These days, watching television may be a really irritating experience.
Cable access programming includes hundreds of channels, the majority of which you will never watch or care about, but for which you will be paid a hefty sum.
The local access network television seems to be the only thing to watch most days, despite the fact that there are many stations to choose from.
When you decided to cut the cable cord, you thought streaming would be a fantastic alternative.
When it was initially launched, it was a fantastic alternative to traditional television viewing.
It was true that you had to wait a day or a week to watch new performances, but the prices were very reasonable!
Now that there are so many various streaming choices available, it may sometimes seem like paying more for all of the shows you want is more costly than paying for cable was in the past!
Those of you who are sick and weary of it all aren’t alone yourselves.
Join the movement and get your hands on some free local programming once again.
TV antennas are becoming more popular as a way for individuals to tune in to their local stations and get network television for free!
For those who don’t want to pay a lot on television anymore, continue reading as we demonstrate how to construct an inexpensive television antenna using a coax cable.
Why Use a Coaxial TV Antenna as a Signal Source? [My Own Experience]
Interestingly enough, our own attempt to build an antenna began in a way eerily similar to Marcie’s tale.
Megan, my youngest daughter, had had enough of paying exorbitant monthly cable costs and was ready to cancel her cable membership, just like Marcie. “HDTV antenna” was one of the many, many, many things on her Christmas wish list (just joking, Megan ), which she had included among the many, many, many other items.
I began looking for information on the Internet to decide which antenna would be the most effective to buy.
During my search, I came across an article that described a straightforward method for creating your own.
Having come from a technical background, this didn’t seem to be too difficult.
Construction necessitated the use of few materials and equipment, and the overall cost was low.
So I approached Megan and asked if she would be alright with me making an antenna from scratch.
She was a bit apprehensive, but I assured her that if it worked, we could cross that item off her list and replace it with another.
She instantly responded affirmatively!
Please keep in mind that, for the sake of full transparency, I have only built the following antenna one time.
When used in the city where my daughter resides (Madison, Wisconsin), which is less than 10 miles from the television towers, it works well.
Under similar circumstances, positive outcomes may be expected in other cities as well.
However, since this is a very simple antenna, a broad range of variables may have an impact on its performance.
What you’ll need to get started
This DTV antenna needs just a few simple tools and supplies to construct.
You’ll need the following items to complete your project:
- a standard coaxial television wire that is at least one foot in length
- Cutters with a diagonal cut
- Pliers with a needle-nose tip (optional)
- Knife for everyday use
- 3/8-inch heat-shrink tubing or electrical tape may be used as a substitute.
- Gloves made of rubber or labor gloves
- If you’re using heat shrink tubing, you’ll need a hairdryer.
And that’s absolutely all there is to it.
Because you’re going to be carving some plastic, it’s ideal if the knife has a fresh or reasonably new blade in it before you start.
I like to use heat shrink tubing since it is simpler and produces better results, but you may also use electrical tape.
Though I didn’t have any unused coax cables lying around, I was able to locate several at charity shops, which surprised me.
Each one cost me a buck, and the other two were two dollars.
If you have a cable that is two feet long, you may split it in half and use the other half to create two antennas.
Step 1: Taking Down the Coax Cable
It’s astonishing how well this antenna, which is built from a coax television wire, performs and how effectively it conceals itself.
Even when tucked down beneath the cabinet, it continues to function normally.
If you’re considering cord-cutting, you may actually cut the cable or satellite service cord and use it to create an antenna.
I’m not sure what the bare minimum cable length should be, but I can tell you that the ones I created were around 1.5 feet long and worked well.
If you prefer a small, inconspicuous antenna, feel free to experiment with different lengths and shapes.
Most coax cables you’re likely to come across are at least 3 feet long, if not more, so you can easily construct two antennas out of a single piece of wire.
Cut the cable in half using your diagonal cutters, or if your cable is very short, just cut it off at the beginning and end of the cable.
Due to the toughness of coax cable, it may take three or four cuts with your diagonal cutters to cut through it completely.
Leave the connection on one end since it will be plugged or screwed into the antenna connector on the television.
Step 2: Taking the insulation and protection off the building
Cut the insulation six inches from the end using a utility knife after measuring it six inches from the end.
There will be a lot of cutting required, so plan on doing at least four runs through the process.
And keep in mind what you learnt in scouts: cut away from yourself rather than toward yourself.
When cutting through cable insulation, I find it best to first slice through it, then tug on it a little to make sure I went through the insulation, then twist the cable approximately 90 degrees and repeat the process.
