If you take your laptop with you out in the van, the lack of an internet connection can be a drag. Your entertainment options can be more than just playing video games on your laptop though. Did you know that there is a great little device that you can purchase that enables your laptop or desktop to be able to receive over the air TV? It also enables you to record programs off the air for later viewing, even when you are watching on another channel.
It is a little device like a dongle that plugs into your USB port and after downloading the free software from the manufacturer and connecting an antenna to it, you can do a scan and if near a major metropolitan area, you can receive whatever channels that are broadcasting. This project shows you how to build an antenna that attaches to a car window and extends it out from the vehicle, it also allows for the antenna to be pointed in whatever direction that gives the best reception.
Step 1: Parts and Tools Needed
1) Plastic project box 4" x 2 1/4" x 1" (electronic parts store)
2) Machine screws 8-32 x 3/4", nuts 8-32 and flat washers 8-32 (hardware store)
3 Galvanized steel wire 14 AWG (hardware store)
4) Piece of 2 x 2" wood 18 3/4" long
5) Chassis mount "F" connector (electronics parts store or online)
6) Can of black spray paint. (Hardware or automotive retailer)
7) 1 1/2" wood screw with 1/2 inch ID flat washer (hardware store)
8) Electrical tape, electrical solder, soldering gun, small wrench, screwdriver, drill and drill bits. (hardware store)
9) TV adapter for laptop. Can be purchased online from manufacturer http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_dualh...
10) Coaxial cable to connect TV receiving device to antenna. Get one at least 6 feet long but preferably 9 to 12 feet long.
Step 2: Cut Wire for Bowties As Shown in Diagram
There are two ways to make the bowties. The wire can be cut into three separate pieces and soldered on each corner or can be made from one long piece and bent so that the bottom of the triangle is 8 1/4" long, the height is 5 1/2". Using this technique you can get away with soldering only one corner. Tape should be wrapped around sharp corner to take stress off the solder joint. I avoided soldering the sharp corner because that is where you wanted the joint to be the strongest.
Step 3: Drill Holes in Box As Shown in Diagram
Drill holes and mount nuts and bolts in places shown. Mount "F" connector also as shown in diagram.
Step 4: Once Bowties Are Completed, Attach to Box As Shown
As shown in diagrams, corners of bowties are held in place with machine screws with a flat washer underneath. On inside of box, more washers and nuts tighten to hold bowties in place. Wires are wrapped around machine screws and tightened down with another flat washer and nut. These wires are then soldered onto the inner conductor of the "F" connector and the outer connector as shown in the diagram.
Step 5: Cut Arm to 18 3/4" Out of 2 X 2" Piece of Wood.
Cut arm to 18 3/4" out of 2 x 2" piece of wood. Cut slot 3" from end 1" deep and 3/8" wide. Spray paint entire arm with black matte paint using light coats.
Step 6: Attach Arm to Box
Drill 1/4" hole in box. Put flat washer between arm and box to allow for movement. Screw 1 1/2" wood screw from inside of box into wood piece. Make sure joint isn't too tight as it will need to move without too much effort.
Step 7: Finished Antenna Showing Method of Mounting on Window
This picture shows finished antenna and method of mounting it on the window of the vehicle. Coaxial cable isn't attached but just screws into the "F" connector on the bottom of the box. With this antenna, I received stations up to 40 miles away. More distance might be possible if your location is high and clear of obstructions.
If this Instructable is of interest, perhaps you might be interested in my ebook on Amazon Kindle. Ten Antenna Projects for HDTV by Mr Electro