As a DIYer (do-it-yourselfer), you certainly want to utilize available technical items in your house to create many things at a low cost. As you might not know, making a radio antenna is among those fun and budget-friendly DIY projects.
Thus, this article will show even amateurs how to make a radio antenna with copper wire at home, meeting all technical requirements to function smoothly.
- What We Need to Prepare
- Step-by-Step Instruction
- Step 1: Figure out how long your antenna will be.
- Step 2: Cut the coaxial cable at one end.
- Step 3: Strip half of the antenna’s total length from the coaxial cable’s end.
- Step 4: Cut the copper tubing to half the entire length of the antenna.
- Step 5: Connect the coaxial cable to the copper tubing.
- Step 6: Solder the protection layer of the coaxial cable to the tube.
- Step 7: Plug the coaxial cable into your audio receiver.
- Step 8: Set up the copper antenna.
- Why Using Copper Wire Rather Than Other Elements
What We Need to Prepare
To make an antenna with copper wire, you’ll need some civil technical materials in the list below:
- 50Ω or 70Ω (ohm) copper-shielded coaxial cable
- FM receiver with a coaxial connection
- Copper tubing 3/8″
- Soldering tool
Step 1: Figure out how long your antenna will be.
This will decide how much coaxial cable you need to strip as well as the length your copper tubing should be:
- Divide 468 by the frequency to which you wish to connect (e.g., 468/90MHz equals 5.2).
- Divide the result by 2 (e.g., 5.2/2 equals 2.6).
- To get the antenna length, multiply the above result by 12 inches (e.g., 2.6*12 inches = 31.2 inches).
Step 2: Cut the coaxial cable at one end.
In this method, you just need one end in order to function as the connector so the other should be removed. You can accomplish this using a wire cutter or a hacksaw.
Step 3: Strip half of the antenna’s total length from the coaxial cable’s end.
Remove each protection layer until you reach the white coating that surrounds the coaxial cable itself.
- For example, based on the previous calculation, the antenna length is 31.2 inches, you need to remove 15.6 inches of the protection layers.
- During this operation, you also need to take off the copper protection. The simplest method is to make a small incision all the way around the protection with the hacksaw and then try to peel it off from there.
Step 4: Cut the copper tubing to half the entire length of the antenna.
Because the copper tubing will make up the other half of your antenna’s receiver, it should be the same length as the piece you just removed.
- Again, based on the previous calculation, if your antenna’s length is 31.2 inches, the copper tubing will be 15.6 inches long.
Step 5: Connect the coaxial cable to the copper tubing.
Slide the tube onto the stripped end of the coaxial cable, then slide it down until it covers the entire stripped half of your antenna’s receiver.
Step 6: Solder the protection layer of the coaxial cable to the tube.
Remove the PVC cover from approximately an inch of the coaxial cable just below the unshielded section, peel it back using pliers to form a lip, and then solder the lip to the copper tubing.
Step 7: Plug the coaxial cable into your audio receiver.
By putting the remaining connector into the receiver’s coaxial antenna port. It makes the rest of it straightforward.
Step 8: Set up the copper antenna.
After plugging in the antenna, orient it toward the closest station and fix it in place if needed.
Pro Tips for you:
- The fewer obstacles standing between your antenna and the closest FM station, the better your signal.
- Although your coaxial cable may be sturdy enough to stand on its own, you may use brackets or glue to hold up the copper wire antenna if necessary.
Why Using Copper Wire Rather Than Other Elements
Here are 3 reasons that you should use copper for your radio antenna:
- Good conduction and heat-produced minimization – Due to such attributes, copper is a great metal for consumer electronics. As matter of fact, copper has been preferable to use in power wiring for nearly 200 years; and there’s no doubt that almost 60% of copper usage is for such application.
- Low oxidation rate – This material has a lower oxidizing rate than other elements. Once airborne oxygen and humidity react with a metal’s surface, oxidation happens and then creates a greenish covering called copper oxide. This layer protects the metal from further oxidation as well as enables conductivity to be efficient as before.
- Low cost – Copper is highly cost-effective when compared to other elements. Although silver works more effectively in this matter than copper, you don’t want to up your budget for making a silver antenna, aren’t you?
By following a few easy steps, you will know how to make a radio antenna with copper wire and do it by yourself with available and cheap technical materials in your house. It’s the simplest method, so everyone can do it, even amateurs. Try out this way, we guarantee that you can construct a copper wire antenna for your own radio in no time!
Don’t forget to comment your finished product in the box below and share this article if you like it.
Richard Pennington is the one to consult when you need professional insight into electronics. With over a decade of experience in the field of electronics and communication engineering, he now serves as our chief content editor.
He is an advisor for multiple articles and videos with topics revolving around ham radios, electronics devices, and communication.