How to build a high-gain indoor TV antenna

Written by marshal m. rosenthal
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How to build a high-gain indoor TV antenna
(Zedcor Wholly Owned/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

A digital signal is used to broadcast television for free to homes with high-definition television sets (HDTV). You can make a high-gain indoor antenna that will let your HDTV better pick up all of the television signals being transmitted, regardless of your distance from the broadcast towers. You will need metal coat hangers, some hardware and electronic store parts and common household tools. Your high-gain indoor antenna will cost you much less and often perform better than those purchased from a TV supply store.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • 1'-by-4' wood block
  • Metal coat hangers
  • Pencil
  • Wood screws
  • Metal washers
  • UHF adaptor
  • Sandpaper
  • Pliers
  • Signal combiner
  • Rabbit ears antenna
  • 1'-by-4' expanded metal mesh sheet
  • Wood glue
  • Electric wire
  • Wire strippers
  • Wire cutters
  • Tape measure
  • Portable drill
  • Wood screws
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • HDTV

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Cut through the middle of the metal coat hangers with the wire cutters. Cut off the tops of the metal coat hangers with the wire cutters. Straighten out the metal coat hangers using the pliers.

  2. 2

    Cut a 15-inch rod from one of the metal coat hangers using the wire cutters. Cut another 15-inch rod from another of the metal coat hangers. Sandpaper the centre of the two 15-inch long rods.

  3. 3

    Cut a 10-inch rod from one of the metal coat hangers using the wire cutters. Cut another seven 10-inch rods.

  4. 4

    Put the wood block vertically on a work surface. Measure two inches down from the top of the wood block. Draw a line across the wood block at the two-inch mark. Measure six inches down from the line. Make a mark across the wood block. Repeat this procedure twice more.

  5. 5

    Make an “X” at each side of the wood block to correspond with the lines that have been drawn across it.

  6. 6

    Place one of the ends of the 15-inch rods at the upper right corner of the wood block. Bend the rod over to the second “X” on the left side of the wood block with the pliers. Bend the rod at the point it met the “X” over to the fourth “X” on the right with the pliers. Bend the other 15-inch rod so it looks identical to the one that was just bent with the pliers.

  7. 7

    Sandpaper both ends and the bent sections of the two 15-inch rods. Sandpaper the centre of the two 15-inch rods.

  8. 8

    Measure halfway down each of the 10-inch rods. Bend each of the 10-inch rods into a “V” shape using the pliers. Sandpaper the “V” section of each of the 10-inch rods.

  9. 9

    Put a metal washer on each of the “X” marks on the wood block. Place the 15-inch rod that curves to the left against the top right edge of the wood block. Line up the bends in the rod with the “X”s on the wood block.

  10. 10

    Place the 15-inch rod that curves to the right against the top left edge of the wood block. Line up the bends in the rod with the “X”s on the wood block, overlapping the 15-inch rod on the right side.

  11. 11

    Slightly screw a wood screw into each of the metal washers with the Phillips screwdriver. Place the “V” of four of the 10-inch rods around the wood screws so that the two ends of each rod face to the right. Place the “V” of the other four 10-inch rods around the wood screws so that the two ends of each face to the left. Screw in the wood screws with the Phillips screwdriver.

  12. 12

    Screw the UHF adaptor into the centre of the wood block, next to where one of the two 15-inch rods crosses over the other.

  13. 13

    Drill a hole through the wood block next to the UHF adaptor. Push the two wires connected to the UHF adaptor through the hole. Plug the base of the rabbit ears antenna into the hole. Apply wood glue around the hole. Let the wood glue dry for an hour.

  14. 14

    Cut two six-inch lengths of electric wire with the wire cutters. Strip a half-inch of insulation off each of the ends of the two electric wires with the wire strippers. Wrap one end of each of the two wires around the two wires coming from the UHF adaptor. Wrap electrician’s tape around the end of the two wires.

  15. 15

    Push one end of each of the two wires through the hole made in the wood block at the “X.” Wrap the end of each of the two wires that went through the hole around the two “UHF” screws on the signal combiner. Tighten the screws with the Phillips screwdriver.

  16. 16

    Screw the ends of the two wires coming from the rabbit ears antenna to the “VHF” connections on the signal combiner with the Phillips screwdriver.

  17. 17

    Place the expanded metal mesh against the side of the wood block that doesn’t have the metal rods attached to it. Secure the expanded metal mesh to the wood block with wood screws using the Phillips screwdriver.

  18. 18

    Screw one end of the coaxial cable into the output on the signal combiner. Screw the other end of the coaxial cable into the coax input of the HDTV.

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