Wednesday, August 12, 2009

DIY Beer Can TV Antenna - How To Improve Antenna Signal

I've been playing with my Beer Can TV Antenna for a while and upgraded my TV to full featured 1080i HDTV model since original post in 2008.

Read orifinal post on Beer Can TV Antenna for details - but in few words - beer can antenna is made of two beer can halfes, connected to TV cable. One half to inner core of the cable and another to the outer sheilding.

There are two simple improvements that would boost your diy antenna signal receprion:
- Reflector
- Location, Location, Location

As for location - if direction is right (beer can halfes are perpendicular to TV tower) the rest is - the higher - the better

Reflector - just an arbitrary piece of metal, placed right besides the antenna (3-5 inches). If you have indoor antenna - you can try to put sheet of aluminum foil there. The important thing is to avoid electrical contact between a reflector and antenna. Do not use any metal to hold them together. In a picture below I'm using cardboard to separate antenna and reflector, and antenna is mounted on a stair's rail.

Foil is good for Proof Of Concept excersize, just to convince yourself that with reflector receprion is better than without one. You may go for something more robust like dish drainer from the dollar store.

Depending on the type of the dish drainer you may use it as is, or assemble final reflector from two draines, by connecting them (with guess what - beer cans and ductape!!!) so they form about 30 degrees angle.

Place beer can antenna inside the reflector, 3-5 inches from reflecctor, affix it together using some non-metal material as a base (card board, plastic bottle, plastic cookie box in my case.

Hang it as high as possible and enjoy your improved free OTA HDTV.

From Newmarket Ontario I was able to get 5 HDTV channels with antenna without reflector and up to 14 with one, equipped with dish-drainer reflector and hanged right below the roof.

Warning: youy should never place antenna outdoors without proper surge protection due to hazards, associated with lightning.


Anonymous said...

I live in Summerhill looking out my bedroom window I can see east straight down Mulock. I threw together the beer can antenna and picked up the CBC and CTV from my bedroom window with the antenna somewhat pointing south. Its hard though since I'm in a middle unit townhouse and don't have a full view of the southern sky. Gonna have to see what I can do with a winegard in the summer. Cool post, I had fun trying.

John Sum said...

Thanks man! This really works.

I tried to make this TV antenna by a regular pop can and a metal basket as reflection. Use a coaxial cable to connect it to my LCD TV which has a ATSC adapter. Now it can pick up around 10 digital channels easily.

It only can receives very poor analog signals. But this doesn't matter. We can enjoy the crystal clear digital channels.

My apartment is at Mississauga, Ontario. It faces to north direction which means not to the signal source from Toronto and Buffalo directly.

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Anonymous said...

It's so funny that we are getting hi-tech, and have to build our own antennas from beer cans, etc. Hahahaha. I will have to try this.

fminar said...

In addition to this it is also vital for you to know the exact distance between the place you put your antenna install and the station. Suppose, if you put up in a place which is approximately or nearly less than 5 miles from the broadcasting station, then you may have to invest in an amplifier to reduce the signal. As this will forbid your television set from getting clogged and give you a clear signal.

Juan said...

Any idea how to build a simple analog TV antenna?
I bought one of those that amplifies signal but did not work. I don´t know why.

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