Turn your standard WIFI antenna into one just like the $30 range extender antennas for about 5 cents! Follow these easy steps, and then check out the video if you need extra clarification. Digg if you like my very first Instructable.

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Step 1: Remove the top of your stock WIFI antenna.

Picture of Remove the top of your stock WIFI antenna.
A small flat jeweler's screwdriver works great!

Step 2: We're going to match the Range Extender layout form as you see here.

Picture of We're going to match the Range Extender layout form as you see here.
You'll need: small gauge solid copper wire, insulated or non-insulated, and a wood screw/drywall screw, measuring tape or ruler, and a soldering iron.

Step 3: Measure off 2 3/4" of your wire and make a small bend.

Picture of Measure off 2 3/4
Then, starting with the bend, use the grooves of the drywall screw as a template and make 7 COMPLETE loops, then bend the wire flush to the screw after the sevenh loop. just unscrew the drywall screw to remove it from the wire.

Step 4: Measure off 3/4" from the end of the coil and cut.

Picture of Measure off 3/4
Then strip off 1/8" of the insulation or sand off 1/8" of the coating on non-insulated wire (depending on what you're using).

Step 5: Cut down your stock antenna to 1/4"

Picture of Cut down your stock antenna to 1/4
And then strip off 1/8" of the insulation.

Step 6: Solder the new antenna onto your cut down and stripped stock antenna.

Picture of Solder the new antenna onto your cut down and stripped stock antenna.
Overlap all the bare wire from the stock antenna base and the new antenna.

Step 7: Use a large diameter drinking straw and slide it over the new antenna.

Picture of Use a large diameter drinking straw and slide it over the new antenna.
McD's has them... they're slightly larger diameter than a regular drinking straw. I think they're for shakes, etc.

Step 8: The straw fits perfectly and snugly on stock WIFI antenna bases.

Picture of The straw fits perfectly and snugly on stock WIFI antenna bases.
Amazingly, you don't even have to glue them. It's a match made in heaven! Use a black permanent marker or paint for a pro look...

Step 9: All Done!

Picture of All Done!
Looks pretty good! You get a more omni-directional output (less fiddling with exact antenna placement) and approx. 5 dB gain. It works REALLY well on both your wireless cards and routers. See my video to see the results, and Digg this if you like my very first Instructable! 8D

jenmar772 years ago
Wow, love the simplicity, great first :)
craobhruadh3 years ago
Anarky to answer your question.....It works very well!. My little girls computers are sharing a wireless internet connection. And their placement is a little lacking IE behind a couch...ever try to argue fashion versus function with a woman?....yah..

.Their wireless card has a similar antenna to the one on my old D-link so dust off yee ole G router and steal it's antenna.

well I didn't have any copper cable around until I remembered I was sitting on tons of coax.

So I stripped it out (use a pair of wire strippers or you will chop it in half) followed his directions to a T, minus i went with a paper-mate pen casing in stead of a straw, it is stronger and similar to the real casing comes in a variety of colors and has a cool pointy tip :).

with the old antenna I was getting a .85 megabit pull on speed test. with two little girls playing online Pokeman games sharing the same wireless it was bad. But add the antenna hack and it went up to 2.87 Megabits. to confirm this I put the old one back on and retested right back down to .85- .89

took me 5 minutes to make this thing (butane soldering iron is the bomb)

I cant thank him enough a nickle worth of old sat cable saved me 30 bucks and the headache from my girls "daddy my internet sucks"

Havent heard from them in days.

Now I will see if this ups my wireless bridge as well!!!!!!!! Burhahahahah cough cough

SIRJAMES093 years ago
I have a Q:

I have an old CB antennae that has been sitting around for like forever...would that work?? *evil grin*

I know that I would have to build a base for it & all that, but if it'll work to REALLY pull in the net or whatever, then it will have some purpose.....otherwise its trash
Yeah I tried to ghetto this and it didn't work so well. I think I made it worse. It was on an old crappy belkin router anyways though so I don't really care. I think the problem arose when I didn't solder it together and instead just kinda rapped it around. I didn't use the same thickness wire either.
babblin5 (author)  BreakTheChains7 years ago
I used 20 gauge solid copper insulated wire, but you'd want to keep it between 18-22 gauge for it to be effective. You do want a solid solder joint in order for the element to efficiently load the RF into the antenna...
Sawyl babblin54 years ago
Never just 'wrap' the wires together to connect them. Always use either a butt connector (a.k.a crimp) or solder them. Plus, use the best quality wire you can.

