Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Building the W800 Antenna

I decided it's time to get rid of the original whip antenna that came with my W800 and build this antenna. Acquiring the parts became a treasure hunt. I picked up the nuts, bolts, washers and crimp lugs at Home Depot then headed over to Radio Shack for the SO-239 parts. Turns out the F to SO-239 Adapter isn't a regularly stocked item around here. I could order it or go to a Shack 30 minutes away and get it. Instead, I left empty handed and headed over to Fry's. There I found the Chassis Mount UHF SO-239 Coax Connector for a mere $1.49 vs. $3.69 at the Shack, but they didn't have the F to SO-239 adapter. They did have a BNC Female to SO-239 adapter and I happened to have a spare BNC Male to F connector at home.

I had still one more stop as I couldn't find the 1/16" brass rod at Home Depot. I stopped by my local Orchard Supply Hardware and found 3 packs of 1/16" x 12" brass rods for $1.79. Good enough.

Finally, I was able to start the project. Instead of a hacksaw to cut the rods, I used diagonal pliers. I also crimped the lugs after I inserted the rods - then I soldered them. Other than that, I followed the directions in the write up. I've got it temporarily hanging in my office but plan to put it in the attic this weekend. The whip antenna is in the attic but it can't see a Hawkeye motion sensor I just put in the backyard. The new antenna, on the other side of the house, can pick it up sometimes, so it should be a lot better in the middle of the attic.

Update: I've hooked it up to the RFID reader via a coax splitter and I have not had any dropouts! The antenna is still sitting in my office.

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