A "Cheap & Easy" 2.4GHz Feed
When the AATV group in Phoenix added a 2.4 GHz FM input to the ATV repeater, it provided hams a way to geton ATV "cheap and easy". The 2.4 GHz Wavecom
types of audio/video transmitter/receiver sets are certainly areasonably priced unit for ATV use. The transmitters are easily modified for more power, and kits and add-ons areshowing up to boost the power even more. The only thing that seemed to be lacking was an inexpensive antenna.We know that when frequencies get above about 900 MHz, a parabolic dish is the real ticket for maximum gain. At2.4 GHz, it is easy to get 20 to 25 dbi or more with a dish & feed that is manageable in size. Occasionally I haveseen 16" to 20" inch obsolete HBO
type dishes at hamfest’s and recently the larger Primestar
and other digitalTV dishes are showing up.We also know that a parabolic dish is not frequency dependent. It is the feed for the dish that must be constructed for a specific frequency range. We also found that we could home brew a feed using common materials.Here is a "cheap and easy" circular waveguide feed that can be built for the 2.4 GHz ATV band. While it is not anultimate ATV DX antenna, it is simple to construct, affordable, broadbanded and has about 10dbi gain right out of the can!
1.(1) Tuna can , 3.25"D x 1.45"L2.(1) Tall bean can, 3.25"D x 5.70"L3.(1) Chassis connector of your choosing: SMA, TNC, BNC, or type N. (UHF connectors don’t do well atthese frequencies)4.(1) 3/32" tube or #10 copper wire 1.125"L5.(1) Candy or Cookie tin, 5"D x 1.5"L
Solder the open ends of the two cans together to form a 7.15" tall cylinder. After soldering the cans together simplyuse a can-opener to remove the end of the bean can.Measure 1.82" (46.21mm or 1-13/32") from the closed end of the can. (Measure inside the can to the open end andtransfer this measurement to the outside). This is the center of the probe, (chassis connector). Drill a hole largeenough for the insulated portion of the chassis connector to pass through.Solder a piece of 3/32" tube or #10 wire to the center conductor of the chassis connector, creating a probe 1.125" or 1-1/8" long. Solder the chassis connector in place. The body of the chassis connector remains outside the can. The probe extends into the can and remains isolated from it. (This is a driven element, or a waveguide quarter waveantenna at 2.4 GHz.) We now have a complete circular waveguide feed that can be used as a stand-alone antenna.
The Scalar Ring
While an open ended circular waveguide makes a simple feed for a parabolic dish, the illumination pattern is not asideal as it first appears. We have too much energy in the center and too little at the edge. A satellite televisionantenna feed uses a unit made up of a series of shallow cavity rings surrounding the waveguide. This is known as aChaparral
feed and it is so named for the originator. The Chaparral feed alters the illumination pattern andimproves the efficiency of the feed. This type of feed is also well suited to the small HBO dishes with f/D in the