How to Use a Satellite Dish As a TV Antenna for a Digital Signal

By Alice Godfrey

An antenna "captures" radio frequencies (RF) sent from a broadcast tower and transmits them to a TV for viewing purposes. To view a digital TV signal using a satellite dish that is mounted on the roof, add parts that will focus the RF signals impacting the dish. Supplies from a hardware store are needed for this project, as are tools from around the house.

Things You'll Need

  • Hollow, plastic rod, 2 feet long, 1/2-inch diameter
  • Soldering iron
  • 25-foot extension cord
  • 3 metal wires, 1-foot long, 1/8-inch diameter
  • Silicon sealant paste
  • Coaxial cable, 6-feet long
  • Utility knife
  • Ruler
  • Wire stripper
  • Electrical cleaning spray
  • Coaxial cable, 50-feet long
  • Bonding glue
  • Screwdriver
  • Screws

Step 1

Place the hollow rod horizontally on the roof. Plug an end of an extension cord into the power cord of the soldering iron. Plug the other end of the extension cord into an outlet.

Step 2

Heat up the soldering iron for 10 minutes. Solder an end of one of the metal wires to the side of the rod at one end. Let the solder cool for two minutes. Rotate the rod a quarter turn clockwise. Repeat the soldering procedure with another wire. Rotate the rod a quarter turn clockwise, and repeat the procedure yet another time with the final wire.

Step 3

Apply silicon sealant paste to each of the ends of the wires where they meet the rod. Let 10 minutes pass before continuing.

Step 4

Run a coaxial cable through the length of the rod. Cut off the connector at the end of the cable with a utility knife. Slit 6 inches of insulation off the end of the cable with the utility knife. Peel the insulation back. Push the wire mesh back against the cable where the insulation is uncut. Twist the mesh to form a rod.

Step 5

Solder the mesh rod to the inside edge of the rod. Let the solder cool for two minutes. Strip 8 inches from the inner wire in the coaxial cable with a wire stripper. Solder the end of the inner wire to the ends of the three wires connected to the rod. Let the solder cool for a minute. Unplug the extension cord from the outlet and from the soldering iron.

Step 6

Measure 6 inches down from the top of the satellite dish that is mounted to the roof. Make a dot on the back of the dish at the 6-inch mark. Spray the back of the dish with electrical cleaning spray. Spray the end of the rod opposite that, where the wires have been attached, with the electrical cleaning spray.

Step 7

Apply bonding glue to the dot on the back of the dish. Place the side of the rod opposite the wires against the bonding glue. Hold the rod against the glue for two minutes. Release the rod. Apply bonding glue to the sides of the rod where it touches the dish. Let the glue set overnight.

Step 8

Screw one end of the coax adapter onto the connector at the end of the coaxial cable. Screw an end of the 50-foot coaxial cable into the other end of the adapter.

Step 9

Run the coaxial cable across the roof and down the side of the house; into the house through a window or vent; and along the baseboard of a wall until you come to a television set. Screw the end of the coaxial cable into the "Ant in" on the back of the television set.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can attach a protective hooking harness purchased from a hardware store to keep from falling while on the roof.
  • Do not work on a roof when the weather is inclement to avoid even the slightest chance of lightning.