DIY TV Antenna Using Coax Cable

By Marshal M. Rosenthal

The advent of digital television hasn't changed the ability of an outdoor TV antenna to provide free broadcasts, but it has made the standard analog antenna obsolete. You can make your own digital TV antenna for watching television channels without having to pay for the service, such as from a cable or satellite service provider. You will need a few supplies, including a length of coaxial cable long enough to reach from outside your home to the TV. No special electronic skills, however, are required to make your digital TV antenna.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Empty 18-oz. coffee can
  • Duct tape
  • Ruler
  • Utility knife
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • 50-foot coaxial cable
  • 4-inch metal nail
  • Hammer

Step 1

Put newspaper down on a work surface. Put the empty coffee can down on its side on the newspaper.

Step 2

Hammer a hole in the side of the empty coffee can using the nail and the hammer--with the hole being a little more than halfway down the side closer to the bottom of the empty coffee can. Leave the nail in the hole that was just made with about 2/3rds of the nail pushed through the hole.

Step 3

Cut off one of the ends of the coaxial cable with the wire cutters. Cut off 8 inches of the outer sheath of the coaxial cable using the ruler and the utility knife.

Step 4

Measure 6 inches of the wire lying against the inner sheath. Strip the insulation off 6 inches of the wire lying against the inner sheath with the wire strippers.

Step 5

Wind the uninsulated wire at the end of the coaxial cable against the nail on the outside of the hole of the empty coffee can.

Step 6

Hammer the nail all the way into the hole with the hammer. Place a strip of duct tape over the hole to secure the coaxial cable to the empty coffee can.

Step 7

Place the empty coffee can outside in your backyard or front yard. Position the empty coffee can so that it is off the ground, such as on a windowsill or on a piece of lawn furniture

Step 8

Run the coaxial cable coming from the empty coffee can that is now your digital TV antenna into the house. Plug the coaxial connector on the end of the coaxial cable into the antenna input of your TV.

Tips & Warnings

  • Try placing your digital TV antenna in different places outside to see where it receives the best signal.
  • Do not place your digital TV antenna higher than surrounding objects so that it becomes a target of a lightning strike.