Making a TV Antenna

My apartment was built in the days before cable was standard, so I only have a cable drop in my living room. The layout of my apartment prevents me from adding a splitter and running a separate drop to my bedroom, so I’m hoping to add an antenna to my TV in the bedroom so I can get local channels.

Right now, I’m using a length of coax as a crude antenna, which gives me one channel at decent quality and the rest are very staticky and difficult or impossible to watch.

Is there any way I can improve my setup without trying to find a set-top antenna somewhere?

Since coax is shielded, I am surprised you can pull in even one channel. You would be better off using unshielded cable, like speaker wire, but even that is going to be crappy, as a true antenna has segments that are matched to the wavelengths of the TV spectrum. It would be difficult to build one that could pull in the whole VHF spectrum, would be a lot cheaper to buy one at Radio Shack.

Really your best bet to get decent reception across the board is a so-called set top antenna. I say “so-called” because the best place for it is NOT on top of the set, but as far from it (and other electronic equipment) as possible. This is because of the hash most modern electronic devices emit, which is caused mainly by digital circuitry. The main reason this type of antenna will work better is because television covers a wide range of frequencies. The VHF band covers channel 2 (55.25 MHz) through channel 13 (211.25 MHz). The UHF band covers channels 14 (471.25 MHz) through 69 (801.25 MHz). Each channel has a bandwidth of 6 MHz. Since the frequency determines the length of antenna which will give maximum signal reception, you need an antenna which either has adjustable elements, like a pair of “rabbit ears” or one with multiple driven elements, such as a log periodic Yagi, like those once commonly found on rooftops everywhere. With a single-length antenna, such as your homemade simple wire dipole, the best you can generally do is to tune it for best reception on your weakest channel and let the rest fall where they may. A signal amplifier may help in this case, but bear in mind you cannot amplify what you cannot receive.

Radio Shack makes or at least use to make a “Whole House Plug In Antenna” I say use to because their website does not show it for sale anymore. You plug you antenna cable into it then plug the device into the wall. As implied the whole house becomes an antenna.

The Catalog number was 150-1835. You can go to this page and search for the cat number. I have no idea how well it worked but maybe some else sells something similar.

It’s complete crap. I don’t think they even sell it anymore.

Q.E.D.
Former Radio Shack store manager.