How to Make AM Radio Antennas

Updated February 21, 2017

AM radio antennas do not have to be outdoor types. You can construct an indoor antenna from some pieces of wood and 22-gauge insulated wire. The antenna can be placed anywhere indoors or on the inside ledge of a window. The overall size of the antenna is relatively small, measuring approximately 18 inches across and just as high. The entire assembly sits on a 6-inch wide base that is 24 inches long.

Use the tape measure and mark the exact centre of the 1 X 2 boards with the pencil. Mark another centerline a half inch in from each end. Place a 1-inch long screw at each of the centerline marks that are a half inch from each end. Use the screwdriver and leave approximately a half inch of the 1-inch screw exposed. These screws will support the antenna wire. Attach the two boards together, at the centre point, by placing two of the 2-inch screws slightly offset. The boards must be at right angles to each other. The two boards will form a large "X" or cross with four equal arm lengths. Measure the distance between the 1-inch screws; it must be 12 inches from screw head to screw head.

Attach the wooden "X" to the 1 X 6 baseboard using the last two 2-inch screws. Mark the baseboard in the exact centre. Run the two screws up through the 1 X 6 and into one of the 1 X 2 legs.

Loop the insulated 22-gauge around the four 1-inch screws four times. Begin by holding back six inches of the wire at the lowest screw near the baseboard. Run the wire around the screws until you have four loops of the wire. The total length of the continuous wire loops will be 16 feet. Wrap the ends of the wire around each other at the base. Use two twists of the wire for every running inch of the lead. In other words, if you have four inches of wire as the lead coming from the wire loops at the base, the wire should be twisted eight times along those inches of wire.

Strip the insulation from the wire leads. Run connecting wires (two) from the antenna to the antenna connection on the rear of the radio. You may have to play with the lead connections for the best results. In other words, exchange the two leads for the ground wire connection on the back of the radio until the best signal is received.


Play with the length of the wire leads to the exact tuning for your particular radio.


Disconnect the antenna during a lightening storm if the antenna is placed outside. This plan does not call for a lightning arrester or a ground rod.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • 2 -- 1 X 2-inch boards 18 inches long
  • 4 -- 1 inch Philips head wood screws
  • 4 -- 2 inch Philips head wood screws
  • 1 -- 1 X 6-inch baseboard 24 inches long
  • Philips head screwdriver
  • 20 feet of 22-gauge insulated wire
  • Wire strippers
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