How to Build a Long Range TV Antenna

By Brian Adler

TV is broadcast at longer wavelengths than radio, meaning that its signals cannot be received from very far away. This is not a problem if you have cable or satellite TV, but if you do not, you will need an antenna. If you live more than 50 miles from where a TV station is broadcast, you will need a special long-range antenna. You can save money by building your own. There are kits available, or you can try to make one yourself. Here is how to build a long-range TV antenna.

Things You'll Need

  • Dipole antenna
  • 300 ohm twin-lead wire
  • Solder
  • Soldering Iron
  • Antenna amplifier
  • Antenna mast
  • Antenna mount

Step 1

Get a standard dipole antenna. A good model in terms of size and reception is the commercially available Channel Master 4228. As the Channel Master is about 3' high and 39-1/2" wide, you will want to build an antenna that is approximately 6' high and 78" wide.

Step 2

Take your 300 ohm twin-lead wire and adjust it to the correct frequency of the TV station you want to receive. A specific length of wire corresponds to a specific station. You can contact the TV station to find out the frequency at which they transmit. You need to perform a simple mathematical calculation based on this frequency to figure out how long to make your wire. The length is .95 x 300/whatever the frequency is in MHz. This will give you the required size in meters of the twin lead. Cut the wire to the proper size.

Step 3

Cut off the insulation at the ends of the twin-lead wire. Twist each of the ends together and then solder it. Take another long piece of twin-lead and also strip off the ends. Attach one end to your TV and solder the other to the middle of your first piece of twin wire. This is now the transmission wire. When put together, they should look like the letter "T."

Step 4

Take your long-range TV antenna and put it up as high you can, ideally on your roof or in an attic. Indoors or out, it's a good idea to mount your antenna on a 5' high galvanized steel mast. This will provide room for the much larger receiver that helps to ensure you receive long-range TV signals.

Step 5

Connect an amplifier to your long-range TV antenna. While not absolutely necessary, this will help with reception, because the signal will still be weak at this distance. You can purchase an amplifier at an electronics store or over the internet. The amplifier connects from your long-range antenna wire to your TV.

Tips & Warnings

  • Good reception can be very difficult to obtain at a distance of 75 miles or more. Your best bet will be to buy a ready-made long-distance antenna, or at least a professionally made kit from which you can build your own. Amplifiers help in that they magnify the signal, but they do not eliminate the problem of noise on the line. Noise increases with distance.