You should be able to pull the end of the insulation off in one piece after you’ve sliced all the way through the insulation.
That component should be thrown away since you won’t be utilizing it for anything.
You’ll see a lot of braided insulation under the surface.
At this point, you may want to put on your gloves just to be safe.
Some cables are constructed with very sticky glue.
On others, it’s just a minor irritation.
Putting on the gloves will be necessary if the insulation seems very sticky to the touch.
You will be able to draw the braided shielding back at this point.
For the time being, just push everything back out of the way; we’ll tidy it up later.
The edge will tear a bit when you draw it back, but that’s just OK.
Step 3: Taking the plastic core out of the mold
The metalized plastic core is the next challenging step.
There isn’t a very effective method to go about it.
Basically, you’ll want to hold the cable over a garbage can and use a utility knife to cut away the plastic core from the wire.
With the proper angle, you may be able to cut a lengthy slice that is almost the whole length of the six-inch blade.
Most of the time, you’ll be fortunate to obtain a one-inch piece of meat.
Simply work very carefully and cut away from yourself, cutting all the way down to the copper surface.
Rotate the wire approximately 45 degrees and continue the process until the surface facing you is down to bare copper.
For me, it takes approximately four passes to get all of the ways down to bare copper on both sides.
Step 4: Adding the final touches on the coaxial cable TV antenna by insulating the shielding.
We’re getting close to the finish line.
Measure and cut a piece of 3/8-inch heat shrink tubing that is long enough to completely cover the braided shielding, plus a little extra on either side of the shielding.
I’ve found that approximately 7 inches is plenty.
Then, with the shielding tautly draped over the insulation, carefully slip the tubing over the copper end and onto the shielding, leaving a quarter-inch overlap on the copper side.
The tubing should be shrunk using a hairdryer set on high heat.
Instead of heat shrink tubing, you may wrap the braid with electrical tape if you don’t have any.
Tighten the braid with your fingers, then wrap it firmly with electrical tape, beginning at the end closest to the connection and winding your way up toward the copper strands.
I recommend that you attach a bead to the end of the copper cable to prevent it from poking anybody in the face for safety reasons.
Step 5: Making use of your coaxial cable television antenna
Using your coax cable TV antenna is straightforward, just as it is with any other commercially available antenna.
Connect it to the antenna input on your television, and then use your TV remote to view the menu on your television.
Set the tuner to antenna or over-the-air, and then run a channel search on it.
According to my situation, I can get anywhere from 38 to 51 channels, depending on where I am in the home.
It operates approximately as well as most $6 antennas, and in certain cases, it works better than others.
I built one to replace a $6 antenna that had failed miserably, and I loved it so much that I went ahead and produced two more.
Option B: An Alternative
There is a down and dirty version of this procedure that can be made using a coffee can that will be a bit simpler to blend into décor or conceal if this process seems to be too complex or if you don’t want a big board and metal sheets sticking out like a sore thumb in your décor.
Place a piece of newspaper on a work surface and place an empty coffee can on its side on top of the newspaper.
Next, hammer a hole in the side of the empty coffee can that is little more than halfway down the side and slightly closer to the bottom.
With the help of a nail and hammer, you can create this hole in the side of the empty coffee can.
The nail should remain in the hole you created, with about two-thirds of the nail driven into the hole.
After that, get your coax cable. With wire cutters, cut one of the ends of the rope.
Remove 8 inches of the cable’s outer sheath, cutting using a ruler for accuracy and a utility knife to peel away the sheath.
Measure the length of the wire as it rests against the sheath, which is 6 inches.
Wire strippers are used to removing the insulation from the wire during the first 6 inches.
Then, using the uninsulated wire at the end of the coax cable, wrap it against the nail on the outside of the hole until it is securely fastened.
To attach the cable to the empty container, hammer the nail all the way into the hole and cover it with a piece of duct tape to prevent it from falling out.
Place the empty coffee can outdoors in your front or back yard at the end of the process. Position it so that it is not touching the ground.
Windowsills are an excellent location for them.
Then, run the coax wire that comes out of the coffee can all the way into your home. You may connect it to the antenna input on your television and watch free local programs!
Creating a Split in the Signal
A large number of homes have several televisions, each of which wants a distinct channel lineup.
In order to operate more than one television at the same time, you may divide the signal coming from the antenna.
Depending on how well your antenna is placed, you should be able to divide the signal.
The majority of fully wired homes are equipped with coax lines that connect to a central location.
Simply search for a bundle of black wires, to begin with.
