How to Build a Dish Antenna for TV Reception

A parabolic dish is able to focus radio waves more efficiently than an antenna can alone. Build a digital antenna using a satellite dish to help the antenna to receive clearer television broadcasts. A few hardware supplies will be needed along with some items from an electronics supply and a satellite service shop. Common household tools will also be required, as will adult supervision if a child is involved since a soldering iron is being used.

Things You'll Need

  • Satellite dish
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Lateral arm pole
  • Coaxial cable, 100 feet
  • Utility knife
  • Empty coffee can, 28 oz
  • Ruler
  • Hammer
  • Metal nail, 2 inches
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Masking tape
  • TV


    • 1

      Loosen the set screws on the bottom of the satellite dish with the Phillips screwdriver. Place an end of the the lateral arm pole into the hole at the bottom of the dish. Tighten the set screws.

    • 2

      Stand the empty coffee can on the table with the open end facing up. Measure up 3 inches from the bottom of the can. Hammer a nail halfway into the hole at the 3 inch mark.

    • 3

      Cut off an end of the coaxial cable with the utility knife. Cut a 3 inch slit from the cut end with the utility knife's blade. Pull back the outer insulation. Cut the outer insulation off with the utility knife's blade.

    • 4

      Cut a 1 inch slit in the inner insulation with the utility knife's blade. Pull the inner insulation back from the center wire inside.

    • 5

      Heat up the soldering iron for five minutes. Wrap the end of the inner wire on the coaxial cable around the head of the screw. Apply a drop of solder to the head to secure the wire. Let the solder cool for a minute.

    • 6

      Hammer the nail all the way into the can. Press the inner insulation on the coaxial cable against the side of the can. Apply a few drops of solder to secure the inner insulation to the can. Let the solder cool for 2 minutes. Unplug the soldering iron.

    • 7

      Place the can against the bottom of the lateral arm pole so that the open end is facing the dish. Tape the can to the pole with strips of masking tape.

    • 8

      Stand the satellite dish outside in the backyard against a wall so that it is facing in the general direction of the television broadcast towers that the local stations in your city use to transmit television signals.

    • 9

      Run the coaxial cable over to the television. Screw the end of the coaxial cable into the "Coax" input on the back of the TV.

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