Have you lost a WiFi antenna? Most antennas can be detached from a Wi-Fi card, making them easy to lose. With a few household supplies, you can make an effective replacement for your antenna that will last you a while until you can buy a full-fledged replacement. If you're having range issues, you can make your own directional antenna that can significantly improve the range of your wireless connection.
Method 1 of 2: Making an antenna from a paperclip
Step 1. Gather your materials and tools
To make an antenna you need a large paperclip, an empty Bic ballpoint pen and a roll of electrical tape. You will also need a ruler, scissors and a lighter.
Step 2. Straighten the paperclip
Step 3. Measure and trim the paper clip
To obtain the best possible signal, the paper clip should be approximately 61 mm long. Try to get as close to this as possible for the most effective antenna.
Step 4. Bend the paper clip
Bend it about 19 mm (3/4 inch) from one end of the paper clip at a 90° angle. This part goes into the port of the WiFi antenna.
Step 5. Remove the refill from the pen
Because you are going to open the ink refill, it is wise to use a pen that is empty and no longer writes. Cut approximately 12-18 mm (1/2 inch to 3/4 inch) from the sleeve. This can get a bit dirty, so do this in the kitchen (because of the stains) and keep the sleeve away from you while cutting.
Step 6. Slide the cut sleeve over the bent part of the paper clip
Make sure the sleeve extends about 1.5 mm (1/16 inch) past the end of the paper clip.
Step 7. Melt the sleeve shut with the lighter
Take the lighter and CAREFULLY fuse the sleeve to the paper clip.
Step 8. Insulate the antenna
Wrap the paper clip in electrical tape to prevent too much interference and disrupt the wireless signal.
Step 9. Insert the paperclip into the antenna input
Take the end with the sleeve and insert it into the input of the antenna, making sure the pin of the input and the paperclip are pressed together inside the sleeve. If you manage to overlap them, the signal will be even better.
Method 2 of 2: Making a directional antenna
Step 1. Gather your materials and tools
To make this directional antenna, you will need a coaxial connector (N-Female chassis mount), four #6x1/4" nuts and bolts, 1 1/4" (32 mm) copper wire, a pigtail patch cable, and an empty aluminum can.
- You will also need a drill, soldering iron and suitable screwdriver
- A pigtail cable is a patch cable with a connector at both ends of the cable.
- The aluminum can must have one side without a lid and one side with a metal bottom.
Step 2. Measure the diameter of the can
The diameter of the can determines where the connector will be attached. The can must be at least 7.6 cm wide, but 15 cm is also allowed.
Step 3. Mark the connector mounting point
Measure from the bottom of the can and mark on the outside where the connector will go. This measurement depends on the diameter of the can. This measurement determines the maximum achievable signal strength. Here are a few common sizes:
- 3 inches (7.6 cm) - 3.74 inches (9.5 cm)
- 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) - 2.07 inches (5.25 cm)
- 6 inches (15.2 cm) - 1.38 inches (3.5 cm)
Step 4. Poke a hole in the side of the can
Use a drill bit about the same size as an (N-Female) coaxial plug to drill a hole where the mark is. You can also use a hammer and nail so you don't have to drill.
If the (N-Female) coax plug has screws, drill small holes next to the larger hole so that you can screw the connector on
Step 5. Measure and cut the wire to the desired length
Take the electrical wire and attach it to the metal pin on the narrow side of the (N-Female) coax plug. The small plug and the length of the cord should add up to about 3 cm after it has been attached. Try to get as close to this length as possible for best reception.
Step 6. Solder the electrical wire to the small end of the (N-Female) coax plug
Use a soldering iron for this. Now the probe (the actual antenna) is made. The cord should protrude from the connector.
Step 7. Attach the probe to the can
After the solder has cooled you can attach the probe to the can with the wire on the inside and the screw on the outside. Use nuts and bolts to secure the probe to the can.
Step 8. Attach the can to the wireless network card using the pigtail cable
Screw the pigtail cable to the probe and connect the other end to the connector of the antenna.
Step 9. Point the can towards the access point
The can should be facing the wireless access point (WAP). You can attach it to a camera tripod with a cable tie for easy aiming.