How to Build an FM Dipole Antenna

Written by billy brainard
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Building an FM dipole antenna can be a way to get you involved in the hobby of antenna building. However, if you are simply looking to get better reception on your FM receiver, a dipole antenna is quick and inexpensive to put together. Simply measuring and cutting a section of TV twin lead wire to the right frequency and connecting it to your receiver will have you tuning in your favourite FM stations.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Calculator
  • Electrical tape
  • 1 roll 300-Ohm twin-lead wire, 25 feet in length
  • Measuring tape
  • Utility knife
  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • 2 push pin tacks

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  1. 1

    Determine the FM stations' frequency you want to centre the antenna on using this formula.

    Length of the dipole antenna = 468/frequency (MHz) Note: 468 is a fixed number.

    Example: Length of the dipole antenna = 468/96.0 Length of the dipole antenna = 4.875 or rounded to 5 feet.

    If you want to receive the full scope of the FM broadcast stations then you may consider using 96.0 as the middle of the band.

  2. 2

    Divide the overall length of the measurement of the dipole in half. Example: 5/2 = 2-1/2 feet

    Form the shape of a T for the dipole antenna, separate or split the two wires in the twin lead apart (in the steps to follow), equal to 1-1/2 feet. When completely separated, the top of the T-shaped dipole will measure 5 feet to equal the determined measurement.

  3. 3

    Measure from one end of the twin lead wire to 2-1/2 feet. Wrap a piece of electrical tape at the 2-1/2 foot measurement. Take the utility knife and cut or split the plastic between the two leads in the twin lead wire. Cut a 2-inch slit in the plastic. Pull the two wires in opposite directions to further split the wire, until you reach the tape mark and stop. The wire now forms the shape of a T that is the look of a standard dipole antenna.

  4. 4

    Strip 1 inch of insulation off each end of the separated wires of the T-shaped dipole. The length of the top part of the T is 5 feet, which is the measurement for the dipole determined in the example formula.

  5. 5

    Locate an area close to the receiver that is as close to the ceiling as possible. Push one tack into the wall and measure 5 feet, and then push the remaining tack in the wall. Wrap one end of the stripped around one tack, and the other wire around the other tack.

  6. 6

    Connect the remaining end of the twin lead wire to the rear of the FM receiver. Follow the manufacturer guidelines for your particular model receiver for the connection process as they differ with each model.

Tips and warnings

  • It may be helpful to place the antenna close to a window or outdoors for better reception.
  • Avoid placing the antenna next to any metal objects such as an air conditioning unit or refrigerator as this will greatly weaken the antenna's effectiveness.

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