Television antennas can cost upwards of $40, but you can build your own coat hanger antenna out of recycled materials for about $10. Companies selling antennas use words such as “HDTV” and “Digital Ready” to promote their product and tempt consumers to pay more for these special features. Actually, the antenna is just a medium that transfers the high-definition or digital formatted signal to your television. With your coat hanger antenna, you will be able to receive free high-definition local channels, if they are available, on your HDTV.
Cut the twisted tops off all of your coat hangers using wire cutters. Straighten two of the hangers and sand off any paint or varnish. The other four hangers need to be in V shapes, so cut each hanger in the center of the bottom length of wire. Sand the pointed bottoms of each V. You will have two 22-inch pieces and eight of the V-shaped segments.
Use the pencil and ruler to mark points on the scrap piece of wood. With the wood in a vertical position, measure down 2 inches and across 1/2 inch from the left and right corners. These will be holes 1 and 2, respectively. From these marks measure down vertically 5 3/4 inches and mark spots 3 and 4. Repeat this step to find locations 7 and 8. Repeat again to find 9 and 10. At this point there are four sets of vertically aligned marks 5 3/4 inches from the set above it. To get marks 5 and 6 measure 10 inches from the top of your piece of wood. Once you have all your marks, drill 10 pilot holes.
Attach your signal receptors. Holes 1 to 4 and 7 to 10 are the points of connection for your signal receptors (V shaped segments of coat hanger). Place a washer and screw at points 5 and 6. These will be used to place your transmitter later. Lightly secure your receptor between each washer and screw at holes 1-4 and 7-10. Use the 22 inch segments to connect the receptors. Starting at the top left corner of the mast, one piece will make contact with screws 1,4,6,8 and 9. Beginning at the top right corner, the second will make contact with screws 2,3,5,7 and 10. There will be an X shape between screws 1-4 and another between screws 7-10 and straight lines from screw 3 to screw 7 and an adjacent line from screws 4 to 8. Ensure all points of contact between the wire and screws are well sanded as a good electrical connection is needed.
Prepare your mount. Secure the piece of pipe to the back of your mast using the U-bolts. There will be a slight overhang that should be left at the bottom of the mast. Carefully, place this extra segment into your recycled Christmas tree stand and tighten the bolts.
Connect your antenna to your television. Using the screws at holes 5 and 6, secure the spade clips of the 75 to 300 ohm transmitter while maintaining contact with the conductor wire already there. Place the female F-connector into the “Antenna In” port of our television or digital converter box. Scan for channels. Enjoy your free high-definition, digital channels.