Homemade TV Antenna

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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.

7 People Made This Project!

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156 Discussions

0
mawil1013
mawil1013

Question 13 days ago on Step 2

I'm planning your antenna, I was going to use all 3/4 galvanized pipe for the mast, rather than 20' of PVC pipe. Then use a threaded PVC cap screwed directly onto threaded metal pipe. Will the all metal pipe cause an intererence problem?

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michaelkurdziel61
michaelkurdziel61

Question 4 weeks ago on Step 1

Can this antenna be painted without affecting the reception?

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flyznest
flyznest

Question 5 months ago on Step 2

I built one of these in 2014 and it worked absolutely amazing... far better than the amplified metrostar I previously owned. I just moved to another home and built another.... In the center of Tucson I get 50 stations... this includes channels from towers in mountains to the north, west, and south. Very omni directional.

I am trying to figure out HOW this works, though. Normally you narrow your band as much as possible and choose a frequency in the center of that band... in this case the uhf tv band is 470-810 so center would be 640mhz... 300M/640M=.69m=18.5in.... At 26", this antenna sits around 450mhz. Thats outside of the UHF tv range all together... It took me a lil while to realize that this was designed to be the center of the entire TV range... 54-806, including all bands. The problem here is that the signal gets exponentially weaker as you move away from the resonant frequency... so much so that the thing should be totally dead in the higher end of UHF, and VHF low. Its exactly resonant on the HAM 70cm band(almost like it was designed tobe there), so any hams in the area should be interfering with it. THis thing should probably perform horribly, yet it works really well.... how? am I missing something?

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rbodell
rbodell

Answer 2 months ago

I have no idea why it works so good. I originally built it to get tv on my sailboat when it was anchored and swinging in the wind. My guess is that by being omnidirectional, it gets weaker stations normally rejected on the side of the beam type antenna that most tv sets use.

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diamondcraigd
diamondcraigd

Question 1 year ago on Step 1

Does it have to be copper or can it be any metal , it seems most antennae I've seen are aluminum

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rbodell
rbodell

Answer 2 months ago

I have made them out of everything, steel bike rims to copper tubing. They all seem to work fine

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imzzaudae
imzzaudae

1 year ago

After building this antenna I am happy to say that it is a great project and works as promised. You need 2 peaces of "SOFT" copper tubing 42" long each! Soft copper comes in a role and you buy it buy the foot. I also added elbows and 4 caps and 4 -1" peaces in my design so I shortened each peace to 40" added the elbows and the 1" peaces to make it 42" again. You will understand when you see it. This antenna is tuned to work in the UHF band from 470mhz to 806 mhz where digital television signals are being broadcast. This antenna will work great on UHF bands. Where I am there are several VHF Hi Band stations 174mhz but this antenna is way to short for VHF stations. As there are no VHF Low stations locally. I am in the construction phase of a VHF Hi model cut for 172 to 192mhz. Rather than 2-42 inch radials, this is 2-70" radials so it's almost twice the length. I do receive these stations on the original model but they are in and out. I am specifically tuning for WJBK Detroit being broadcast on channel 7-174mhz, CBET. Channel 9 London 186mhz and channel 10 CFPL London 192mhz. Depending where you are you will also need a pre-amp to boost signal strength. My pre-amp has 2 inputs, a UHF and a VHF so I can stack the 2 heads run 2 lines into the pre-amp and one down the tower. I am lucky enough to live in Sarnia Ontario so I get stations from Toronto, Kitchener, London, Windsor, Detroit and a few others. But there must first be signal in your aria. Where I am the head must be at least 30' 40 is better. There is vertically no signal bellow 30'. At 35' I have 22 channels. The original directions leave a few questions. Hope this helps anyone considering building one. I cut up 2 nylon cutting boards for the middle section drilled and and clamped the 3/4 pvc pipe radials between them. I used the angle bracket that bolts to the top plate of the tower and pipe clamps for mounting. Solder d caps on the pipe to keep the rain out. Drilled and tapped the caps 10/32 for hooking up the matching transformer. All in all I have 22 channels and save $100 a month on cable. That's $3,600.00 since installing it and it's still as good as the day I made it. Just popped in to check de mentions as I'm in the process of building a 2n'd one for a friend and a VHF Hi model for myself.

There are a lot of questions about the omni directional ability of this antenna. I can say that my experience is that it is picking up Windsor and Detroit in the South West, London, Kitchener in the East. All of these stations are between 53 and 63 miles.

Tower 2.JPGTower1.JPGDSCF0133.JPGDSCF0132.JPGDSCF0131.JPGDSCF0130.JPGDSCF0129.JPG
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Cowil
Cowil

3 years 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...?

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rbodell
rbodell

Reply 2 years ago

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.

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Cowil
Cowil

Reply 2 years ago

Hi,

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...

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dgwatson5
dgwatson5

6 years ago on Introduction

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
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LarryF24
LarryF24

Reply 2 years ago

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?

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rbodell
rbodell

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

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.

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WiFi2000
WiFi2000

6 years ago on Introduction

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.

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LarryF24
LarryF24

Reply 2 years ago

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.

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rbodell
rbodell

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

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.

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FrankL46
FrankL46

4 years ago

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.

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rbodell
rbodell

Reply 4 years ago

No the length determines the frequencies it receives best

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FrankL46
FrankL46

Reply 4 years ago

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.