Homemade HDTV Antenna


I’m finally free of our local Charter Communications Basic Cable bill. Whoo Hoo!! For years I went back and forth with Charter doing the 6 or 12 month promotions to keep my cable bill down. Every time the promotion would expire I’d have to call, sit on hold, threaten to cancel all to have them miraculously find a new promotion that would only increase my monthly bill by $10-$20. All I’d have to do was start this new promotional and I’d have some new feature or service. We got to the point of having everything but their phone service and when the promo ended, we were going to have to pay nearly $170 per month for TV and Internet. 20141208_151145

That’s when I said enough is enough. I told Charter to put us down to Basic cable and leave our Internet where it is. We’ll pay full price so long as I never have to call them again. Basic cable for those of you not aware, is simply what you could get over the air if you have an antenna. So,we’ve been paying roughly $18 per month for your standard ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and the CW. All of which I knew I could get over the air; for free.

Recently, Charter finally made the total conversion to Digital only in our area. This led me to look into an HD antenna so I could be free from Charter altogether, namely because their set top box they gave us provided a much worse picture than we used to have before this “upgrade.” The antennas you can buy in the store are all well and good, but I just didn’t want to spend the money on them all to find they just didn’t work very well. So, here is what I did. I built my own. I found instructions online which I’ll provide and I’ll include a couple pictures of my finished product.

My first stop what to the site below where I found an immense amount of information about the different types of antennas I could make.

DIY HDTV Antenna, Deployment and Results

I decided to go with the Hi-VHF (lower channels) and lower-mid UHF due to the transmissions in my area, it made the most sense. You can use TVFool.com to determine your transmissions, which should help you determine which type you should build. Just enter your home address and you’ll get a map similar to the one below.

Transmission Map

I used the below video as my instructions once I determined the type of antenna I wanted to make. This guy’s video was very easy to follow and the end result was great.

I now get 24 channels all in Digital HD. Most importantly, I get ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and the CW, as well as several PBS stations that I wasn’t aware existed. I’m so excited to drop off those cable boxes and cancel the basic cable service. That’s $18 per month I get to spend on something else.

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Antenna based on instructions linked to in this article. This antenna feeds the house televisions.

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Built about 4 years ago. This antenna used an older design and used coat hangers. The concept is relatively the same, though measurements are quite different. This antenna is considerably smaller.

I wound up installing two antennas. The one above is from the instructions I linked to. The second was an antenna I built about 4 years ago. I am also building a media server which will act as a DVR. I didn’t want the DVR sharing a signal with the rest of the house, thus, I installed two antennas. Considering I spent a total of $6 per antenna, it was cost effective enough for me to do 2. I also still had about 500′ of Coaxial cable left over from when I finished my basement a few years ago. If I actually calculated the true cost, it could be considerably more than $6 per antenna. As you can see, I installed mine in my attic.

The location of this antenna can be quite important. Luckily, my house is not in a valley so being in my attic works great. I was able to get all the channels even when the antenna was in my basement, though signal strength was definitely affected.

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