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How to Build a 1/2 Wave FM Antenna

by Adam Quinn
Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

A half-wave FM antenna can provide clear radio reception from local and distant stations. In comparison to a factory antenna that may come with your FM stereo receiver, a half-wave antenna's resonant properties improve reception of incoming radio signals. Build yourself a T-shaped half-wave FM antenna to pick up those distant stations and learn a basic dipole antenna design.

Step 1

Measure and mark 5 feet from one end of the wire. Pull apart the wire into separate strands, stopping at your mark. Wrap 2 inches of electrical tape around the double wire just below the mark. This will keep the wire from separating further.

Step 2

Measure and mark 28 1/2 inches along each single wire, starting from the separation point of the double wire. Fold both single wires in half at the mark, and wrap each fold with 2 inches of electrical tape.

Step 3

Strip 1 1/2 inches of insulation from the ends of the individual strands of wire, connecting the two exposed ends with a wire nut. Lay the wire assembly on a flat surface, centering the wire nut at the separation point to form a T shape. Tape the single wires together on either side of the wire nut, maintaining an equal length on both sides.

Separate the double wire at the opposite end and strip off 1 1/2 inches of insulation. These will be the ends that connect to your FM receiver jacks.

Tip

  • Tape a 28-inch-long, 1/4-inch dowel to both horizontal wires for added stability.

Items you will need

  • Speaker wire -- 18 gauge, 10 to 12 feet long
  • Wire nut, 18 gauge
  • Wire stripping tool
  • Electrical tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Measuring tape

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