In my previous post, I mentioned everything about various types of WiFi antenna and how to position them. Now I will show you how to make a long range WiFi antenna using cheap WiFi Adapter and Scrap Parabolic Dish Antenna. Before going further, let us take a closer look at Dish Antenna and its working.
A parabolic dish antennas are highly directional antennas that are commonly used in long range transmission and reception. They are commonly used in satellite communications, dish TVs etc. It is simply a curved metallic surface accompanied by a receiving unit (feed horn). The EM waves falling on the parabolic curved surface will get reflected to the focal point, where the feed horn is placed. These feed horns converts the EM waves to electrical signals and is later amplified by the internal circuit.
USB WiFi Adapters are mostly plug and play USB devices which can act as an interface for connecting devices such as desktops and laptops to wireless networks. These devices will have external or internal antennas which will convert the EM waves from the access point to electrical signals which is later processed by the internal circuit and is converted to network data packets.
For this project, I am using an old dish antenna and an Alpha AWUs036NH WiFi adapter.
Step 0 – Creating a Stand (Optional)
Since this is a directional antenna, it would be better if you have something light weight to fix this antenna on for easy adjustments. So I decided to build a small stand using some old PVC pipes.
Step 1 – Clean the Antenna
Take the parabolic dish antenna and clean it thoroughly by brushing off all the dust. If it is rusted, remove it by scrapping the metal part using a sand paper. It is very important that the metallic surface should be clean and free from all the dust and rust otherwise the EM waves will not be reflected properly.
Step 2 – Remove the Feed Horn
The reflector focuses all the signals to the feed horn which is kept at the focal point. Now carefully unscrew the feed hones and remove it from the holder.
Step 3 – Fix USB WiFi Adapter
Place the WiFi Adapter in such a way that the receiving antenna of the adapter is at the exact focal point of the parabolic dish.
Step 4 – Pointing the Antenna
Pointing the antenna to a source at a far distance is a lot harder than it sounds like. These antennas have a radiating angle between 3 degree and 12 degree. So a slight change in the position of antenna can affect the signal strength.