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Digital converter box? Check! Great reception? Not so much. John Park shows how to take a fistful of wire coat hangers and make a TV antenna that gives great digital reception. While he’s at it, he also makes a video camera stabilizer using metal piping and counterbalance weight; great for at-home moviemaking.

Check out the PDFs for the DTV Antenna and the Steady Cam

Get the m4v , subscribe in iTunes. Or watch on YouTube or Blip.


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Comments

  1. Carl says:

    A few months ago I made the one in the much older and basically similar youtube video (found easily by typing “hdtv antenna” into youtube).

    It does really work very well. Far better than the $45 powered antenna from Radioshack.

    1. Randy Savoix says:

      I live in Gaylord Michigan. Bought the comparable antenna to this one. Using both inside the house, using the same TV in the same spot. Store bought has an average signal of 30% to 49%. This homemade one has a signal from 71% to 94%. Made it using plastic stand offs to keep the wire off the wood, and bent the hanger wire just like the store bought so I didn’t have to use tape to keep the wires from touching. Also sanded all of the hanger wire. Not just where it connects. It doesn’t even look homemade! Looks like chrome. I’m going to make another one using aluminum. If you want to add reflectors to the back just make sure you use stand offs to keep the reflectors exactly 4″ from the front elements. The measurements are critical for a good signal.

    2. George says:

      I made the antenna to connect to my 7″ lcd tv; compared to the telescoping antenna supplied with the tv, I’m getting 4 times the channels in the same indoor location. I did make a few modifications from the original design. First, since I had a nice piece of 1/2″ plywood for the board, I decided to use machine screws and tee nuts in place of the wood screws; this gives the advantage of being able to tighten or loosen connections as needed without wearing out the screw hole and makes it possible to use materials other than wood. Secondly, I had a problem with the V-shaped wires coming loose, so I twisted the angle around a phillips screwdriver to form a loop like in a safety pin; this kept the connections tight and didn’t affect the reception ( as long as the wires are well sanded ). Third, since I planned to use the antenna indoors, I adapted the hook from one of the coat hangers to hang the antenna on my curtain rod ( could also be used on an attic rafter ), which eliminates the need for a stand and makes it more portable.

      Now I just need to decide what to use to cover the wire ends.

      1. George says:

        One other thing I forgot – I purchased the transformer at Radio Shack to save time, but I’m sure I’ve got a few in the house somewhere, since they used to be included with the purchase of a new cable ready tv in the days before digital broadcast signals. They should be available at garage sales, etc. for a lot less than the $6.50 I paid RS.

      2. John Edgar Park says:

        George, thanks for sharing that tip, making a small, pinched semicircle at the base of the V is a great idea.

  2. John Park says:

    Carl, that’s great, thanks for the comment. How many over-the-air channels are you able to pull in?

  3. Chun says:

    I’ve seen plenty of these videos floating around, with mostly good comments, but I have a question about the wire hangers. I can’t seem to find any flexible metal (wire) hangers in the $.99 stores around me, and seeing as how I can’t get the wire hangers, do you think that a wire like this (link: http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2036274) would be sufficient, or would it be too heavy/hard to manipulate and cut? Also, would this wire work as an antenna or is it in someway ineffective at carrying the signals? Thanks for the help.

  4. Chun says:

    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2036274

    Sorry, I just noticed it took the ) as part of the link. Thanks for the help.

  5. MartyNYC says:

    You can use small peices of automotive vacuum hose on the sharp tips to protect from injury.

  6. Michael says:

    I’m in a rural area, and my signal needs all the help it can get, so I’d like to put the antenna outside, if possible. It seems to me that the only component that might be hurt by the weather would be the transformer. Is it important that this be right at the antenna, or could the antenna be placed outside and the transformer inside by the TV? If so, what’s the longest you’d want to run a line from antenna to TV?

  7. carol says:

    I have been bothered by the bad reception with my rabbit ears for a while. I refuse to play the $70 outdoor antenna in electronic stores. So, I saw this post last night and made it in a couple of hours: the reception is awesome! every single channel is good just by laying the antenna around the front door.

    the transformer in radio shack is rather expensive. $8.12 with tax, but that’s the only thing i paid and it works much better than the $20 rabbit ears I bought.

    Kudos for these instructions! very easy to find material and very easy to follow. I used 2×4 construction lumber instead, and I used 1/4″ nuts and bolts with two washers. works perfectly.

    thanks!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Should be no problem to put the transformer a ways away from the antenna – just get some 300 ohm twin lead cable from you local RadioShack, and attach it to the antenna where you would attach the transformer, and connect the transformer to the other end of the twin lead – I don’t know how far you can go; at this point it’s a digital signal encoded in analog, so the signal quality will degrade somewhat the longer you go. Just mess with it until you get a satisfactory signal.

  9. waldo says:

    what the heck is a “75 to 300 ohm matching transformer”?

    1. AndyC says:

      I googled it and here’s something I found

    2. AndyC says:

      Would it be possible to make three antenna’s, arrange them in a triangle configuration, join the antenna’s together with 2-lead wire (on the middle screws in step 6), and then attach the three pieces of 2-lead to one transformer? Thanks.

  10. Make: television says:

    @waldo, the transformer is where your cable hooks into the DTV antenna. To get a better idea of what specifically a 75-300 ohm matching transformer looks like, do a search for one at Google, Amazon, Radioshack.com, etc…

    Here are a couple links I found after performing a quick search on Google just now:

    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2062049

    Either one of those links are helpful because they clearly picture the transformer so you can see the spade connectors at one end and the female connector at the other.

    Hope that helps!

  11. Katie says:

    Our home-made antenna is working better than the Radio Shack omni-directional antenna with remote. I’d guess the signal is 40-60% better for all of our local channels. That puts us in the good to very good category of reception. We made a few modifications:

    use 1″ fender washers – they have a large surface area and a small center hole.

    we used sheet metal screws which have a flat bottom edge. The wood screws are beveled and tended to teeter.

