There are several factors to consider when making a do-it-yourself (DIY) television (TV) antenna. One of the most important things to understand is that the individual parts of an antenna need to be placed at specific distances from one another to work effectively, meaning that following a good plan will be helpful. The supplies used, especially for the antenna and phasing bars, should be exposed metal with no coatings or other attachments that could reduce their receiving abilities. The overall construction of the TV antenna should be looked at because, in some situations, the antenna might need to be moved or adjusted regularly to receive different signals, making mobility an important design consideration. The ability of the DIY TV antenna also can be enhanced if all of the metal wires used to construct the antenna are as close to the same size as possible.
The first tip when assembling a DIY TV antenna, and one of the easiest ways to get the best performance from the antenna, is to make sure that all metal surfaces are clean and free from any type of coating. Ensuring that each point of contact between metal surfaces has as much surface area touching as possible will help the signal to remain strong as it travels to the TV. The opposite advice is true when dealing with a DB4-style antenna, on which the phasing bars cross one another and should either be coated in a non-conductive coating or electrical tape at the point where contact might occur.
It is vital to follow a set of proven instructions when making a DIY TV antenna. This is because many of the details, such as the placement and spacing of the antenna tines — as well as the shape of the tines themselves, in the case of a fractal antenna — are important for receiving the signal. The plans also might be designed to target a specific signal type, such as ultra-high frequency (UHF) broadcasts, and the alignment of the components can help to address only that signal type.
The mobility of a DIY TV antenna should be a factor in how it is eventually mounted on a base. With the exception of a potentially very complex omni-directional antenna, most receivers might need to be turned to face the direction of the transmitted signal. Mounting the antenna on a rotating base, or just ensuring that it can be easily moved, can make it a more dynamic receiver.
When the DIY TV antenna is completed, the first few tests might not be indicative of its full potential. Digital TV signals are very weak and easily affected by atmospheric conditions, weather and even physical barriers. Establishing the best direction and location for the DIY TV antenna is best done on a clear, sunny day.