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Read how I build my home made 2.4GHz WLAN Antenna
using a used tin Can here (IDIOT PROOF DESIGN)
Tin Can 2.4GHz WLAN Antenna
by Judhi Prasetyo (firstname.lastname@example.org), 23-June-2003
I have seen some great 2.4GHz Antenna designs on the Internet that are using used tin Can or Pringles Can.
The only thing that put me back from following them is because ALL of those designs are using pig-tail cable which is verrrry expensive to me and difficult to find.
So I decided to build my own Antenna using similar concept by eliminating the need of using pig-tail cable.
I am not responsible for any damages, injuries, problems or whatsoever caused by your action in following the information on this page, including any damage, loss of profit, loss of life, and loss of dignity caused by usage of the tin can. Antenna built based on this information.
If you get cought tapping other people's WLAN using this Antenna, please blame it on the rain!
What you Need
1. Tin Can.
You Can use any tin Can with diameter of around 3.5" or 9cm. The taller the Can the better.
I use GOLDEN BOY Wasabi Coated Green Pea tin Can. Not only the size is suitable, but the content fits my taste and comply to my halal diet.
Just take your time to walk through your nearby favorite supermarket, I am sure you'll find something similar that fit the measurement and your taste.
2. USB Wireless LAN card
OK, here's the trick why I do not need pig-tail cable:
I DON'T USE PCMCIA CARD!
I realized that holding the Antenna by hand for too long is a bad idea. So I dig my old stuff storage and found a mini camera tripod. With some improvisation, I build a plastic bracket from old name card holder and mount the whole thing onto the tripod. Now it much better looking and a lot easier to do the fine tuning.
Testing and Tuning
You will need a reference Access Point or another WLAN station in Ad-hoc mode as the testing partner to do the tuning. The idea is to go a bit distance (100m) from the testing partner and aim the Antenna toward it.
Slowly move your Antenna until the signal indicator on your computer shows the best signal. I did not use any special software, just the default WLAN card utility from Gigafast which came with the card.
After you get the strongest signal, try to cut very little portion (0.5mm) of the hard wire and see how it goes until you get the best signal. If you cut too much, there's a possibility to get even weaker signal so you need to make another hard-wire element. There's no scientific method to do this, just use your feeling and experience to get the best result.
After you are satisfied with the result, you Can secure the mounting of USB WLAN card to the Can as described previously.
I never really try how far my antenna can transmit or receive. But from experiment, I Can get some signals from housing area accross the highway which were not received by normal Antenna before.
And instead of just using this design for WLAN client, the same concept Can be applied to Access Point to transmit sectoral WLAN coverage.
I do not encourage you to tap on other people's network without any prior permission or jam other WLAN provider's network. Anything you do please do it at your own risk
Q: Where Can I get the Can like yours?
A: Usually supermarkets have. But you Can use any Can with similar dimension and maybe you even get better result!
Q: Where Can I get the USB WLAN card like yours?
A: I bought in in USA but it is made in Taiwan, you Can try asking your nearest computer shop. Any USB WLAN card brand will do as long as it has detachable Antenna.
Q: How much does the USB WLAN cost?
A: Around US$50 on www.eBay.com
Q: How much does the Can cost?
A: Around US$2 on local supermarket.
Q: How strong is your Antenna gain in decibell (dB)?
A: No idea, never measure it using professional tools.
Q: How far Can the WLAN goes with your Antenna?
A: Never really try before, but 1Km is certainly easy.
Q: Can you explain in more detail on installing the USB WLAN card to the PC?
A: Please read your USB WLAN card manual. It may vary but USB supposed to be plug-n-play.
(C) Judhi Prasetyo 2003, please write me should you need to copy this article.