    The transformer we bought at radio shack turned out to be male/male which would not connect to the coax cable. We had to buy a female/female coupler to get things right. A right angle f/f coupler would have been better than the straight one we bought.

    We may spring $16 for a signal booster from Radio Shack. We’ll wait to do this until the conversion date has passed.

  12. katie says:

    The text should have read

    “The transformer we bought at radio shack turned out to be female/female which would not connect to the coax cable. We had to buy a male/male coupler to get things right. A right angle m/m coupler would have been better than the straight one we bought.”

  13. Cale says:

    This turned out to be a great project. I’m receiving all the local stations without issue. I left off the metal pipe opting to mount the antenna to the attic trusses directly.

    Thanks for the how-to.

    Pics: http://www.midnightcheese.com/2009/02/dtv-antenna-success/

  14. john says:

    it actually works, its my first project and it did not look the one that guy made but its a little off but it works im happy.

  15. steve says:

    Built antenna, works great, decided to build dual array similar to a DB8 using an old metal shelving unit, it also works great. Was wondering if galvanized wiring available from hardware stores would be a good substitute for coat hangars? Also, since I would like to roof mount the antenna, if I use paint to weatherproof it would this somehow affect reception?

  16. Dan says:

    Hi,

    Just wanted to thank you for this project; never saw the video but downloaded the printed guide from the web, and used a collection of those shirt hangers that come from the dry cleaners’.

    In an area of south San Jose, CA known for bad analog signals, this antenna mounted in my garage with a cable to the living room pulls in 27 channels using an Apex digital-to-analog converter.

    Thanks for a useful guide!

  17. David says:

    I didn’t have enough coat hangers to spare so I used some speaker wire. I did use a soldering iron to tin the ends so they would not unravel.

  18. Obley says:

    I had some extra 12g romex wire and used that instead of the wire hangers.

    I’ve also installed this outside, just outside my gable vent and gained 3 stations!

    If it ever falls apart in the elements I’ll remake it with a thicker gauge wire.

  19. Retromash says:

    I work in an auto shop, and everyone wears uniforms. The uniform company delivers a new set every week, and they come on hangars. Nice metal hangars, which pile up on a rack which gets emptied every few weeks. I’m sure the local shop would be happy to give you a pile.

  20. jerryNmarilyn says:

    I used romex 14ga. house wire. Cut lengths 20″ for 2 frame wires, and 14″ for the 8 “Vs”. Pull the 3 wires (black, white and ground)from their insulation. Strip the insulation and save 2 small 1″ pieces to put back on frame wires where they cross. Left out the washers and soldered connections to insure contact. Made tight loop around screws at ends of frame wires with needle nose pliers and made everything tight. Works great during the day but PBS channels screw up occasionally at night. Clearwater PBS signal varies vastly when they are messing with it now. Last night the voice was not syncronized with the mouth on Charlie Rose after the strength came back strong. Our stations are not waiting until June 12 and I don’t think the fault is the antenna. I have been experimenting with antennas since May 2008 using hangers and copper wire connecting with the Balun Transformers and the tiny black box 75-300 2 screw connection and antennas or all shapes connected directly to my Digital Stream DXT9950 which controls everything except sleep timer which I have to set on both the converter and the TV remotes. Otherwise after setting each TV to match the converter, I can control EVERYTHING from the converter remote. Of the 92 different converters, I thing I’ve got the best.
    Question??? Are the 7″ “Vs” and the 5 3/4 lengts critical for the construction…and cann the insulation be left on except where connections are made???

  21. J.R. says:

    An antenna is an antenna. VHF antennas works best for VHF, and UHF antennas works best for UHF, but there’s no such thing as analog or digital antennas.

  22. Geotrick says:

    You can find out what stations are available in your area by going to antennaweb.org. I am able to receive almost all stations in my area to 40 miles. Stations in the 20 mile range receive a solid signal 75% or better, with stations in the 30 to 40 mile range receiving 40~65% (and better at night). I will have to say that it didn’t do better than my RCA dual band flat antenna (ant1500, it gets 32 stations.). But for less than a half hours work thats pretty good! The station that has the Make show comes in clear with the RCA and scattered with homebrew.

    Thanks John! now on to the wind generator!

    note if you don’t have a transformer why not cut the end off a coax cable and strip it back enough to get enough braided material to make a connection, and take the center core wire to the other side. It’s cheap if you already have the cable and no transformer.

  23. Geotrick says:

    I used zip ties for the u bolts and Heat Shrink wrap I had on hand instead of tape ( it is a lot cleaner).

  24. DH says:

    Do you know if different materials affect reception? ie. aluminum vs. steel rod. I was thinking of using some aluminum welding rod to fabricate the antenna pieces.

  25. Jones says:

    So what kind of range can be expected by building one of these. I Have an outdoor antenna that is close to 15 years old. It has weathered many storms and wind take-downs. I live around 60 to 70 miles from the farthest station that I currently get with my old beater-tenna and converter box. Could I expect the same results, or less?

  26. AnnapolisRon says:

    I used #12 household wiring instead of a coat hanger for conductivity and flexibility reasons. I also put three of these antennas in a triangle pattern for a more omni-directional receive pattern. I used a standard 3 way bi-directional splitter in reverse and amplified the output of the splitter with a 25db CATV amp I found on e-bay for $9.00 plus P&H because I am pushing the signal 30 feet from the attic and splitting out to two different TV’s in the house. This antenna works great! I get 10 HDTV signals in Annapolis and they are about being broadcast about 30 miles away. The antenna in inside my attic near a window pointing towards the west. If you put one of these outside I would suspect you could pull in signals over 50 miles away. The total project cost me less than 30 dollars out of pocket and about 2 hours of my time. Most of the parts were laying around my house as scrap. Picture is crystal clear, better than what you get off of cable, because the cable company actually compresses to restrict bandwidth.

