Introduction: 10 $ WIFI 16dBi Super Antenna Pictorial

Picture of 10 $ WIFI 16dBi Super Antenna Pictorial

In this pictorial I'm showing you how to make a 16dBi very powerful wifi antenna for under 10 dollars. I've already posted a movie about this but a lot of people asked or a pictorial, so I've made another one so I could make pictures.


Step 1: Materials Needed

Picture of Materials Needed

This picture shows you what you need.

A 12x12cm brass, copper or tinned metal plate, a BNC chassis connector, a BNC cable connector, 35mm thick PE or styrofoam (can also be thicker) and some 1.5mm2 single core wire. This stuff is used in the netherlands in 220V in house cabling.

Other possible materials:
I can imagine that people want to use other materials, like a pipe to mount the antenna wire on. If you could get a pipe with roughly a 35mm diameter, you can use that IF the material is good for radiowaves. There is a very simple way to find out. Place a piece of styrofoam in your microwave, together with a piece of the material you want to use. Turn on the microwave for 30 seconds. Stop the microwave immedeately if you see the other material melt. Now check out how warm the other material is, if it's not warmer, or a little warmer than the styrofoam, you have found suitable material, if it has melted or is very hot,that you're dealing with lossy material which absorbes microwave radiation and turns it into heat, this material is useless for making high performance antenna's. This trick works so well because the WIFI band is at 2.45GHz and microwaves also radiate at that frequency, so it's a perfect test. Some very good materials are PE tubes, teflon tubes (if you can afford them) and PolyProlylene tubes.

Step 2: Mount the BNC Connector to the Plate

Picture of Mount the BNC Connector to the Plate

Find the center of the plate by drawing lines between the corners and make a mark 20mm from the center. Drill a hole in the plate at that point that is big enough to fit the center conductor and its isolation. After drilling, you can put the connector in the whole, mark the 4 fixing holes, drill them and mount the connector using small bolts.

Step 3: Cut the PE or Styrofoam

Picture of Cut the PE or Styrofoam

We need to cut 3 pieces of PE foam or styrofoam. PE foam is often used to protect computer or measurment or other sensitive equipment during transport it should be easy to get when asking around if you don't have it yourself. Styrofoam is even easier to get, but a little harder to work on. Styrofoam can be bought at DIY stores as a standard isolation material for houses.

We need to cut two 12x12 centimeter squares that are 3.5cm thick. A 3.5x3.5cm hole must be made in the middle of the squares. We also need to cut a 46cm long beam that is 3.5x3.5cm square. The beam should fit snugly in the 2 squares we've already made.

Step 4: Mark the Beam and Wind the Antenna Wire

Picture of Mark the Beam and Wind the Antenna Wire

You must mark the beam every 3 centimeters. After doing that the 1.5mm2 wire can be stripped. The wire must be stripped since the isolation is not suitable for high frequency uses. It will be very lossy which means your antenna will have much less gain.

When the wire is stripped, it can be wound around the beam, exactly over the markings, in a nice equal spiral.

Step 5: Solder the Antenna Wire

Picture of Solder the Antenna Wire

This is a critical part.

The BNC connector has some insulation around it's central conductor. You must cut this until it is 1mm above the metal plate.

The copper wire must run at a height of 1mm above the plate over a length of 30mm before following the spiral shape. This is very important to tune the antenna's VSWR. A good VSWR basically means that the antenna is capable of 'absorbing' the radio waves coming from the wifi card instead of reflecting them back to the card.

Cutting the isolation of the connector helps you to get the right height when soldering the wire. You can place some tape below the copper wire on the plate to prevent short circuits. Since the wire is quite thick, it easily retains the shape you put it in. It is very important to cut the 1.5mm wire that is too long at the BNC connector. One side of this wire goes up into the spiral, the part sticking out at the other end must be cut close to the central pin of the connector. Leaving a part here will make the VSWR worse.

When the antenna wire is soldered to the connetor, we can push the squares down over the beam. This will hold the beam upright. As a last step, the squares are fixed to the plate with some tape.

Step 6: Connecting the Antenna to Your WIFI Card

Picture of Connecting the Antenna to Your WIFI Card

There are multiple ways to connect it to your wlan card.

