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 Post subject: Three Easy DIY Antennas for Beginners
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:02 pm 
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NOTE: Those who dont want to make a DIY antenna, can order Flightaware's antenna from Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00WZL6WPO



STARTER
When DVB-T Dongle is purchased, a whip antenna is supplied with it. Every beginner uses this whip in his starter setup.
Improve the performance of this whip antenna by three simple steps given below:
(1) Whip is too long for 1090 MHz. Cut it to 67mm.
(2) Magnetic base provides an insufficient ground-plane. Enlarge ground-plane by placing the whip over a Metallic Can/Box/Plate. An added advantage of placing whip over an iron/steel can is that whip's magnetic base will cling to the can and keep the whip stable & upright.
(3) Signal is weak indoors. Place whip near a window or in attic to get maximum signal.


Image
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NEXT STEP
Once your setup is up and running, you will be happy, but soon after you will want to increase your range. You can then try some easy and sure antenna, like Spider & Cantena. In next two posts below, there are "how to make" instructions for Spider & Cantenna.

VENTURING BEYOND......
Next step may be to venture through alluring coaxial antennas (coaxial cillinear, popularly known as coco, franklin, wire collinear with coils). These antennas are very alluring, as these are easy to make, and all postings on internet & youtube claim high gain excellent antenna. The problem shows up when these antennas are put to service, and give poor perfamance. Collinears are very hard to get right, and except for few lucky ones, most DIY collinear makers end up with a poor performing antenna.
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3 EASY ANTENNAS FOR BEGINNERS

The main disadvantages of stock antenna supplied with DVB-T USB Dongle are:
Problem (1): It has a very short lead. Due to this, in most cases the antenna cannot be placed at an optimum location.
Problem (2): The stock antenna is not optimized for 1090 Mhz.
Image

SOLUTION FOR PROBLEM (1):
The short cable length can be overcome by connecting a MCX to F pigtail to the DVB-T USB Dongle, and connecting to the pigtail, the required length of commonly available RG6 cable with a DIY antenna at other end of RG6 cable.

Image
Tip:
(a) For RG6 coax lengths in excess of 5m/15ft, coax attenuation will be high, and an amplifier may become necessary.
(b) Even with short lengths of Coax, use of amplifier increases plane count & range.


SOLUTION FOR PROBLEM (2):

The non optimized antenna can be replaced by a DIY antenna which has a ¼ wavelength vertical whip connected to core of coax cable, and a ground plane connected to shield of coax. The ground plane can be formed by a disc, a number of horizontal radials, a number of slanting radials, or a food/drink can.

Below are 3 different easy antennas for beginners: Spider, Platenna, & Cantenna.
These all have a ¼ wavelength vertical whip connected to core of Coax cable, but use different methods of providing ground plane connected to shield of coax.

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Last edited by abcd567 on Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:03 am, edited 9 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 3 EASY ANTENNAS FOR BEGINNERS
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:06 pm 
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EASY ANTENNA # 1 : SPIDER

Parts Required:

1. SO-239 Connector
Image


2. PL-259 UHF to F adapter (to connect RG6 coax to SO-239 Connector)
Image

3. Copper wire pieces 10 cm long - 5 pieces for 4 Leg Spider, 9 pieces for 8 Leg Spider.

4. Small Nuts & bolts 4 pieces for fixing wires at 4 corners of SO239 adapter

Schematic & Dimensions
Image


Finished Antenna 4 Legs (Does not require soldering)
Built by jepolch
http://forum.planefinder.net/threads/ads-b-diy-antenna.23/page-31

Image


Finished Antenna 4 Legs (Does not require soldering)
Built by beckerm13 http://discussions.flightaware.com/post153170.html#p153170
Image




Finished Antenna 8 Legs (Requires Soldering - Performs better than 4 Legs)
Built by autok
http://www.atouk.com/wordpress/?page_id=237


Image


Last edited by abcd567 on Wed Mar 11, 2015 1:03 am, edited 16 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 3 EASY ANTENNAS FOR BEGINNERS
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:06 pm 
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EASY ANTENNA #2 : CANTENNA

Please see below photos, showing construction details.


Completed Cantenna

Designed & Built by Author of this post (abcd567)


Image

The whip at top is ¼ wavelength i.e. 69mm (see dimension drawing below)
The whip is core wire of coax cable.
It can be bare copper wire OR copper wire + core insulation.
Shield (braid+foil) MUST be removed from the whip.