  27. Wise Finish says:

    This antenna was easy to build and works very well for UHF stations, but there are many stations that are continuing to broadcast on VHF even after the HDTV conversion. So, what I did to modify this was build a half-dipole antenna and attach the two leads to the two leads at the bottom of the antenna and now I can get both VHF and UHF great. I hope to post pictures on my blog soon: http://wisefinish.com It may be a little bit because I have go go back up into my attic and it is very cold up there right now!

  28. bubba hoots says:

    I made on just like John’s. I did pretty well for my first! I live in a rural area, but I picked in 8 to 9 channels! It did good for the $10 I spent on it! AND that was with no converter.

  29. DTVguyusingMAKEaerial says:

    I was surfing on the internet on how to make a TV itself (practically impossible) but I found this video instead. I was borrowing a GE “rabbit ears” antenna from a relative, and using the antenna bar on my converter box, I only got about 30-40% reception. I went to my local Dollar Tree and bought some hangers, and took them with me to another relative’s house along with an old coax cable and RadioShack transformer. We built it in about two and a half hours, and three days later when I got home, I got 70% RECEPTION. I even get this low-power religious station well! (I don’t watch it, though).

    Thanks again Makezine TV, keep the good stuff comin’!

  30. robert says:

    First time maker, thought i could get this digital project on the first try, For some reason I only get channel 21. Wonder if someone out there can give me a hint as to what I am doing wrong. Gonna try to bring the antenna to the attic to get more channels?

    Please someone give me a clue.
    Rotten

    1. robert says:

      When I put the antenna on the roof every channel came out,way to look out for the little guy/girl make. Now I will renew my subscription. Thanks.

      Robert/Rotten

  31. number1narna@yahoo.com says:

    Is bigger better? if I made it longer with more “V’s” would it work better?

  32. Daniel says:

    I live in Long Beach, California — condo & apartment city, about 30 miles from the nearest transmitter towers. We get terrible reception normally, and mounting an antenna outside of our 2nd-story apartment is out of the question. With our indoor antenna, only about 4 channels are watchable — analog or digital. So, I was super excited to try this project after finding a link at Consumer Reports’ website, of all places (while researching retail antennas).

    Spent quite a few hours on this one. I even took the time to stain & seal the wood block and sand the hanger wire from top to bottom so it wouldn’t look so gosh-darn ugly. Put a lot of love and sweat into this project, only to receive… the most garbled, useless digital signal in the world.

    I’m glad this worked for some of you. For me, it’s a total bust; time and money down the drain. Maybe adding a Signal Amplifier to the line would help (that’s a big maybe), but once you add that cost to your bill (an additional $40 at Radio Shack, for example), you might as well just buy a “real” amplified antenna, take whatever channels you can get, and save yourself the hassle.

    I’m going back to my RCA ANT1550 Digital Flat Amplified Antenna. It’s the ONLY antenna that has EVER worked for us in this over-the-air TV dead-zone. What a drag. Best of luck to the rest of you, though.

  33. Daniel says:

    By the way, I couldn’t find wire hangers anywhere, either. After searching several dollar stores and department stores, I stopped at the local dry cleaner’s shop and asked if I could buy a few wire hangers off of them. They were happy to oblige.

  34. Don says:

    I finally got around to making this tonight (a day late), plugged it in, and found 35 Channels. I got 8 or 10 with a UHF rabbit-ear antenna, and ZERO with my old roof antenna. I think I’ll make a couple more to aim different directions.

    Thanks again.

  35. Ricardo says:

    Hey John!!
    I really liked your antenna and it worked for me perfectly. I have a lot of wire in copper and my question is if I can do the same antenna but using this type of wire instead of the wire coat hangers.
    Thank you, I really appreciate your help!

  36. Ricardo says:

    Hey John!!
    I really liked your antenna and it works perfectly for me. I have a lot of wire in copper and my question is if I can use this type of wire for the antenna instead of the wire coat hanger.
    Thank you, I really appreciate your help!

  37. Geeum says:

    Hi guys,

    I built my antenna but not sure what transformer to use.
    I intend to use this with a USB DVB-T (http://www1.dealextreme.com/productimages/sku_8309_4.jpg)
    Can you tell me how to plub my antenna into this ?

    thanks
    Geeum

  38. GregS says:

    This is a neat little project. I’m going to try building the antenna soon.

    Question: can you explain the method for calculating the sizes of the antenna elements? If I can get the UHF version that’s described here working, then I was thinking I’d like to try to make a version of this antenna for the VHF channels and maybe one cut specifically for the FM band. At those lower frequencies the antenna elements need to be bigger, so I want to be able to calculate exactly what sizes they should be.

  39. Lee says:

    could you explain step 6 attach tv transformer.
    Please explain the what the attachments in the Xs are made of. Is it wire or clothes hangers. The instructions does not mention this part of the building process.

    Thanks

  40. AndyC says:

    Would it be possible to make three antenna’s, arrange them in a triangle configuration, join the antenna’s together with 2-lead wire (on the middle screws in step 6), and then attach the three pieces of 2-lead to one transformer? Thanks.

  41. GregS says:

    I built this antenna today and I have some tips to keep in mind to make the build go easier:

    1. At the two points where the two “straight” wires cross, one wire should be wrapped in electrical tape to keep the two sets of elements isolated. I know this is mentioned in the video but it’s not noted in the printed instructions.

    2. Add the electrical tape to the crossover points *before* you tighten all the wires down. I didn’t do that and had to partly disassemble the antenna to add the tape.

    3. The ends of the cut wires from the clothes hangers are sharp! Sharp enough to cut yourself on (one of my fingers is wrapped in a bandage because of this). So wrap something around the sharp ends of the wires as soon as they’re cut to the correct lengths. Plastic or rubber caps would be good. I used little bits of duct tape on mine.

