How to Build Indoor TV Antennas

by Barry Index

As of June 12, 2009, television stations have switched over to a digital broadcast, so all indoor television antennas must be capable of receiving digital transmissions. All that's needed in most areas to pull in this digital signal is a simple indoor television antenna. With ordinary objects you probably have at home and just a minimal investment for minor electronic parts, you can build an effective indoor TV antenna for watching high-quality broadcast signals.


Cut off the hanger hook and any parts that may be twisted at the top of the wire hangers, then use pliers to straighten them out. If necessary, strip away the plastic covering from the hangers with wire strippers. Cut the hangers so they are 14-inches long, then fold them in half so they are V-shaped.


Hold the 2-by-4 vertically and mark the 4-inch side with two holes, one next to the other, 1-inch apart and 2-inches from the top.


Drill a starter hole at each mark. Use a 1/8-inch drill bit, slightly smaller the diameter of the screw, to drill a hole in the wood 1/4-inch deep, so the screw threads cut into the wood and turning the screw takes less effort.


Start a screw with a washer in each hole, and then place a V-shaped hanger beneath each washer so the hangars stick out to the side.


Wrap the end of one copper wire three times around the first screw, between the washer and the V-shaped hanger, and tighten down the screw so the washer holds the hanger and copper wire tightly against the wood. Wrap the end of the other copper wire around the second screw three times, between the washer and the V-shaped hanger, and tighten down the screw, again so the washer holds everything tightly against the wood.


Mark a second set of starter holes 5 1/2-inches down from the first two. Begin screwing in two more washers and screws, and insert a V-shaped hanger beneath each washer, sticking out to the side, just like in step 2. Now, crisscross the two copper wires, so they make an elongated X-shape, and then wrap each wire once around their respective screws, and tighten down the washers.


Mark a third set of starter holes 5 1/2-inches down from the last set. Screw in two more washers and screws, insert two more V-shaped hangers, and this time do not crisscross the copper wires, run them parallel to one another, but do wrap them once around each new screw, and tighten down the washers.


Mark two final starter holes 5 1/2-inches down from the previous two. Begin the screws and washers, insert two V-shaped hangers, and once again crisscross the copper wires before wrapping them three times around the last two screws, between the hanger and the washer. Tighten down the last two washers and cut off any leftover wire. Next, spread the outer ends of the V-shaped hangers so they are 3-inches wide. The final copper wire configuration should crisscross in the first section, run parallel in the second section, and crisscross again in the last section.


Fasten two lead wires from the balun component to the parallel copper wires so they come into contact with each wire. A balun is an inexpensive piece of hardware you can find at any electronics store that consists of two lead wires joined to a coaxial plug. The ends of the balun leads have a C-like clasp that you can hook to the copper wires. Begin a starter screw and washer next to each copper wire where the balun leads make contact with the copper, and tighten down the washers over each connection.


Connect one end of a standard coaxial cable to the balun plug, and connect the other end of the coaxial cable to the antenna-in connection on your television. The antenna may be unsightly, but your digital reception will be remarkably clear.


  • check Wrap electrical tape three times around the top copper wire where the two wires meet, so they do not touch in the sections where they crisscross.
  • check Stow the antenna behind the TV stand so it is out of sight. No fancy stand is necessary; you can just lean the antenna against the TV stand or against the wall, and it will work just as well.


  • close If your television is an older model and is not capable of receiving a digital transmission, you may require a converter box to change the digital antenna signal to an analog signal. In this case, connect the antenna to the converter box; the converter box then connects to the TV.

Items you will need

About the Author

Barry Index lives in Los Angeles where he has been writing about writing since 1998. Recent freelance activities have brought his work to wider audiences through and several other writer-enthusiast sites. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from California State University, Northridge.

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Photo Credits

  • photo_camera coaxial cable image by Albert Lozano from