Homemade Dish Antenna for a Cell Phone

Written by marshal m. rosenthal
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Homemade Dish Antenna for a Cell Phone
(Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Cell phones rely on a built-in antenna to send and receive calls. You can make a homemade antenna that will boost the signal strength, providing the phone has a cellular antenna port. You'll need a satellite dish, which can be picked up at a TV repair shop, satellite supply store or even a yard sale. You will also need a few power tools and other supplies from a hardware store and an electronics supply shop. Your homemade dish antenna will not violate any warranties, nor will it negatively affect the use of the cell phone in any way.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Newspaper
  • Ruler
  • Black magic marker
  • Black plastic
  • Solid core No. 3 electrical wire
  • Pliers
  • Portable drill
  • Utility knife
  • Bonding glue
  • “N” connector
  • “N” connector bracket plate
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • 1/8th-inch thick copper sheet
  • Wi-Fi card
  • 2-inch PR-TNC to N Male Pigtail
  • 1-inch PR-MMCX to N Male Pigtail
  • Satellite dish
  • 50 foot coaxial cable

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place a sheet of newspaper on a table. Cut a 10-inch length of electric wire with the wire cutters. Strip off a half inch of the outer sheathing from the electric wire with the wire cutters. Pull the black wire out of the sheathing.

  2. 2

    Strip off all of the insulation from the black wire with the wire cutters. Make a mark with the black magic marker every one inch. Bend the wire into a double diamond shape (a “bow-tie”) using the pliers.

  3. 3

    Cut a five-inch square out of the black plastic with the utility knife. Drill a hole in the centre of the black plastic with the portable drill.

  4. 4

    Screw the “N” connector into the hole in the centre of the “N” connector bracket plate. Apply bonding glue around the rim of the hole in the black plastic.

  5. 5

    Place the “N” bracket plate on top of the hole in the black plastic with the white-tipped end of the “N” connector facing down. Push down on the “N” bracket plate so the white-tipped end of the “N” connector goes into the hole. Let the bonding glue set for a day.

  6. 6

    Pull the white wire out of the sheathing. Strip off all of the insulation from the white wire with the wire strippers.

  7. 7

    Cut two four-inch lengths of the copper wire the wire cutters. Cut two six-inch lengths of the copper wire with the wire cutters.

  8. 8

    Turn the black plastic over.

  9. 9

    Solder one end of one of the four-inch lengths of copper wire to the centre pin of the “N” connector. Solder one end of one of the six-inch lengths of copper wire to the contact circling the centre pin of the ‘N” connector. Let the solder cool for five minutes.

  10. 10

    Cut the copper sheet to the same size as the black plastic with the utility knife. Cut a hole in the centre of the copper sheet with the utility knife. Apply bonding glue to one side of the copper sheet.

  11. 11

    Place the side of the copper sheet that has the bonding glue onto the back plastic so the two copper wires go through the hole in the copper sheet. Let the bonding glue set for three hours.

  12. 12

    Place the “bow-tie” made out of the copper wire horizontally onto the black plastic. Solder the four-inch length of copper wire coming from the “N” connector to the top centre of the “bow-tie.”

  13. 13

    Solder the six-inch length of copper wire coming from the “N” connector to the bottom centre of the “bow-tie.” Let the solder cool for five minutes.

  14. 14

    Cut two four-inch lengths from the copper sheet with the utility knife. Bend each of the two lengths of copper sheet into a “U” shape using the pliers.

  15. 15

    Place a length of copper sheet under each of the sides of the “bow-tie.” Apply bonding glue around the bottom sides of the two lengths of “U” shaped copper sheets. Let the bonding glue set for three hours.

  16. 16

    Turn the black plastic over.

  17. 17

    Solder one end of one of the other four-inch length of copper wire to the centre pin of the “N” connector. Solder one end of the other six- inch length of copper wire to the contact circling the centre pin of the ‘N” connector. Let the solder cool for five minutes.

  18. 18

    Solder the free end of the four-inch length of copper wire to the centre contact inside of the small connector on the two-inch PR-TNC to N Male Pigtail. Solder the free end of the six-inch length of copper wire to the contact circling the centre contact inside of the small connector on the two-inch PR-TNC to N Male Pigtail. Let the solder cool for five minutes.

  19. 19

    Screw the large connector on the two-inch PR-TNC to N Male Pigtail to one end of the coaxial cable.

  20. 20

    Place the homemade dish antenna you have made outside in your backyard on a window sill. Trail the coaxial cable into the house.

  21. 21

    Screw the large connector on the one-inch PR-MMCX to N Male Pigtail to the free end of the coaxial cable. Plug the small connector on the one-inch PR-MMCX to N Male Pigtail into the cellular antenna port on the cell phone.

Tips and warnings

  • Holding the end of the one-inch PR-MMCX to N Male Pigtail that is connected to the coaxial cable against the side of a cell phone that doesn't have a antenna plug can increase the performance of its built-in antenna.
  • Do not place the dish antenna where it could be struck by lighting or bothered by wild animals.

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