How to make your own omnidirectional digital TV antenna

Written by marshal m. rosenthal
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How to make your own omnidirectional digital TV antenna
(Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

The advantage of digital television is that, unlike analogue, there is no ghosting or interference in the signal to correct. A digital TV antenna connected to the input of a digital TV will improve the signal for television shows being viewed. You can build your own omnidirectional digital TV antenna without having any special electrical skills. A few supplies from a hardware store and a hobby shop, including a children's chair, are all that is needed, with the necessary tools found in most households.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Newspaper
  • Soda can, 340gr
  • Can opener
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Paper towel
  • Ruler
  • Grease pencil
  • Metal shears
  • Balun
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • 2 16-gauge electric wires, 6 inches long
  • Wire strippers
  • Masking tape
  • Children's wooden chair
  • Coaxial cable, 10 feet

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place a sheet of newspaper on a table to protect the surface. Open the pop-top of a soda can. Pour the soda out (or drink it).

  2. 2

    Stand the can on the newspaper with the top facing up. Remove the top with the can opener. Dispose of the cut off top in the trash.

  3. 3

    Wash out the can in tap water and dishwashing liquid. Dry the can with a paper towel.

  4. 4

    Stand the can on the newspaper with the open end facing up. Make a dot at the top edge of the can facing you with the grease pencil. Rotate the can 180 degrees. Make another dot with the grease pencil at the top edge of the can facing you.

  5. 5

    Using metal shears, cut a vertical line straight down the can from each of the dots at the top edge.

  6. 6

    Turn the can over. Remove the lid with the can opener and discard it in the trash.

  7. 7

    Separate the two halves of the cut can from each other. Place them aside for use later.

  8. 8

    Place the coaxial connector, called a "Balun," on the newspaper with the two attached wires facing to the right. Heat up the soldering iron for five minutes. Strip a half inch off the ends of both of the electric wires with the wire strippers.

  9. 9

    Solder the exposed end of one of the two electric wires to the lug on the end of one of the two wires that are attached to the Balun. Let the solder cool for two minutes.

  10. 10

    Solder the exposed end of the electric wire to the other lug on the wire attached to the Balun. Let the solder cool for two minutes.

  11. 11

    Solder the free exposed end of one of the two electric wires to the side of one of the two cut halves of the can. Let the solder cool for two minutes. Solder the free exposed end of the other electric wire to the side of the other cut half of can. Let the solder cool for two minutes. Unplug the soldering iron.

  12. 12

    Place one of the two cut halves of can on the left top edge of the children's wooden chair's back. Tape the can in place with strips of masking tape. Place the other can on the right top edge of the wooden chair's back. Tape the can in place with strips of masking tape.

  13. 13

    Push the coax connector on one end of the coaxial cable onto the port of the Balun. Stand the chair next to the TV. Screw the coax connector at the other end of the coaxial cable into the coax input on the back of the TV.

  14. 14

    Turn on the TV with its remote. Press "Menu." Select "Video," then "Video input" and then "Ant." Press "Menu." Select a TV station to watch.

Tips and warnings

  • Work gloves can prevent injuries to your hands when cutting the can.

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