Cable bills busting the budget? you may be missing out on free TV. Using scrap wire with stock lumber, build a slick homemade antenna and stay tuned.
1.) Gather Parts
This antenna spins to orient a pattern of wires, known as an array in engineerspeak, toward broadcasting towers. Rabbit ears and some other older antennas can’t receive high-frequency digital TV transmissions (but if you have an old antenna, try it). To assemble this DIY design, get 32-inch- and 6-inch-long 1 x 4 pine boards; eight 17-inch lengths and two 34-inch lengths of bare 12-gauge copper wire (for the ears and phasing bars); heat-shrink tubing; and 10 No. 8 ½-inch round-head wood screws and fender washers. Buy an impedance-matching transformer (IMT) to maximize signal transmission from channels at different frequencies.
2.) Build the Array
Bend the 17-inch-long copper wires into eight "ears," or acute angles, with 3 inches of space separating the ends. Lay the 32-inch pine board flat, arrange the ears, and thread the phasing bars from ear to ear, as shown. Fit each pair of wires beneath fender washers and drive in the screws. Wrap electrical tape around the phasing bars where they cross, to prevent contact. In the center of the array, fasten the IMT and both phasing bars beneath a fender washer and screw. Construct the base by attaching the 6-inch 1 x 4 perpendicular to the 32-inch board using coarse-threaded screws.
3.) Wrap It Up
Place heat-shrink tubing over the tips of the ears and use a flame or heat gun to shrink it tight to the wires. Use coaxial cable to connect a digital-signal-ready television or converter box to the transformer. Switch on your TV, orient the antenna, and enjoy the new show.