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Making your TV antenna is easier than most people think. With cheap and easy-to-find materials, you can build an outdoor tv antenna that improves your television reception.
By following five simple steps, you can create an outdoor tv antenna from coat hangers, copper, and wood. You can complete this project in an afternoon, depending on how skilled you are at bricolage.
If you want to stop paying for cable but still want to have some evenings watching TV with your family or have the option of catching the news at night, an outdoor TV antenna is a fantastic, cheap option.
Necessary Materials and Tools
You can probably find most of the materials you need for this project lying around your home. However, if you’re missing some, you can buy them cheaply at your local hardware store. This method uses coat hangers for the wings, but you can also use any type of copper, aluminum, or steel wire, as long as it’s not coated or sheathed.
You’ll need to gather these materials to make your DIY outdoor TV antenna:
- A piece of wood about 3’ long and 1” wide
- 10 screws and matching washers
- 8 wire coat hangers
- 14 gauge copper wire
- Coaxial cable
- Balun/Transformer, also known as Ohm matching transformer
To build a DIY outdoor TV antenna, you can use any type of wood, but pine is an excellent choice for outdoor projects because it can resist shrinkage. Make sure the piece of wood is deep enough to drill in screws. Also, the pole for an outdoor antenna shouldn't be too long, especially if you want to put it on the roof.
Once you have your materials, make sure you have the right tools ready. You’ll need wire cutters, a tape measure and marker, a powered screwdriver or drill, and pliers.
After gathering your tools and materials, you should also prepare your working area. Any kind of bricolage work is much easier if you have a clean and open space to carry out the project. If you don’t have a workspace in the garage, you can just clear off your kitchen table. Make sure to keep small children and pets out of the area when using your drill and wire cutters.
Building The Antenna
Now you’re ready to build your DIY outdoor TV Antenna.
1. Place the screws
Attach the screws and washers in two rows along the wood piece. It’s essential to get the placement exactly right because you'll need to connect the coat hangers to the screws. The measurements between the screws vary depending on the size of the piece of wood. The most important thing is that both rows should be symmetrical.
To ensure symmetry, measure and mark the spots before drilling. Leave about 5” of space between each screw, and 1.5” inches between the rows, and a small space between the screws and the edge.
Next, place the washers on each point and gently put the screws in. However, don’t drill the screws all the way in, leaving a small space between the head of the screw and the washer.
2. Attach and secure the wire hangers
For this step, you will need two long pieces of wire. To run the wire along the wood and screws, start on one end of the piece of wood with the first pair of washers and screws. Cross the wires over from the first pair of screws to the second pair of screws, and then run the wire in parallel for the pairs of screws in the middle.
Next, cross the wires again at the other end, ensuring they make a cross at both ends and stay parallel in the middle.
Do one screw at a time, and finish drilling in the screws to secure the wire. Where the wires cross, it’s important to make them go over each other, so they don’t touch.
3. Place the coat hangers
You can use the coat hangers for the antenna’s whiskers or wings. If you don’t have any coat hangers available, simply use wire for the whiskers as well. Place them right under the washers, touching the copper wire. Ensure the coat hangers have a good connection with the copper wire, or you may have poor reception on your TV.
Next, cut the tops off the wire hangers and unfold them, so you have 8 14” long pieces of wire. Fold them into a V shape right on the middle, and leave about 3” of distance between the tips. Remember to leave one pair of screws in the middle without hangers since you need a space for the balun.
4. Attach the balun
This is a crucial step when building a DIY outdoor TV antenna. A balun is a type of transformer, and it converts an unbalanced signal to a balanced one. The balun should be attached to the last pair of free screws. Stick each of the balloon's prongs underneath the screws, and screw down to secure it.
5. Placing your DIY antenna
The antenna’s best position is as high as possible but not too far away from the television.
It’s important to keep in mind that this antenna works by line-of-sight. Therefore, a higher position is better since other buildings can’t block the signal. Services such as Antennas Direct or AntennaWeb can help you find out in which direction to point the antenna. It should point in the direction of the nearest broadcast tower.
Once you place the antenna, you need to connect it to your television with a coaxial cable. Connect one end of the coaxial cable to the balun and the other end to the TV set.
Enjoy Your Outdoor TV Antenna
Making a TV antenna is simple, cheap, and fun. Because you only sparingly use power tools, you can also work with your kids to introduce them to DIY and have a fun family project one weekend.
Once you have built and connected your outdoor tv antenna, you can then get and enjoy free TV. Many people pay for expensive cable service and rarely use any of the channels. A DIY outdoor TV antenna helps you save money and put it towards something you can enjoy while allowing you to still benefit from TV.
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