Despite its small size, a fractal antenna can receive high-definition, over-the-air television broadcasts. The fractal antenna is designed according to mathematical principles of miniaturisation through repetition of geometric patterns. Its performance is comparable to commercial antennas, and its small size eliminates the awkwardness of unsightly poles and wires in the yard or on the roof. Build this compact antenna and receive free digital television.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Plastic project box, 8 inches by 6 inches, 3 inches deep
- Plastic storage container, slightly larger than the project box
- 6 machine screws, 1/4 inch, 3/4 inch long
- 6 nuts and washers, 1/4 inch
- Electrical wire, insulation removed, 18-gauge, 4 feet long
- Matching transformer, 300-ohm to 75-ohm
- Coaxial cable, RG-6 with connectors, 15 feet long
- Power drill and various bits
- Wire-cutting tool
- Silicone sealant, weatherproof
Place the project box upside down on a flat surface with the long sides horizontal. Measure and mark a starting point 2 inches in from the left and 1 1/2 inches down from the top. Mark a second point 2 inches to the right, and a third point 2 inches farther right. Mark a point 1 inch directly below the starting point. Mark two additional points 2 inches and 4 inches farther right, directly under the upper marks. These points should create a rectangular shape in the middle of the box.
Drill 1/4-inch holes at the marks on the project box. Insert the screws through the bottom of the box. Tighten the nuts and washers loosely over the screws.
Cut the bare electrical wire into four 8-inch and two 6-inch lengths.
Mark seven 1-inch increments along an 8-inch wire, starting from one end. Bend the wire in half, creating a 60-degree angle. With the middle bend facing up, bend the wire at the 3- and 5-inch marks, creating 60-degree valleys on either side of the middle peak. Bend the 2- and 6-inch points, creating two additional 60-degree peaks on either side of each valley. Bend the 1- and 7-inch points out at 60-degree angles. The wire should resemble a partial three-pointed star with two legs bent outwards.
Perform the same procedure with the three remaining 8-inch wires.
Connect a 6-inch wire across the three upper screws, and a second wire across the three lower screws on the project box. Trim the excess wire.
Mount the centre peak of each wire fractal to a corner screw on the box. The top fractals should be mounted with the legs up, and the bottom fractals mounted with the legs down. Tighten the four corner screws.
Attach the fork terminals of the transformer to the middle screws on the box. Tighten the screws.
Drill a hole in the side of the storage container large enough for the coaxial cable. Fasten the project box lid, and place the antenna inside the storage container with the cable attached.
Seal the container lid and the hole in the side of the container using silicone sealant. This will protect your antenna from moisture.
Mount your antenna outdoors, running the cable through a wall or window to the TV antenna jack.
Tips and warnings
- If the project box did not come with an aluminium lid, line the inside of the plastic lid with foil. This will create a reflector for the antenna.
- Test the antenna before sealing the container.
- Avoid mounting the antenna near power lines.
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