1.
If you have a card with an external antenna, you can cut the wire, and mount a BNC connector to it that you can connect to the antenna.

2.
If your wireless card has a connector, you can either buy a cable that fits in your card on one side and has a BNC connector on the other side, or buy a cheap external antenna, cut the wire and mount the connector yourself.

Instructions on how to mount a connector can always be found on the website of the manufacturer. Just make sure you know who made the connector when you buy one. There is one practical tip that is important to know. When soldering a connector, at some point you'll need to solder the center pin. This will always leave some solder on the outside of this pin preventing it from going into the connector housing. You have to 'suck' it away with some solder braid, after that it easily slides in.

When you've got a suitable cable, plug in the connector and give it a test run. You'll notice that you're able to receive much more accesspoint. In my case I got 3 times as many accesspoints. Some people who saw the movie about this antenna on Metacafe made one and they were very enthousiastic about the results.

Step 7: Results:16dBi Antenna Picks Up 21 Ap's Instead of 7 With the Original Antenna!

Picture of Results:16dBi Antenna Picks Up 21 Ap's Instead of 7 With the Original Antenna!

When using this antenna, you should be aware that this antenna has a lot of gain, but because of that, a narrow beam in which it has that gain. In other words, you have to aim it.

The 2 pictures show the number of accesspoints picked up with a normal antenna that comes with the wifi card, and with the 16dBi antenna after scanning it over 180 degrees. I didn't expect any accesspoints behind me so I didn't scan that, allthough I can't be sure of that. Anyway, you can see the new antenna picks up 21 accesspoints instead of 7!

Comments

AlexanderN65 (author)2017-08-18

Hi, very interesting project. Could you help how to build a directional bi-polar mimo antenna for 3.5GHz? It is a frequency used at some point for wimax. I have internet provider working on this band and signal is absolutely rubbish. Antennas on the market are 50 EUR the cheapest. But I wonder If I can make one myself. Thank you in advance,

Alex

Varen Greycloak (author)2017-05-18

how would I go about adapting the BNC connecter to Ethernet or USB?

AntoniousS (author)2017-04-07

https://www.instructables.com/id/10--WIFI-16dBi-Super-Antenna-Pictorial/
Sent from Mail for Windows 10
PLEASE HELP ME? NEED ADVICE ASAP WITH THIS CRUCIAL PROBLEM ?
TRIED TO SEND THIS BY EMAIL BUT COULD NOT? SO HAD TO USE OUR COMMENT BOX?
My address is as follows?<> antoniousjohanes.salij@gmail.com

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Item title <> High Gain 24dBi 5.8G 300M WIFI ISM FPV Wireless Parabolic MIMO Antenna 2N Female ( trying to purchase this on eBay?)

==========================================================
I need to get a directional antenna booster to increase reception from a tower 10.5 kilometres away as it in in the city, l’m in an outside that city living in a dead spot for receiving my 4G and 5G signals for my Telstra “Nighthawk 4g X WiFi receiver Modem” It can receive 5G band as well and the best speeds can be obtained with this WiFi receiver/transmitter (Can deliver to 20 devices) l have tried most things with little result?
However l made an offer to someone supplying the ABOVE antenna that he wanted to sell for $159.00 USD. I made and offer on his eBay sale page for an $80.00USD which equates to the equivalent of $110.00 AUD (Australian dollars?) Now my question is should l withdraw my offer as i have only 10 hours left to do so?
Because it says it is also a WiFi transmitter ( for the purpose of networking from “P 2 P” “POINT TO POINT” ) which means how can l use it to boost my WiFi Modem without connecting it directly or can it send a signal to my modem and if it could act like a repeater ????

MY thought is <>“lt cannot do this?” <> so it is crucial l cancel this offer ASAP to save myself the commitment or l will get BAD CREDIT FROM eBay account?
Your opinion would help me overcome my indecision and doubts?


Or can l go ahead with the purchase and somehow by-pass the WiFi access and use it as a usual antenna booster because l believe it can pull the proper signal power l require to use for my business trading on the stock exchange?
Cannot afford any unnecessary “latency” due to bad reception or “PING’’ delays?

