#369 How to build performing antennas for LoRa, WiFi, 433MHz, Airplanes etc.(NanoVNA, MMANA-GAL)



I am often asked: Where do I get a good antenna? Or: Is this a good antenna? Unfortunately, you do not see if an antenna is good or bad before you do some measurements. Or you build one yourself. That is what we will do today. Be it for satellite reception, for LoRa, weather balloons, or even for Wi-Fi. Like that, we know what we have. And even can save some money.
I am a proud Patreon of @GreatScott! , @ElectroBOOM , @Electronoobs , @EEVblog , and others
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Links:
2.8″ NanoVNA: https://www.tindie.com/products/hcxqsgroup/nanovna-v2-plus/
2.8″ SMA NanoVNA V2: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_A6Pm3F or https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_9zdUZ9
4″ Type N NanoVNA V2: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_AaJcaR
SMA connectors male: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_A6CM7R
SMA connector female: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_9xPlRx
Semi-rigid cable: https://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/_AOzVM9
Simulation Software: https://hamsoft.ca/pages/mmana-gal.php
Ground-Plane Calculator: https://m0ukd.com/calculators/quarter-wave-ground-plane-antenna-calculator/
J-Pole Calculator: https://m0ukd.com/calculators/slim-jim-and-j-pole-calculator/
ARRL Antenna Handbook: https://amzn.to/2NhP4QL
Rothammel: https://amzn.to/3bQHRkI

Chapters:
00:00 Intro
00:41 Parts of an antenna
01:02 The Ground plane antenna
01:28 Impedance
01:45 Connectors
03:40 Building the ground plane antenna
04:48 Which wires and how long?
05:48 The build
07:04 What is a good antenna (including measurements)?
10:07 The antenna is finished
11:20 Far-field pattern and gain (incl. Simulation Software)
12:48 Other applications (Wi-Fi, satellites)
13:22 Conclusions
14:03 One last thing
14:30 Outro

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Supporting Material and Blog Page: http://www.sensorsiot.org
Github: https://www.github.com/sensorsiot
My Patreon Page: https://www.patreon.com/AndreasSpiess
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50 thoughts on “#369 How to build performing antennas for LoRa, WiFi, 433MHz, Airplanes etc.(NanoVNA, MMANA-GAL)

  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    This channel is precious! Wonderful! I'm in love with it… Mr. Spiess, you have my AXE!!!

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Hi Andreas 🙂 What do you think about video on the subject of EM or RF interference shielding? This is important if you try to receive very week signal and around electronic or even receiver electronic makes it hard. (I love follow your videos , this is amazing good job) 🙂

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Hi Andreas, Browning on internet I found your Chanel, and now I am a New subscriber. Congratulations. I am beginner for Lora Technologies and I am try to find some tutorial or videos tô help me to configure a simple point to point conection using only two laptops, two Lora rádios and two TTL to UART. (Without Arduino or other MCU) I tought using some terminal to send and receive mesages between the laptops. I can not find vídeos or tutorial. Can you please help? Thank!

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Hi Andreas, great video, thanks! Do you know of any analyzers that go up to 6ghz? Need it to test 5.8ghz antennae. Thanks again!

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Love your videos. Impressed that Al welding rods can be solderable 5:33, and 6:30 thru 6:45. I had "stuck" thinking because Al is normally not solderable, but of course the rods are alloyed!

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    I may try one of these to improve the range and reliability of my garage door opener. I think it is in the 433 MHz range. The opener just uses about a 6 inch (15 cm) piece of wire. However, the main door is steel and I think that reduces the signal strength. If I build an external antenna, I can mount is where the door will not block the signal.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    are you going to explore a more advanced antenna like patch and 'spiral'? also what about half-wave and quarter-wave?

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Wo sind Sie in der Schwiss, Ich whonte in Konstanz a.B. und Kreuzlingen
    (Sch) in die sechiger Jahren und kenne die Schweiss ein wuderschoenes Land

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    I've purchased the parts to build an outdoor 1/4 wave antenna for LoRa per your video and even figured out how to mount it on my tile roof which has a great view of my city (I live higher up in the foothills). However, at minute 12:18. your video suggests maximum gain near the ground plane. How does this antenna perform looking down into the valley from my roof for covering remote nodes in the city? Will it cover the valley, or is coverage limited to the ground plane and above? 

    I've learned so much watching your videos – thanks Andreas!!!

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Is it possible to build a Bluetooth antenna

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Perfect as usual.
    This guy gives better explanations in fifteen minutes than others in one hour!

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    I would love to see videos like this for other antenna designs, especially directional ones.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    If i am using, for example, RFM95 lora module on my pcb, and run a trace from the antenna pin on the RFM95 to an SMA antenna connector, soldered onto my pcb and the trace is for example 3 centimeters long, will that mess up the antenna? Because i imagine the trace it self will act as part of the antenna so in combination with the actual connected antenna it will resonate at a different frequency and worsen the performance of the device?

    Also, does the thickness of the antenna wire matter?

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    MMANA-GAL falling from the sky! I’ve used that program in undergrad rf classes, it is quite an amazing freeware program!

