How to Build a Vertical Dipole Antenna

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A dipole antenna, created in the late 1800s, consists of wires that transmit or receive radio frequency energy. You can make a simple dipole antenna that can be used in a vertical position from a few lengths of wire, coaxial cable such as used for cable TV connections and an antenna input connector purchased from an electronics shop. Your vertical dipole antenna will pick up radio waves from a great distance to allow you to receive radio audio over a wide range of short band frequencies. You do not need a license to make or use a vertical dipole antenna.

Things You'll Need

  • 22-gauge electric wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • 30 feet coaxial cable
  • Chock block
  • Antenna input connector
  • Soldering iron
  • Solder
  • Ruler
  • Flat-edged screwdriver
  • Newspaper
  • Strip 3 inches of the sheath off of both ends of the coaxial cable to reveal the wires inside. Strip a half inch of insulation off of the center core wire on each end.

  • Put newspaper down on a table. Put the chock block down on the table with the panel that has the screws facing upward. Position the chock block so that the two sets of screws are side by side horizontally, one set of screws over the other.

  • Wind the end of the unshielded wire that is next to the center core wire of the coaxial cable against the bottom most right screw. Screw in the screw with the flat-edged screwdriver.

  • Wind the exposed end of the center core wire against the screw directly above the bottom most screw. Screw in the screw with the flat-edged jeweler’s screwdriver.

  • Unscrew the back of the antenna input connector. Pull the free end of the coaxial cable through the hole in the back of the antenna input connector.

  • Insert the exposed end of the center core wire on the end of the coaxial cable into the center contact hole in the antenna input connector. Solder the wire into place. Let the solder cool for a minute.

  • Solder the unshielded wire of the coaxial cable to the outer contact of the antenna input connector. Let the solder cool for a minute. Screw the back end of the antenna input connector back on.

  • Cut two 19-1/2 inches lengths of electric wire using the wire cutters. Screw one end of one of the electric wires onto the top leftmost screw of the choc block using the flat-edged screwdriver. Screw one end of the other electric wire to the screw directly underneath the one that was just screwed in.

  • Go in the backyard. Hold the choc block so that there is an electric wire on the left and right sides of the choc block. Bend each wire 90 degrees away from the other to form each into a horizontal line relative to the choc block.

  • Place the chock block on the side of the house, by a tree or by patio furniture with the two wires at the top. Screw the antenna input connector into the antenna port of a radio receiver.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can tie a string to the chock block and hoist the vertical dipole antenna over the tree branch to place it higher.
  • Do not position the vertical dipole antenna so high that it could be struck by lighting, which would transmit the electrical current through the length of the antenna and into the device plugged into it.

References

  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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