DIY: Hi-Gain Outdoor Antennas

by Alice Godfrey

The signal from your wireless home network can be lost when trying to use a laptop in your backyard. To gain the signal from the network, use a directional homemade Wi-Fi antenna. The high-gain antenna does not require special components as everything can be purchased from a grocery store and from an electronics store. Household tools will be needed as well.

Items you will need

  • Strainer, 10-inch diameter
  • Hammer
  • Nail
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Wi-Fi adapter
  • USB cable, 3 feet
  • Laptop
  • Hardbound book
  • Wireless home network
Step 1

Unfold the sides of the strainer so that it forms a parabolic shape. Place the strainer face down on a table. Hammer a hole through the center of the strainer with a metal nail. Remove the nail. Insert the tip of a Phillips screwdriver into the hole. Twirl the screwdriver as you rotate it clockwise to enlarge the hole. Remove the screwdriver.

Step 2

Push the tip of a Wi-Fi adapter into the hole. Stop pushing when the adapter is halfway through.

Step 3

Go outside in your backyard. Place the laptop on a table or chair. Insert one end of a USB cable into a USB slot on the laptop. Insert the other end of the USB cable into the USB slot on the bottom of the adapter.

Step 4

Stand the strainer that is now a directional antenna on the table or chair next to the laptop. Place a hardbound book against the strainer's back to keep it upright. Aim the tip of the adapter so that it is facing the direction where the wireless transmitter of your home network is located.

Tips & Warnings

  • Paint the strainer black to make it less obtrusive looking.

About the Author

Alice Godfrey is a marketing analyst with more than 15 years of experience in her field. She holds a Ph.D. in social and personality psychology. Past positions include market research analyst at various advertising agencies and corporations. Her articles on a wide variety of issues relating to entertainment have appeared in numerous trade publications.