How to Turn an Old Satellite Dish Into an External TV Antenna

By Marshal M. Rosenthal

Digital televisions need a quality antenna to pick up the free TV signals that are being broadcast, and you can make a TV antenna using an old satellite dish. You will need a few hardware items and tools in order to make the antenna. The TV antenna will need to be attached to the satellite dish on the roof - so do not do this project if you are a novice when it comes to working on a roof, or have no experience in the safety issues that are involved.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • 1/2-inch diameter 4 foot length metal rod
  • 1/2-inch diameter PVC pipe cap
  • Portable drill
  • Butane powered soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Bonding glue
  • 100 foot coaxial cable roll
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Angle measurement tool
  • Work gloves
  • Ladder

Step 1

Put a sheet of newspaper on the table. Cut off one end of the coaxial cable with the wire cutters. Measure 20 inches from the cut end of the coaxial cable. Cut the coaxial cable at the 20-inch mark with the wire cutters. Put on the work gloves.

Step 2

Make a slit in the end of the cut coaxial cable with the utility knife. Pull the outer covering off the coaxial cable with your fingers.

Step 3

Make a slit in the outer sheath at the end of the cut coaxial cable with the utility knife. Pull the outer sheath off the coaxial cable with your fingers. Place the denuded coaxial cable aside. Repeat this entire procedure to make an additional three denuded coaxial cables. Place the two denuded coaxial cables aside with the first one.

Step 4

Measure 4 feet from the end of coaxial cable roll. Repeat the entire procedure to make another denuded coaxial cable, only the length will be 4 feet long and the wire cutters are not used.

Step 5

Place the PVC pipe horizontally the newspaper. Push the 4-foot length of coaxial cable from the cable roll through the PVC pipe.

Step 6

Put the PVC pipe cap on the newspaper. Drill a hole through the center of the PVC pipe cap with the portable drill.

Step 7

Place bonding glue around the right end of the PVC pipe. Push the coaxial cable through the hole in the PVC pipe cap. Put the PVC pipe cap onto the right end of the PVC pipe. Let the bonding glue set for two hours.

Step 8

Heat up the soldering iron for five minutes. Solder a 20-inch coaxial cable to one side of the coaxial cable coming out of the PVC pipe cap. Let the solder cool for a minute. Rotate the PVC pipe a quarter turn clockwise.

Step 9

Solder a 20-inch coaxial cable to the side of the coaxial cable coming out of the PVC pipe cap. Let the solder cool for a minute. Rotate the PVC pipe a quarter turn clockwise. Solder a 20-inch coaxial cable to the side of the coaxial cable coming out of the PVC pipe cap. Let the solder cool for a minute.

Step 10

Stand the PVC pipe up so that the 20-inch wires are facing up. Bend the 20-inch wires down at a 45 degree angle relative to the PVC pipe. Apply solder to each of the 20-inch wires where they meet the coaxial cable coming out of the PVC pipe cap. Let the solder cool for two minutes.

Step 11

Apply bonding glue inside of the hole in the PVC pipe cap to cement the coaxial cable coming out of the hole to it. Solder one of the ends of the last 20-inch coaxial cable to the end of the coaxial cable coming out of the hole. Let the solder cool for a minute. Apply bonding glue around the two coaxial cables where they meet. Let the bonding glue set for two hours.

Step 12

Go onto the roof. Place the bottom of the rod which has the coaxial cables attached to it to the top back edge of the satellite dish. Solder the bottom of the rod to the satellite dish. Let the solder cool for a minute. Apply bonding glue over the bottom of the rod where it meets the satellite dish.

Step 13

Place the coaxial cable coming out of the bottom of the rod against the back of the satellite dish at the top back edge. Solder the coaxial cable to the satellite dish. Let the solder cool for a minute. Apply bonding glue over the coaxial cable where it meets the satellite dish.

Step 14

Get off the roof. Trail the coaxial cable into the house from outside. Screw the connector on the end of the coaxial cable into a coaxial connector on a TV.

Tips & Warnings

  • Complete the assembly of the TV antenna on the ground so that only the mounting to the satellite dish needs to be done on the roof.
  • The TV antenna must be grounded in case of a lightning strike.