So far my other OPTUS MODEM gets 21ms delay or sometimes more? But modem is totally unreliable for using this to trade with?

My need to get this “Telstra Nighthawk 4G X” modem<> ( it is rated 10 times faster than the Optus modem?) l need this up and working ASAP is now extremely important to me?
I’m losing a $1000.00 AUD per day income and l’m only starting to trade as l want to get off the pension at 66 years old retired to boot?
Can it be converted or used to suit my purpose? And be able to advice me on the HOW?
Can you advice me with your reply within the next few hours or l might as well cancel this offer which is half his going price and a good deal for me if he accepts my offer of $80.00 USD?
Thank you in advance?
Your newbie subscriber TONY SALIJ?

David97 (author)2015-10-05

This is circular polirised? wouldnt the antenna on the modem and pc need to be changed to circular porized aswell?

wb7ond (author)David972016-02-05

When you attempt to transmit with a vertical antenna and receive with a horizontal antenna via line of sight, there is about a 30db polarization mismatch loss. The circular polarization on one of the antennas takes care of that. It has almost equal polarization in both horizontal and vertical planes, so the other antenna can be either V, H, or Circ. The measure of the quality of that circular polarization is called axial ratio. Satellites tend to "tumble" and their vertical antennas can be either vertical, horizontal or "in between", earth stations tend to use circular polarized antennas to provide optimum service.

Dick

gimincorp (author)2008-03-11

I made this antenna. I connected it with about 4' of TV cable and had no improvement altogether. Then I changed TV Cable to CAT 5e (by cutting the connectors off and soldering one end to antenna and another to my card's external antenna. That action killed the signal altogether and now I'm w/o Wi-Fi - thus w/o internet!

prosoundguru (author)gimincorp2015-04-16

my friend, you MUST ONLY use a coax feed line thats rated at 50 ohms. TV cable (rg-59 or rg-6 etc) is rated at 75 ohm. CAT 5e? different types of data cables have ratings of 300ohm, 600ohm & some at 150ohm. but cat 5-5e & cat6-6a are typically considered 100ohm. however, (real world) a UTP pair will give you less than 10ohms for approx 100m. either way, those options were destined to failure. The use of CAT5e to feed an antenna at 2400mhz+ probably resulted in nearly ZERO emission from the antenna at all. Instead, the CAT5e became the antenna itself. but was incredibly mismatched, (a) resistance of 10ohms instead of 50ohms & (b) length of wire certainly wasnt tuned to a 2.4Ghz wavelength.This probably caused all the RF energy to build severe standing-wave & reflect everything back into the output circuit..... POP! [smoke exits device, etc.]

dont be discouraged. i've done worse to a $300,000 FM transmitter (i didnt really like that job anyway. but the competing stations LOVED me )

keep experimenting (but read first),

CHEERS!

shomas (author)prosoundguru2015-10-05

"but cat 5-5e & cat6-6a are typically considered 100ohm. however, (real world) a UTP pair will give you less than 10ohms for approx 100m"

Cat 5-5e, at 100 mhz is rated at 100 ohms impedance (different than pure resistance <10 ohm/100m ) Note that impedance results from inductive and capacitive reactance at a particular frequency versus resistance that depends length on cross section. Although, at high frequencies, skin effect can effectively reduce a conductors cross section, but impedence is still different than resistance.

EricS2 (author)gimincorp2014-12-09

i burned out at least 3 cards before learning always ground yourself to something via speaker wire or buy one at radio shack $5. your wifi card is not built to last. try again or give up . done correctly this antenna is the preferred design for wardriving. in moms basement a simple dipole with a parabolic reflector cant be beat.. .

