HDTV Bowtie Antenna

I saw a few pictures online about the DIY bowtie antenna and I was curious. Could it be possible to construct an antenna that would pull in the digital channels on the cheap? I found some excellent information on how to build an HDTV bowtie antenna. Will the coat hanger antenna work at all?

At first I was skeptical about this television antenna. For one thing, I am about 50 miles plus from the TV transmitters. I am on the receiving fringe. I didn’t think it could be possible to receive digital signals that far away. I just knew it would take an expensive commercial antenna with all the extras to do the job.

And you just want to know if this DIY HDTV antenna performs? I’m going to tell you straight up this one is a winner! Even on the digital fringe the results were surprising! It was pulling in at least 8 or 9 channels on a clear day. I finally reached my goal of 11 local channels!

I will admit that I had a tough time getting the coat hanger wires hooked up correctly. I don’t know why I let this voodoo me, because the wiring really isn’t that complicated once you’ve completed it successfully. Eventually I did get it right and what a happy little moment this was! Can you say free TV?

I would advise anyone that is considering this project to go ahead with it. It will do as stated. Just take your time and closely examine the wiring.

Basically, put two screws 3.5 inches from the top of a 2×4 board, about a four or five feet section. Then two more after 7 inches spacing. Then space the screws 3.5 inches to and from the middle point of connection. Lastly, go 7 inches to the bottom. After measuring, put the screws in as marked. I think a screwdriver works fine.

Cut your coat hangers 7 inches from the fold on each side, or cut them in half. One coat hanger will give you two elements. Then secure them with the screws and washers. This doesn’t have to be perfect. Then employ a continuous run on one side then another, just as the pictures illustrate. Remember, the wires do cross on the ends, and where they cross it needs to be taped or insulated. I used 12 gauge copper wire for the continuous run.

Of course you need a small device, such as the RCA Matching Transformer -VH54n, to attach to the middle junction.

I nailed the 2×4 to a 4×4 and leaned it beside the doorway. It works fantastic and I paid little to nothing, since I had most of the materials in the garage.

I used around 25 feet of RG-6 coaxial cable to connect it to the television. I used a two way switch for the signal to go to the television or the police scanner, adding another 25 feet of coax going to the scanner.

The antenna described is of the UHF range, so do not expect spectacular VHF receive capability. The antenna will pick up the locals on VHF adequately. UHF reception is very good.

Update: I later added chicken wire behind the coat hanger elements and did receive all of the targeted channels. This is not illustrated in the picture of my HDTV antenna. I had to separate the chicken wire a few inches away from the coat hangers in order for it to work. The chicken wire worked magnificently.

Note: The copper wire attached to the right side of the antenna was just an experiment. It was not necessary and was later removed.

As for TV reception, I am very pleased but there are dropouts, especially in bad weather. I am considering getting a signal amplifier, because of the dropouts.