How to Make a GPS Antenna

by David Adams

The Global Positioning System originated as a military project during the Cold War. After its testing and development were concluded, the US government began to allow civilians to use the system. To access the system, a user must first receive the signal. However, in certain circumstances the antenna provided inside the receiver is insufficient. Valleys, forests or even poor weather can be enough to require an additional antenna. With little cost and time, any user can construct his own external antenna.

Constructing the Antenna

Step 1

Drill a hole in the center of circular sheet for the coaxial connector. Screw the two ends of the connector together.

Step 2

Using the ruler, mark a line 1 inch from the end of the tube. Then, mark a line every 1 7/8 inches. These lines will be used to wind the coil.

Step 3

Using a 1/16-inch drill bit, drill a hole 1 inch from from either end of the tube.

Step 4

Solder the wire to the coaxial cable connector.

Step 5

Glue the tube to the sheet metal base.

Step 6

Feed the wire through the base. Wind the wire clockwise eight times, forming coils. Separate the coils so they correspond to the markings. This separation of coils makes the antenna well suited for the GPS signal.

Step 7

Feed the wire through the top hole. Pull the wire tight and cut the wire in the inside of the tube once everything is evenly spaced.

Glue the cap to the top of the pipe to protect the interior from moisture and damage. Attach a coaxial cable to the base and connect to a receiver to test the antenna.


  • Using a standalone antenna will increase the accuracy of your GPS receiver. A receiver using an antenna can calculate its position using more satellites.


  • Avoid using hot glue to construct the antenna. Epoxy-based glues will last longer and will not fall apart in the sun.

Items you will need

  • Glue
  • Circular piece of steel metal, 7-8 inches in diameter
  • Low-loss coaxial connector
  • 17-inch length of 2-inch-diameter PVC or electrical piping
  • 16-gauge copper wire
  • Wire cutters
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape or a ruler
  • Solder and soldering gun
  • PVC cap

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