There are few truly magical things in this world that are practically free.
This DIY AM antenna is best used outdoors but you can make it work inside by somehow re-routing the wires. It amplifies all weak AM signals, so a powerful local station might be heard over your entire AM radio dial.
Here is what you need:
• 100′ or more of any type of insulated wire you can easily work with
• Twist or Zip ties or tape to hold the shape of the coil
• (2) alligator clips (available online or at most electronics stores)
• (1) three or four foot ground stake (any metal stake or 1/2″ diameter or greater pipe)
• (1) adjustable pipe clamp that fits around your metal stake
1. Form a three inch coil with seven turns. Secure into a round shape with ties or tape. The attached alligator clip shown below will be connected to no less than 60′ of your antenna wire. Generally the longer the antenna wire the better so if you have a 100′ antenna wire, that’s good.
2. The other end (not shown) of the coil will go to the ground stake so leave enough wire. The ground stake can be driven into a convenient and safe place nearby.
3. For maximum reception, stretch the antenna wire out perpendicular to the station you want to listen to. That means if you draw a make-believe line toward the station, you want to lay the antenna wire out 90 degrees to that imaginary line. You can mount the wire at any height, but consider eight feet for safety.
4. Bare the end of the antenna wire (I use a knife or diagonal pliers) and clip it to the coil. You really don’t need the alligator clips, but it is much more reliable than twisting wire together.
5. Our antenna did not work on the pipe we used until we sanded the rust away on a small section under the clamp. What you can’t see is that the dirt is damp. This is also important to make the ground work. If you have bone dry soil you may have to dump quite a bit of water on the dirt to make the soil more conductive. Clip the wire to the clamp.
6. Grand Magic Test: Tune your radio to a very weak station. You don’t need a signal meter but it is fun to watch it register the gain. Move the coil near the radio until you hear the station improve. You don’t actually attach this antenna to the radio. The coil intensifies the signal which is inductively picked up by the ferrite antenna inside the radio. A 1400 KHz station in our area went from “no discernible signal” to “full power”. Please let us know of your successes or failures so fellow listeners can benefit from your experiences.
You can experiment with the diameter of the coil, the number of turns and the length of antenna wire you use. If you want to see some other great AM antennas try searching am loop antenna DIY. We would love it if you send a comment and/or picture that we can post.
This antenna works great on the AM band because of the properties of these frequencies. Loop antennas can work on other frequencies also but need some modification because of the frequency property differences. There are probably some discoveries to be made in the future with loop antenna research.
As always, we value your opinion and encourage questions. Please feel free to contact us or leave a comment.
Thanks for the info. Even though my CCrane radio gets great AM reception, I’m going to see if it gets any better.
A station about 30 miles from me just cut their power way down. I am going to try your tips to see if I can pick them up again. Thanks for the tips and the quality products you guys furnish. There is so much cheap junk out there anymore, I hone in when I find a good vendor. Thanks
Just unpacked my CC Radio-EP. Too bad it won’t pull in the station I bought it for. I bought this model because it has antenna in-puts. I plan to put a roof top
anntena up, but am not finding a sutable schematic online. Please advise
Please call us and we’ll see what we can do to help you find a possible solution. 800-522-8863 Monday – Friday 8:30AM – 5:00PM PT.
I made an inductive loop by wrapping 17 turns of 22 AWG magnet wire on a 16 inch pizza box and used a 450 pf tuning capacitor. It works extremely well. I can`t wait to try the one described here when I move. I`ve already bought a ground rod and lots of wire. I love my EP PRO radio!
A simple 1 line schematic drawing might make the AM antenna text a little easier to understand. (Or a photo of the entire antenna with it’s connections.)
center feed dipole 468 in feet divided by freq. gives you the lenght in feet of the antenna half wave dipole feed it with 75 ohm coax cable this is a good antenna. try to get it up as high as you can.
Hi there. Must the insulated wire be single strand and what diameter is recommended?
Paul in South Africa
PS Trying to increase signal strength of LM radio broadcasting on 702 am from Maputo Mozambique to Johannesburg
Single strand or multi-strand is fine as long as it is insulated and not shielded. RG-20 or RG-22 are the grades I use.
Did you mean 20 ga. or 22 ga? RG is a mil spec prefix for Radio Grade coaxial cables.