Enventer (author)gimincorp2008-03-19

how did you write this comment without internet?

butterninja (author)Enventer2010-11-01

Good call haha
but yer friends house
also amazing project but how well will this work through 4ft of stone and a distance of around 30ft? (i have a art studio with no phone socket in case your wondering)

Panzer_mike (author)Enventer2008-03-28

He probably went to a friends house or a library =P

timheppner (author)gimincorp2008-04-11

You need to use coax cable that is rated for WIFI. At the frequency that WIFI operates (2.4 GHz), the signal loss is very high, and the longer the cable between the antenna and the wireless card, the worse the signal loss. Cable that is rated for WIFI is more expensive, but it's the only real way you'll get the signal from your antenna to the wireless card. It's worth the money spent.

jefferdomd (author)2015-08-16

Cool.

keston reyes (author)2015-08-16

sscoolio (author)2009-05-09

just a misc. comment... lol wat kinda accent is that guy in vid have?

diy_bloke (author)sscoolio2015-07-30

As he is receiving a signal from Pijnacker, it is most likely the Netherlands so I guess Dutch.
His Antenna can't be that good that he is receiving Pijnacker all the way in Wisconsin

LesB (author)sscoolio2011-10-02

I think they talk like that in Wisconsin

kydlt (author)sscoolio2011-08-21

" This stuff is used in the netherlands in 220V in house cabling. "
Dutch maybe ?

EricS2 (author)2014-12-09

id like to see how you got 16dbi .. its possible.. aluminium siding reflects . this is a good design in dense urban areas . easy 8-12 dbi over 1/4 wave. dipole . increased signal with reflector made from aluminum screen and patience..

der_fisherman (author)2014-10-04

Brilliant! Also beautifully sorted (Microwave testing!) and photographed....

I don't need one at the moment, but if ever I do.....

One question, do I need two of these, one for each direction, or is one enough?

Many thanks for sharing

Regards

Andy

robert.kubichek (author)2014-10-03

There are many low cost usb wifi adapters with an external antenna connector.

I would mount one directly to the helical antenna and use a good grade usb cable to computer.

WYLMAS (author)2014-06-20

will it work as a transmitter antenna connected instead of a factory-made wifi router antenna?

AB9IL (author)2012-05-07

Nice antenna - it works! If you're not happy with using some LMR400 cable, I certainly suggest mounting the wi fi adapter right at the base of the helix.  For another perspective look at http://www.ab9il.net/wlan-projects/wifi3A.html and see it will work okay mounted that way.  Also, the wire on PVC works and so does copper foil tape.  Delicate, though.

TXcat22 (author)2012-02-06

New to all this. Trying to recieve a signal aboout 250 feet from my sailboat. Trying to find the video.....?

Thanks

chadeau (author)2011-12-12

He said 'insulation'...

mbulan (author)2011-09-06

can I used the female RPA connector from the wifi card?I was thinking that it might boost the signal if I will derectly connected the wifi card from the antenna rather than using a cable Thanks

abadfart (author)2011-09-02

fiber glass works well i have had several antennas made out of it

bperina (author)2011-08-14

Is it good to emit a signal with an Access Point or, is it only to terminals???

dmonday (author)2011-07-05

Nice, Try to track down LMR400 or even LMR100 on a budget for the cable, as it is designed for microwave use. Keep in mind that good cable can be a bit expensive, though it will cut down signal LOSS at 2.4ghz frequencies. Wrong cable can reduce the signal at the point of a standard antenna, or even lower.

here is another alternative, but the cable really needs to be replaced with decent cable. http://www.dealextreme.com/p/2-4ghz-8dbi-sma-high-gain-dish-directional-antenna-for-wifi-wireless-network-2400-2483mhz-32023

elffire (author)2011-04-27

I'm going to experiment with connecting this to an internal laptop wi-fi card at the point where the internal antenna connects - probably could piggy-back it - I'm afraid of blowing one up, but I have a couple spare wi-fi cards from dismantled laptops... I'll test this on a spare and see what happens and post my results later... although it will be a while...

expert_vision (author)2011-04-03

Is this correct? 120mm of the square's side is equal to the wave length, 30mm spacing between wire turns is equal to 1/4 wave length and the diameter of the pipe again 1/4 wave length.
What I'm trying to do is to adapt your design to 2.1GHz(UMTS).

Well .. I asked a friend of mine (Google) and he said that this type of antenna is called "helix antenna". Also he said that reflector should be >3/4 wave length, helix spacing is indeed 1/4 wave length and helix diameter is 1/pi wave length(in other word the circumference of one helix turn has to be equal to wave length).

