How to Make a Yagi Antenna for WiFi

Written by martin wolfson
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How to Make a Yagi Antenna for WiFi
Basis for Excellent Free Wi-Fi Reception (open tin can image by Melking from Fotolia.com)

Most of the DIY Wi-Fi antenna designs available on the Internet are Yagi antennas. Yagi antennas have been in use consistently since 1928. Yagi antennas were first used for wireless radar and later as TV antennas with the advent of television. Now, with the proliferation of laptops and netbooks, Wi-Fi is hugely popular, and the directionality and relatively low noise of the Yagi design is ideal. Many improvements have been made to the basic "cantenna" design, so now many different size cans, cables and connectors can be used to make an antenna for Wi-Fi.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Juice can
  • N-connector or BNC connector
  • Power drill
  • Drill bits
  • Solid wire, 12-gauge
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Coaxial cable
  • Pigtail
  • Wi-Fi card

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Remove one end of a 1,242ml., 4.25-inch diameter juice can. Clean the can completely with soap and water.

  2. 2

    Find the antenna point. Measure from the outside closed end of the can, and make a mark 1.625 inches up the can's side.

  3. 3

    Punch an opening in the can at the antenna point on the can's side. The final size of the opening will depend on the type of connector being used.

  4. 4

    Cut the 12-gauge wire. The length must be as near to 1.2 inches as possible, including the length of the connector end that extends into the can. Too long a wire inhibits optimum reception.

  5. 5

    Solder the measured 12-gauge wire to the BNC or N-connector solder end.

  6. 6

    Attach the assembled connector to the can. The wire end goes in the can. If using a screw-on connector, the screw heads should be inside the can and the bolts on the outside.

  7. 7

    Connect a 4 to 5 foot length of 75-ohm coaxial cable to the connector screw-on end that is outside the can. Connect a pigtail to the other end of the coaxial cable.

  8. 8

    Connect the small connector end of the pigtail to a Wi-Fi card in your computer. The Wi-Fi card must have an external connection point that matches the pigtail end.

  9. 9

    Position the juice "cantenna" for strongest reception. The inside metal element should point up or down.

Tips and warnings

  • Adjust the antenna in 10-degree increments until a maximum signal strength is found.
  • Radio waves are very directional. Stand behind the cantenna while positioning it.

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