    4. When you buy the #6 screws, the ones that hold the wires in place, get ones with as wide heads as you can. The ones I got had small heads and I couldn’t get them to hold the wires in place. I eventually solved it by putting the wires underneath the washers, but it would be better if the heads were large enough to hold the wires themselves.

    1. GregS says:

      The results of this build? The antenna works great!

      I have one of those “UFO” shaped VHF-UHF outdoor TV antennas on top of a pole set up on my apartment balcony. The antenna I made today is getting more digital stations than it does, and is giving me more reliable reception (fewer dropouts and less pixellation). It’s working better on the VHF channels than the commercial VHF-UHF antenna. It’s giving a much better picture on analog stations too. So it’s a complete success.

      Not only am I getting all my local digital and analog stations with this antenna, I’m also getting almost all the digital stations from Buffalo, NY (I’m in Toronto, Canada).

      I think performance of this thing could be even better if you add a backplane (a BBQ grill or a sheet of metal would do) and make it longer (more “V”s). Might try experimenting with it later.

  42. nena and ted says:

    we made the antenna without any problems , had tons of fun making the antenna as a join project, what we learned was the difference between uhf and vhf, so the antenna works very good but, only on the uhf channels. is there a way to make it both uhf and vhf . we now get the higher number channels , but are having problems with the smaller number channels.
    nena and ted

  43. Kurt says:

    Great Video! Very well done. I can’t wait to try it. I see so many people buying expensive HDTV antennae that probably will not work as well. One point: Some DTV channels will stay on VHF channels in some areas, such as 7 and 9 in the DC area. Do you have any suggestions to modify the antenna to pick up those channels? Also, what about using PVC pipe as a stand, or painted wood. My wife will not like the look in the TV room, although I will. Thanks again.

  44. Bryan says:

    I’m going to make this antenna to put outside. I’m wondering, can I use my electrical booster for my philips outdoor antenna with this one safely? I don’t want to have anybody get shocked. I’m also curious about Kurt’s question about modifying the design for VHF as well.

    Thanks

  45. Tom Anderson says:

    I live out in the middle of a corn field, about an hours drive to any city with TV stations. I was shocked at how well this simple design works, 16 stations, just too amazing.
    Thanks.

  46. Kenneth Swift says:

    Made the DTV antenna from the PDF directions and it works great. Just got a converter for an old portable analog TV in a travel trailer and needed a better antenna to drive the converter box. Mounted the antenna on an old fiberglass extension pole from a broken tree pole trimmer. Attached the whole antenna on the outside of the trailer and cabled into the TV inside. Locked on 30+ channels in the Tulsa Oklahoma area with the antenna. Really enjoyed the project and the outcome.

  47. KING OF BURBANK says:

    USED 8 GAUGE COPPER WIRE,HOME DEPOT,COULD NOT FIND WIRE HANGERS,EASY TO BEND,WILL NOT RUST,SHRINK TUBING ON BOTH INSTEAD OF TAPE.

  48. Paul says:

    Thanks to all of the posters that verified how well this antenna works or I never would have tried it. Thank you for the great how to video and plans. I made mine and it pulls in TWICE as many stations as my $100 GE 94757 attic antenna. I threw the GE in the trash. I had no use for it. This antenna is amazing!!!

  49. Lone Puma says:

    I enjoyed watching John Park’s video, but without being able to copy the instruction, it’s not likely I’ll be making one. PDF files are not exactly friendly.

    1. John Park says:

      Hi Lone Puma, glad you enjoyed it. What sort of problem are you having viewing the PDF file?

  50. Walter says:

    John,

    I went ahead and bought the parts and built my coat hanger antenna last night. I’m quite happy with the reception. Plus, I added the pipe and base similar to your video for strong support of the antenna.

    The antenna build worked fine on the first attempt and the reception is better than the rabbit ear antenna I had been using and better than the $40 antenna I bought at a store.

    The only suggestion I would add is to either sand the tips of the protruding antenna wires or cap them off as after moving my finished antenna, I notice a small scratch on my arm. The protruding wires can be a bit sharp if one isn’t careful.

    Thanks for the instructive video and printable PDF file with the instructions.

    1. John Park says:

      Thanks Walter, and that’s an excellent suggestion on finishing the ends so you don’t lacerate yourself!

  51. George says:

    Help if you can please!

    I followed the instructions to a tee and placed the antenna on the second floor railing of my deck to test it. I only get 80% of one channel. I live in watkinsville, ga which is just outsife of athens, ga, a fairly big urban area, so I expected to pick up more stations. What am I doing wrong? I taped the hangers as described, sanded the hangers and used prob a 20 year old transformer laying around.

    1. John Park says:

      George, sorry to hear that. My first thought is to double check all the connections and the insulation. Then I’d try to pick up a new transformer and see if that helps.

  52. Matthew says:

    i screwed up. i cut all of the wires in half. i had only one extra, and used it as the long wire. for the other long wire, i just used some 18 or so guage wire twisted together. i did everything else as i should have (more or less) and i used a transformer from radioshack like linked in the comments(only not gold plated). the problem is that when i plugged it in, I DIDN’T GET anything!! the only thing i got was channel two (cbs, or what ever the little eyething is). what did i do wrong. it was going to be the first thing i tried to make the worked, im so sad about it, adn right before my birthday.

  53. Kate says:

    This is my second attempt making this. First time, I picked up 3 channels in Spanish, and this time, only one (also in Spanish). We didn’t use wood screws, maybe it is the metal that makes the difference? Thanks for the previous posts, I’ll try some of those suggestions.
    Thanks!

