Read all the stickies (the posts pinned to the top of the page) in this forum and the parent forum first. Then read them again. There is a wealth of information available here to get you started.
At some point you'll want to get your hands dirty and start building. Chances are your first antenna won't be your dream antenna. There will be improvements that you can make here and there. You'll wake up 3 in the morning with an AHA moment and can't wait to try it out and that's when not only your are dreaming about antennas, but you'll get closer to your dream antenna.
I've tried many different antennas and antenna combinations. I have come to the conclusion that the Stealth Hawk antenna is the best. One of the reasons is because it is small and light and that allows you to mount it higher than bulkier and heavier antennas. Mount it as high as possible.
Heh, the OP didn't ask which is the best antenna. Just the best way to build a dream antenna. Everyone has different requirements. I have no idea what the OP's requirements are except for building under $20?
Nobody knows where he/she lives so I have no idea how anyone can recommend an antenna. Is he or she handy? Perhaps modifying a commercial antenna is the best rather than building from scratch.
I still think the best way is to read the information in the stickies to learn more before just building an antenna. Maybe not as much fun as just building and learning as you go but I would have saved quite a bit of time and money doing a little more reading before building. I don't regret doing all that building, it was quite enjoyable - just wasn't the best way to do it.
Perhaps I'm being too analytical, but it's my nature. When I see the term dream antenna it's too vague of a term for me to start thinking of what it could be.
For example, my personal dream antenna has these characteristics
- small and compact - it has to fit outside my apartment window and be discreet
- high gain on channel 14 as well as high gain on 64,65,66. These are my weakest stations. I need about 12dbi for channel 14. Seem 7-8 dbi on 64-66 brings these in except on tropo nights I start to loose them
- not too directional because all my target digital stations are within 45 degrees, the weakest stations being 45 degrees apart
- directional enough to reduce the gain on my locals which are not in the 45 degree target digital stations
My current antenna fits all the criteria except the gain on channel 14 is too low to bring it in.
Your dream antenna is different from mine.
Money is a value factor. I'm sure if a $22 dollar antenna would bring in double the stations the money requirement would be flexible. A $400 dollar that brings in one more station probably wouldn't.
thumbsdown, as you can see from the replies you've been given, we need you to do a LOT of reading here at this site to get up to speed. The reason we do that is because there is already so much great information and knowledge posted here and divided up into appropriate threads that there is no point in going over it all again. For example, there is an entire thread dedicated solely to OTA antenna mounts. Others cover a wide variety of topics that are narrowed down in order to aid research and decision-making.
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