In this post, we will show you how to make the ultimate homemade TV antenna from different objects around your house. These plans are for an indoor TV antenna and it is easy to make.
We will test each antenna to make sure it can receive a strong free-to-air TV signal. We are going to make 4 different TV antennas such as
- Antenna made from coaxial cable.
- The famous coat hanger antenna
- TV antenna made with copper wire
- Mini TV antenna made with a paper clip
Don’t buy a new antenna for your TV why not make one yourself? These are cool projects and very easy to follow. They will all work for digital TV signals.
Table of Contents
How to make a TV antenna from coaxial cable
The TV antenna made from coaxial cable is the easiest project here to make. All it comprises is a length of RG6 cable that has 6 inches of insulation stripped off one end. This will be the receiver part.
- 6 Feet of coaxial cable
- Sharp knife
- Electrical insulation tape
- F-type connector for the TV
Start by stripping 6 inches of insulation off the coaxial cable. Pull back the wire screen over the cable mesh and tape over the mesh.
Next, remove the white insulating core with a sharp knife to expose the inner copper core. Leave about 1/8 inch of insulating core between the screen and the center core. This is so the screen and the core don’t accidentally touch.
Tape up the outside screen with some electrical tape. This makes it looks neat and stops the screen from fraying.
Make sure the copper core is 6 inches in length. This is the bare core that will be receiving the TV signal.
You can now add an F-type connector to the other end. You can read more about how to fix TV antenna connectors and wiring here.
If you don’t have an F-type connector on the other end of the coax then strip back 1 inch of insulation from the other end of the coaxial cable. Peel back the metal screen and remove 1/2 inch of the inner core insulation material. Screw on the F-type connector and trim the copper center core so that it only pokes out 1/8 inch from the screw cap.
You can now screw this end into your TV and try and scan some channels.
Due to it being a basic design, you won’t pick up all of the VHF/UHF TV stations but it will pick up a few depending on how close you are to a TV transmitter.
Experiment with the angle of the copper core. Some work well in a horizontal position while others work well in a vertical position.
Also the higher the antenna the better signal you will receive. I have found that if you place the antenna high up in a window you will get a good signal.
This is more of an emergency antenna to see if your main antenna has failed to check if the TV stations are transmitting. Use this DTV Reception Maps website to see where you need to position your antenna in America
How to make an antenna with copper wire?
The copper wire antenna is an upgrade from the coaxial cable TV antenna mentioned above. You will pick up more TV stations and it is a very quick project to make. It is a directional TV antenna so be sure to point it at the TV transmitter in your area.
- Single-core copper wire
- Block of wood
- Balun or matching transformer
- Coaxial cable
- 2x F-type screw connectors
Start by printing out the TV antenna plans to scale and bending the copper wire to suit. You can get copper wire from the dump, hardware store, offcuts from a building site, or from an old appliance.
All the new copper wire is multi-strand. Now this will work ok but it will need more support as it is very flexible. The 1mm to 2.5mm single-core copper cable is perfect to make antennas out of. This cable is found in older house wiring or larger multi-core cables.
Once you have bent the copper wire to shape and mounted it to the wooden board with screws or glue you will need to attach the balun.
This matching transformer will convert the TV transmitting signal to a more usable coaxial signal for the TV. Without it, you will get interference and loss of signal.
You can either solder the balun to the copper wires or screw it together with a few screws and washers.
Attach an F-type connector to each end of the coaxial cable and plug one end to the TV and one end to the balun. Move the new DIY copper wire antenna around until you get a good signal.
How to make a TV antenna from a coat hanger
There are a few different designs and plans around making a TV antenna from a coat hanger. The plan that I found that works the best and receives the best signal is the bowtie antenna design.
DYI TV Antenna Parts needed
- 6 steel or aluminum coat hangers.
- Block of wood.
- Balun or matching transformer.
- Screws and washers.
- 6 feet or more of coaxial cable.
- F-type screw connector.
- Wire end caps so you don’t poke your eye out.
- 1m of single-core 18-gauge insulated electrical cable.
The DIY bowtie TV antenna should pick up all of the HDTV free-to-air stations in your area. It is directional so be sure to place it pointed to your TV transmitter in your area.
This is the ultimate homemade TV antenna and it found all the TV stations in my area.
Start by cutting 8 pieces of coat hangers 14 inches long and bend them into a V shape with the end gap being 4 inches long. Screw these onto a wood base and make sure the antenna coat hanger V is spaced 6 inches apart from each other.
At each V of the coat hanger bend use some sandpaper to scratch off any protective coating that is preventing the coat hanger from rusting. This will provide good electrical conductivity.
Wire them up using an electrical cable and make sure the wires don’t touch each other. Each V must be connected to the other along the same path. For example in the picture shown below the blue line has the antenna elements 2 at the top of each end and 2 at the bottom in the middle connected to the same cable.
Connect the balun or matching transformer in the middle of the TV antenna and connect in an RG6 F-type connector and cable. Be sure to space the elements at 4 inches wide.
I like to place rubber or foam blocks on the ends of each TV antenna spoke as these are sharp and can cause an injury. I found this was the ultimate homemade TV antenna that picked up every channel in my area.
The famous Paperclip TV antenna
I like this little life hack. You can actually get a TV signal by using a paperclip that has been unfolded out. Grab the largest paperclip you can find which is the jumbo size. Depending on the brand, it will fold out to around 6 inches long.
All you need to do is push the paperclip into the female F-type connector in the back of your TV. Just poke it in around 1/2 inch and experiment with different angles.
Like the TV antenna made from coaxial cable, the paperclip TV antenna will only pick up a few channels in your area. Plus you may need to move the TV so the direction is pointed to the TV station transmitter.
Now you can use any length of metal, copper, or aluminum. Just make sure it is around 6 inches long and you should get a signal. Just make sure it doesn’t touch the metal outside ring of the antenna TV jack port.
Fault Finding TV antennas
TV antennas usually only fail due to corroded connection points. Start by taking apart the two connections and cleaning them up. If this fails to fix the picture then replace the balun.
It is rare for TV antenna cables to fail but I have come across a few cables that have been eaten by rats or possums.
For more information on TV antenna repair check out our detailed post.
These 4 ultimate homemade TV antenna plans work well. The best is the bow-tie coat hanger TV antenna, it takes some effort but it will last forever. Painting it to suit your house decor is an option and it can be a great conversation piece.
These indoor antenna plans make great school projects to teach children how antennas work.
We are surrounded by radio frequencies and it is amazing that something like a paperclip can be used to receive an HDTV signal. Now once you get tired of watching free-to-air TV why not upgrade to an Android TV box and make the most out of your HDTV.
I am a qualified Industrial Electrician for the past 20 years and I love to share my knowledge on home repair and maintenance jobs.
I love fast toys like Motorcycles, Cars, Jetskis, Boats, and Computers so writing about them is easy. Working on them is fun.
To keeps costs down I do all my own mods, repairs, and servicing. These skills I want to share with everyone. DIY is a skill everyone can learn.