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    DIY TV Antennas


    This is a discussion on DIY TV Antennas within the DTV | HDTV Reception and Antenna Discussion forums, part of the Over-the-Air (Antenna TV) category.

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    1. #1
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      I recently made my own digital TV antenna and when I told people about canceling my cable, there was a lot of interest in it. So I am passing along this web site that I have started putting together. I want to help as many people as possible see how easy it is to build their own DTV antennas.

      DIY TV Antennas - Free HD Digital TV Antenna Plans - diyTVAntennas.com

      --Chris

    2. #2
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      Welcome Chris,

      Great site. I'm planning on sharing some of my experiences experimenting with homemade antennas on the advanced forum in a day or two. A two bay bowtie, basically just the center section of your 4 bay is a great beginner build too. Also the Silicon Dust HDHomerun looks like a good test tool for homebuilts.
      Last edited by dkreichen1968; 10-26-2010 at 12:30 PM.

    3. #3
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      Chris,

      You have run into a bunch of like-minded people here.

      Regarding your folded dipole, its the same as used as the driven element in a Yagi. If you want to offer 'fine-tuning' for a certain channel range or to add a reflector and directors to it, check out this website: Martin E. Meserve - K7MEM - VHF/UHF Yagi Antenna Design

      Also, keep in mind you can (slightly) widen its bandwidth by using larger diameter materials.

      Jim

    4. #4
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      Hi dkreichen1968! I like that antenna in your profile pic. How does that perform? I looks like the antenna is only about 4" x 6" is that correct? I might try to build one like that after I finish building my next SBGH. And at some point I want to experiment with a yagi for targeting specific stations further out than the 50 miles I am getting with my SBGH.

    5. #5
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      LOL. Yup Jim, I had been thinking that a yagi would be the next step from the folded dipole. And should still be very simple to construct. I am really trying to focus my site on designs that "anyone" can build in a single evening.

    6. #6
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      Chris,

      Take a look at my photo albums here to see my home-brew wonders. Although I didn't post a shot of an early wood and coathanger Yagi I built, I still have it and I could send you a photo: it took about two hours to build it.

      Jim

    7. #7
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      I just tested various homebrew antennas head to head.

      I tested Chris' folded dipole, my loop reflector, and my folded dipole loop combo using a RCA DTA800B1.

      Here are the results

      rf channel, folded dipole, loop reflector, combo
      8, 66%, 34% , 69%
      10, 50%, 15%, 69%
      22, 41%, 49%, 55%
      24, 43%, 55%, 56%
      31, 35%, 41%, 47%
      48, 50%, 69%, 65%

      Results show that the clothes hanger folded dipole performs quite well across the most used DTV spectrum. What I did see though is it is subject to interference from movement in the room, which the others aren't subject to.

      Combo Antenna.jpg
      Last edited by dkreichen1968; 10-27-2010 at 04:16 PM.

    8. #8
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      Thanks for posting those results. Nice to see some quantitative comparisons. Up to this point, I have only used channel counts to gauge the performance of my antennas. I did just find a screen on my TV that will show signal strength as from zero to 10 bars. I guess I can start using that... Its better than nothing, but I wish I had a percent signal strength instead of just the bars.

    9. #9
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      If you look around there is a good possiblity that you can find a RCA DTA800 at a pawn shop or thrift shop. It is one of the few DTV tuners that has a pure signal strength meter on it. Most have some form of signal quality meter on them.

    10. #10
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      I have 2 rca dta 800's, one from the thrift store for $4. What I like about it is the audible signal strength, it allows me to use a pair of frs radios while I climb up to adjust the aim on the roof or attic.

    11. #11
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      HA! I just noticed the Crown Royal bag. LOL!

    12. #12
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      Crown Royal is a required tool for antenna design and installation.*

      * as long as climbing a tower is not involved.

    13. #13
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      This came to my twisted mind as I read this thread:

      Build an indoor antenna (set-top) using ONLY parts from your local DOLLAR STORE.

      (Extra points for not using aluminum foil as a reflector. Wives tend to frown upon such ugliness in their living room!)

    14. #14
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      Wow, building your own antenna? Why would you want to when you can get a great roof antenna that guaranteed to work for about $70.00 bucks or less. That's what I did and I'm loving it. Lots of great channels with crystal clear HD reception - on my old tv set with a converter box.

      Not a cable box, there's big difference. In trying to convey this to others, it's occurred to me that there is so much misinformation about tv anymore. Everyone's been brainwashed (myself included) to believe that tv is complicated. This free dtv ota is soooo easy. But it's important to get the right antenna to maximize the # of channels received.

