Example of a DIY Antenna
In order to get TV reception, people have tried countless crazy, and a few sane ideas. If you've got a wire coat hanger sticking out the back of your set and have to adjust it every time you change channels, it may be time to make a few upgrades. Fortunately, there are a bunch of things you can do to make it work better right from home.
How Antennae Work
Tokyo Tower Broadcast Antenna
To make a better antenna, it may help to understand how an antenna works. Somewhere near you, there is a broadcast antenna which pumps out a constant stream of TV signals at various frequencies. These waves of information travel through the air outward, toward the surrounding homes. They are picked up by antennae attached to televisions, which translate that information into TV signal.
The typical antenna is usually fairly flat and has a V-shape. The flat surfaces faces toward the oncoming broadcast, so it can be bathed in the airwaves most while the shape allows it to pick up a variety of signals over the air, as different stations' frequencies may be wider or narrower.
Metals are the best conductors of this signal, and most antenna are made of aluminium, as it's also a very light material. Tinfoil, an aluminium can, or the grill from an old toaster can all be used to make the antenna itself. Copper wires and regular Coaxial cable are the best way to bring the signal from the antenna itself to the TV.
With most signals, the higher the antenna is, the better the reception will be. Television broadcast is one such signal, and so long as you can do it safely, the roof is one of the best places to put the antenna. Be aware of weather concerns, as you want to be sure your antenna won't be destroyed when it rains or snows. If you can find out the direction of your local broadcast station, you can point the antenna toward it ,which will also improve your reception.
The satellite dish is actually a kind of antenna, using a dish-shaped reflector to bounce the signal back toward the antenna itself, which amplifies it and makes it stronger. Stronger is better. A simple reflector can be made by placing a flat, conductive surface behind the core of your antenna, a toaster grill, or two of them set at a 90 degree angle (with the antenna at the hinge).
HDTV, Digital TV and Analog Antenna
With many countries making the transition from analogue to digital TV, there has been a lot of confusion about what equipment will still work. While an analogue TV will likely need a converter box, an antenna is an antenna. The antenna itself, if it worked with analogue TV should work with digital.