  54. Matthew says:

    uh-oh. It appears the PDF file is damaged. When opening it within the browser, it makes my browser jam. Even when I downloaded it and opened it locally, I got an error saying it was a damaged file. Hope it gets fixed up soon. I’m looking forward to this project :)

    1. John Park says:

      I just downloaded it from this link:
      http://cachefly.oreilly.com/make/television/04/DTV_Antenna_FINAL.pdf

      Had no problems viewing it with Adobe Acrobat (latest version) or Preview. Maybe check to see if you have the latest version of your pdf reader software?

      1. Matthew says:

        I updated (I should have thought of that) and it works fine now. Big thanks! Hope to have it done this week.

        1. John Park says:

          That’s great Matt, have fun with the build.

          1. Matt says:

            Just wanted to leave a note that I finished making the antenna and it works great. We are picking up more channels than with one of those $40 powered antennas. Thanks for this howto. My wife is especially happy about it :)

  55. Michael says:

    Since I’m on cable, I really had no need to have a DTV antenna. Curiosity (and frustration over what’s on TV these days) finally got the better of me so I took a moment to figure out how to improve the basic design presented here and then went out to get what I needed. I grabbed 15ft. of 12/3 copper solid conductor electrical cable, a length of 1-1/4in. PVC pipe, some matching transformers and a box of strap ties. This turns out to be enough parts for 3 antennas with pipe left over to build a stand-up foot for one. Total cost: around $30.

    I checked the calculations and found this antenna is tuned for the 600MHz band. I cut and folded the whiskers (the V’s) as directed, cut my PVC tube to length and marked up my layout lines. I then cut and, using my marked up PVC tube as a guide, pre-wrapped my phasing bars (the long straight pieces of coat hanger) around the tube. This provided the insulation and clearance needed. With the phasing bars held in a set of “helping hands,” I soldered the whiskers to the phasing bars. I strap-tied the assemblies to the tube and aligned the whiskers to be a colinear as possible. Soldered the transformer on and tested it out. VERY good reception with one difference: channels 42-47 tended to break up.

    I recalculated the antenna design and found I could safely re-tune things to match the higher 700MHz band. The second variant uses whiskers 7in. in length and doesn’t have signal break-up in the 42-47 area however the lower frequencies; namely channels 2-13, aren’t so good. Oftentimes, channel 2 is lost completely.

    My third variant will move away from the Hoverman design and make use of a 5-bay, colinear dipole array using half-wave dipoles tuned for channels 2-6, 7-13, 14-18, 19-43 and 44-69. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    1. John Park says:

      Michael, this sounds great, thanks for sharing! We’d love to see some pictures of your new designs.

  56. D says:

    Have made three of these. The first was made exactly how the directions told me to do it. The other two were made from what I learned with this first one. By the time of the third antenna…was able to complete the antenna in less than one hour.

    The biggest difference I made was using 12 gauge solid wire for the wires on the board. This made the build quite a bit easier by removing the insulation only where I needed the copper wire to make contact with the metal coat hangers. Plus…this wire was easier to bend into whatever shape you needed.

    As for the coat hangers…found 12 in a bundle for $1.00 US at an “everything’s a dollar” store.

    In the construction phase…I found taking a large screwdriver to make grooves on each side of the screw makes the coat hangers easier to screw into place. You could also use a chisel to do the same thing.

    Putting the antenna outside…you will pick up many more channels…rather than leaving it inside. The difference in my area was eight more channels by putting it outside.

    My next project…using two or three of these together to improve the signal.

    1. Dan says:

      Like D commented above, I also used solid copper wire and found it easier to work with.
      This was a fun project and my TV went from 7 channels to 25! Now I just wish I knew Spanish so I could enjoy half of them (I’m just north of the Mexican border)!

  57. Walter says:

    I live in a condo. At first the signal was getting disrupted from my balcony and each time a train would pass by (my building is near railroad tracks). To get around those problems, I added a 4 feet 3/4 inch pipe and 3/4 inch pipe coupler to the antenna base. Now the antenna stands over 6 feet tall. I have it indoors and the extra 4 feet in height makes all the difference — no more interference, works great!

  58. Scott Sanders says:

    I just finished putting this together this morning (about 45 minutes of actual work) and the antenna works great; I am 13 miles from the Sears Tower in Chicago where most of the stations are broadcast from. I picked up an additional 13 channels and improved reception on the rest versus a top-of-TV RCA powered antenna. This is with the antenna simply sitting behind the TV in the back room on the first floor of a 2 story house.

    I used 14ga solid copper electrical wire and stripped off the PVC jacket at all of the connection points with a razor blade. One other difference from the original build is that I used a piece of 1×8 Poplar that I had laying around. I just made sure that the screws were 2″ apart side to side (in the original they were 1/2″ from the edges on a 3″ board) and it seems to work great. I don’t think I will be tinkering with other materials or smaller boards since I am very happy with this result.

    Total cost for me:
    $7.50 for the Radio Shack Adapter
    $2.00 for screws and washers
    Copper wire laying around
    Wood board laying around
    Drill, razor, tape measure, and wire cutters laying around
    30 minutes to get the screws and adapter
    45 minutes to put it together
    Good Luck!

  59. Scott Sanders says:

    I just finished putting this together this morning (about 45 minutes of actual work) and the antenna works great; I am 13 miles from the Sears Tower in Chicago where most of the stations are broadcast from. I picked up an additional 13 channels and improved reception on the rest versus a top-of-TV RCA powered antenna. This is with the antenna simply sitting behind the TV in the back room on the first floor of a 2 story house.

    I used 14ga solid copper electrical wire and stripped off the PVC jacket at all of the connection points with a razor blade. One other difference from the original build is that I used a piece of 1×8 Poplar that I had laying around. I just made sure that the screws were 2″ apart side to side (in the original they were 1/2″ from the edges on a 3″ board) and it seems to work great. I don’t think I will be tinkering with other materials or smaller boards since I am very happy with this result.

