The DB4 Antenna. Simple, very cheap, and very effective. If you are within 30-40 miles of your TV stations, then this is the antenna for you. Before you do your build, check out the tools on this page to see how many stations you might get and how far away they are. There are similarly designed professionally made ones available to buy; DB8 Multidirectional HDTV Antenna and the DB4 Multi-Directional HDTV Antenna. At the time of this writing they were not bad at $60 and $50, respectively. You could build the DB4 below with junk lying around your house or you could spend about $10 on all new materials for a strong and durable outdoor installation.
- 13′ 8 to 14 gauge Solid Copper Wire or ~5′ of Romex – Yes, you may use coat hangers
- Remove any insulation
- Cut eight 14″ Sections and two 19″ sections
- 22″ piece of 1×3 Wood or similar
- Look for dirt cheap scrap wood if on a budget
- 10 1” Screws
- 10 Regular or Lock Washers
- 1 Balun (Available at Amazon($2.99 + FSSS), RadioShack, or your neighbors/parents garage)
Step by Step
Step 1: Paint the wood with an oil based sealer if you are mounting your antenna outdoors or if looks matter to you.
Step 2: Cut the wire into eight 14” strips and two 19″ strips and straighten them. A drill and pliers come in handy here if you want perfection(not necessary), watch the video.
Step 3: Form the whiskers using the eight 14″ strips. Bend the whiskers at the halfway point and leave 3” of space between the ends. From the bend to the end of each whisker should be 7″.
Step 4: Mark where the screws go (black dots) according to the diagrams on this page. Place two sets of marks centered on your wood 1 1/4” apart by running your tape measure lengthwise down the wood and marking at 3”, 8 1/4”, 10 7/8”, 13 1/2”, and 18 3/4”. Drill pilot holes.
Step 5: Put your screws with washers into the holes and tighten them until they have ~½” remaining.
Step 6: Put your whiskers into place
Step 7: Criss cross the 19″ lines into place bending as needed according to the picture at the top of the post. You’ll need to add some electrical tape to insulate the lines where they cross.
Step 8: Tighten the screws down to hold the whiskers and 19″ transmission lines in place.
Step 9: Make sure you’re bowties are still 3” apart and then plug in the antenna to your television!
Step 10: Test where you get the best reception. Location is everything, even a few inches can make a huge difference. Elevation also generally better, but keep in mind that attics cut about 40% of your signal. Many televisions have a signal strength meter that might help you find a good location.
- For More range – Add a reflector(Article coming soon, place the reflector 4 inches behind the bowties)