You could drop $40-$70 on an indoor HDTV antennae, or you could make your own for a few bucks out of cardboard and aluminum foil. Since most TVs have built-in HD tuners, you can get local TV without paying for cable just by applying your DIY know-how. Reader Dave shares his instructions.
Dave has two sets of designs. The easy one is the “log periodic” antenna. Mainly you just have to print out the diagram, mount it on cardboard, and put aluminum foil in the pattern.
The second one is the “dual-bowtie” design that involves more sculpting, but you get a much more powerful antennae out of it.
Of this design, Dave wrote, “Don’t let the simplicity fool you. This is a powerful antenna, that easily beats an HDTV antenna I paid $50 for.”
The crazy secret is that your TV doesn’t really care what the antenna is made out of and whether it was made by Sony, it just needs the electrical conductors arranged in the right pattern. Aluminum is a perfectly fine conductor, saving you bucks at the store and making for a fun home project.