Tape Measure Antenna

Tape Measure Antenna Project

The finished tape measure antenna

This directional antenna may be used for either radio direction finding (fox or bunny hunting) or when properly tuned may be used for satellite work. The antenna consists of a used steel tape measure cut into sections for elements and attached to a PVC water pipe boom. The RG58 coax is attached to the center element or the radiator. We suggest you experiment with various options to obtain your optimal configuration,

Some 3 element yagi antennas use a 3/4″ schedule 40 PVC pipe while others have used a 1/2″ version which is lighter in weight. For fox hunting the measurements do not have to be exact as you want some signal attenuation to occur naturally if at all possible. The parts you need may be sourced through local sources as Home Depot, Lowes, your local hardware store or co-op or even a place like Tractor Supply/Rural King. For the cost conscious builder stop by Harbor Freight with a coupon for your free tape measure!

The components shown are sufficient to build two antennas and the materials were sourced through Home Depot

We have club members ready to help with the preparation and construction of your tape measure antenna. It takes less than an hour to cut the pipe and tape measures including the assembly of the antenna. Gluing the pipe sections together is optional and many just use electrical tape to secure them together. Tinning the ruler is suggested prior to mounting and attaching the coax cable. Basic hand tools are need and club members can help you out with that and soldering especially if it is your first time.

Basic hand tools for cutting and assembling the antenna

After playing with the antenna and your radio you may want to add an attenuator for fox hunting. While not an endorsement but some of our club members have purchased the small attenuator from KC9ON as opposed to creating your own from scratch. 

Want your own fox? Take a look at the various models from Byonics as they may have one to suit your needs from a larger transceiver capable of changing user settings with DTMF tones or to something that will fit into a film canister.

We encourage you to give fox hunting and building/experimenting with a radio direction finding antenna a try and to join us in the field as hounds!