How to Build a Wireless Antenna Out of a Satellite Dish

Written by dan ravens
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How to Build a Wireless Antenna Out of a Satellite Dish
The large curved shape of a satellite dish is ideal for capturing Wi-Fi radio waves. (Satellite dish image by Scrivener from

The convenience of web-enabled phones and the rising costs of telecommunications services have increased interest in free Wi-Fi alternatives. Building a wireless antenna out of a satellite dish is one of the best alternatives. The Internet has numerous do-it-yourself antenna designs for free, but one of the best is the conversion of a satellite dish equipped with a USB wireless adaptor. The dish's parabolic shape provides a large surface to bounce the radio waves to a USB Wi-Fi transceiver that doesn't lose signal strength over cable distance.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Satelitte dish
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • USB Wi-Fi adaptor
  • Nylon cable tie
  • USB cable
  • USB extension cable (optional)

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  1. 1

    Remove the LNB (low noise block) unit from the end of a satellite dish extension arm.

  2. 2

    Replace it with a USB Wi-Fi adaptor. Wireless G adaptors can be found on line for £9 to £10 and at office supply stores for around £19. Wireless N is much faster, but more expensive, up to £65.

  3. 3

    Attach the USB Wi-Fi adaptor to the extension arm with nylon ties or a metal clasp.

  4. 4

    Attach a USB cable to the end of the USB Wi-Fi adaptor.

  5. 5

    Connect the USB cable to any open USB port on a computer. An extension USB cable can be used without the signal loss that applies to coaxial cable.

  6. 6

    Follow the on-screen set-up instructions to set up the Wi-Fi reception. The network wizard should find the wireless signal.

  7. 7

    Position the satellite dish in a direct line of sight (LOS) with known public access points. Radio waves are very directional.

Tips and warnings

  • Easy Wi-Fi Radar is a free download that automates Windows XP and Windows Mobile connections. Run it, and it automatically finds Wi-Fi public access points to the Internet. Easy Wi-Fi Radar will displays Wi-Fi signal strength as green, yellow or red dots. It works with Windows XP and Windows Mobile.

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