Introduction: Simple HDTV Antenna!

Are you tired of paying for TV you don't watch? Are you tired of the slow internet because of "internet tv"? Do you not want to spend hundreds of dollars for an antenna and installation? Do you want an easy way to make a TV antenna?

Follow this instructable, and you'll learn how!

You will almost definitely have everything needed, and if your TV is decently modern, you won't need to buy an expensive TV tuner!

This project will take around 15 minutes, and you'll save yourself a lot of money!

Note: Please do not use this guide to build an antenna that you will use to record and sell the broadcasts. That is illegal and I will not be liable for anything bad you do. Also, please do not do anything illegal with the antennas.

Step 1: Materials

You will need a:

  • TV (a remote would help)
  • Coax cable: most people have some just lying around. If you don't, you can buy one for a few dollars.
  • Scissors
  • Electrical Tape, any tape is fine, but electrical tape is recommended!
  • Painters tape; Unless you want to peel paint off your walls, use this!
  • Tin foil or aluminium foil


  • Duct tape: It's a bit stronger than the other types.

Step 2: Cutting the Cable

  1. Cut the cable in half. You can make two antennas this way
  2. Take off the outer insulation. Be careful not to cut yourself. Also, try not to cut the metallic shield off.
  3. Twist the metallic shield into a wire
  4. Twist the insulation foil around the copper core.
  5. Take off the white insulation (See diagram)

Refer to the last picture for how your cable should look like in the end.

Step 3: Making the Antenna

Here's where you can get creative!

You can choose between two designs. The first one is where the ends are connected, and the other is where the ends are apart.

I'm not sure which one is better, but it seems that the non-connected one seems to find more channels, but it is more unstable. The connected one finds fewer channels, but it is stable and doesn't cut out as much. You choose which one. Personally, I like the one where the ends are not connected because I can receive a weak channel that I want.

You can also make your own design. I've found that a "light shade" design works as well.

Check the pictures out for all the designs!

When you connect your aluminium foil to the ends of the cable, make sure they don't short.

Also, you should tape them to the cable, so the foil doesn't fall off. Then you can tape the cable and the foil to the wall where you are mounting them with painters tape.

Step 4: Connecting to TV

Most modern TVs will have a built-in TV tuner. If your TV is old, you may need to get a tv tuner box.

The instructions for connecting I will show you are on my tv. Other tv models may be different, but the idea is the same.

Here are some generalised instructions:

  1. Connect the uncut end of your coax cable to your tv.
  2. Turn your TV on
  3. Select TV mode or something like that.
  4. Click Menu or settings on your remote
  5. Find the "Antenna/Cable" or Settings menu. From the settings menu and the Antenna/Cable menu, find the "CH search", "Channel Scan" or EZ setup or something like that.
  6. From that, choose "Air" or "Antenna". Even though you have connected the cable, your antenna is receiving the broadcasts in the air.
  7. Let your tv search for channels. This might take a few minutes. When searching, try not to move the antenna or touch it.
  8. After that, you should be able to watch free tv!

You can check which channels are receivable in your area here!

Step 5: Getting More Channels and Better Signal!

Some TV's have a signal setup option where the TV will tell you how good the signal is. If there is a channel in your area that is not being picked up, you can input it manually with the remote and go to the strength menu. If it is zero, your antenna is not in the right place. Move it around until the number is about 50. 60 is optimal, but sometimes, even 40 will work.

Step 6: Now What?

Enjoy your free TV!

If you get enough channel or you don't watch TV and have a subscription currently, consider cancelling your service. Our TV and Internet services were bundled together, but after making an antenna, we cancelled our service, and we are saving $70 every month! That's $840 a year!

Improvements you can make:

  • Consider mounting an antenna in your attic. If you have the connections, it's not that hard to do. It took me about 30 minutes to make four antennas and put them in my attic.
  • Consider making a larger antenna or using a design. Here is a video that might be useful!
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