How do i set up a inside loop antenna
One day I stumbled upon a great video for this. The video host gives a great step-by-step walk through on creating one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wnkf_gQQwwg
I’ve been hearing on Coast To Coast AM what great AM reception C. Crane radios have. (Especially with this new chip). Now I’m a bit worried since if I buy an emergency radio I’ll need great broadcast reception to keep up morale i.e. listening to the sane part of the outside world. (I’ve been out to sea in a bad squall and nothing but NOAA and USCG contact and it gets LONELY out there.)
I have tried this at home…but i still have a lot of noise even if i have a good ground stake….so for me it didn’t work!!
I have about 100′ of wire….
Are you using copper or steel grounding steaks? Copper is the best conductor. Is the soil somewhat moist or completely dry? Slightly moist soil is better. Also is the radio run on AC or batteries? If AC, there could be 60-cycle noise that is being injected.
FYI…. If you feel comfortable doing it…. bunch up the end of the bare wire so it fits securely into the ground portion only of your home electrical socket ( requires that your house electrical not be the old two prong connection)…the round hole below please, not the neutral & hot connections above. I did it in my garage and it worked very well for my old radio. I have an electrical 3-prong tester to confirm proper ground/neutral-hot configuration…avail at your HW store…cheap & nice to evaluate that all your house sockets are installed properly…i.e. that electricians have not swapped the hot & neutral wires & that the ground is good).
FYI-2:I have a grounding sheet for our bed & use a supplied electrical prong in insulated wire to input into the ground portion of my electrical socket… works well there as well).
11/19/17 – I don’t understand your connections. You have 1)the coil, 2)the long antenna wire, 3)the ground stake & clip. What connects to what? Surely you don’t mean to connect the antenna wire to ground? –reid
1 end of the coil connects to the earth stake, the other end connects to the 40 meters or so of insulated aerial wire you use. I ran the wire in my roof space (above the rafters) and connected the other end to my earth stake. Great results! Be aware if you have a multiple earth neutral electricity supply system, as a fault to earth from your (or neighbours) supply system can travel up the earth stake and possibly create a few issues.
i made these types of antennas for my 6 transistor pocket radios in the early 1960s and they worked great.
I as well, Keith! Pulled in signals from San Francisco, LA, and Grand Junction Nebraska from Southeast Washington State. Tried to get WSM from Nashville but it was pretty weak even at that.
magnetic ground wave antenna real quiet compaired to other antennas.
If you don’t attach it to the radio, why the clip?
For simplicity sake, they are just handy to use clipped onto the actual copper wire (after baring the plastic on the wire) vs. just twisting raw exposed wire together. It would behoove someone to actually have 2 sets of long wire just in case you need to adjust the coiled up wire, you wouldn’t have to walk 100+ ft. to adjust the other end of the wire attached to the metal stake & clamp. The 2nd clip can be used to clip the longer piece of the wire (around the metal stake) to the shorter wire that is coiled and near your radio. I hope this answers why the extra clip suggested. Need 1, but 1 more is helpful. Feel free to call if you have more questions. We are happy to assist further. 1-800-522-8863.
What about lightning protection?
In regards to any electrical advice, I need to refer you to your local Electrical contractor for advice.
I’m surprised that C Crane hasn’t mention the SELECT-A-TENNA to improve AM reception. I have one that was sold by C Crane and I purchased over thirty years ago. It looks like a LP record standing on its side with a big tuneable knob in the center. You set it next to the radio and match the frequency with the one you are trying to listen to. I have one of these original gems that worked in the past on multiple radios. I loved “DX’ing” far away stations, but sadly it sits on a shelf in my closet. My original table radio died and rather than buy a new one, I decided to listen to Internet radio on my phone through RADIO apps that are available. Yes, you can hear the stations loud and clear, but it takes away from the fun and magic of “DX’ing”. Of course, you may be spending $$$ on live streaming. So, in the end, free over-the-air is the better way to go.
We love Free over-the-air radio time, thus our Amazing CC Wifi Radio! With over 16,000 stations from all over the world, one can enjoy the benefits of streamed listening with no monthly fees which is great! Use your phone on the go & use the radio at home. WIN WIN! https://www.ccrane.com/item/rad_wifi_ccradio_n/cwf/cc_wifi_internet_radio_no_ethernet_connection
Unfortunately the SELECT-A-TENNA has been discontinued. The family that made it retired and stopped making them. We do however have a similar model which is the Terk AM Antenna. https://www.ccrane.com/item/ant_am_tr1/search/terk_am_advantage
Hi, I’m Ben and have been reading comments on the powerful AM loop antenna and came across your suggestion for the Terk AM antenna. I clicked on the website but unfortunately it no longer exists or that it has moved. Can you please supply me with an updated website or if you sell it can you please inform me via my email ? I’d appreciate it immensely. Thank yo very much, Ben. PS .Can I have the number or the name of your FM antenna for my Bose wave radio. Had it but lost it like my brain.
