I got my Tv converter Box (with the Government program Coupon). I hooked up with a regular rabbit ear antenna and although the signal and quality are waaaay better that the analog ones, I couldn't get all the stations and some where a bit erratic. I went on Google and start looking for HDTV antennas and I found several easy to make DIYs setups, but they can be big and ugly to keep in my living room. So, I build the antenna but and I use an old Direct TV dish mounted in my garage (I don't have the subscription and I don't want too), the dish has been in my place since I move, and the best thing, it's wired to my living room.
Note: The antenna works independently from the dish, I'm just using the dish as a mounting device and since it's already wired to the living room works great for me.
Step 1: Materials
Wire , can be romex or cloth hanger wire.
Screws and washers, assorted ones
Standard wire mesh or similar wire screen, can use a metal rack shelves, chicken wire, etc. mine is 24" x 14"
Coaxial cable connection plug.
1 piece of wood, can be 2"x2" ir 2"x4" 14" to 16" long.
and of course a used Direct Tv or similar Dish.
soldier gun and electrical tape.
Note: I did mine with only 3 pairs of "Vs" (or ears if you may) but I have seen other antennas with 4 or 6 pair, which I guess incresses the reception.
Step 2: Antenna
The configuration of the antenna is quite simple, lumelab.com used to have a page with the plans and measurements but it's been down for a long time now.
The idea is basically to have 2, 3 or more sets of pair of wires in a "V" shape interconnected together in a cross series. Make sure that the cables connecting the "V"s don't touch each other, so is better to use isolated wires.
I spread my "V"so 7" apart, screwed in the piece of wood of 2"x2" and 14" long, using washers to keep them in place and as good contact point to the antennas and the bare wire.
Finally I soldier the end of the wire to a regular Tv male connection.
The antenna needs a "screen", I used a regular wire screen for landscaping but any type of screen will work (I have seen cardboard wrapped with tin foil as screen).
Step 3: Mounting the Antenna
I took down the Dish and rip all the wires and receivers that I wont use anymore.
The mounting was quite easy, I measure the middle of the dish to make a hole for the mounting. The dish is made out of plastic or fiver glass so is easy to drill a hole in it.
After that I placed the wire screen on top of the dish and I centered. The antenna came later, to attach the antenna, basically the piece of 2"x2", I use a electrical pipe hanger, as shown in the pictures, and bolted to the dish it kept the screen and the antenna in place neatly.
After that it was just to put the Dish back in place, hooked up the cable and it's done.
Step 4: Final Product
The only thing left was setting the direction of the antenna to get a better reception, I'm Berkeley Ca, and facing the antenna to the southwest works better for most of the channels. from almost 30 channels, some with a weak or none signal, it went up to almost 40 with noticeable improvement and quite happy that I don't need an antenna in the living room anymore.