Is this antenna adapted to 50ohm? Helical antennas have around 140ohm input impedance, but is styrofoam acting like an dielectric?

Oh .. you explained that in step 5, you did this by flattening 30mm of the spiral above ground. How much will I have to flatten for 2.1 GHz ?

Yep .. after some hard search, 1/4 wave length again. Now I can build it.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1377791

Ranie-K (author)2009-04-23

Hi, I just wondered if this could be made with laminated corrugated cardboard instead of foam.

servant74 (author)Ranie-K2011-03-26

No reason no to. Just nothing conductive is the main thing.

sruscoe (author)2011-03-26

How does it perform? 100% SS is good so long as the signal quality is there to match, my digital tv recieves 25% signal strength but the signal quality is still 100%

sanketsk (author)2009-06-08

Wonderful, but the wire thickness is 1.5mmsquare or 1.5mm diameter? please clear me
also can a PCB be used instead of copper plate??

if you use pcb's be a good idea to not have it aeounf people and wear the full safetyset up. unless you meant pvc. kidding ya

TaylorTech (author)sanketsk2009-07-24

Err, sorry. I just realized the hypotenuse of 3.5*3.5 is 4.9 cm. A little more. Anyone know a good substitute for foam?

TaylorTech (author)TaylorTech2009-07-24

Oops again LOL, google messed up my metric conversion. .5in is not 3.81 cm.

Slim49 (author)2010-11-23

I am building this one again.
I wanted a way to mount the plate & aim it
a refinement I opted for is to put a .060" aluminum 2"x12" bracket in between the Copper plate & the N-50 connector. drilled & used a countersink bit to bed it in till solidly placed.
bend the ends 90 degrees. drill holes as needed & mount.
I am planning on getting a Students gooseneck lamp & mounting my antenna in place of the lamp.
this extra metal has a benifit of keeping the soldering nub/hub down below the surface.
just trimmed the soldered part down to 1 mm high.
Slim49

Slim49 (author)2010-11-07

Come on People,
I built this antenna last year "from" the video. had to replay a few times! :-)
but got it in 1st pass.I used 14gu. copper I stripped out of some Duplex house wiring.
a packing /shipping company gave me teh foam, I had to put an extra piece 1/2 length underneath to support it.
I used the Copper clad "ROOf" material you see on the finer houses.
the Roofing co. gave me a free scrap. I have made 5 antennas from it! still plenty left.
it is a super Hi-gain antenna!!
it is circular polorized, so what!!
it gets the signals in, for My rural buddy, it is THE only one of the 4 types I built that works. its a complete wave length antenna, I think that is alot of its sucess.
it is HIGHLY directional!! and I mean 1/2 degrees can make or break you.
easier to use than the 15 element Yagi. that is Sick directional, though easier to DIY.
I have been meaning to make of this conical Foam antenna for myself.
I tip my hat Dude.
Steve

artistonhpvs (author)2008-06-12

Perhaps I and others are impatient to get answers or replies. most readings of instructions generally easy and simple to understand and follow through. Is this in the U.S.? the tinkerer has an accent speaks fast like watching time. I live in Ontario, Canada. Most of these items not available in stores. I might try something else or just give up and take this as...spam. my email is artistonhpvs@fidohiptop.ca thank U

Tavor (author)artistonhpvs2008-10-02

Honestly, I'm from the U.S. and I understood it very easily. BNC connectors are widely available from parts houses, the copper wire is the hardest part to get - but if you scavenge you can find it free in junked appliances. Otherwise, try a hardware store. The plate of thin metal is easily acquired from hobby shops.

STRAYCAT515 (author)Tavor2010-10-18

ALL AVAL. AT RADIO SHACK, OR WHAT EVER THEY GO BY NOW.....;)

fishhead455 (author)2008-02-02

We all appreciate this idea and well-done informational video. Very easy to follow. I shall build one for my friend who lives in the city but for myself, I live in the forest seven miles from a signal, I shall continue struggling with the giant C-band parabolic dish hoping to gather just enough to make it work. Thanks again and keep up the good work.

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