Image 1 of 4 : Construction Details 1
Image


Image 2 of 4 : Construction Details 2
Image


Image 3 of 4 : Construction Details 3
Image

Image 4 of 4 : Fully Assembled
Image


DIMENSIONS
Sketch 1 of 2: Pepsi Can Dimensions
Image


Sketch 2 of 2: Whip Measurements.
Any one of the two connectors shown in the sketch below can be used

Image

Details of whip, if insulated whip is used. The whip can also be un insulated bare copper wire like core wire of coax

Image


Test Setup for CANTENNA

Picture 1 of 2
Image


Image 2 of 2 : VRS Coverage
The range rings are 50 nm apart, the outermost blue ring is 300 nm from the receiver.

Image


Cantennas using other types of cans:


Built by giacomo1989 http://forum.planefinder.net/threads/ads-b-diy-antenna.23/page-25#post-1530
Image

Built by jepolch http://forum.planefinder.net/threads/ads-b-diy-antenna.23/page-74#post-2607
Image

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Last edited by abcd567 on Fri Aug 28, 2015 8:45 am, edited 10 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 3 EASY ANTENNAS FOR BEGINNERS
PostPosted: Tue Mar 10, 2015 4:07 pm 
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EASY ANTENNA # 3 : PLATENNA
POST DELETED. NOT AS GOOD AS CANTENNA AND SPIDER


Last edited by abcd567 on Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 3 EASY ANTENNAS FOR BEGINNERS
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:04 am 
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Lots of people talk about building CoCo (Collinear antennas made from co-axial cable) - yes they are cheap to make, but it is also very easy to make a bad coco that doesn't work well.

Essentially ADS-B is line of sight, the maximum range is to the horizon, and one of the simple antennas above will get you most of the way there.

You can check your antenna performance by going to web site http://www.heywhatsthat.com/ do a new panorama Mark your exact antenna location and enter it's height above the ground. The backend will calculate your horizon taking into account earth curvature, mountains, hils etc. On the map that is produced select 'In the Air' then zoom out 'till the map is probably 1000km wide (closer you won't see the range rings since they'll be outside the map segment you're viewing). now in the bottom of the map say you want an outer ring at 40,000 feet ... that will be about as far as you will see. If the horizon is over the ocean you seem to get a better range ???

How what is that will not take into account the shading of the signals that is caused by surrounding buildings, bags of water (also called trees), placing the antenna under something that cuts down the signal (like roof tiles or a long downlead), etc.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 EASY ANTENNAS FOR BEGINNERS
PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:17 am 
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With the antennas above, if putting them outside - seal the base of the top spike with a blob of silicon caulk.

consider spraying the assembly with a spray lacquer to prevent corrosion.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 EASY ANTENNAS FOR BEGINNERS
PostPosted: Thu Mar 12, 2015 3:58 pm 
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Brachycera - FlightAware user avatar

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Nice Antennas.

This is my construction http://blog.wenzlaff.de/?p=4668 (in german).

Image


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 Post subject: Re: 3 EASY ANTENNAS FOR BEGINNERS
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 3:28 am 
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DIY QUICK SPIDER - No Soldering Required, No SO239 Connector Required

Maximum Range Curve By VRS
HARDWARE: Quick Spider >> 12 ft / 4 m RG6 Coax >> Generic DVB-T (black) >> Orange Pi PC

Image

Trial Run - Indoor Near Large Window
Image




HOW TO MAKE

Please see these posts also for previous Versions:
(1) May 2015
(2) September 2016




STEP 1 - Stuff Required
Image




STEP 2 - Cut Coax Into Required Pieces
Image




STEP 3 - Remove braid & Insulation
Image




STEP 4 - Bend Wires
Image




STEP 5 - Assemble Radials
Image




STEP 6 - Bend Down Radials 45 Degrees
Image

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STEP 7 - ENHANCEMENT FOR OUTDOOR USE
1) Apply a rapid setting (5 minutes) sealant like 2-part epoxy, or silicone, or hot melt glue, or similar at the point where radials enter the outer jacket of coax.

2) After installation. wrap the F-connector in tape to prevent moisture ingress. You may also use outdoor type F connector which are water resistant


Image


Last edited by abcd567 on Thu Mar 02, 2017 8:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 3 EASY ANTENNAS FOR BEGINNERS
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 1:51 pm 
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holy capslock batman.

maybe it's time we had a sub-forum on how to build antennas?


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 Post subject: Re: 3 EASY ANTENNAS FOR BEGINNERS
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2015 3:34 pm 
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For the panel mount connector Spider antennas, use an N connector if you have a choice. I'm a single data point, but I've made several with N and UHF (SO-239) and the N connector versions provide more position tracks. YMMV, but it stands to reason since UHF connectors are only intended for <300MHz.


