How to Build a TV Antenna

How to Build a TV Antenna
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If you think paying a monthly service fee for cable isn’t for you or for your whole family, then you might as well end your subscription and just build your own TV antenna. In fact, this article is made to guide you on how to build a TV antenna and get just as many channels without paying extra every month.

By spending a few hours in building your own TV antenna, you’d be able to watch more channels than there usually are, for free! All you have to do is to gather all the parts you’ll need, follow the steps, then test your work.

Of course, like with anything else, it’s also important that you understand how a TV antenna really works so that you know how to fix it in case it acts up.

How Does a TV Antenna Work?

An antenna is a metal rod that receives radio waves and converts them into electrical signals. Then, these signals get transmitted to a TV, radio, or telephone line.

The process goes like this. A TV network sends signals through their transmission towers and then gets picked up by your antennas. Their job is to get a superb reception to deliver clear channels.

Most antennas today are designed to receive both VHF and UHF. VHF channels are identified through numbering from channels two to 13, while UHF are the ones with higher numbers starting from channel 14 and up.

Moreover, TV antennas are available in two types: indoor and outdoor antennas. They both work the same way, but the strength of the signal depends on where you place it and the quality of your antenna. Let’s differentiate the two.

The Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Antennas

Before you put up an antenna, whether inside or outside your house, you have to know which type of antenna works best in terms of signal reception in your area. Let’s find out.

Indoor Antennas

This type of antenna is usually placed near the television. It works best if your house is also near the broadcasting transmitter and without too many walls shielding the radio waves.

Since indoor antennas portable, you can move your them around if the reception of most channels starts getting choppy—that is, as long as the cable it comes with permits.

Outdoor Antennas

You would see this type of antenna usually placed on the roof. It is composed of many metal pieces or rods. Outdoor antennas are directional, which means that they receive a more reliable and clear signal when pointed to where the transmitter is.

When it comes to outdoor antennas, the higher gain rating it has, the more it can receive a specific frequency.

The only downside of this antenna is that it’s exposed to all types of weather and severe storms. Hence, make sure to purchase a quality-made outdoor antenna so that you can rely on it to last the test of time.

How to Build a TV Antenna

Before you hire a pro to install your TV antenna, why not try to do it yourself to save you from spending for the labor? In here, you’ll be guided with the simple and easy-to-follow steps to building a TV antenna and the things that you’ll need to set it up.

Things to prepare:

  • Stock lumber
  • Flat and stainless wash fenders
  • Electrical tape
  • Copper wire
  • IMT
  • Coaxial cable
  • Heat-shrinking tubes
  • Heat gun
  • Saw

Step 1: Prepare eight pieces of copper wire.

Buy eight pieces of copper wire or uncoated hangers measuring 17 inches long each. Bend each piece into an acute angle or V shape while setting the ends three inches wide.

Step 2: Cut a pine board.

You can use stock lumber to make a pine board out of. The board should measure 32 inches long and 1.9 x 8.9 centimeters. Lay the pine board flat on the ground and start placing the bent portion of copper wires around it using stainless fender washers.

Step 3: Suit each pair of the copper wires.

Weave two 34-inch copper from ear to ear in a crisscross pattern beneath the fender washers. Drive the screws tight after each one is fitted.

Step 4: Wrap the wires completely.

Using electrical tape, wrap the “phasing bars” around where each bar overlaps to avoid contact.

Step 5: Place an IMT.

Fasten an impedance-matching transformer underneath a pair of extra fender washers. IMT is used to boost signal transmission from channels at varied frequencies.

Step 6: Attach the base.

Cut a board to form a base measuring six inches long, 1.9 by 8.9 centimeters. Attach the board using core-thread screws in a perpendicular position to the longer board.

Step 7: Cover the tips with heat-shrink tubing.

Place heat-shrink tubing on all of the tips of each ear, and use a heat gun to fit it tightly to the wires.

Step 8: Place the TV antenna inside or outside your house.

Place the antenna outside your house or take it somewhere high up. Mount the TV antenna securely if you prefer to place it on the roof. You may place the antenna inside your house too; just make sure that it’s not blocked by concrete walls.

Step 9: Connect the cable.

Connect the coaxial cable to the IMT and run the cable down to your TV or converter box if you’re using one.

Step 10: Turn on the TV.

Start scanning through all the channels to see if you need to adjust the antenna. If you’re not comfortable making your own TV antenna, there are ready-made indoor and outdoor TV antennas available in stores. You can then simply follow the user’s manual in order to install it.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to build a TV antenna from scratch, you now have an option whether or not to cut ties with your cable service provider. Nevertheless, before you do so, know what really suits your lifestyle. After all, not everyone is thrilled about taking on DIY projects such as this one.

Still, as you’ve seen, building your own antenna is now made easy for you. It’s cheap and simple, and it’s absolutely practical, especially for people who only get to watch TV during their days off from work.

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