The time has come for me to build a HDTV Antenna. I have seen many different types of this antenna online and until recently I did not need one. We purchased a portable DVD/TV player for emergencies and for my son on long drives. The portable DVD/TV came with a small mag mount type antenna that is about 4″ tall. After setting up the DVD/TV player and scanning the local area for channels I was able to receive 4-5 channels with the tiny 4″ antenna.
The channels that the DVD/TV player had found were weak. None of them had a signal strength above 40%. Around this time is when I decided I needed a better antenna. I did not want to buy any materials for this build. One of the things I have seen on the others HDTV antenna was the use of coat hangers for the elements. I have not seen metal coat hangers in years and I wanted to use something that I already had available.
What I did have was a lot of 300 ohms twin lead wire that I used to make my J-Pole Antenna and some speaker wire. I cut four peaces of 14” long twin lead wire. Each peace had two wires in it. I started to cut the 14” long wire down the center of the insulation so that I had two 14”. Then I needed to fold the 14” long wire in half to make a ‘V’ shape. This is when I noticed that the 300 ohms twin lead wire would not hold the ‘V’ shape let alone stay straight. What could I do.
I removed the insulation from the 300 ohms twin lead wire and tinned the ends. The tinning worked well, so I tinned the whole length of the wire every 2”. You could use speaker wire for this too. Once I had all 8 elements tinned and bent into a ‘V’ shape it was time to find something to mount the elements too. I had found a small peace of wood 2” x 1/2” x 2′. Measure 2” down and mark, then measure down 5-3/4” and mark, 5-3/4” and mark and one more time, 5-3/4” and mark.
I found 8 screws and mounted them to the wood. I placed the elements at each screws. Now I need to run the leads for the elements. If you are looking at the antenna you should have two columns of 4 elements on each side, one above the others. The left side is column ‘A’ with the top being number ‘1’ and below that ‘2’, ‘3’ and the last being ‘4’. Do the same with the right making it column ‘B’ and so on.
I separated some speaker wire and trimmed about a 1” of insulation and tinned the ends. I made a small loop around the screw at column ‘A’, number ‘1’ and solder it. Then I ran it to column ‘b’, number ‘2’, remove the insulation from the area and soldered it to B2. Now make a run to B3, before you solder remove some insulation from the center of the run between B2 and B3 for an area to solder your coax cable. Continue from B3 to A4 and you are done with one side. Repeat with B1, A2, A3 and B4.
You should now have all the elements soldered down and all you need is the coax cable. I had an old 3′ coax cable for a VCR to TV. I cut one end and prepped it to receive solder. Solder one of the wire from the coax cable to the run between A2 and A3 and solder the other wire to the run between B2 and B3. Now I needed to add a bulan to protect my equipment. At the location where the coax cable is soldered to the elements I started a small loop about 1/2” wide. Make about 3-5 loops and zip tie it to the wood. This antenna is now complete.
Now it time to test. I turned on the DVD/TV and scanned with the new antenna. When it was done scanning the TV found 18 channels and all had a strength above 80%. For my first HDTV antenna and using materials found around the house I have to say that this is one of the simplest and easy to build antennas. I already have plans to build a new antenna, one with better materials.