How to Build a TV Air Antenna


A TV over-the-air antenna lets you tune in your television to the free transmissions from local television stations. This antenna design is simple and inexpensive to build, and it will provide powerful and sensitive performance for both standard-definition and HDTV broadcasts.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy cardboard or light wood
  • Scissors, box cutter or saw
  • Aluminum foil or metalized duct tape
  • Staple gun
  • Wood screws
  • Washers
  • Screwdriver
  • Measuring tape
  • Metal coat hangers
  • Wire cutters
  • Sandpaper
  • 12- or 12- gauge wire
  • 300 to 75-ohm transformer
  • Cut a 36 inch by 30 inch rectangular panel out of heavy cardboard or light wood. If you're using cardboard, heavy scissors or a box cutter will serve to make the cut. If the panel is wood, use a hand or power saw.

  • Cover one side of the panel with aluminum foil or metalized duct tape. If you use aluminum foil, attach it to the panel with a staple gun.

  • Attach the panel to a 60-inch length of 2-by-4 board, on the narrow (2 inch) side of the board, positioning the 2-by-4 board so that it is on the metalized side of the panel. Place the 2-by-4 so that one end is even with the end of the panel and the other end of the board extends past the end of the panel. Use a staple gun if the panel is cardboard, small nails if the panel is wooden.

  • Screw in pairs of wood screws and washers onto the 2-by-4 board, starting 7 inches from the end of board that is even with the end of the panel. Continue until you've screwed in four pairs of wood screws and washers. Then place a fifth pair of washers and screws halfway between the second and third sets of screws.

  • Cut off the "head" off of four metal coat hangers, then cut the hangers in two to make eight V-shaped wire elements. Sand the apex of each element to remove any coating or paint.

  • Slide the wire elements under the first, second, fourth, and fifth sets of washers, then tighten the screw to hold them in place. Position the elements so that the open ends of the elements are facing away from the center of the board. This will give you four pairs of antenna elements--they're what pick up the signal for your television.

  • Connect 12- or 14-gauge wire between the center set of screws/washers and the screws holding the elements of the antenna. Use the diagram as a guide. When attaching the wires, loosen the screws slightly, wrap the wire around the screw, then tighten the screws down. Insulate the wires with a piece of electrical tape where they cross.

  • Loosen the center set of screws and slide the terminals of a 300 75-ohm transformer under the washers, then tighten down. Your antenna is now completed. Connect the coaxial cable leading to your TV to the transformer, set the antenna upright, and position the antenna to face your television station's transmission antenna.

Tips & Warnings

  • For help in aiming your antenna, use the Antenna Web website.


  • ARRL Antenna Handbook; ARRL; 2006
  • HDTV For Dummies; Danny Briere and Pat Hurley; 2007
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