Dtv Antennas I Have Tried or Will Try.




About: Bytesize articles instead of a trilogy in one post.

Some of the home made OTA DTV (over the air digital television) antennas I have tried (or going to try). I will add additional pictures as I test them.. Since your mileage may very I will not rate them. One was even just a telephone wire cable (not pictured yet). If you have any suggestions for antennas, please let me know.

More: Latest antennas here.

There are lots of things to test. Vertical or horizontal position, whether they were meant to be uni-directional or omnidirectional, how populated are the stations are in your area, whether the stations are all in on major direction or spread out in a circle from you, and lastly what kind of signal booster are you using or not using.

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    16 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Link for finding tv signals is (no "s") and for FM signals, use the link in that home page as well.

    enjoy better reception

    1 reply

    Thanx for catching the typo. Have not looked at this instructable in forever. Generally, if you have a good non-drectional antenna and tuner. Getting the stations is not so critical. We get over 100 stations.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    The telephone wire antenna you made has an impedance of 125 ohms and is close enough to the 75 ohm cable impedance that mismatch is negligable.
    Both CAT5 and telephone wire have the same impedance of 125 ohsms.
    Lamp cord and Romax wire are 75 ohms on the other hand so a better match


    7 years ago on Introduction

    66tbird FYI- HOAs are no longer allowed to ban outdoor TV antennas, no matter how big or really freakin ugly

    1 reply

    8 years ago on Introduction

    At the start of this DTV thing I must of built a dozen of these types of antennas in all flavors. I'm an extra class ham so its second nature. Had ok results from most. On a whim I tried my very old regular TV antenna. wow, went from 17 channels to 38. I had been noticing lots of old antennas being toss out and waiting for large item garbage pickup. In a few days I had plenty of raw material to build from and a few really high-end virtually new units. After some more study on the actual freq used in dtv I realized the elements over 20'' or so were not necessary,(for my area). I trimmed back those to make another array equal to the smaller elements. Stuck it on a pole, pointed it at a city 150 miles away and bingo. I get all their stuff and my local channel plus some on the backside. 55 channels total at times, 44 normally and only 23 in my language which only 18 I watch. Boy, what a hobby.

    Anyways, Computohought, your little number is a great example of a good antenna. With a little math you can taper and space to fine tune the elements to catch the 450-650 Mhz using some harmonics really well, A quality amp well help if the signal is steady but low. If it's a drifting thing I've not had much luck on the amp side using an indoor antenna.

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Cool. and thanx for the suggestion. I get all the stations that I am told are around me without any wavering. Will probably leave well enough alone. I do get quite a few channels.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Good, 'leave it alone' was what I finally had to do after working for that last few channels that I ended up now using or were dups.
    One more I've setup on a home where outdoor setups were permitted, (HOA thing). We turned the small element array on its side. Mounted two more identical ones also vertically but at different angles to point a different mountains or cities. With an amp he does really well pushing the signals from four major cities to four tv's. Over 70 channels with dups but different times.
    After it was all done I told him about Hulu,, haha

    I have built and are currently useing the first one. I would be really interested in your results on the others in comparison. The phone line one sounds interesting as I have thought along those lines but I never took it to anything more than idle thoughts. I'll be waiting to see what you got in the works. =)

    2 replies

    I use the first and the last one, though they are basically the same. The last one was my modified design from someone else. The web site I pulled it from is no longer on the web, the last time I looked. The telephone antenna is basically a short cord about 5 or 6 feet with each pair wired together to make one pair. Then the same ends are connected with one wire going to the core of a coax cable and the other wire going to the shield of the coax. The other ends not connected to anything except each pair twisted together so two pair makes one pair like the other end.. if I remember right.. I made one, but it is hidden away somewhere. You probably could do the same thing with cat 5, if you wanted to.

    Hhmm...not what I was thinking at all but I can see how to maybe use that with my idea. I was thinking of useing the already installed land line as the antenna and hooking that to the coax. Since I no longer have phone service (use cellphones only now) I could create the antenna and wire it to enter the house on the unused line, then splice it to coax at the back of the TV. I might have to work this up when I get time. Feel free to try it out if you want and let me know how it works if you do.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    The cantenna in the center photo is for WiFi, not HDTV. I don't know about the other two, but most cantennas are for WiFi, which runs at a much higher frequency.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    You are most certainly right, but it worked for me. It is still another variation of a dipole antenna. Could it be tweaked a little more, certainly. I do not let facts get in the way of investigation as long as it is safe.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, our mileage might vary but it would be very useful to know how they worked for you. The actual performance for us might vary but the skew between them should probably remain the same for everyone.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for your comment. I might do that. At this point, I might want to try a few more and even try a hybrid to see if there is even better performance. The more I use them the more I change my mind about what I like. We get about 50 stations. If you are in an area where there are not so many stations then It might make a difference of in using a omni-directional vs unidirectional antenna. Two one half dozen of another. I also want to get a signal amp, as part of the mix to see if that could make a difference.