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    And I thougt that quad helical antennas were the DIY ones to go with satellite reception…

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Yea look, to be honest, you lost me shortly after you said, "I'm often asked…". But I'm happy to know the frequency range of my IQ is at a comfortable "Ignorance is bliss" level. I did however love all the little graphs and colors. It was really pretty. Thank you for that.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    coax collinear antenna is promising simple to build, and high gain (db = 10 log n where n is number of elements 8 usually) but my initial conclusion: estimating velocity factor is big pitfall, one can be off by 5-10% if the coax doesn't have datasheet, and you have no VNA

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Andreas, this was a thoughtful and well-produced explanation. But you didn't address two issues with the J-pole at the end: (1) very high SWR, and (2) it is outperformed at low elevation by the ground plane, despite having similar theoretical gain. Many people believe a J-pole will outperform a ground plane for land-mobile use. It is rarely true!

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    I don't know why SMA is the standard I hate swapping so many thing to RP. In my mind I'd rather have the antenna wear out over the electronic.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    I'm waiting for you to build a seven element wifi yagi. You could start a "pimp my router" series.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Really nice tutorial on building a ground plane antenna. Thanks Andreas – VK3TWC / Trevor

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Thank you Andreas. I was going to spend $$$ on a formal RAK antenna for a Lora Gateway at our hacker-space. Now I can use the money to purchase a VNA analyzer and build my own!

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    dear sir, Please make a video on "FSPL" and "Friis equation". It is important for satellite, other RF transmitters and receivers, when there is no disturbance in between, only air and free space(while communicating in long range) .

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Hi sir, would you tell me the name of that huge antena book you have? and where to buy/ read it online?

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Great video as always!
    I have two questions – how do you solder aluminium? And how those brass/copper fittings are called?

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Andreas, is it possible to get a link where to buying 3 mm. aluminium rods.? Thank you so much!

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Andreas – you'll retire in ~15 years, but engineering students will keep learning from your videos.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    meanwhile, our local providers could not offer a 5G speed (experimental speed: 5Mbps) over 4G (5+ Mbps).
    hope we could see 10Gbps wifi of both up and down in the short future using this technology lol.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    The velocity factor is related to epsilon of the material, most often used for coaxial cables. Here you deal with the effect so-called end of the wire of the radiator. I turns out that very end of the wire meets the air and impedance mismatch makes that real life antennas have to be slightly shorter than lambda calculations. The used calculator tries to account to the end wire effect by mitigating it as a velocity factor correction. I do not like the way. From theoretical point of view it is misleading. Also, I have real concerns about your MMANA-Gal simulations. Probably you started with the template of the antenna. For HAM MHz antennas working in a few MHz range simulation, it considers that the earth ground is a conducting plane. Low Freqs means long wavelengths. Wherever you put antenna, on the roof or somewhere lower, wavelengths ara so long that error related to the antenna height is minimal. High frequency antena (short wavelength) should be treated like the antenna in free space. It does not feel earth ground much, ether you testing it an 17th floor building or your house – the results, should be the same, thereby simulation parameters should be changed to "free space". Your far field patterns will be symmetrical in x axis. Now you have them halved by the ground "earth plane" effect. Instead of MMANA-Gal I would suggest using freeware "4nec2". More flexibility than MMANA-Gal. I am consider MMANA-Gal as some kind of tricksters that are basing on nec2 and charging money for theirs full versions with nice templates for HAM society. I will be honest with you MMANA-Gal and NEC2 are simplest, starting software. Real result you can achieve only using 3D soft which account for conductor diameters well: Ansys HFSS, CST Studio, FEKO ,to name a few. I do not want to criticize, I really appreciate your work. I really like your channel. I just wanted to give you some objective insight in the topic.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    I am not that technically skilled, but I would love to build a LoRa just to support the LoRa users. After all I learnt from one of your videos that every device can be used to forward the signals broadcasted by others.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    I want to build an antenna for 5.8ghz (fpv Drohne groundstation) But my equipment cant get up to this Frequency. Is there any postibility to get this exactly tuned?

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    I was doing my wireless communication lab classes today and your video helped me understand a lot about these VNAs

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Great video as usual. BTW, when you measured resonantor length, it included teflon + copper thread or only AL pipe length? I am concerned 0.7cm difference come from this!

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Taught how to get straight wire from a roll 40 years ago – just wrap one end around something strong and grab the other with pliers and pull – the wire stretches slightly but you get a beautifully straight section of wire – just cut off ends
    Did use tinned copper wire for interconnects on electronics so not sure how it will work on larger diameter

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Great video! A couple of questions for later videos perhaps?
    1) Can you explain the effect of different thickness of material on the antenna? I believe a thinner diameter generally has a narrower bandwidth, meaning it can help "focus" on a signal and reflect interference, but I've seen conflicting info.
    2) Any hints as to better antenna designs for receive only antennas? Does it make sense to use a different design if radiating is less needed?
    3) Copper versus Aluminium, does it really make much difference for our typical usages?

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  • March 11, 2021 at 8:54 am
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    Thank you Andreas. Your videos are very informative and very practical. Actual measurements and builds not just theory.

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  • September 9, 2021 at 1:18 pm
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    Howdy would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a difficult time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

    Reply
  • November 1, 2021 at 4:40 am
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    Yesterday, while I was at work, my cousin stole my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

    Reply

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