How to Make Your Own HDTV Long Range Antenna

By Billy Brainard

Receiving HDTV digital signals can be a challenge, as they are either strong enough to receive or they are not. Designing an antenna to pull in the more distant signals is as simple as having a large reflector on your antenna. The reflector will act as a net and help catch the signals, and focus them back to the antenna elements, and boost the signals for reception. You also will need to position the antenna so it is not obstructed with any metal buildings between the antenna and the broadcast tower.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood paneling (cut to 15-by-30 inches)
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil/pen
  • 1-by-2-inch board (cut to 40 inches)
  • Wood saw
  • Roofing nails (8-10)
  • Hammer
  • Aluminum foil (one box roll)
  • Duct tape (one roll)
  • Copper wire (15 feet of insulated, 14-gauge wire)
  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • Utility knife
  • Pliers
  • Wood screws
  • Washers
  • Screwdriver
  • 75-Ohm balun

Step 1

Cut a piece of wood paneling to a measurement of 15-by-30 inches. Roll out the foil and cover one side of the paneling with the foil, affixing it to the wood with the duct tape. The foil-covered panel board will serve as the reflector to increase signal reception.

Step 2

Measure and cut the 1-by-2 board to 40 inches in length. Label one end of the board as the top. Lay the 1-by- 2 board down flat on the table so one of the wide sides--the 2-inch sides--of the board is facing up. Lay the foil side of the wood panel down on the 1-by-2 board. Lay the board so the length of the paneling runs parallel with the length of the 1-by-2 board. Center it, and slide it so the end is flush with the top end of the 1-by-2 board. Nail the wood paneling--the reflector--to the 1-by-2 board using the roofing nails and hammer.

Step 3

Turn over the 1-by-2 board with the reflector attach, and lay it flat on the table. The foil side of the board will now be facing up. Start at the top end of the 1-by-2 board, measure down 4, 8, 12 and 16 inches and make two marks at each measurement. You should make one mark on the left edge of the board and other on the right edge, so the two marks are side by side. When complete you will have eight marks, in pairs of two, with each pair being 4 inches apart.

Step 4

Measure and cut eight pieces of copper wire to 14 inches long. Using the utility knife, cut away 1 inch of insulation directly in the middle of each wire.

Step 5

Bend each of the eight wires with the pliers directly in the middle. Bend them in the shape of a V, so that each leg of the V is 7 inches long. Bend them until there is a 3-inch spread between each end of the legs. Each of these V shapes will serve as the bow tie, or antenna elements, to receive the broadcast signal.

Step 6

Affix one bow tie to each of the eight marks from Step 3. Using the screwdriver, screws and washers, fasten the bow ties so the washer is holding the bottom--where the bend is--of the V-shaped bow tie against the wood. Orientate the bow ties so that legs, or top of the V, point away from the 1-by-2 board. Do not fully tighten the screws at this point in the assembly.

Step 7

Cut a 15-inch length of copper wire. With the wire strippers, strip 1 inch of the insulation off one end. Attach the stripped end of the wire underneath the screw in the top left corner. Cross the wire over and attach it underneath the two middle wires on the right side. Cross the wire back over, and attach it underneath the screw on the bottom left corner. Cut away any excess wire.Where the wire is attached underneath each screw, strip away the insulation with the utility knife to allow the wire to contact the screw and washer.

Step 8

Repeat Step 7 to attach a similar wire, starting at the screw in the top right corner and finishing with attaching it underneath the screw in the bottom right corner.

Step 9

Affix the 75-ohm balun to the two bottom set of screws--the ones farthest from the top end of the 1-by-2 board. Attach it by connecting one wire from the balun underneath the screw on the left and tightening it down with the screwdriver. Connect the remaining wire from the balun underneath the screw on the right and tighten it down. The balun is where the coaxial cable from the HDTV will be connected.

Step 10

Tighten all the screws on the antenna to a snug fit.

References & Resources