Once you’ve figured out where each wire is supposed to go, mark them with the room they go in.
It is possible that your cable provider already has them connected to a splitter.
Many of them are passive, and if this is the case, you may need to invest in a powered splitter.
If your second television is more than 150 feet distant from you, you will be able to increase the strength of your antenna signal even more.
Simply put, do not use this splitter for your internet connection.
It is not recommended to mix these cables.
You may also make excellent use of wall jacks to divide the signal in a variety of situations.
This allows them to go from one rom to the jack, and from the jack to the central cable stack, among other things.
Go the coax wire from the antenna wall jack to the splitter’s input and label the cables that connect to the wall jacks near your televisions.
Connect the television wires to the splitter’s outputs.
It will be necessary to connect a new coaxial cable between each television and the central location, as well as supply power to the splitter if you do not already have them.
BONUS: BUILDING A DIY ANTENNA
A TV antenna is an excellent method to get a large number of high-definition channels, including ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC, which are all available for free in many locations.
However, although you can purchase a low-cost antenna at shops like Walmart or Target for less than $50, you can also make your own antenna out of materials that you most likely already have in your home.
Here are two simple methods for creating a low-cost and simple TV antenna.
Before we get started, please keep in mind that if you have a smart TV, you will need to utilize the menu on the TV to search for channels once you have installed the antenna.
To do so, go to the settings menu on your television.
There is a channels menu with an option to scan for local channels on the left-hand side of the screen. If you do not complete this step, your television will not display all of the available channels.
The Antenna Made of a Paper Clip
If you reside in an area with excellent over-the-air television coverage, a paper clip may be the first thing you want to experiment with to improve your viewing experience.
All that is required is that you straighten out the paper clip and insert it into the cable/antenna port on your television set (that round connector you used to connect the cable outlet from your TV).
Although a paper clip is not a very effective antenna, many individuals have reported that they are able to get the stations they want with it.
The Antenna for a Clothes Hanger
You may already have a rusty metal clothes hanger laying around.
If it is the proper size, you may be able to straighten it out as if it were a larger paper clip and connect it directly into your television set without any problems.
A coaxial wire in conjunction with your clothing hanging may provide even greater reception, so keep this in mind while planning your setup.
Then, put one end of the cable into the TV while the other end is screwed into the wire clothes hanger to complete the installation.
Allowing you to move the antenna around for better reception will be a huge benefit.
Cut the connector from one end of any length of coaxial cable (the cable that goes into the back of your TV from a cable box) and insert it into the other end of the cable.
Carefully cut away the rubber and protective layers that surround the core of the coaxial cable, about a 14 inch or so from the end, using a sharp knife (I do mean be careful, the wires are sharp so please do not cut yourself).
As firmly as you can, wrap the naked coaxial wire around the clothes hanger antenna to form a tight seal.
The ability to shift your homemade antenna around will enable you to locate the optimum location of the reception.
In general, the higher the antenna is mounted and the larger the distance between it and the television, the better the reception.
Our Final Thoughts
Homemade antennas may be a lot of fun to build and use, and they are inexpensive. When it comes to making your own antenna, there is a certain amount of “you get what you pay for” that applies.
If you are not getting the reception you believe you should be receiving with a DIY antenna, you may want to consider purchasing one from a local shop, since their antennas are specially designed to pick up television signals.
AntennaWeb.org is a fantastic website that may assist you in determining which channels are accessible for free over the air in your region using an antenna.
Simply input your address, and they will provide you with an estimate of what you may anticipate when using a TV antenna to get broadcast television.
Frequently Ask Questions
Is it permissible to use a coaxial wire as an antenna?
Yes, it is possible to connect your TV antenna to your cable TV wire infrastructure.
It is possible to utilize the same coax cable for the TV antenna if your house is already equipped for cable TV and you wish to cut the cord and ditch the cable service in favor of a TV antenna.
What materials do I need to build a DIY antenna?
The insulation at the end of a coaxial wire may be stripped away to make a basic antenna.
Installing a coaxial cable long enough to reach from your television to the closest window will ensure that you get the greatest signal.
Utilize wire strippers to remove the final 6 inches (15 cm) of insulation from the coaxial cord’s termination point.
In order to utilize an antenna, what kind of coaxial cable should I use?
The following kinds of cable are available from Antennas Direct: RG6, Quad-Shielded RG6, and RG11.
The use of a regular RG6 wire should be sufficient for most indoor antenna installations and short outside runs.
In addition to the foil shields that protect against electromagnetic interference, the quad-shielded RG6 cable is especially suitable for extended distances.