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DIY HD Antennas made from Aluminum foil and cardboard

Posted by pete_c , 24 October 2016 · 1728 views

I have been utilizing a old fashioned combo VHF / UHF antenna for HD OTA viewing which works well but is a large attic footprint.  I have adjusted it and do get some 60 plus HD stations with it.  I also utilize an amplifier with the antenna.   Most of it is junk TV so really only care about 10 stations or so.
Note that the following projects related to tinkering as I have done similar making parabolic antennas
Looked at two DIY endeavors. 
First endeavor (a kitchen table - low on WAF) uses a template that I could print on a 8X10 piece of paper so I did this one first.
Log-Periodic HDTV Antenna DIY #1
The antenna is very small and I am testing it on the second floor with an HDHomerun device. 
Found an article about it here ==> A Free Antenna to Watch Free HDTV
Here is what HDHomerun sees for one HD channel.
HDHomerunTest 1

Basically it is just cutting out foil using the template and gluing the foil to cardboard.
HDAntenna 1

A very easy project. Just six steps. Here's all you need:
Tools required:
  • Felt marker
  • Scissors and a sharp knife or box-cutter
  • A ruler (or measuring tape)
  • Paper glue, like Elmers or Gorilla
  • Adhesive tape
  • A stapler - you could also use nuts & bolts (directions below will clarify.)
Parts required:
  • Four squares of cardboard: Two 11x8 and two 8x8
  • Aluminum foil, heavy duty
  • Cable, either 75-ohm coaxial, or 300-ohm twin-lead
  • A balun (see the construction hints section above)
Construction patten PDF file - print this on letter size paper
Antenna pattern
Step-By-Step: Build your Log-Periodic HDTV Antenna
HDAntennaPic 0A

HDAntennaPic 0B

HDAntennaPic 1

  • Locate the pattern for the Log-Periodic antenna you printed out earlier
  • Using your scissors or penknife, carefully cut the pattern from the paper along the lines.
  • Trace the pattern twice onto a piece of aluminum foil using a felt-tip pen. It is a good idea to tape it down while you do this, but attach just a tiny corner of tape to the foil, otherwise you'll have trouble loosening it.
  • Carefully cut out your patterns (you'll need two, exactly alike) from the foil.
  • Measure to find the exact center across the long edge of one of your 11x8 pieces of cardboard, and repeat at the other long edge.
  • Draw a line there connecting those points where the 'trunk' of the foil 'tree' will go.
  • Glue the patterns to the two 8x11 squares of cardboard.
  • Try running a line of glue up the center line you just drew, and lay the foil there.
  • Then run glue under each 'branch', and press down.
  • Position carefully (with the 'trunk' of the 'tree' centered on your line), and press on the foil to smooth.
  • Both squares should look the same, with the foil placed exactly the same way.
  • Connect your cable and balun wiring to the small ends of the foil patterns.
  • HDAntennaPic 2
  • If connecting 300-ohm flat twin-lead, separate the wires and strip about 3/4" of the insulation off, then staple the exposed part of the wires to the shorter end of the patterns, one wire to each of the cardboard squares.
  • Your square-type push-on balun is then screwed to the opposite end of this wire.
  • If connecting a tubular 75-ohm balun directly to the antenna, either staple its wires or alternatively, drill or punch a small hole and install a small screw, washers and bolt to the small tab at the short end of each foil pattern.
  • This will be used to attach the wires after assembly. (The drawback of screws is that they can never be tightened down very hard onto cardboard.)
  • Arrange the two squares of cardboard with foil patterns into a wedge shape, and glue the 8x8 cardboard squares onto the sides to hold the wedge in shape. Look at the picture to clarify.
  • HDAntennaPic 3
  • The two faces are NOT mirror images after the cardboard sheets are mounted - the two longest branches of the two foil "trees" should be pointing in opposite directions.
  • The short ends of the patterns (the wired ends) are at the narrow end of the wedge.
  • The wedge should form about a 45 to 55 degree angle (the exact angle is not critical.)
  • The foil patterns can face inward (at each other) or outward (away from each other.)
  • Don't mix! At the narrow end of the wedge, the two pieces of cardboard should wind up about 1/2 inch apart.
  • If your foil patterns are arranged facing outward, the sheets can be even closer at the narrow end.
  • It may be useful to tape the pieces together first, and then apply glue when you've got it right.
  • If you haven't connected your balun or wiring yet, do so now. It's done!
  • Connect your cardboard Log-Periodic antenna to your TV set and try it out.
  • HDAntennaPic 4
  • Experiment with the placement, rotation and height until you find a good orientation it can live in.
  • Generally, the small end of the wedge should be pointed toward the TV station you want to receive.
Dual Bowtie Hi-Def Antenna DIY #2


20th of May, 2017


A follow up the above antenna.  Moved it to the attic and connected with a splitter to the main antenna.  I'm not really sure that I will be leaving it like this.  Just wanted to see if it would work.

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June 2018

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