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How to Make a Loop Antenna for an AM Radio

by David Lipscomb

AM radio reception can be a little tricky, given its highly directional nature. However, the characteristics of a well-built loop antenna and a commercially purchased unit are mainly cosmetic. Since AM reception has almost as much to do with location as antenna construction, you can build homemade loop antennas and be confident that they will be nearly as effective as purchased antennas.

Step 1

Cut the speaker wire into a 20-foot length, using the small wire cutters.

Step 2

Leave one end of the wire free. Use the wire cutters to strip off 1 inch of insulation from the speaker wire on one end.

Step 3

Crimp on the 12-gauge spade terminals to the bare wire using the wire crimpers.

Step 4

Coil the speaker wire as tightly as possible, creating approximately a 10-inch coil. Secure the coil as 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock with the zip ties.

Screw on the spade lugs to the AM terminal screws on the back of the receiver or tuner. Place the loop antenna as high as possible, until reception is acceptable.

Items you will need

  • 12-gauge unshielded speaker wire
  • 12-gauge crimp-on spade terminals
  • Crimp tool
  • Small wire cutters
  • 4-inch plastic zip ties
  • Phillips screwdriver

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