I consider myself to be mechanically impaired to some degree. When my father told me he was going to build a fractal antenna to boost our channel capabilities and selection on our new HDTV, I honestly had no idea what he was talking about.

Well, it helps to know what a fractal antenna is. The first word “fractal” can be briefly defined as a complex geometric pattern exhibiting self-similarity in that small details of its structure viewed at any scale, repeats elements of the overall pattern.

Benoit Mandelbrot, a maverick mathematician developed this innovative theory in the 70’s and applied it to physics, biology, finance and many other fields. His invention of fractals also revolutionized science and art.

Computer graphics made fractals familiar to the general public.

There is some disagreement amongst authorities about how the concept of a fractal should be formally defined. The general consensus is that theoretical fractals are infinitely self-similar. Examples of fractals in nature would be a snowflake, seashell, a fern, or even lightning!

Anyhow, a fractal antenna works by a fractal element, one that has been shaped in a fractal fashion.  The advantage, when compared to conventional antenna designs, center around size and bandwidth.
In order for an antenna to work well at it must be symmetrical about a point, and it must be self-similar, having the same basic appearance at every scale: that is, it has to be fractal!

The word antenna can be described as any structure or device used to collect or radiate electromagnetic waves.

When researching the concept, he found many useful tutorials and designs online. Most notably, one he found on a web site called “Instructables”

His material list was minimal and the project cost? Close to nothing.

We have not connected the antenna as of yet, but I will be sure to update our results as soon as we do. The antenna will be placed in our attic.

This project is a great example of simple discovery and resourcefulness.

Gray-Hoverman UHF TV antenna using fractal elements.

Here is a parts list:

1- 2′ x 4′ particle board, plywood or OSB

18- 4.25″ x .75″ x.75″ or 3/4″ dowels for standoffs (these dimensions are not critical) 10 feet (approx.) #12 or #14 copper wire

1-300ohm 75ohm transformer

1- can of spray adhesive

1- roll aluminum foil

3d or 4d finishing nails (to mark the holes and make the wire bending jig)

scrap lumber to make a stand.

staples or thumbtacks to attach wire to standoffs


One response

  1. virginia foust says:

    sounds interesting . i will have to try that with my tv . never even thought about that .