Homemade TV Antenna




Introduction: Homemade TV Antenna

About: I am a retired old geezer with way too much time on my hands for my own good.

This TV antenna is not only omnidirectional, but also compatible with the new digital television. I actually get more stations with the new digital television signals than the old system. I get 35 channels and I an a long way from any large city. Some of the stations are over 60 miles away.

Construction is simple using copper tubing, PVC pipe and minimal tools. Tools include a hack saw, drill (hand or electric) screw driver and tape measure.

Step 1: Making the Antenna Step 1

Start with some 3/8 or 1/2 inch copper tubing. Bend a half circle in a 26 inch diameter with an additional 1 inch extra on each end. Flatten the inch on the ends and bend them OUT. Now make another half circle and bend the ends IN.

Step 2: Step 2

Take a 1/2 or 3/4 inch PVC cross (depending if you used 3/8 or 1/2 inch copper tubing). add a piece of PVC to each connection so you can bolt the flattened edges to two of the PVC ends and the middle will fit into a notch to support it. Notice the two pieces of copper tubing do NOT come into electrical contact with each other except for the 300 ohm matching transformer.

Bolt the cross to a 2" PVBC end cap. Use a lock washer or double nuts so it doesn't loosen up. Glue the cap to a 20 foot piece of 2" PVC pipe.

Connect a 300 ohm matching transformer to the two pieced of copper tubing as in the picture. Connect cable to transformer, tape and run down the 2" PVC pole.

Drive a piece of pipe in t ground with about a foot above the ground and set the antenna mast over it and firmly mount the mast at roof level. As long as you mount it at the edge of the roof and don't go over 20 feet you don't need guy wires. if you go higher I would suggest adding some guy wires.

Trees between you and the station could reduce the signal so you may have to go above trees for log distance stations.

If you use a metal pole, it should be grounded to the ground rod by your electric meter.

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148 Discussions


1 year ago

Hi - this looks like an awesome project - am very keen to build one!

However, I live in New Zealand and our digital tv is broadcast over 502-806Mhz. I'm assuming this antenna is a dipole one so if I enter the central frequency of this range (654 Mhz) in any of the online dipole length calculators, I get element lengths far shorter than what is stated in this project. Thinking the the transmission frequency range in the U S. must be a lot lower, I look up the range and found it to be 470Mhz to 890Mhz - not a lot different to what we have here in New Zealand.

I'm obviously missing something here...?

2 replies

That is a big frequency difference. The higher the frequency the shorter the antenna so it would be smaller diameter. TRY IT WITH YOUR FORMULA.


Firstly, hanks heaps for your answer. I

'm a lot further with this project now - in fact, I've now got an antenna that works awesomely! And yes, followed the formula as you suggested and ascertained that the ideal length for a NZ antenna (central frequency of 654Mhz) is 45.9cm for a full-wave antenna. Multiples of this length can obviously be used if the builder has space restraints...

Check out my variation on the present design. They both work well from inside the house. Outside function should be great.

Dontenna 1.0 (1).jpgDontenna 1.0 (2).jpgDontenna 2.0.jpg
2 replies

So what did the second loop do if anything? Do you find this to be omnidirectional? What spacing did you use between the two ? Did you try one circle first then add a second to se if it made a difference?

Great, thanks. If it works out do an instructible and put a link to it here. You might experiment with the spacing between the two rings. That could affect the operation some.

This looks amazing; I appreciate the pics and instructions. However, I'm not wanting an antenna outside. Has anyone tried this model in an attic? Would any adjustments need to me made (besides omitting the 20' pole, of course)?

All my nearby HD broadcasters are within 11 miles (most are within 5), but I need an omni-directional antenna since ONE of them is nearly 110 degrees away from the cluster where all the other ones are.

2 replies

Yes I have done this in a crawl space and works quite well. Omnidirectional, not but it does a nice job of getting signals even in a crawl space. I also tried this it side around 25’ high, worked well there not much difference. I get a lot of wind so I opted for in crawl space. Not 100% sure if it would be considered omnidirectional but it could just be my location. My signals are with in 20 miles. Only issue I had was dissimulation of instruction. I mis read it and made a 26” diameter when it actually is a semi circle of that 26” diameter.

Being that close you could probably put it anywhere. In the attic would be out of the way. You shouldn't have to make any adjustments. Metal objects close by might affect it.

Would larger diameter copper tubing and a larger loop going to increase my reception. I have about a 10' section of 1' copper tubing left over from plumbing project.

3 replies

No the length determines the frequencies it receives best

Thanks Rich for your reply on length. What diameter do you recommend for best reception 3/8, 1/2, 1" or # 6 or 8 copper grounding wire.

doesn't matter. Don't use steel around salt water


1 year ago

BY far the best antenna I have eber made, Although I built mine smaller about a foot and a half.

1 reply

it will work better if built correctly

I made one using 1/4" tubing but it appears to be working from only one side I have turn the antenna to pick up the various stations and I'm still not able to pick up a couple stations that I could with the store bought one the stations I do get come in between 80-100% strength. my mast is 1-1/2 inch conduit any help would be appreciated

1 reply

If it is directional one side probably doesn't have a good connection someplace. Also a weaker signal

i just found this the other day and decided to give it a go. so I went and got the materials put it up at 16 feet off the ground and can only get 4 channels, flawless picture but only four. what will really help is specific measurements for the semi circles of cooper. what is the full measurement of the semi-circle 42" or 44" for the extra inch for screw and bolt?

2 more answers

RE READ the directions.. The diameter is approx 26 inches. Don't worry about bending the tab, It isn't high tech. Unless you are really bad guesser, you could probably build one without a tape measure LOL. Transmitting antennas are really fussy, but not receiving antennas.

Never mind, I read all the comments and someone has done the math. Now i know that each semi-circle is 42" as Richard Yoza put it:
26 inch Diameter-- the circumference or length will be C= 3.14 x 26 = 81.64 inch length minimum of cooper tubing. So at least 2-two 42 inch cooper tube, bent in a semi 26 circle. NOT a 26 inch tube.. BUT more than 82 INCH COPPER TUBING !!! so am back to the drawing board to fix. Will update when done.