Are you looking for an easy kid friendly project? Are you looking for a project to encourage a new generation of ham radio operators?

This project is unusual, so it’s something that will certainly capture the attention of anyone, particularly a kid. It’s an antenna built out of PVC pipe, a tape measure and a handful of hose clamps.

This antenna is designed for two-meter operations, which, for a newbie ham operator, is one of the bands available under the Technician license in the US. Plus it’s easy to build and gives a great opportunity to teach several subjects with a hands-on approach.

Disclaimer: This project isn’t new; it’s not even my idea or design. I used the design from Joe Leggios (WB2HOL). The plans to his antenna are here.

Project Background

My nephew recently expressed interest in earning his Technician class amateur radio license. While some people discount the Technician level license of amateur radio as “ridiculously simple”  (including a well known conservative talk radio personality) it’s not so easy for an eight-year old. It requires comprehension of concepts that they still have yet to cover in school. Topics like basic algebra and principals of electricity.

When I set out to find a project, I was looking for something unusual that would grab his attention but something that was easy, fast and required few tools or skills. And I wanted it to be cheap. There is a total of $20 in materials in this antenna, assuming everything is purchased specifically for this project and not scavenged or salvaged parts.

The fundamentals of antennas is the one area I’ve been finding difficult to teach my nephew. Mostly because I refuse to “teach the test”. I want him to fully understand the material, not just pass a test. And I have found that I have had to teach him basic algebra in the process.

This project was perfect as I could scale it up or down as a lesson in a number of ways. Which is to say you can use the plans to build a perfectly workable antenna, or, you can use the formula for a Yagi antenna to modify the design. In my case, my nephew and I used the plans from WB2HOL, but we worked through the math to come up with element lengths.

And, in the end, we built something useable for when he earns his Technician class license.

Materials List

3/4” Schedule 40 PVC Pipe - at least 25”
6 hose clams big enough to fit around the PVC pipe
1 3/4” PVC tee
2 3/4” PVC crosses
8’ RG-58 cable with a connector attached to one side. I soldered a female BNC to mine.
5” wire. I used 18 gauge solid copper wire, but I’m told anything works.
Rosin core solder
Tape measure with 1” wide tape
PVC glue

Tools Needed

Soldering iron
Tape measure
Pipe cutters
Wire stripper
Shears or scissors
Sand paper
SWR Meter
Screwdriver or wrench for tightening the hose clamps

Step 1: Cutting the elements and assembling the boom

You’ll need to cut two pieces of PVC pipe. One piece will be 17 1/2”. The other 7”. This, along with the PVC connectors, will form the frame of the antenna.

Assemble the pipe to form the frame ("boom") of the antenna. Gluing each piece together, the 17 1/2” piece connects between the tee and the first cross. The PVC tee is the front of the antenna. The 7” piece connects between the first and second tees.

Disassemble the tape measure by pulling the tape out of the case. If you pull the tape past it’s end, you’ll find that it’s connected to a spring. Simply twist the tape so it disconnects from the spring.

Cut the tape at 35 1/8”. This will be the director of the antenna and will attach to the front of the antenna.

Cut two 17 3/4” long pieces of the tape. These will serve as the driven elements.

Cut an additional element from the tape. This will need to be 41 3/8”. This is the reflector element.

Sand all the ends of the elements so they are smooth to the touch. These are extremely sharp if left un-sanded. Also sand off about 1/2” of paint on the ends of the bottom side of the driven elements. This will be where you will solder the wires later.