    Total cost for me:
    $7.50 for the Radio Shack Adapter
    $2.00 for screws and washers
    Copper wire laying around
    Wood board laying around
    Drill, razor, tape measure, and wire cutters laying around
    30 minutes to get the screws and adapter
    45 minutes to put it together
    Good Luck!

  60. steve w says:

    I’m 15-25 miles from the broadcast towers. I have a radio shack antenna with a mast mounted amp outside on my chimney. I wanted to try building this antenna and see how it compared to the store bought one.

    My only changes to the design were that I used copper wire connecting the coat hanger sections, I used machine screws with nuts and washers instead of the wood screws. I already had a transformer and I was able to use existing scrap items so my cost was zero. I placed my antenna in my attic, I suspended it from one of the rafters with nylon cord.

    The un-amplified coat hanger antenna does just as good as the amplified radio shack antenna! Plus it was fun to build. I’m thinking of adding a reflector and see how that does.

    great project!

    1. Engineer Enoch says:

      hi y’all, i’ma download the PDF guide (hoping every necessary documentation will be included) and build me this contraption. let’s go!!

  61. Engineer Enoch says:

    hi y’all, i’ma download the PDF guide (hoping every necessary documentation will be included) and build me this contraption. let’s go!!

    1. John Park says:

      Go for it! Take some photos and throw them up on the MAKE Flickr pool: http://www.flickr.com/groups/make/pool/
      -John

  62. Albus says:

    Took me about an hour and a half to make. I live downtown San Francisco and the hills were affecting my reception of a few towers. After building the antenna I didn’t get any more channels, but all of my channels came in at 90% and up. Yeah for no more flickering TV.

    1. John Park says:

      Albus, that’s excellent, thanks for sharing your success!

      1. Randy Savoix says:

        I live in Gaylord Michigan. Bought the comparable antenna to this one. Using both inside the house, using the same TV in the same spot. Store bought has an average signal of 30% to 49%. This homemade one has a signal from 71% to 94%. Made it using plastic stand offs to keep the wire off the wood, and bent the hanger wire just like the store bought so I didn’t have to use tape to keep the wires from touching. Also sanded all of the hanger wire. Not just where it connects. It doesn’t even look homemade! Looks like chrome. I’m going to make another one using aluminum. If you want to add reflectors to the back just make sure you use stand offs to keep the reflectors exactly 4″ from the front elements. The measurements are critical for a good signal.

        1. John Park says:

          Outstanding, Randy, and thanks for the tip on offsetting it for the reflectors. Did you add some, and what are they made of?

          1. Randy Savoix says:

            I used cooling racks that I bought at the Dollar Store. 2 for $1.00. I found out that 4″ inches behind the front elements is critical by holding them and moving them in and out and watching the signal on the TV to find the highest signal. The store bought antenna reflectors are 4″ inches also. That’s what gave me the idea. By the way. This antenna is working for VHF as well as UHF. It should be at least 3 feet from the TV. Hope this helps someone. It was a fun project. Can’t wait to make one using aluminum. Thanks again John for sharing this with everyone.

            Randy Savoix
            http://www.A1SuperShops.net

  63. Nick says:

    I’m in San Francisco and cable-less, and I was trying to figure out how to pick up NBC to watch the Olympics (it’s the one station I couldn’t get with my $40 amplified rabbit ears). Decided to give this build a try. While it DID increase the reception of all my other channels by 10-30% (which is great!), it still isn’t strong enough to get NBC. (Some investigation revealed they broadcast from San Jose, and this is a VERY common problem in a lot of SF).

    A few notes on the build:
    1. The only wire hangers I had were vinyl coated. I stripped them all, but in retrospect, probably could just have done the contact points. Upside: the wire was really clean without sanding.

    2. I echo some of the earlier comments about screw head size. I wound up having to put the wires under the washers, which tilt around as you screw them down, because I couldn’t get the screw head to hold everything. Definitely works, though. I’m thinking perhaps sandwiching the wire between two washers and stacking it next to each other instead of stacking might work better? Haven’t tried yet.

    3. For the long crossover wires, really do make sure they are straight and tight against the turns before you finish assembling. I had to keep adjusting because they constantly popped out as I was tightening the screws.

    All in all, a great antenna that cost me $10 in parts, and it beats my $40 amplified antenna!

  64. Bradley says:

    Is it possible to make this without the transformer? and will it be of any use in South Africa?

  65. Saw Duff says:

    I’m ready to put this together, but I have some questions about the dimensions.

    In the video, John, points to the plans on a laptop, which shows dimensions that are somewhat different from those on the PDF. Specifically, the gap between the vertical rows of screws is 2-1/2 inches, whereas the PDF implies a 2-inch gap. Also, the PDF shows screws for the transformer connections 10 inches from the top of the board, which would put them off-center relative to the middle two “wings”. That was easy to correct, but I’m not sure what to do about the gap. Should it be 2-1/2 or 2 inches?

  66. setbr0 says:

    I agree that there are a few discrepancies in the instructions. I just finished this and I will tell you the choices that worked great for me.

    I used a 3’ wide piece of wood and put the holes 1/2″ from the side. I ignored that the diagram in the video shows the holes as 2 1/2″ apart. My guess is that a 2 1/2″ distance would also work if you had a wider piece of wood.

    The diagram in the video shows the center holes as being 2 7/8″ from the other holes so that puts them right in the center, equidistant from the holes on either side. Ignore the 10” from the top; it should be more like 9 7/16″.

    I used 12 gauge copper that I stripped out of electricity wires. The copper worked great. All of my channels are very clear. They were easy to bend and re-bend to get the right shapes but they are not as straight as the metal from the hangers would be. Also they can easily get knocked out of shape.

