One of my favorite ham radio activities is making contacts on satellites. It’s really fun to know that you’re controlling something that’s receiving and sending communications from space. But communicating with satellites means carrying a big Yagi antenna around. So, I decided to use my fashion sewing skills to make a collapsible fabric Yagi antenna that’s much easier to transport.
Photo by MAKE
You can only transmit radio if you have a ham radio license, but you can listen to communications on satellites without a license. If you don’t have a license, you only need to build the receiving part of the antenna. You can read all about how to listen to satellites in my previous post, “Catching satellites on ham radio“.
Photo by MAKE
[A] Brass rod (6?) (1/8? diameter)
[B] Hollow large brass/bronze rod (9?) (1/4? diameter)
[C] Hollow small brass/bronze rod (1? ) (3/16? diameter) Make sure the small brass rod slides snuggly into the large brass rod.
[D] Elastic string (3 yards)
[E] Buckles (2) That fit narrow strapping
[F] Round buttons with thread shanks (4) You can also use a pony bead, or a button with a big shank but these will not look as nice.
[G] Velcro ties (2)
[H] Thread To match strapping and fabric
[I] Narrow strapping (1 yard ) (3/4? wide)
[J] Wide strapping (2 Yards ) (1-1/4? – 1? wide) Like the bottom adjustable parts of straps on a backpack.
[K] Heavy fabric (1 Yard ) I’m using a heavy nylon canvas, a fabric used to make bags. You could also use oil cloth or vinyl. Choose a heavy and durable fabric. Like the type that laptop bags or suitcases are made out of.
[L] RG-58 coaxial (10?) With BNC or UHF connectors.
[M] Wooden meter stick (1) Or a 1/4? x 1 x 2ft. piece of wood.
Adhesive Velcro (1?)
Hand sewing Needle