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Old 2010-05-09, 04:26 PM   #1
grinder
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Question DIY AM Radio antenna?

Quick question from a new-commer.

What would be a simple homemade antenna for the AM band? I've tried the loop and gotten OK results. What would be the next step up?

Thanks
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Old 2010-05-10, 09:03 AM   #2
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If you've got the real estate, put up a random length longwire. The longer (like hundreds of feet) the better.
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Old 2010-05-10, 02:35 PM   #3
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grinder, are you trying to improve reception on a particular station/frequency or across the entire AM radio band?
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Old 2010-05-10, 08:28 PM   #4
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Ideally, I'd like to span the AM band for general DXing. As for the random wire, will any length do, or does it need to be calculated for some central frequency?
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Old 2010-05-10, 11:24 PM   #5
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^ Normally you'd make it really long and then tune it with a (believe it or not ) long wire antenna tuner. I believe MFJ still sells a fairly economical one, not hard to make one just for receiving. A long dipole is a nice not-too-difficult project. Also consider a fancy loop antenna. What is great about them is, besides being reasonably small (compared to LW or dipole), you can manually rotate them (indoors) and they can be very directional, good for mostly blocking that same-frequency station that may be coming in on top of the main one you want. There are some plans on the web.
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Old 2010-05-11, 07:05 AM   #6
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regardless if ur going to build a dipole, a long wire, or a loop I'd consider getting a short wave radio also. Just so ya wouldn't be limited to the AM Broadcast Band. u'd get dual duty from both the s/w radio, and the antenna.
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Old 2010-05-11, 08:45 AM   #7
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A nice long loop antenna (say, running the perimeter of your backyard) would work well too. And an advantage is they're not as susceptible to noise as other antennas.
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Old 2010-05-11, 09:58 AM   #8
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^ Yes, noise pickup is the problem with many AM antennas, especially bad in an urban environment (like where I am). I quite like the loops for this. Don't compare the crappy (but still directional) loops you get with AVRs etc. with the larger ones, there is a huge difference. I am speaking of indoor loops here, never tried an outdoor one (I don't know why...).
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Old 2010-05-11, 11:55 AM   #9
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How about a loop inside the attic? Would that work? Nothing there but insulation.
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Old 2010-05-11, 02:57 PM   #10
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It could. Interior antennas tend to be noisier because they pick up household EMI (motors, dimmer switches, etc.)
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Old 2010-06-04, 09:57 PM   #11
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I hope this isn't too dumb of a question but what gauge wire would work best?
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Old 2010-06-05, 01:10 PM   #12
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A big spool of something very fine (between 20AWG and 24AWG) will do great. Anything bigger is too cumbersome and doesn't help. If you have an old TV around you could carefully remove the yoke from the picture tube and use that great supply of fine copper wire. Old AM Radios have coil antennas with the perfect wire for your use.
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Old 2010-06-06, 12:23 AM   #13
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Here's how to make a really good indoor AM antenna: http://www.radiointel.com/review-amloop.htm


Last edited by stampeder; 2010-06-07 at 10:33 AM.
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