How to make a free HDTV antenna

Congress has set a final deadline for the HDTV transition of February 17, 2009. Most television stations will continue broadcasting both analog and digital programming until February 17, 2009, when all analog broadcasting will stop. Most people don’t use over the air broadcasting anymore since the picture and signal quality usually sucked. The mandate from congress to upgrade to HD has changed all that with most local television stations now broadcasting in High Definition. New televisions come with a built in HDTV tuner if yours doesn’t you can request a free $40 coupon to receive a converter box here

The only other thing you need is a good DIY HDTV antenna which you can build for next to nothing with the following instructions:


[A] 2x4 - Used a 48inch piece.

[B] 5 Metal coat hangers

[C] Aluminum Foil

[D] Washers, Screws


[E] Transformer - I got from RadioShack #15-1230

[F] Ducttape

[G] Cardboard



[H] Drill - or sturdy screw driver

[I] Bullnose pliers

[J] Measuring tape


HDTV Tools


2X4 Pole

Measure out where your bowties and transformer will go. I put the transformer in the center of the board with the first two attachments 3.5inches and the next two 7 inches apart. Then screw the washers in your marked spots and be careful they don't touch.


Antenna Bowties

Cut 4 of your coat hangers into 8 equal length Vs so each leg is 7 inches long. Cleaning or sanding the contact points with a small piece of sandpaper or wirebrush is a good idea and will improve your signal strength. I used another coat hanger wire to hookup the V's together crisscrossing them on the ends, they are not suppose to touch so I used electric tape as an insulator. Screw the transformer into the center connector.



At this point you have a functional antenna if you don't live far from the transmission source this antenna might be good enough to use but if you need an extra boost you can build a reflector. It will reflect the signals coming from the front and from the bowties which should result in close to double the signal strength. I used cardboard as the base and aluminum foil secured it with ducktape.



Attach the reflector to the back of your pole setup in now complete.



Since the reflector will degrade the signal on its nonreflective side it is important to point your new antenna in the direction of your transmission source the FCC provides a helpful resource to find TV stations, channels and transmitters you can plug in the longitude and latitude for your locations into Google Maps then used a compass to tell me which direction to point mine and received a signal on 90+.

Here is a video of someone building an antenna: