How to get HD channels with a $2 homemade antenna

Anyone who has ever used "rabbit ear" antennas to pick up High Definition, digital TV channels knows how frustrating they can be.

If the antennas is not tweaked just perfectly, the picture goes to black.

An expensive attic antenna is a good alternative, but that can cost $200 or more.

But some people are now picking up dozens of TV stations, in crystal clear HD, with some items they have in their kitchen pantry.

Hated Paying for TV

Mike and Erin Shelle are a young couple who loved watching TV, but hated their big cable bill.

So now they watch dozens of high definition channels for free, thanks to a homemade antenna.

"We like to show it off and say look at our piece of junk that we get our HD channels with," Erin Shelle said. "And they are always surprised and think we are lying."

After all, how could a gizmo made of scrap wood and cut up coat hangars do anything? But it works.

CLICK HERE to see how to make a coat hanger antenna.

A growing number of people -- like the Shelles -- are now getting on Google and YouTube and finding plans to build their own TV antennas, after growing frustrated with lousy store-bought devices.

Frustrated, Makes His Own

Jim Mohr is another pioneer.

"I had one of those $50 antennas my brother gave me, and it just kept losing the channel all the time," Mohr said.

Frustrated with his TV reception cutting in and out, he found plans online for a cardboard and aluminum foil antenna.

"They said they were much better than traditional antennas, that they pick up the channels better, and I didn't believe them at first," Mohr said.

So he grabbed $2 worth of aluminum foil and cardboard from a box he was throwing away.

He traced a template, cut out the pieces and built his own antenna. The result?

He made an antenna that gives him local channels even crisper than the cable signal he used to watch.

"I get over 37 channels and sub-channels from Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio," Mohr said.

CLICK HERE for instructions for his cardboard antenna.

Back in the Shelle's home, Erin still can't believe what her husband built from the coat hangers they brought home from the dry cleaners.

"I was shocked. The whole time we were building it I said, 'you're wasting your time, it's a piece of junk, I really don't think it's going to work.'"

But it did.

These two families are now watching the big four networks, plus more than a dozen sub-channels and PBS stations, with no monthly fees.

Still Want Cable?

Of course, a lot of people still want their cable channels like ESPN and HBO.

In that case, check out our report on great ways to slash your cable and internet bill, but still keep your service.

Also see a breakdown on which streaming option is best if you decide to go that route.

And that way you don't waste your money.


Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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