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 Post subject: Re: 3 EASY ANTENNAS FOR BEGINNERS
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:51 pm 
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EASY SIX LEG GROUNDPLANE / SPIDER ANTENNA
USES ONLY ONE F-TYPE COAX CONNECTOR (With Nut & Washer)

Image

No soldering required.
No special connectors (like SO-239, BNC or N connectors) required.


FINISHED LENGTHS
WHIP: From top of F-connector to top of whip = 69 mm

RADIALS: From Point of bending down to tip of radial = 69 mm

RADIALS BENDING DOWN: About 45 degrees below horizontal

WIRE DIA: Flexible. In this demo core wire of RG6 coax cable is used which has a dia of 1 mm (18 AWG), but wires with bigger dia can as well be used.

STEP-1
Image


STEP-2
Image


STEP-3
Image


ON TRIAL RUN
Image


DIRECTLY BUILT ON AN AMPLIFIER, INSTEAD OF F-CONNECTOR

Image


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 Post subject: Re: 3 EASY ANTENNAS FOR BEGINNERS
PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 1:10 pm 
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SIMULATION OF 2 DIY ANTENNAS

Simulation 1 of 2: SPIDER (8 Legged )
Gain = 1.7 dBi
SWR (75 ohms) = 1.3


Image
Image



Simulation 2 of 2: CANTENNA
Gain = 1.9 dBi
SWR (75 ohms) = 1.5

Image
Image


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 Post subject: Re: 3 EASY ANTENNAS FOR BEGINNERS
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 10:51 am 
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Can this me made a sticky, so it stays near the top for the newcomers to find easily?
..Tom


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 Post subject: Re: Three Easy DIY Antennas for Beginners
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:27 pm 
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Done. Can you also link to FA's antenna? http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00WZL6WPO


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 Post subject: Re: Three Easy DIY Antennas for Beginners
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 1:49 pm 
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dbaker wrote:
Done. Can you also link to FA's antenna? http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00WZL6WPO

Thanks.
Link to FA's antenna added. Please see first post of this thread, below the heading.


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 Post subject: Re: Three Easy DIY Antennas for Beginners
PostPosted: Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:10 pm 
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dbaker wrote:
Done. Can you also link to FA's antenna? http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00WZL6WPO


Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: Three Easy DIY Antennas for Beginners
PostPosted: Sun Aug 09, 2015 4:51 pm 
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Good DIY choice - Franklin antenna. Solid copper wire 3 or 4mm about 1m long without insulation needed.
Image
Half-wave vibrators (pieces of 133mm (5.24inch)) should be strictly in one line.
Image
The estimated gain of 3.2db. This antenna works on my radar http://alexhash.noip.me:8080
http://adsbradar.ru/antenna-franklin-1090mhz


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 Post subject: Re: Three Easy DIY Antennas for Beginners
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 8:26 pm 
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For those of you nervous to cut a soda can or don't have the tools I have found that a Bush's 8.3oz baked beans can is just over 70mm long.
The can has a pull off lid and so therefore saves you cutting the can.
All you have to do is drill a hole in the center of the closed end to mount the antenna.

Made one of these tonight and will let it run a few days.


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 Post subject: Re: Three Easy DIY Antennas for Beginners
PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2015 10:01 pm 
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In my Cantenna, I use an insulated whip (core wire of RG6 coax with core's insulation). The length of whip was 69 mm. Few days ago I cut 3 mm off the top of whip, making it 66 mm long. I noticed not very big, but noticeable improvement in performance.

With bare copper wire whip, a lesser chop-off may be required, say 1 or 2 mm instead of 3 mm (making whip 68 or 67 mm long). I have yet to try the chopped-off bare wire whip.


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 Post subject: Re: Three Easy DIY Antennas for Beginners
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:34 am 
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atari400 wrote:
For those of you nervous to cut a soda can or don't have the tools I have found that a Bush's 8.3oz baked beans can is just over 70mm long.
The can has a pull off lid and so therefore saves you cutting the can.
All you have to do is drill a hole in the center of the closed end to mount the antenna.

Made one of these tonight and will let it run a few days.


Scissors will usually do a light aluminium drinks can - just punch the narrower blade through lower than you need an spiral up.


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 Post subject: Re: Three Easy DIY Antennas for Beginners
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 4:32 pm 
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PeterHR wrote:
atari400 wrote:
For those of you nervous to cut a soda can or don't have the tools I have found that a Bush's 8.3oz baked beans can is just over 70mm long.
The can has a pull off lid and so therefore saves you cutting the can.
All you have to do is drill a hole in the center of the closed end to mount the antenna.

Made one of these tonight and will let it run a few days.

Scissors will usually do a light aluminium drinks can - just punch the narrower blade through lower than you need an spiral up.

