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 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.
If you’re not interested in building your own antenna, then C. Crane has one of the most powerful, patented AM antennas available; The Twin Coil Ferrite® AM Antenna Signal Booster.
As always, we value your opinion and encourage questions. Please feel free to contact us or leave a comment.