. Nothing had worked for me. NOTHING. Not store bought antennas, not pie tins, not the stripped coax I ruined. Nothing. But I thought, why not. And it it works! It works great! I mean, I had some channels coming in, but not all of them. Now I have all of them! It really really works. The only alteration I made was using foam board instead of cardboard. I had a cardboard prototype, but it was a bit too flimsy, but showed promise. The rigidity of the foam board seems to have helped as I finally did get all available ota digital channels. Thanks for the post!

HDTV antenna.jpg
kjheinmiller6 months ago
timastone made it!7 months ago
I finally finished this up earlier tonight. At first I got a bad signal on one channel. I played with it moving the antenna around and even used a few different cables. Finally I ended up getting 3 channels and so I stopped messing with it for a bit and just watched but suddenly I lost signal to all 3 channels and haven't been able to get them back. Would it make a difference that my transformer is 75-300 Ohm?
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