How to Build a Free Homemade FM Antenna for Radio Signals

Listening to FM radio requires a properly constructed antenna for achieving the maximum signal strength for your FM radio receiver. Although many people are able to make due with something as simple as a length of coat hanger, such an attempt isn't truly a "tuned" antenna that is designed to receive FM signals in the most efficient manner. Thanks to one of the many Low-Power FM stations in the United States, WRYR-LP, an extremely well-tuned and accurate FM antenna plan is now freely available and enjoys a wide circulation on the Internet. Though most parts can be purchased, the antenna may be built for absolutely nothing provided you are willing to do a little extra woodwork and a small portion of time scouting.

Antenna
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Step

Obtain a free copy of the WRYR-LP antenna plan circulating on the Internet. The plan provides detailed information on how to properly tune the antenna to your own listening requirements, rather than a "one-size fits all" approach. The plan is in PDF format and may be found either in the references below or via online web search using your favorite Internet search engine.

Step

Find two reasonably straight tree branches, each about four feet long to start. Use a sharp whittling knife and whittle the branches until they are smooth and straight. Use a hack-saw to cut them to the necessary lengths for the frequency range you have determined, according to the formula in the WRYR-LP antenna plan.

Step

Scavenge the recommended length of insulated wire called for by the plans. To obtain this wire for free, watch for discarded electronic appliances that are being thrown away in your neighborhood. The insulated wire may be snipped off of old discarded toasters, lamps, or other appliances. Try to find a length that is long enough so it doesn't have to be spliced together.

Step

Source, for your antenna, a length of 300-ohm "ladder-line" coaxial cabling of a suitable length to run from your antenna to the connectors on the back of your FM radio transceiver. In an effort to keep your antenna system truly free, drive through your city and pay special attention in locating any properties that may have an old outdated television tower with the traditional ladder line dangling alongside it. Ask the property owners if you can have a length of the ladder-line. You may want to consider offering a small token payment as an act of appreciation, but there is free 300-ohm ladder-line coaxial cabling to be had in many communities.

Step

Connect the two whittled brace limbs together, per the WRYR-LP plan instructions. The support brace these two limbs create should look like an "X" and the center can be secured using anything you may have laying around, including a large amount of kite string, duct tape or anything that will hold the center of the "X" securely.

Step

Run your insulated wire around the "X" support brace and secure the wire at the top/bottom of each end of the limb, as the plan demands. Strip the wire ends and, using a soldering iron and solder, solder the ladder-line onto the two ends of the antenna wire: one side of the ladder line to one end and the other side to the other end of the ladder-line. Wrap the bare wire with black electrical tape.

Step

Hang your antenna from a tree or other elevated structure and run the ladder-line from the antenna to the rear of your radio receiver. Connect the ends of the ladder-line to the connector(s) on the back of your particular receiver and tune your dial to your chosen listening frequency.