    I didn’t have screws with big heads so I used big washers that could hold the wires. Here are some images:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/12727216@N00/tags/makeantenna/

  67. KGDave says:

    There are several errors in this design. First, this is NOT a “Hoverman” antenna, but a bow-tie array. A Hoverman is a different design that is discussed in other forums. You really should change this.

    Second, the dimensions of this design appear to be derived from a YouTube video that’s been circulating for a while. The biggest problem is with the too-small spacing between elements, which leads to losses that are seen especially at the lower end of UHF. Much better results can be had by increasing the spacing between bow-tie elements to 8/12 or 9 inches. Additionally, the bow-ties are also too small to perform well on lower UHF channels (14-25 or so). The length should be 9 inches.

    A benefit of using the larger size is some actual gain (not a lot) for high-VHF channels (7-9).

  68. KGDave says:

    There are several errors in this design. First, this is NOT a “Hoverman” antenna, but a bow-tie array. A Hoverman is a different design that is discussed in other forums. You really should change this.

    Second, the dimensions of this design appear to be derived from a YouTube video that’s been circulating for a while. The biggest problem is with the too-small spacing between elements, which leads to losses that are seen especially at the lower end of UHF. Much better results can be had by increasing the spacing between bow-tie elements to 8/12 or 9 inches. Additionally, the bow-ties are also too small to perform well on lower UHF channels (14-25 or so). The length should be 9 inches.

    A benefit of using the larger size is some actual gain (not a lot) for high-VHF channels (7-9).

  69. KGDave says:

    Sorry about the double post. Not sure how that happened.

  70. 1lowlife says:

    We ditched our cable and got DirectTV last week.
    I wanted a backup antenna to put in the attic in case the satellite went down or was obstructed in a storm.
    I came across this thread about making your own antenna.
    I had everything needed to make it lying around the house already.
    I didn’t think it would work and neither did my wife.
    I told her if it didn’t work, then I only wasted my time making it.
    And if it did work, then that saved us $50 for a new antenna.
    I took all the paint off the hangers, probably a waste of time, but I did it anyway.
    Put it together, hooked it up to the living room, rested the antenna on the floor leaning against the wall.
    The TV setup program ran its course and we checked it out.
    This thing works PERFECTLY.
    I cannot believe how well it works, it picked up over 20 local stations.
    Might even work better, if that is possible, when I put it in the attic tomorrow.
    Granted I’m only about 35 miles from the TV towers, but I am shocked that this antenna worked so well.
    Thank you………….

    1. John Park says:

      Fantastic, so glad to hear it worked so well for you!

  71. macformat says:

    Hello, I have a question. May I use copper wire instead common coat hangers for place it in a rooftop. what is the angle of the v elements?

  72. Pintalb says:

    Hi, Mr Parks,
    I have to thank you for your description of an indoor HDTV antenna made of hangers. I’ve just built one exactly as you describe and it works fine, in a difficult surround. I merely hanged the board on a wall, in a remote room of my flat, entirely surrounded by concrete buildings and I can get all the 20 stations available. The only problem I had to solve was the 75/300 ohms converter which proved unavailable in France : I had to order it from the States !
    My next home-made appliance will be your steadycam…
    Regards
    A.P.

  73. Al Roy says:

    Excellent! I think I’ll make both of these. I love experimenting and seeing what I can make my cheapo cameras do; I’ve long wished for a way to steady my cameras. I work as a heavy equipment operator, and shoot a lot of video at work. T’would be cool indeed to figure out a way to make a mobile magnetic tripod into a ‘steady tripod’.

    Thanks very much!

  74. I did this project, but I didn’t build a base. I get great reception now, where I got none with rabbit ears! I posted the project over at Make:Projects so people can add more comments to specific steps – Hope that’s kosher!

  75. Mark Miller says:

    Great magazine. Made one of these and it turned out great! Also your idea for the video camera “Steadycam” gave me the idea to just keep my camera on the tripod and carry it around by the handle used to point the camera. p.s. I took my video using a Canon RebelT1i.
    My video;

  76. Mark Miller says:

    Great magazine. Made one of these and it turned out great! Also your idea for the video camera “Steadycam” gave me the idea to just keep my camera on the tripod and carry it around by the handle used to point the camera. p.s. I took my video using a Canon RebelT1i.
    My video;

  77. S Gi says:

    I live out in the country with trees surrounding the house. I don’t have cable, satellite, etc. TV and just want DTV over the air. I purchased indoor antennas for my HDTV but none could bring in all the signals that were available in a nearby city.

    Over a year ago I made this DTV antenna out of junk laying in my shed. I sanded down all the metal to get a uniform silver appearance, (rather than only the contact points), and coated the wood surface so that the wife wouldn’t complain too much.

    This simple contraption continues to bring in signals better than any store-bought antenna I have tested – even ones with amplification with up to 55 db gain! And this antenna is placed on the first floor of the house. Although most adults think it’s a bit unsightly, every kid who has visited thinks I’m a genius (got them fooled)!

    Thanks for the plans guys.

  78. Anonymous says:

    its not even a ‘hoverman’…go to digitalhome.ca and you’ll find out that this is junk…get a real diagram to get the most out of the antenna…

  79. Anonymous says:

    its not even a ‘hoverman’…go to digitalhome.ca and you’ll find out that this is junk…get a real diagram to get the most out of the antenna…

  80. Andre Sadeck says:

    Very nice. Good Job.

  81. Dan Stark says:

    I just built one of these with the plans from the PDF.  This thing is awesome!  I got no channels at all before and now I have a nice handful of HD channels to watch in my bedroom.  Awesome project!