Very old, kinked, bent etc wire risk you having breaks inside the coating. So, for those who didn't get the desired results, go back, use new wire (either magnetic wire with a non-plastic coating,--will need to be sanded at the ends for connecting) or a quality 16 to 12 gauge coated wire that has many wire fibers inside the coating, versus a single piece of solid metal ( too easily broken internally without knowing).

Again... NO wrapping the wires together... NO electrical tape to connect them... NO glue gun to connect them!!!
USE rosin core solder, or use a butt connector (a.k.a. Crimp) spend the 2-4$ on the crimps if you don't have a soldering iron... Worth it every time!
Ok I'll thanks. I'll do it correctly some day but I did it half assed purposely.
What size screw did you use? At 2.4GHz, the difference in the inductive loading could make or break the tuning of the antenna.
Its a common Drywall Screw, not with Fine Thread.
wout smeets5 years ago
 can close te tip with an glue gun

nunyafb5 years ago
Just a brief Thought. Based on my experience from the good old days of "CB" radios Good Buddy tuning the antenna made a huge difference if the efficiency of the antenna this was accomplished by adjusting the length of the antenna. I can't help believing that such tuning would not be beneficial to this instructable. Someone with better knowledge than myself should be able to provide some insight into this. Also as a side note again based only on my previous understanding the twisting of the wire only reduces the amount of space the antenna uses, I.E. it shortens the extended wire from lets say 1 ft total length to a shorter 8 inch length thus taking up less space. Again I may be wrong and would really like to hear if anyone has better info on this. Great instructable with the right adjustments could be an excellent one. Please send me an email and let me know if have any of these insigts.
bobf7 years ago
Good article, but unless I missed something, how long is the wire AFTER the coil? You only give the length for the bottom side. Thank you.
lrlandusky bobf6 years ago
I think it's listed in step 3: 2.75", then start wrapping, then 0.75" to the bottom. Hope this helps.
bozzchem7 years ago
I'll show my lack of knowledge by asking if this could help those of us out in the sticks using EVDO to get what they "claim" to be a broadband signal. My WiFi Linksys WRT54GX router doesn't need any help. I could get a signal from it anywhere, anytime when I lived in the city between my three computers and had a cable connection feeding it the primary signal. Now I'm in the sticks and am using a Sierra 595U just to get connectivity. I'm hitting about 200KB on downloads....obviously a big change from the cable days. I need help getting a better EVDO Rev. A signal. If this is completely off topic, I apologize. I've seen the $250 packages that claim to get me a better signal but I'd rather bypass them and see if you gurus can help. Thanks.
Zak bozzchem6 years ago
I suppose you already moved the modem to a high spot with a free view, as far as USB will let you.

You will at least need to know the location of the tower.

A low-tech way could be a parabolic that is fairly deep. A wok pan might work, with the device in the focal point. This has to be outside and weatherproofed.

A more high-tech way would be to figure out the frequency (1900 MHz I think) and build an antella, for example 'barbie's tv antenna' from (see also for other choices to scale). Keep in mind that everything in the design will need to be larger by a factor of 24/19, so the first element will not be 61 mm but 77 mm. And the wire need to be thicker as well, from 1.5 mm2 to something 1.74 mm diameter. In the US that would be 13 or 14 gauge wire.

Keep the antenna cable short (cables have huge losses) and a few elements should already give good results.
karona6 years ago
Tried this today on a linksys router, (both antennae) and improved the signal strength at the far end of the house (Bulgarian, 4 foot thick granite walls) from 'poor' to 'very good'. This means I can now stream TV to the laptop whilst in bed, so I'm a happy puppy!!! Keith Razdel SE Bulgaria
pyper6 years ago
I just built one for my wireless G card as its no longer my primary means of accessing the internet and decided to do some signal strength tests using net stumbler. No Ant -63 dbm Stock Ant -40 dbm Modded Ant -34 dbm All numbers are rough (read the graph by eye, not much care about orientation / polarisation although the location is almost identical) but your looking at a 6db (4 fold) gain which is nothing to complain about.
anarky7 years ago
Can we get some more comments from people who have tried this? I have an old Linksys router, and its broadcasting antenna doesn't provide that strong of a signal. If I could boost the signal just by doing this, I'd love it. But at the same time, I don't want to ruin my router's antenna or make it worse if it doesn't work. Thanks for the awesome hack! I hope people get clearly positive results!