Instructables
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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NotTheDude1 year 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?

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 NotTheDude4 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...
HollyMann (author)  NotTheDude1 year ago
(removed by author or community request)
Not that the coax you can buy at a dollar store is worth anything. The coax is one place NOT to skimp on quality and the longer the run of coax needed, the more important it is NOT to skimp on quality. In the long run (pun intended) it is better to use the best quality RG-6 coax than it is to try & fix things afterwards with an amplifier.
HollyMann (author)  PhilKE3FL1 year ago
Yeah I know you're right - i probably shouldn't have mentioned that!
It's probably not even worth a $1 - the coax is the one place [b][i]NOT[/i][/b] to skimp, get the best you can afford and the longer the run the more important it is to use the very best RG-6 coax! Which generally means the most expensive too.
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)  NotTheDude1 year ago
Sounds interesting - if it works - awesome!
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)  ajanuszczak1 year 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
asec1 year ago
thanks to sharing this ! the antenna work well you made my day ! i want hug you so much you so beauty women also !
ffcabral1 year ago
This got me curious. Worth giving it a shot :D
jn2451 year ago
I built one and it works GREAT! THANKS!!!
HollyMann (author)  jn2451 year ago
Yay that is great to hear!!!! Wonderful!
kjheinmiller made it!4 days 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
timastone made it!2 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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timastone2 months ago
NotTheDude, would it be possible to cut up aluminum soda cans instead of using foil for added rigidness or would the paint on the cans block the signal?
TamaraD12 months ago

Good idea I suppose, if you have extra time. I just grabbed a wire coat hanger. Stuck it in the tv/antenna outlet, where the cable use to go and instant clear picture. 135 channels.

Inresca2 months ago

Does size matter? i accidentally printed one a little bit small will it be a problem?

WiredDriver4 months ago

I made this today and wow! I am surprised at what it has done. Before with my $20 rabbit ears with a UHF loop, I had a hard time getting just a few of the local channels and was always trying to adjust it to get the channels. Just as I would get one, I would lose another.

After I was complete building this, I was skeptical. Mine was kind of flimsy, not sure why as I used corrugated cardboard, but the bowties were bending backdown towards the reflector. I decided to hook it up anyway and see if it did anything before I try to adjust it. I rescanned for channels and BAM!! I was getting more channels with this antenna than I was with my "professional" antenna which supposedly has an amplifier in it. I'm getting channels I've never even seen before. When I checked the strength meter, it is higher than it ever has been on all but one station. That is the station that would have to adjust the old antenna even to get though. The fact that I get this channel now though without fumbling with the antenna makes me happy.

It is ugly, there's no doubt about that, but it works. I want to place it up in the attic and see if I get a better signal strength with the one station that is low. I have a feeling it will be much better.

I did use some toothpicks to stick into the bowties and the reflector to help them stand up. That helped a lot with signal reception as well along with antenna placement. Moving it from side to side on my entertainment center also had a great deal of effect on the signal reception. So far I'm very happy with it!

WiredDriver4 months ago

I made this today and wow! I am surprised at what it has done. Before with my $20 rabbit ears with a UHF loop, I had a hard time getting just a few of the local channels and was always trying to adjust it to get the channels. Just as I would get one, I would lose another.

After I was complete building this, I was skeptical. Mine was kind of flimsy, not sure why as I used corrugated cardboard, but the bowties were bending backdown towards the reflector. I decided to hook it up anyway and see if it did anything before I try to adjust it. I rescanned for channels and BAM!! I was getting more channels with this antenna than I was with my "professional" antenna which supposedly has an amplifier in it. I'm getting channels I've never even seen before. When I checked the strength meter, it is higher than it ever has been on all but one station. That is the station that would have to adjust the old antenna even to get though. The fact that I get this channel now though without fumbling with the antenna makes me happy.

It is ugly, there's no doubt about that, but it works. I want to place it up in the attic and see if I get a better signal strength with the one station that is low. I have a feeling it will be much better.

I did use some toothpicks to stick into the bowties and the reflector to help them stand up. That helped a lot with signal reception as well along with antenna placement. Moving it from side to side on my entertainment center also had a great deal of effect on the signal reception. So far I'm very happy with it!

HawgDaddy10 months ago

@NotTheDude. Excellent tip! Just stick with it and keep working. Works as good as any antenna I've tried. After all, what is an antenna anyway but just a piece of curved exposed wire anyway. This instructable is good if you want to come up with something. But NotTheDude's idea works pretty darn good if the instructable doesn't want to act right. Ok....I did post Judge Marilyn for a reason....but the antenna/coax is to the upper right. Just coming out of the cable in junction and running up out of the upper right corner of tv. Just move around until a signal is found!

antenna.jpg
apeweek1 year ago
Holly does not have permission to post my antenna patterns here - because this is a Creative Commons page, and my antenna patterns are not public domain.

Come instead to my original project page for this antenna, at

http://crafting.squidoo.com/make-this-powerful-hdtv-antenna-out-of-cardboard
HollyMann (author)  apeweek1 year ago
I just wanted to let you know I updated the Instructable and removed the pattern of yours - I am sorry I misread your comment specifically about the pattern. I linked to your page instead.
Thank you Holly, and I just want your readers to know that I don't have a problem with your page, just the posting of my patterns.

Squidoo has a very strict policy on duplicated content, and their computer doesn't do a good job of figuring out who the original creator was. If I don't chase down content-lifting, it could put my own page there in jeopardy.
HollyMann (author)  apeweek1 year ago
Thank you also. I think this antenna and creation you've come up with and designed is brilliant. I understand about the template - I should have just linked to it - so thank you!

hollymann there is no reason to give credit to apeweek the true design is known as the rs double bowtie
antenna it an older model from radioshack the only thing the person known as apeweek is that he made it in card board . i provided a link for those who would like to see the original .

http://forum.videohelp.com/images/guides/p1933804/...

i think its wrong when someone claims they created something they have not

an shame on apeweek for givng you trouble and trying to take credit for somethig he did not create . and hollymann thankyou for such well put instructable .

apeweek dracq1 year ago

Antenna designs have to perform a function, so of course they all have similarities to each other. Can nobody create a car because it has the same shape as other cars? The basis for this type of antenna goes back way before Radio Shack even existed.

So, shame on you for shaming me. I created the instructions and graphics on display here, calculated the element lengths, tested my design and copyrighted my graphics and instructions. I make no claim to the basic antenna design, as there are only a handful of types, all free of patents as they were invented so long ago. Patents and copyrights are not the same thing!

abhinavdasari made it!1 year ago

Getting only one channel for now.. haven't had the time to play around with the direction.. Too bad my window is north-east facing..:(

The channel that I get is super sharp though..

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