For cutting the aluminum drink can (Pepsi/Coke/Beer), I have used:
  • Scissors as described by Peter.
  • Stanley knife.
The can wall being very thin, it was easy to cut it using scissors or knife.
Cutting a food cans made of iron sheet is a bit tough & requires tin-snips.

The sharp cut edge can easily injure fingers during cutting & subsequent handling. A layer of tape should be applied around the cut rim of food/drink can.

An example of cutting the tin: "the cutting edge technology" :D :wink:
Image

.


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 Post subject: Re: Three Easy DIY Antennas for Beginners
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 5:19 pm 
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I have tried all these designs, and more. Even did a stripline antenna out of printed circuit board, which simulated a coaxial collinear design. This has been the best one so far, best range. Almost double any other one I have tried. Note, I use BNC connectors instead of N:
Image


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 Post subject: Re: Three Easy DIY Antennas for Beginners
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:16 pm 
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fostervs wrote:
I have tried all these designs, and more. Even did a stripline antenna out of printed circuit board, which simulated a coaxial collinear design. This has been the best one so far, best range. Almost double any other one I have tried. Note, I use BNC connectors instead of N:

A vast majority of those who make a DIY Coaxial Collinear antenna (CoCo), get disappointing results, and relatively few lucky ones get good results. For this reason I dont recomend it for beginners, and that is why I did not include it in this thread which specifically says "Easy Antennas for Beginners".

Once the beginners get their system established with easy and reliable 1/4 wave whip with various types of ground planes given in this thread, they can venture with tricky antennas like CoCo, Franklin, Coiled Whip etc.

Anyway thanks for posting the drawing of the CoCo. Looks a nice design. Interested members can give it a try.


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 Post subject: Re: Three Easy DIY Antennas for Beginners
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2015 8:53 am 
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Related: FlightAware ADS-B Filters Now For Sale In US


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 Post subject: Re: Three Easy DIY Antennas for Beginners
PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 2:43 pm 
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I've actually had pretty good success with the fixed antenna that came with my Nooelec RTL-SDR once I trimmed and then magnetically attached it to a piece of metal bar stock. I've since built a cantenna which is working well, but today while I was cleaning up my workbench I disassembled the little antenna that came with the RTL-SDR and in the process I think I may have stumbled across what may be the easiest beginner antenna possible, which should give great results with *very* minimal effort. The antenna that came with my RTL-SDR is below.
Image
Here is the exploded view of the parts:
Image
Now, the *only* tricky part about just cutting this element to size, is that you have no idea where the coax is separated inside the unit without disassembly. I've measured mine, and it looks like 15mm would be the appropriate amount to deduct from the element length to obtain that magical 68-69mm element length. If you have a similar antenna, it doesn't look like the manufacturer could vary more than a few mm from this unit to unit.

So,

Step 1: Unscrew the element from the base, remove the rubber tip and then measure 53mm (68-15, because 15mm of the effective element is inside the antenna base), measure the 53mm again (knurled part of the antenna included (you always measure twice :D )) and then cut it with a heavy side cutter or hacksaw. Replace the rubber tip.

Now the problem for step 2 is what to do with that tiny included ground plane... Mine was attached with just a small dab of glue, and it appears to be mostly press fit into the plastic base. I think if you were more gingerly in your approach than my "side cutter brute force technique", and just worked a guitar pick or small precision screwdriver around the base you could separate it easily. Once your inside, this is what you'll see:
Image
Not very impressive, they just wedged the loose ends of the coax ground in between the lip of the base and their tiny ground plane.

So,

Step 2: Remove the ground plane and make sure no loose strands of copper are contacting the center coax.

Now, Step 3 is a little more open ended, but essentially we would take this trimmed unit and attach it to a proper ground plane. After some thought, I think the best method would be:

Step 3: Discard the ground plane cover sticker and then drill a small hole in the center of the ground plane, a matching hole in a small bean/soda/etc can (preferably trimmed to 68mm in height), and then screw or bolt the two togather. You could also just skip drilling all together and solder or weld the ground plane and can together (conductive JB weld might be a great solution for this). When your done you should have something that looks and functions like the popular "cantenna" design, only with the coax coming out of the original antenna base and not the bottom of the can.

Also, since the ground plane has a small magnet hastily stuck on it you could just try magnetically attaching it to various ground planes to experiment with what works best. Just make sure you get good electrical contact between the two pieces of metal (great use for your multimeter! :) ). With a little ingenuity you could also fabricate a 68mm/68mm 90 degree dual purpose mounting bracket/ground plane from of a piece of flat steel for a very clean looking antenna.

Happy antenna modding! - KB9OVP


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