The current link to the Terk AM Advantage can be found here (https://ccrane.com/terk-am-advantage/). The FM antenna you are inquiring about is called the FM Reflect-2 and can be found here (https://ccrane.com/fm-reflect-2-dipole-antenna).
I wonder how this works if I attach it to the ground rod that is already on the side of my home. It’s grounded to our electrical panel.
In regards to any electrical advice, I need to refer you to your local Electrical contractor for advice since the ground rod is touching the panel.
What about lightning? Is there a lightning arrestor needed with this design?
For this question, I need to refer you to your local Electrical contractor for advice.
I have a long wire antenna I use for AM DX, and lightning was my first consideration.
Try this: buy a spark plug and connect your long wire antenna to the “hot” terminal. Using a couple of washers and properly sized nut, attach a ground wire to what would be the threads for inserting the spark plug into the engine.
I have used this for some time and am pleased with the results. It’s quick and easy and appears to work.
(THIS INFORMATION IS PROVIDED AS A SUGGESTION AND I ASSUME NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ITS USE OR EFFECTIVENESS.)
How about describing the construction using the same principle for an indoor antenna? I understand the increase in signal strength may not be as great as your outdoor antenna but most people listen to nighttime radio indoors!
Aside from figuring out a way to bring the radio & wire inside , (under a window or door), we do however have a similar model which is the Terk AM Antenna which is the same concept as the DIY example we share in this blog. This would be the more simple solution. https://www.ccrane.com/item/ant_am_tr1/search/terk_am_advantage
In a mountain cabin in a river valley (Chewuch) in Eastern WA , 2oo miles from Seattle, is a coil of 21 turns of #22 , stranded cu, insulated hook-up wire that was wound on a Quaker Oats package and taped to keep it together. The 2 ends of the coil are soldered to a convenient length of lamp cord…it was handy and I had a whole roll of it….and the lamp cord went through a drilled hole in the outside wall of the cabin.. The twin wire lamp cord was separated and one wire clamped to the power pole ground stake….any clean pipe, rod. aluminum ski pole, etc. will work in moist ground, the river is 59f’ away… My antenna is strung between 2 trees about as high as I could pitch a rock with fishing line attached… for mountain AM, height is good…and the cabin end is connected to the down lead and an insulator. The far end is about 150′ away and oriented NW/SE for the desired distant stations, WA is the NW corner ‘ya know, and is connected to a piece of monofilament way too big to fish with and it runs over a limb of the tree and to a swinging rock near ground…keeps it tight and allows the wind to blow the trees around. The wire was originally cu stranded antenna wire but replaced by 0.032 SS safety wire after snow load limb breakage. The down lead is connected to the other wire of the lamp cord. So the antenna is connected to the down lead and the down lead is hooked to the twin lead and into the cabin to one end of the coil and the other coil end goes back outside to ground and the circuit is complete and … ‘Bob’s your uncle’ !!
I hang the coil over the FM antenna, useless there, and during the day get most serious Seattle stations and Vancouver and Salt Lake …..on my original CC Radio , the one that has 13 channels of TV sound. I have several later CC Radios but I wouldn’t leave them in a mountain cabin.
At night…CA, NV ,TX too many to count….some are ‘skips’, some are not, but the clarity and quality is outstanding. I have, and lately, most of the cabin folk over there, used this system since the early ’70’s and someone said it came from Alaska where they reached for stations down south.
I would like to try this antenna, however, I live in the Arizona desert and have no way to install a ground rod into moist soil. Any ideas?
Any soil, even if dry is better than nothing. Also if you get it into the dry soil you could always use a garden hose on it once in a while.
Love things like this. You dont see much like this any more
I’m off-grid, and wondering if this antenna booster can significantly improve battery life by lowering current consumption since the AGC isn’t always employing such a large amplification.
If so, how much affect can it have?
I suppose it would depend on where the AGC is, and I’m showing my lack of understanding of AM circuits, since I don’t know exactly where the AGC is. Is it before the detector?
Don’t forget the usefulness of Cat 3, Cat 5, or Cat 6 wire. All of these wires will cover the so called “AM” band very well and can be used as “transmission line” somewhat like a coaxial cable would carry your TV signal from a rooftop TV antenna to your TV receiver.
Very useful and infotainment interested article
Can I connect wire to lighting rod ground wire?
fun to play with antennas big part of picking up distance radio stations.
