How to Build a Homebrew Dipole Array Antenna for a WLAN 2450 MHz

Written by adam quinn
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How to Build a Homebrew Dipole Array Antenna for a WLAN 2450 MHz
Surf the web at optimal speed using a homemade dipole-array antenna. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A dipole- or collinear-array antenna can boost your Wi-Fi signal, resulting in faster wireless connection speeds to your desktop or laptop computer. The antenna's dipole-array configuration is comparable to dipole antennas stacked on top of each other. The collinear design combines the strength of multiple antennas in a space-saving, compact format.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Electrical wire, 12-gauge, 50cm long, insulation removed
  • N-type connector, female, screw-on mount with solder tab
  • Sheet metal, aluminium, 10cm square
  • Pig tail cable, custom made with male N-type connector and connector for wireless card
  • Stationary clamp
  • Power drill and various bits
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Washers
  • Metric ruler
  • Pliers
  • Finish hammer
  • Permanent marker

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Instructions

    Preparation

  1. 1

    Straighten the electrical wire by clamping the wire section-by-section.

  2. 2

    Measure and mark 2.5cm from the end of the wire. Bend the wire to 90-degrees at this mark. From this bend, measure 3.6cm, and bend the wire to a 90-degree angle in the opposite direction of the first bend. The wire end should resemble a Z.

  3. 3

    Wrap the segment of wire between the first and second bends into a coil. To do this, secure the wire vertically in the clamp against a 1cm drill bit. Gripping the first bend, wrap the wire segment around the bit.

  4. 4

    Measure and mark 7.8cm from the first coil, and bend a second, third, and fourth coil, following the same procedure. Each coil should be 7.8cm from the previous one. Each coil should be bent in the same direction, clockwise or counterclockwise.

  5. 5

    Trim the final segment of wire -- between the fourth coil and the tip -- to 8cm.

    Assembly

  1. 1

    Find and mark the centre of the sheet metal, by drawing diagonal lines from the corners. Drill a small hole in the centre of the sheet. Gradually expand the hole, using larger bits, until the N-connector fits.

  2. 2

    Mount the N connector in the hole with the solder tab facing up. Make sure the white insulation at the base of the solder tab is flush with the sheet. Fit washers to the N-connector on the reverse side of the sheet, to bring the insulation even.

  3. 3

    Solder the 2.5cm end of the coil antenna to the N-connector's solder tab.

  4. 4

    Stretch the coils vertically to a spacing of 2cm, using the pliers. The final height of the antenna from the sheet metal to the tip should be 42.5cm.

  5. 5

    Connect the antenna to your wireless card's external antenna jack using the pig tail cable.

Tips and warnings

  • Weatherproof the antenna by mounting the wire in a PVC tube with end caps. Secure the tube to the reflector by mounting the bottom cap first, using small sheet metal screws. Fit the tube into the bottom cap, and seal both caps with PVC glue. Weatherproof the coaxial connection using duct tape.
  • One inch is equal to .395 inches. If you need to convert the measurements in this article, search for an online calculator.

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