DIY TV Antennas how to make a digital TV antenna
Single Bay Gray-Hoverman Antenna (SBGH)
The Gray-Hoverman Antenna is an open source design that shows high performance for most Digital / HD channels broadcasting in the U.S. today. Details about the history and evolution of the design, as well as detailed technical information, can be found at the official web site: http://www.digitalhome.ca/ota/superantenna/ (Note: One visitor emailed me to say that they believe that this is more simply a Hoverman Antenna and NOT a Gray-Hoverman. In reviewing the original specification at digitalhome.ca, I still believe this is a Gray-Hoverman. But do want to acknowledge that this is a point of debate.)
As with my Folded Dipole Antenna, my goal here is to provide guidelines for a version that is inexpensive, easy to assemble and simple to install in the attic. Still, this antenna should perform quite well for you. This is the antenna that I currently use in my attic and I get 22 channels. Most of these are broadcasting from 45 or even 50+ miles away. (See the broadcast tower information for my area at TV Fool.)
- 2 - 4 foot 1x4 pine boards
- 6 - 3/4" Screws
- 6 - Finish Washers
- 10 - 2" Wood Screws
- 2 - 5' lengths of 14 gauge wire
- 1 - Balun - This transformer is needed to adapt the antenna's signal to your T.V.'s coax input. It is available from many sources. I got mine at my local Walmart for less than $5. See pictures below.
- 1 - 2 foot by 4 foot THIN plywood or masonite board
- about 8 feet of 12" wide aluminum foil.
- clear packing tape
Most images can be clicked to show larger versions
Mark one of the 1x4 boards as shown. The first line should be 7" from the end of the board. The second should be 10" from the first. The third 10" from the second.
Mark one each of these three lines with two marks as show. The marks should be 5/8" in from the edges of the board.
For the actual antenna elements, I used 14 gauge wire that I got at my local home improvement store. It came in a 100' roll costing less than $7. For this project, I used two 5 foot lengths. Cut these lengths from the roll and try to straighten them out. They will probably still be a bit wavy at this point, but that is okay.
Now bend the wires to the shape described in the diagram. I marked my wires with a permanent marker at 5 1/2" and then every 7" to know where to bend.
Using a pair of pliers to hold the wire as you bend it will help you get sharper angles. When you are done with all of your bends, you will probably have about 7" extra wire to snip off. Trim this down to 5 1/2" AFTER you have made all of your bends. This leaves room to correct errors you might make during bending.
To attach the antenna elements to the board, I used some short screws and finish washers. I like the way these washers "grab" the antenna elements better than plain flat washers. Put a screw and washer at each of the six marks on your board. Do not screw them in all of the way yet so that you have room to put in the antenna elements.
Put the inner bends of the antenna elements under the washers. The bend in the wire should go inside the screw. Tighten down the end screws, but leave a little room in the center screws to attach the balun.
Place the spades of the balun around the center screws and under the antenna elements. The ends of the balun should be in direct contact with the antenna elements. Tighten down the center screws.
The main assembly of your antenna is now complete. Depending on your needs you may or may not want to add a reflector to your antenna. A reflector will help give stronger reception for weak stations in the direction that the antenna is pointing. But on the down side, it will block the signal of stations behind the antenna. Without a reflector, I was able to get 26 channels with this antenna. But I added the reflector to increase the signal on a particular station that I wanted to get from over 50 miles away. After adding the reflector, I am only getting 22 stations.
Skip down to see a simple base that you can stand up this antenna with.
I built my reflector from a thin piece of masonite measuring 24" by 33". To begin, draw two lines down the center of the board running length wise. The lines should be 1" apart.
Tape aluminum foil to the front of the reflector. Use the lines to keep a space between the foil on the left and the foil on the right.
Make two spacers to support the reflector from 1x4 pine. Cut these spacers to 3 1/4" long. Screw the spacers to the top and bottom of the reflector as shown.
I did the final assembly of my antenna in the attic because it was easier to get the pieces up there that way.
To attach the reflector, screw through the front of the antenna into the spacers on the reflector. The aluminum foil on the reflector should be centered behind the reflector elements.
Attach the cable to your television to the balun on the antenna. The cable should go down between the antenna elements and not in front of them. I used some zip ties to hold the cable in place.
PVC SBGH With Reflector
This is the first Gray-Hoverman Antenna that I built. The frame is 1/2" PVC fitted together without glue. The antenna elements are secured to the frame using zip ties. The reflector is made from poster board and aluminum foil.
NOTE: All of the antenna designs on this site are intended for INDOOR use. I prefer to mount mine in the attic. Please research carefully if you want to mount an antenna outdoors. There are many design and safety considerations that you will need to keep in mind.
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