      I've got a great amplified antenna and I wish people could understand what I'm saying but they look at me like I've got two heads or something. It's not rocket science, people. It seems that people are suffering from brainrot having paid for tv all these years. As soon as people catch on cable with be a thing of the past. I hope they enjoyed ripping people off all these 40+ years.

      They are absolute crooks. I'm deprived of nothing. Fox is no problem, I get that for free uninterrupted. In fact, I'll be watching "House" tonight and maybe flick over and watch bits of the "World Series" MLB, too. The choices are more than enough, plus there's more quality tv avail. for FREEEEEE as well. All you need is the right equipment and bingo never pay again. So wake the hell up and smell the FREEE TV people.

      Gotta go watch Cosby now on RTV/RTN. The show he made in 1968 before "I Spy" or was that before? Whatever, think man. It just doesn't make sense to keep paying for crap tv when the free stuff is this great. More later ...
      Last edited by Free DTV ota; 10-30-2010 at 02:08 PM.

    15. #15
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      Quote Originally Posted by Free DTV ota View Post
      Wow, building your own antenna? Why would you want to when you can get a great roof antenna that guaranteed to work for about $70.00 bucks or less. That's what I did and I'm loving it. Lots of great channels with crystal clear HD reception - on my old tv set with a converter box.
      Well, Chris' dipole antenna would cost $2-$4. It doesn't hurt to tell people that they could spend $2 and save more than $20 a month.

    16. #16
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      Well, I can tell you why I built my own. Most importantly for me, its fun! I have built four antenna's so far. (And I am already thinking about experimenting with a Yagi to see what the furthest I can get is.) Since I spend my days sitting in front of a computer, it is nice to do something with my hands in my free time. Also, the point of me getting rid of my cable was that I was tired of unnecessarily giving my money away to watch TV. So I would pose the opposite question: why spend $70 or MORE for a "long range" antenna when you can make one from some coat hangers and a two by four that will pull in channels from over 50 miles out? And since I mount mine in my attic, I don't need to worry about aesthetics or making them wind and weather proof.

      Of course, if DIY isn't your thing, spending $70 once on a roof antenna is certainly still better than forking over hundreds a year to satellite or cable companies.

      --Chris

    17. #17
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      Quote Originally Posted by Free DTV ota View Post
      Wow, building your own antenna? Why would you want to when you can get a great roof antenna that guaranteed to work for about $70.00 bucks or less. That's what I did and I'm loving it. Lots of great channels with crystal clear HD reception - on my old tv set with a converter box...
      Free DTV ota,

      Sorry to say there's no such thing as any antenna "guaranteed to work" available at any price. There are too many variables. An antenna that works for fringe reception may be the wrong antenna to receive a station close to your home. Regarding cost, I built 4 (outdoor) Yagis for around $70 total including 'U'-bolts and baluns.

      I also built an indoor attic Yagi antenna using a few coathangers and a political yard sign stick: the cost? Basically free.

      I just finished watching Cosby on RTV as well: I-Spy pre-dates it. The 'A' Team is on now, then House. I'll finish the evening with Elvira's Movie Macabre.

      Jim
      Last edited by Fringe Reception; 10-30-2010 at 07:00 PM.

    18. #18
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      Elviraaaaa! I'm too old now to stay up till midnight, and, what, with the newborn crying every few hours!

      I own 2 commercial antennas, one is on my roof (u75 r), $35, one I removed off a neighbors house (almost exactly a U75 r with extra elements) = for free.

      I've built a few 2 bays for my neighbors who want nothing more than the stations from our south translators:


      I am building several of these 2 bays to explore different ways of using different materials. This antenna design is being used in an attic, outdoors on a PVC mast, and indoors (Set top) and works pretty decent. I'll post the complete design and variations (including templates, BOM, etc) - possibly as an article - when I am done. Other designs will follow.

      I prefer to build my antennas with materials suitable for outdoor use. The only time I use wood is for an indoor stand. Plexiglas and PVC, stainless, copper, brass. (1/8" stainless and brass welding rods are pricey, but make great elements, BTW) I've invested in a bunch of materials - mostly free and on clearance - and I can build one for pennies. In fact, the baluns are more expensive! I'll be able to build them assembly line fashion and make a bunch in one day.

      So, yea, it takes time but for the price of ONE commercial antenna, I can make about 30 of these.
      Last edited by MrPogi; 10-31-2010 at 04:56 AM.

     

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