How to Build a TV Antenna With PVC Pipe

By Marshal M. Rosenthal

A high-definition digital antenna receives free transmissions from towers maintained by local TV networks. Make your own antenna with PVC pipe and supplies from a hardware store, as well as common tools and items from an electronics store. Build your own antenna to pull in stations broadcast in your area.

Things You'll Need

  • PVC pipe, 2-inch diameter, 22 inches long
  • Tape measure
  • Grease pencil
  • 8 metal rods, 1/4-inch thick, 14 inches long
  • Pliers
  • Portable drill
  • Drill bit, 1/8-inch
  • 8 metal washers
  • 8 metal screws
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • 2 copper wires, 16-gauge, 18 inches long
  • Bonding glue
  • 2 metal screens, 15-by-9 inch
  • Electrical tape
  • Coax balun adapter
  • Coaxial cable, 10 feet
  • Empty 2-liter soda bottle
  • Utility knife
  • Sand
  • Duct tape
  • TV

Step 1

Place the PVC pipe horizontally on a table. Measure 2 inches in from the bottom left corner. Make a dot with the grease pencil. Measure 5 1/4 inches from the dot. Make another dot. Measure the same amount an additional two times and make dots on the PVC pipe. Repeat the entire procedure starting from the upper left corner of the PVC pipe.

Step 2

Measure the length of one of the metal rods. Find the halfway mark. Bend the metal rod at a 90-degree angle at the halfway mark using the pliers. Repeat this procedure with all of the metal rods.

Step 3

Drill a hole through every grease pencil mark made in the PVC pipe with the portable drill. Place a metal washer over every hole. Screw a metal screw halfway into every hole with the Phillips screwdriver.

Step 4

Place the bent end of a metal rod around every one of the metal screws. Rotate each rod so those at the top of the PVC pipe have their two ends facing up, while those rods at the bottom have their two ends facing down.

Step 5

Wind an end of one of the two pieces of copper wire around the screw at the bottom left corner of the PVC pipe. Wind the copper wire up and around the next screw at the top of the PVC pipe and then across to the next screw. Wind the copper wire down to the next screw at the bottom of the PVC pipe. Repeat this procedure with the other copper wire, starting with the screw at the upper left corner of the PVC pipe and winding around the screws on the bottom and upper parts of the pipe.

Step 6

Screw in all of the screws with the Phillips screwdriver. Turn the PVC pipe over. Apply bonding glue to the top of the pipe in a thin line 6 inches in from the left side and 6 inches in from the right side.

Step 7

Place one of the two metal screens vertically on the left side of the PVC pipe, so that the left side of the screen is 2 inches in from the pipe's left side. Place the other metal screen vertically on the right side of the PVC pipe, so that the right side of the screen is 2 inches in from the pipe's right side.

Step 8

Press down on the metal screens so they adhere to the bonding glue. Release the screens after 2 minutes have passed. Let the bonding glue set for 3 hours. Turn the PVC pipe over.

Step 9

Wrap strips of electrical tape around the copper wires where they cross over each other. Wrap the exposed end of one of the two wires attached to the coax balun adapter around the copper wire at the bottom of the PVC pipe. Wrap the exposed end of the other wire attached to the coax balun adapter around the copper wire at the top of the PVC pipe. Wrap strips of electrical tape around the wires to adhere them to the copper wires.

Step 10

Cut off the neck of the soda bottle with the utility knife. Fill the bottle with sand. Place the bottom end of the PVC pipe into the bottle. Wrap strips of duct tape around the neck of the bottle to adhere it to the PVC pipe.

Step 11

Stand the TV antenna next to the TV. Connect an end of the coaxial cable into the connection on the bottom of the coax balun adapter. Connect the free end of the coaxial cable into the coax connection on the back of the TV.