How to Make a TV Dish Antenna

By Louise Balle

Maybe you're the type of person who likes to make things with your hands or from scratch. Maybe you need a quick TV antenna replacement using common household tools and items you can find in your garage. This TV dish antenna may not look great, and your friends may laugh at this contraption, but hey at least you can get some type of reception.

Things You'll Need

  • Aluminum foil
  • Copper wire (preferably insulated)
  • Duct tape
  • Several pieces of cardboard
  • Scissors or wire cutters
  • Empty wine bottle with bottom cut out or thick cardboard roll
  • Wire Stripper (optional)

Step 1

Visit Home Depot or your local hardware store to gather the following tools if you do not already have them at home: copper wire, duct tape, cardboard boxes, wire cutters, and wire strippers. If possible, take a carpenter or person who is knowledgeable about electronics with you.

Step 2

Cut a 36 inch long piece of copper wire. Then strip a small piece of either end of the wire using your wire strippers; only about a five inches or so. Many people choose to use wire hangers for this purpose, so keep in mind that your wires do not absolutely need to be insulated.

Step 3

Wrap a 10 x 10 inch piece of cardboard in about four layers of aluminum foil and tape it in place if needed. Be sure it's wrapped securely.

Step 4

Wrap another piece of cardboard, this time only about 4 x 10 inches, in aluminum foil and tape one end of the smaller cardboard piece to the larger aluminum wrapped cardboard, leaving one end of the smaller piece pointing toward the sky; sort of like a satellite dish. This will help achieve better reception.

Step 5

Reinforce the copper wire using a wine bottle that has the bottom cut out. Run the wire through the bottle and tape it so that the other exposed end of the wire is sticking out of the bottle's mouth. You can also use a sturdy cardboard roll that can stand up on it's own. Keep your wires pointing toward the sky.

Step 6

Tape the wire that is protruding out of the mouth of the wine bottle or cardboard tube with your duct tape to the "dish" like aluminum wrapped cardboard piece. Make sure that the wire is fully touching the aluminum. Secure the dish with tape to the wine bottle or cardboard roll so that it will stand on its own.

Step 7

Plug your wire into the TV's cable connection. Check that everything is solid. Adjust and play with the TV antenna to achieve the best reception possible.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use plenty of aluminum foil. The foil helps with the reception.
  • Position this antenna as close to a window as possible.
  • This antenna may not work well in basements or secluded areas.