How to Design a TV Antenna

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With the digital cable conversion of 2009, TV antennas have become a necessity to those without cable and thus become more costly and complicated. The most effective design of TV antenna is called the DB4 antenna. These antennas have a retail cost of around $40 but can also easily be made with common household objects and a little elbow grease.

Things You'll Need

  • 22-inch section of 2-by-3-inch or 1-by-3-inch board
  • 18 screws
  • 15 washers
  • 15 feet of copper wire
  • Reflector grid
  • Balun
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire cutters
  • Pliers
  • Measure and mark the wood. Starting from the top of the board, make a mark at 2 inches and three marks, every 5 1/4 inches for a total of 17 3/4 inches with markings down the board.

  • Cut eight "V" shapes out of copper wire. Cut eight 14-inch sections of wire and bend each wire in the center. The opening at the wide end of the "V" should be 3 inches.

  • Attach the wire "V" shapes to the board. Use a washer and a screw to attach each wire to the board at the top of the "V." The wide end of the "V" should point away from the board. Now, zig-zag a piece of wire from each "V." The connection between the top to the middle will look like an "X." The connection below that will be two vertical perpendicular lines. The bottom connection will be identical to the top in an "X" form.

  • Attach reflectors to the back of the board. Split your reflector grid into two equal rectangles. Making sure that the copper "V" shapes do not touch the reflectors, screw the reflector grids into the board. There should be about one inch between the two grids placed in the middle of the board. The rectangles should be screwed in so that the wide edges are bisected by the board.

  • Attach the balun to the center sections of wire. Make sure that the two connections do not touch one another.

  • Attach your antenna to your TV. Using a coaxial cable, attach one end to the Balun and the other to the back of your TV.

Tips & Warnings

  • A balun is a transformer that converts electrical signals. It should have two wires on one end and a coaxial input on the other. You should be able to locate one at your local hardware store.
  • The reflector grid is a meshlike reflective metallic material. Two metal grill grates can be used for this.
  • A stripped coat hanger can be used instead of copper wire.

References

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