Note: If you are going to mount the antenna, set it up so the antenna will be forward of the mounts. Yagi antennas may suffer in performance if mounted elsewhere, like the center of the boom.
<p>I am looking for details about your product place leave a messages ,When </p><p>I post this, I am looking for more information on this .</p>
<p>Hello, jcomen. I have been searching for a way to &quot;redirect&quot; 3G cellphone frequencies from the outside into my room both for my cellphone and my internet pendrive. I work on hydro-power projects far away from any towns and inhabit a (pretty good) housing container for most of the year. The thing is that both outer and inner walls are made of metal sheets and everything is grounded because of the electrical instalation and lightning protection, almost making my room a perfect Faraday cage ! I was thinking of building an outdoor &quot;receiving&quot; antenna and running a small lenght of coax cable to a &quot;broadcasting&quot; antenna inside the room without using any sort of power, a passive device.</p><p>Since this sort of knowledge is way off my league can you help me with any ideas ?</p>
<p>Have you tried contacting a satellite, or the ISS? I would like to know to see if I could build one of these so I could try contacting NA1SS (the American part of the ISS.) </p>
<p>My first homebrew antenna and my first Instructable build. Super easy and fun to build! Tested it out on a Baofeng UV-5RAX handheld and was able to pick up a friend on the same model radio about 6 miles away. I just used regular CATV coax. I have a friend with SWR meter... will have to run it through to see if it needs any tweaking. Thanks for the Instructable!</p>
<p>Awesome! I'm glad you got something out of this project! You mention CATV, are you in the CATV industry? I ask because I am. </p>
<p>Nope, I'm just a general techno-jack-of-all-trades. I'm currently in IT but just got my HAM license in May and I like that there are instructions out there on how to make almost anything you need for it, if you're willing to spend the time to learn how.<br><br>I let my friend borrow this antenna and she was able to reach back to me on my base radio and handheld. I just need to build a few more now! :)</p>
<p>Safety feature: The locals that have used these for transmitter hunt antennas for the last decade or so discovered something a long time ago... The edges of the tape measure section can be VERY sharp and can cut a gash faster than you can blink. I'd do two things: first, use a file on the sharp ends to reduce the sharpness as much as possible... Second, cover the ends with something - the most common thing you see around here is a piece of cloth duct tape folded over each end of each element.<br><br>BTW, if you have a Harbor Freight in your area, walk in and sign up for the snail-mailed coupons Every so often their monthly snail-mail flyer includes a coupon for a free 25 foot (by 1 inch) tape measure just for walking into the store (no purchase required). Two other frequent freebies are a low-end-DVM or a 6-piece screwdriver set (both of which live in my ARES go-bag).</p>
<p>Ive seen a number of antennas such as this. Im curious where and why the 5&quot; piece of wire is used. Is the wire a matching section or impedance balance component?</p>
You are absolutely correct, it's a hairpin match. It's the simplest match for this type of antenna, with the added bonus that it is light weight and compact as compared to something like a Gamma match.
<p>Thanks so much for the clarification.</p>
<p>I guess the camera &quot;fish-eye&quot; effect is making the top length look longer than the middle length. At least I can count the inch marks and see the top length is off-center by 1 inch, having 18 inches to the left and 16 inches to the right. I assume you've caught that by now and adjusted it.</p>
If I remember correctly, it was actually 2&quot; off. The photo was pre-SWR meter testing. I'm surprised you caught that; Even though it was new, I cut the tape a foot in from the front so I didn't have holes in the element. Thanks!
It is important where the 2 cut pieces meet in the middle to be as close as possible. The total length of the two lengths plus the space should probably be 17.5&quot; in order to be ideal according to the software that the original designer was using. I would trim off 1/16&quot; from those pieces to see if it improves. Car anteneas use a spiral groove to add inductance and a metal ball at the top to add capacitance which matches with the characteristics of the surrounding air better. So I bet there's a way to improve upon even yagi designs.
<p>An inch between the ends of the driven elements seemed to work pretty well for me in this design. When I moved the driven elements closer or father from each other, the SWR changed, and not in good ways. At exactly an inch, I had just a touch over 1:1 but under 1.1:1 on the SWR meter at the frequency the elements were cut for. It's the best I was able to achieve and really good considering. Funny you mention car antennas, I actually scavenged several yesterday because I was thinking the next project with my nephew would be a Yagi built out of them. </p>
<p>nice instructables!</p>
<p>Copper cacti were used by Hams in apartments with terraces and a no external antenna rule (of any kind). So you plop it in a Ceramic Vase and call it sculpture. (fer real).</p><p>Ladder line hard to get (jpole) Take a piece of plastic corrugated &quot;cardboard&quot; shove the appropriate pieces of &quot;12 solid down two of the corrugations at the right distance from each other (parallel)make the connections take silicone sealant and squirt into the open ends of corrugations. There will be 2 or 3 empty channels near the middle pull some fishing line through them to make a nice hanger. while this will not roll up it is also light and you can with aid of rope pull it up into a tree. </p><p>Get dimensions for ladder line from the net. Alternatively you could just glue the wire to anything for the spacing add a hole to the &quot;backer board&quot; add the string.</p><p>Then you can build the attic antennas! (quaggie)</p><p>Ciao</p><p>chris</p>
<p>OH I fergit, let him make a Jpole and a Copper Cactus. The CC will let him/her use flames. Nothing better'n flames and ham radio. Sometimes the radio provide both!</p>
<p>Interesting idea! I think I'll do that. One can never have enough antennas and I'm sure I have some copper laying around somewhere. Thanks for the idea.</p>
<p>Glad to see another &quot;Elmer&quot; in the mix. I made one of these a few years ago from Joes plans. Works quite nicely! </p><p>All my best to the young fellow working on his ticket.</p><p>Here's a look-see at the one I put together.</p><p><a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Radio-Direction-Finding-Antenna-for-VHF/?ALLSTEPS" rel="nofollow">http://www.instructables.com/id/Radio-Direction-Fi...</a></p>
<p>Thanks! These things work really well; of course why wouldn't they? Yagi's are pretty amazing antennas. </p><p>I didn't find yours until well after I posted this one. These are fun because they are so simple to put together. Definitely a great project.</p>
<p>2 meters?</p><p>how about 6 meters?</p><p>nice instructable and Kudo's as well to the guy who thought it up! (WB2HOL)</p><p>the new 1 inch wide rulers really can work well and being able to roll them up is a hoot. </p><p>Great for a back pack if you use &quot;rollers&quot; to roll them up to stay put and then get to top of say Bear Mountain in NY and fire up the Limark repeater system! I did it with a crappy rubber duck on an HTX 202 on Lo Power, dfq even. This would make it even better!</p><p>Height makes mite they say! so put it in a tree.</p><p>ciao</p>
good hunting! 73
<p>Thanks! That's one of the things I plan to try to get him into when he gets his ticket. 73!</p>

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