The antenna would work best when run in the direction of the station like a Beverage antenna.
Thanks have great day
Can I push the antenna into a 120 socket and use the electrical wiring in my house as an antenna? Thanks
What are loop dimensions for 40 mtrs SW or 31 mtrs or 25 mtrs. I have approx, 100 mtrs CM 24 ga 6 conductor. How can I best utilize it?
Attached to an antenna outside the house (by wire) won’t work??
You can take this idea a further with home made #61 ferrite rod lengths taped together, then wind your 65-100 turns on these twin AM magnetic antennas. Second, one of the two ferrites, say 8 inches long, then can have an outer plastic coil tube with three 4 inch long ferrite rods taped on it with an additional coil for tuning with an air variable capacitor rated at 365 pf reduction drive either 6:1 or 8:1. Coupled to this individual 8 inch ferrite is the other twin rod wired in parallel to the going out line coax cable line to radio external antenna connection. Depending on this induction coupling outer coil over the 3 rods affecting the 8 inch main ferrite AM rod, then you can adjust to fine tuning from 570 khz to 1700 khz. I basically added another outer tuning induction coil on the second main twin 8 inch ferrite #61 ferrite rod so the stations up 1700 khz and beyond that could be fine tuned. The size gauge wire and number of induction wound tuning coil turns decides how high up or lower stations are fine tuned. So, some adjustments would be made to satisfy the builder. I essentially added 2 toggle switches to shot of one or both tuning induction coils affecting the twin AM main ferrite rods wound with 35-40 turns each. I find some shortwave is accessible if both toggle switches are in the off position, and allows only the 180/46 litz wire to be used for shortwave purposes, which is somewhat okay. I have been perfecting this so called ferrite dynamo setup for quite some time, and it does have a high “Q” probably in the 1,000 – 2,000 range somewhere. I installed this in a DeWalt shallow tool box with a built in handle. Also, a PL-239 is on the box for coax cable to the radio. I hope this will help some one to enjoy trying this too.
can you draw a diagram or schematic of this high Q ANTENNA and were to get the materials from this would help a lot of dxers thank you.
you are right carol i dont know if they have a place here for a schematic for different antenna setups keith..
I noticed AM reception improved when I placed the radio near the coax coming from an HF antenna for my amateur radio station. It just had to be near the coax. In my case the antenna is a wire antenna attached to the top of 2 trees. The ground wire coming in was nearby too.
I will have to compare AM broadcast reception between my Crane radio and my Kenwood TS-590SG
It is not clear to me what to do with Both ends of the wire. I understand that one end goes to the post, but what about the other end?
The other end is for mounting connection to keep it high and near the radio for an inductive connection.
There is a picture on the original 2012 posting of the experiment on Facebook that is helpful, but a bit exaggerated since it shows it connected to a tree. At the time we used a PVC pipe for the mounting point on the other end. https://www.facebook.com/CCraneCompany/photos/a.10151505159156840/10151505159221840/?type=3&theater
ssullivan72 – thank you for just that simple diagram – that explains it perfectly.
A simple schematic would be much easier to understand. The text is difficult to follow.
I’ve been using this loop booster for reception in a metal building. Wire goes out under a window sash and is connected to a chain link fence at the top barbed wire. Works great!
I hope this is legitimate
I clipped the wire with the loop on it to the tip of my extenable antenna and clipped another wire to the base of the antenna and clipped the other end to a light switch box that i took off the face plate the box is grounded it seems to work pretty well i receive a lot of frequency bands in am and fm and i dont have to go outside i wouldnt recomend any idiot to jam metal into an electrical switch box but i just alligator clip it to the very outside out of the danger zone if your not totally retarded you can safely manage it am comes in pretty clear as well as shortwave and ham bands short wave broad casts seem to be different night to night not much seems to happen in the day .
Step to make an antenna using copper wire. Step 1: Estimate how old your antenna will be. Step 2: Cut the coaxial cable at one end. Step 3 – Strip half the length of the antenna from the end of the coax cable.Step 4 – Cut the copper tubing to half the total length of the antenna. Step 5 – Connect the coaxial cable to the copper pipe. Step 6: Solder the protective layer of the coaxial cable to the tube. Step 7 – Connect the coaxial cable to your audio receiver.Step 8 – Set up the copper antenna.
As a DIY enthusiast, you surely want to make many things inexpensively with the technical items that exist in your home. As you may not know, making a radio antenna is one of those fun and inexpensive DIY projects.