Homebuilt UHF Antenna for HDTV Reception

Today, Yufang and I went to Lowes for a few supplies.  We recently purchased a Samsung LCD TV, but we don’t have cable (except for Internet).  We figured it might be fun to watch real TV (as opposed to Hulu or whatever else might be available), so I did some research on the best inexpensive antennas for HDTVs.  Overwhelmingly, I found people talking about “coat hanger antennas.”  It was hard to imagine that something so easy and cheap to build could work so well despite the video evidence on YouTube (one instructional video with antenna in action can be found here).  Nevertheless, I decided to build one and see how well it works for myself.  I used the instructions available from Make Magazine here.  However, I decided to follow the lead of some folks in the forums who talked about better results with 12-gauge copper wire, which I used in place of the coat hangers.  All in all, it took about 45 minutes to build, and it cost me about $16.  And, the results?  Now, we have 30 HD channels to choose from (20 come in perfectly–the ones that don’t are from stations further away).

I am a professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on 20th/21st-century American culture, science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology.

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5 comments on “Homebuilt UHF Antenna for HDTV Reception
  1. Andrew says:

    What sorts of channels do you get, when you say that you get 30? Are they all network affiliates?

  2. Jason Ellis says:

    The selection of channels include the network affiliates, multiple PBS stations, Ion, and a couple of religious networks that are fun anthropological viewing. The cool thing about the PBS stations is that they are grouped together under single channels. So, Western Reserve’s PBS station is channel 46-1, but it has a few substations at 46-2 (ARTS) and 46-3 (different programming than what’s on 46-1. The Wooster PBS station is subdivided as well, but it doesn’t come in as well as the Western Reserve stations.

  3. […] involved in Time Warner Road Runner Internet service-only (we don’t have cable TV–I built an aerial for TV reception) over our line. However, he wanted to look at our exterior cable line to check for any […]

  4. […] be more costly than using our free over-the-air reception [read about that and my homebuilt antenna here], but we will be able to watch more than Dr. Oz, Criminal Minds, and Steve Wilkos with […]

  5. […] from Scotland. I will need to verify this with my Dad and Aunt Lettie Anne. I also showed Freddie my home built UHF antenna, which it seems will continue to serve Y’s and my TV viewing needs until we decide how to get […]

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Who is Dynamic Subspace?

Dr. Jason W. Ellis shares his interdisciplinary research and pedagogy on DynamicSubspace.net. Its focus includes the exploration of science, technology, and cultural issues through science fiction and neuroscientific approaches. It includes vintage computing, LEGO, and other wonderful things, too.

He is an Assistant Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY (City Tech) where he teaches college writing, technical communication, and science fiction.

He holds a Ph.D. in English from Kent State University, M.A. in Science Fiction Studies from the University of Liverpool, and B.S. in Science, Technology, and Culture from Georgia Tech.

He welcomes questions, comments, and inquiries for collaboration via email at jellis at citytech dot cuny dot edu or Twitter @dynamicsubspace.


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