A 3G Woktenna (An antenna made out of a wok!)

February 14, 2010

Woktenna MK 1Moving around and ensuring a decent, reliable Internet connection is a constant struggle, and especially at the moment, as due to my job I will often spend no more than a few months in the same location.

So I have to rely on either sharing an Internet connection with other people locally or using a 3G dongle. 3G dongles however are notoriously picky. They need a good connection to get anywhere near to broadband speeds otherwise its back to a slow speed GPRS connection.

So I had an idea…..

AfTripodteUSB Connectorr reading a bit about various techniques for building ‘Woktennas’ for wifi reception, here. I found a likely candidate for a ‘Wok’ in a cheap and cheerful stainless steel metal cooking bowl.

The budget was about £5. And It had to be constructible using nothing but a Dremel and some Duct Tape . It also had to be lightweight, and try its very best not to look like a bowl!

Other than that, it’s pretty simple to build given a few hours. The Maplin USB connector I used has a metal plate in the back that can be removed, so in order to mount the USB socket you only have to drill a square hole and two holes for the screws. Reassemble the connector with the dish sandwiched in-between. The tripod mount is somewhat trickier so I will leave that up to the reader, I drilled two holes and used bolts to connect it but it isn’t perfect and could certainly be improved upon.

Note that I left the connector quite high in the dish rather than mounting it flush. This will mean that it hopefully will get better reception from the back of the dish. It seems to work so I am leaving it as it is, but feel free to mess about with varying distances and signal strength.

The Result

I am now getting a constant 3G signal when this weird contraption is pointed towards the transmitter.. I have plugged it into a Edimax 3G router and it supplies a solid wireless Internet connection wherever I am. Of course it needs a 3G transmitter in line of sight, but as I always seem to end up living in ‘marginal or spotty’ 3G areas, it works a treat.

Parts List

Metal cooking bowl – £1 From Poundland

Mini Tripod – £1 From, Yep Poundland

USB Panel Mount Socket – £4.18 from Maplin Electronics

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