  82. Peter Pollak says:

    Stole your concept and made it using pvc pipe..pre-drilled holes and used all copper 6 gauge wire for the bow ties and used copper bolts into the pvc and plastic and ceramic insulators where elements cris crossed..installed a 300 ohm to 75 ohm transformer and some rg-11 to an old 15 db home amp left behind by the cable company and was SHOCKED at how many stations for my location I picked up..Boston and Portland and Southern NH TV markets..with sub channels around 37 stations..More than basic cable and better choices too…Im gonna try to upload pics for the build

    1. James Ewing says:

      it did works on me i build it from that website i got everything channel it been works great

  83. Alan says:

    Nice..thanks for sharing..

  84. Craig says:

    I too used a 22″ length of 3/4″ PVC pipe for the frame. The screws are on opposing sides, and the criss-cross at the top & bottom are simply an opposing half-spiral around the pipe. (like a helix) I used nice solid brass wires for my left & right lines, and I will replace my temporary jerry-wire ‘V’ segments with thicker aluminum guy wire version at a later date. With the lettering wet-sanded off the PVC, and a nice PVC floor-flange base painted gloss black, it’s almost a shame I hide it behind the curtains in the window, it looks like an art piece. DEFINATELY better than rabbit ears, and comperable to my expensive outdoor roof mounted antenna… which is crooked/bent from storms, and now mad that I drilled a hole in my house for the outdoor coax thru-wall grommet. GRRRRR!
    Firefly Workshop Approved Project!!!

  85. James Ewing says:

    I did build this Homemade same thing here and I got all the channels i have round here i got everything every station i have it works great for a year i did build this it works sooo great lol so i did works great and make them happy no loss signal

  86. Jeff Galanzzi says:

    If there are no coat hangers to be found, have you guys just bought electrical wiring and stripped it and used it with the insulation on but not at the contacts?

    it seems that type of wire (depending on the gauge of course) is thinner and not as stiff as a coat hanger.

    I saw one comment (from setbr0) and he used the wires from 12 g copper wires and has pix but how much thinner is that then a coat hanger? ( he has pics but hard to tell the comparison to a coat hanger) Still he says it worked well! so thats all that matter I suppose.

    I couldnt find any bare thick wire that resembled a coat hanger at Lowes today nor could I find coat hangers.

    1. John Edgar Park says:

      Jeff, I haven’t tried it myself, but I’ve heard from quite a few people who have had success using copper electrical wiring. You may want to call a couple of hardware stores and ask if they have 12 gauge (20 amp) wire or even 10 gauge (30 amp wire).

      1. jeff galanzzi says:

        Hi John, thanks for the reply and awesome video!
        I actually made a few with nice results.
        I did use that copper wire for the crossover connectors and used solid copper wire, 8 awg, I believe for the V’s.

        Another I used coat hangers just as your video shows and sanded them down. I had to add a reflector to receive two vhf channels.

        They both worked great.

        Then on a whim, I slapped together an 8 element unit from aluminum foil and they were straight out (no loops or v’s) and placed on a 3″piece of cardboard and hung vertically. All slapped together with tape. It’s very light and can be moved around. It’s hideous looking, not as professional as yours!, but it did work. Thanks again for your help. Jeff

  87. Katie says:

    Update from Katie March, 2012. I posted way back in 2009 when we built our first antenna. In the end we made three for use for my father, another elderly friend and ourselves. Everything has gone pretty well until last week when our old CRT died rather ungracefully. We could do one of two things – post to our neighborhood group to see in anyone had another CRT we could adopt, or go buy a flat screen LCD/LED. The 27″ CRT was so heavy we almost couldn’t get it loaded in our car. So went bought a Samsung 32″ LCD. Problem: we got almost no reception until it occured to us to re-attach the old DTV converter box. We now have good reception on most of the channels we used to get. BUT the only position which works for the antenna under this new regime, pretty much blocks our access to our outside deck. It seems to have to sit on top of a kitchen stool right by the sliding door glass. Doesn’t seem right after the great run we’ve had for the past 3 years. We are wondering if investing in the more expensive shielded co-ax cables? We are currently using the cheap ones which came with our original DTV converter package.

  88. Robert says:

    I live in a broadcast “no mans land” 40 miles from Gainesville and 72 miles from Tallahassee. Even cellphone service is weak. After viewing some of the Youtube submissions of building digital tv antennas, I thought to take a shot. I had plenty of 12 and 10 gauge copper building wire and lots of pvc scrap pipe and fittings. The wires bent up quickly, cut and joined pvc tees with short straight pieces, set tees perpendicular to the 4 tees in line. The V wires attached to each end of a tee with 8-32 screws and nuts along with the circuit ties with a ring bent in the center for connection with the matching transformer. I backed this up with a piece of 1/2 sq. hardware screen cloth. I made another unit to attach back to back to the first unit. It is up 20 feet of steel antenna post and I am getting 7 stations from Gainesville, and in the opposite direction 2 from Tallahassee without a signal amplifier.

  89. ejk says:

    Reblogged this on Rhymes with Toaster and commented:
    Here’s the Video and PDF I used to build my homemade HDTV antenna. Still works great.

  90. Robert Lindsley says:

    Hi everybody,

    I made this antenna and I love it! I have a Mohu amplified antenna and when I compare signal strengths, the homemade antenna gets higher signal strength on every channel, and actually picks up an additional station over the Mohu.

    That said I am having an issue with the homemade antenna. It has a really bad problem of dropping frames. It can happen up to once every 5 minutes, where the picture will artifact and audio will drop for about 2 seconds. This does not happen with the Mohu which is in the same physical location.

    Any thoughts on what the problem could be? Could it be the transformer? Angle of the coat hangers? Any help would be much appreciated!

    Thanks,
    Robert.

    1. Robert Lindsley says:

      Hi there,

      Quick update on this. I changed out the transformer and now the antenna works perfectly. My original Radio Shack transformer is now in the garbage, and the antenna is awesome!

      Thanks,
      Robert.

  91. jo says:

    what about the two extra screws the antenna wire goes to, want even mentioned. how far apart do they go or does it matter. go step by step like it need thanks

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