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Thread: Beer-CanTenna - A ground antenna for 433MHz TX

  1. #1
    Michael Mictronics's Avatar
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    Beer-CanTenna - A ground antenna for 433MHz TX

    Just in case someone needs a simple and easy to build ground station antenna, usable with any 433MHz TX, here is a solution:

    Beer-CanTenna measurement setup:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Return loss at 433MHz:
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    Inside the can:
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    On a tripod, extended to ~3m height:
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    What you need:
    1x Beer can, height 170mm, outer diameter 66mm, top opening diameter 52mm
    1x Steel welding rod, 500mm length, diameter 1.5mm
    1x BNC or SMA panel mount socket with front side nut

    How to build:
    - First, enjoy the beer, thats a mandatory step.
    - Remove the top cover of the can. In a way, that you keep the outer folded ring.
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    -Drill a hole in the bottom center to insert the BNC/SMA socket.
    - Solder the welding rod to the BNC/SMA center contact.
    - Measure the length of the rod including the center contact and cut the overall length to 490mm.
    - Insert the socket through the bottom hole and fix with the nut.
    - Cover the top opening with some non-conductive material. I used some EPS foam.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    - That's all.

    I made a extension pipe with a BNC socket on one end and some tripod adapter on the other. This way I can raise the antenna up to 3m on the tripod.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The antenna connects with a 5m BNC cable to the transmitter.

    I have tested the antenna during my 11km flight with excellent results.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    A fellow pilot uses a second antenna with 433MHz 3DR radio modes to control his APM2.5 plane. He was 3km out already then chickened.

    ---
    Note, a different size beer can may require a different length of the welding rod.

  2. #2
    The World as We See It Twawsi's Avatar
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    Im sorry Michael but you lost me after BEER, lol. This is some cool stuff though man, keep up the great work! I haven't touched FPV since just about France but I'll get back to it one day. I still lurk the forums from time to time and this one takes the cake....er....I mean Beer! Cheers, Frank

  3. #3
    Pilot sl4ppy's Avatar
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    I've used real cantenna's for years for wifi projects. Good stuff!

    http://www.cantenna.com/

  4. #4
    Engineer for Jesus Christ IBCrazy's Avatar
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    That is awesome! Balanced well, too! That's a really cool way to make a dipole.

    -Alex
    If it is broken, fix it. if it isn't broken, I'll soon fix that.

    videoaerialsystems.com - Performance video piloting

  5. #5
    Michael Mictronics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sl4ppy View Post
    I've used real cantenna's for years for wifi projects. Good stuff!

    http://www.cantenna.com/
    The above antenna is a bit different than the usual cantenna used for Wifi. These cantenna's are waveguides with strong directional gain. The beer can antenna above is a so called end-fed sleeve antenna. The radiation pattern is similar to a dipole, donut shape with strong top null.

  6. #6
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    Michael how does this one compare to a regular half-wave dipole?
    Thanks for the info! Your tutorials are always very informative and interesting!

  7. #7
    Michael Mictronics's Avatar
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    As said above, radiation pattern is similar to a dipole, also gain, about 2dBi. I had my Skywalker flying 11km out with 0.2W power set on the EzUHF. The antenna was sitting on the 3m pole.

  8. #8
    Navigator benchmark's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing mate. Does it matter what kind of beer was contained in the can

  9. #9
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    I like it. I don't understand where the 490mm comes from though. Shouldn't one just make sure that the part of the rod that's sticking out of the top of the can is 17.5cm (433Mhz 1/4 wavelength) long?
    How critical are the dimensions of the can? I suppose the width isn't critical at all (perhaps narrower is better), and the length somewhat.

  10. #10
    Michael Mictronics's Avatar
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    Diameter of the can isn't much critical but the length is. It corresponds with the length of the radiating rod. So if the can length is different the the rod must be as well.
    The given rod length above was determined through SWR measurements.

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