The world of electronics, antennas and scanner radios can be a new realm of exploration and fun. Building antennas has long been one of easiest ways to experiment with scanner radios. Building an antenna is educational, and having a scanner radio antenna will allow you to keep up with local alerts, crime, and emergencies. Many antennas can be constructed partially from items around your home, helping to keep the costs down.
Mount the SO-239 connector in the table vise so the male end of the plug is facing up. Be sure to not overtighten the connector in the vise and damage it.
Take one of the rods and, using the sandpaper, sand off about two inches of any paint or finish on the rod. This will help the solder to adhere to it, making a better connection to the connector.
Apply a small amount (about the size of a pencil led) of flux to the sanded end of the rod and smear it around the sanded area. Insert the sanded end of the rod into the male end of the SO-239 connector and hold in place until it is soldered.
Using the soldering gun and solder, heat the solder around the base of the rod where it enters the connector end. Apply just enough solder to ensure a good strong connection. Be careful not to overheat the connector and potentially melt the plastic insulator inside the end of the connector.
Using the sandpaper, sand about 2 inches off one end of each of the remaining four rods.
Using the needle nose pliers, make a small loop in the sanded end of each of the four remaining rods. This loop will be used to mount them to the connector.
Attach one rod to each of the four corners of the SO-239 connector using the #6 bolts and nuts. Make sure that each one is tightened to a snug fit with the pliers.
Remove the connector from the vise and hold it at arms length about eye level. Using the pliers, bend each of the four rods you connected in Step 6 at the base of the connector until it slopes down at about a 45 degree angle.
Measure each of the five rods to make sure they are 25 inches in overall length, and trim off any extra if needed with the wire cutters.
Apply the clear silicone to the top of the connector and around the bolts to help protect them and seal up the connector. Allow proper drying time based on manufacturer guidelines on the tube of silicone.
Things You'll Need
- Soldering gun
- Wire cutters
- SO-239 connector
- Measuring tape
- Needle nose pliers
- Table vise
- Safety glasses
- 100 grit sandpaper
- Outdoor silicone sealant (clear)
- Five copper or brass rods, 1/8 inch in diameter and 25 inches long each
- 4 stainless steel bolts and nuts (#6)
You can use stainless steel rods in place of the brass rods if you like.
Be sure to wear safety eye glasses when working with the rods to avoid injury to the eyes.
Remember the soldering gun is several hundred degrees hot, and avoid any contact with the skin because this will result in a serious burn.
Allow the soldering gun to fully cool off before storing it away.
This antenna is strictly designed for receiving purposes only and all laws should be followed in your local area pertaining to the use of scanner antennas.
- radio image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com