CORNER REFLECTOR ANTENNA DESIGN

List of Needed Materials:













1 ea
5/8 OD X 19/32 ID Brass tubing (.015 nom wall)
1 ea
1/4 OD Brass rod or tubing, ID not critical.
1 ea
1/16 to 1/8 brass rod, or 3/32 brass welding rod 15" long
1 ea
Type N, Flange mount, type UG58A/U, or BNC Flange Mt UG290A/U
RF connector, preferably silver plated
1 ea
2-3 sq ft material for reflector(.019 perf aluminum recommended)
1 ea
4-40 brass hex nut
1 ea
4-40 X 1/2 brass screw
1 ea
4-40 X 1/4" stainless steel screw
1 ea
.032 Brass or copper plate, 2" X 2"
o or double sided g-10 matl, 2" x 2" X .062
1 ea
1/2" stopless copper pipe coupling, sweat type
1 ea
Wood, 1" X 2" X 12" as required.
8 ea
#6 X 1/2" sheet metal or wood screws
Also Solder, 60/40, both resin core and solid, fine steel wool, hardware as
needed, misc wood blocks for jigging purposes, suitable plastic container for
optional cover.

Note: Tubing is sold in 1 ft lengths. Hobby shops that sell model airplane supplies
and large hardware and craft suppliers may also carry this material. The amount
of materials are shown to build one antenna for 900 MHz. Antennas for lower
frequencies are larger and will require correspondingly more materials. Brass
tubing for inner and outer conductors can also be any other reasonable
dimensions as long as they have approximately a 2.3 to 1 ratio of ID (outer) to
OD (center). See table 2 for other suitable sizes and resultant impedances. (45
to 55 ohms will be OK)
Introduction
Often, a scanner enthusiast, ham, or UHF experimenter needs an antenna
that is more effective than a discone or ground plane, but does want to erect an
antenna that is overly large and difficult to tune. A yagi antenna can give excellent
results over a restricted bandwidth (1% or so) but can be very difficult to tune and
optimize, especially at frequencies in the UHF range. This is in part due to the
difficulty of constructing a good matching network. Physical dimensions of the
matching network must be kept small and a properly balanced feed must be
maintained, as any radiation or pickup by the network will spoil the performance of
the antenna. Also, element dimensions become small and therefore so do
dimensional tolerances. Although there are a number of antenna design software
packages that are not too difficult to use, things such as the element mounting
methods, boom material, and boom diameter must be considered. Much work has
been done and while there are a number of good designs available, the construction
and testing of an antenna of this type is rather involved and requires test
equipment not available to many hobbyists. The finished antenna, if not tested, may

P a g e 1 | 10

At 440 MHz this is 2 feet or more.be several DB below expectations and may not have the pattern that was sought after. Parabolic dish antennas are excellent and not as critical but are large. is not critical to set up. home center. or as a temporary. For the hobbyist with an average assortment of tools and some basic mechanical ability. expensive and not easy to mechanically mount so they can be rotated. the exact situation being more complex and requiring a long winded mathematical analysis. hardware store. The dipole is a half wave dipole fed from a balanced RF voltage source. and has reasonable bandwidth of 5% to 20% would be a good compromise. weak signal SSB. The surfaces are generally about one or more wavelengths in extent. Figs 1 & 2 show the details of this kind of antenna. have some directivity. A surface parabolic in one direction and flat 90 degrees with respect to that direction would be a cylindrical parabola. or elliptical curve. All these geometrical surfaces are useful for various purposes depending on the desired antenna gain and pattern. Smaller yagis with 4 to 8 elements are easier but require the same care and testing if results expected in design are to be realized in the finished antenna. If the surface has a parabolic. cheap antenna to use before investing in a larger yagi or other expensive setup. If the reflector is bent so as to form a corner we have a corner reflector antenna. Short electromagnetic waves used for TV and radio communications (>400 MHz or <75 cm. If the reflector is bent so as to form a corner we have a corner reflector antenna. If the surface has a parabolic. an antenna that has 8 to 10 db gain. The antenna will provide noticeable improvement over a discone or ground plane. But this is an oversimplification. for a useful gain to be obtained. proportionately less at higher frequencies. Cost should be $20 or less. an 8 to 10 db antenna will give very good results both in transmission and reception. A conducting. a number of the giant home centers that are springing up like weeds around the country may very well carry every item you may need. and the size of the plane reflector. especially if they have a craft or hobby department. They have fairly good patterns and good front to back ratios. using hand tools and commonly available materials from your local lumber yard. There is a class of antennas. and be well worth the time and trouble to make it. It is somewhat foolproof. Practically all the power radiated from the dipole toward the plane surface is reflected back toward the dipole and will add to the power radiated by the dipole if phase relations are correct. we have a dish type antenna. or elliptical curve. easy to build reflector type antennas. we have a dish type antenna. of which the parabolic dish is a member. taking into account the dipole spacing from the reflector. the authors included. It will not be useful for moonbounce. Many VHF and UHF experimenters have had this disappointing experience. but it serves to show the principle of operation. The P a g e 2 | 10 . plane surface acts as a reflector for a dipole as a mirror placed behind a light bulb would for the light rays. spherical. In fact. The surface can be solid or be made of screening. or hobby shop. easy to set up. With a low loss feedline. It is easy to build a simple corner reflector antenna. Actually. the wavelength. that consist of a dipole or other radiator and a reflecting surface. wavelength) can be transmitted and received with small. and will perform well. It can be used indoors as well. DX contests or other such exotic amateur radio uses but it will be a darn good antenna for much scanner listening and routine ham use. or next to nothing if you can scrounge around for some leftover cutoffs and scraps of materials. Log periodic antennas work well and are wideband but are large and do not have a lot of gain (610 db) for their size. spherical. ect. direction from dipole. the corner reflector antenna is probably the easiest of the aforementioned antennas to construct.

K is a constant which depends on the configuration of the dipole or other load. the other in a vehicle with a portable TV set and a receiving downconverter to allow reception of the 923 MHz amateur TV signals on VHF Ch 3. this being commonly done in a UHF TV antenna to get wider bandwidth. The tests were repeated at 1289 MHz with a pair of corner reflectors designed for this frequency and similar results were obtained. The dipole is parallel to the axis of the bend. a picture was seen at 17 miles. Doing so causes the outer conductor to act as part of the antenna and a large amount of signal is radiated or received by the outer conductor. In fact. In order to derive a balanced feed for the dipole some sort of a trans former is necessary. although snowy. The dipole may also be made adjustable in length (see figures) to vary center frequency. In order to have a true dipole. It will destroy a sought after radiation pattern and really negate careful design efforts. one antenna at the home station about 30 feet above ground. This is not bad for a 1 watt TV transmitter and simple antennas.author has used two of these antennas for amateur TV transmission at 923 MHz. but the pattern of the antenna is destroyed and generally is no longer predictable.see figure 4. A dipole is a balanced antenna and cannot be directly fed with coaxial line. For an unbalanced input voltage V. being in the same direction. A folded dipole element can also be used with an appropriate balun to feed it. where V is the voltage between the coaxial line center conductor and the outer (grounded) conductor we need the same voltage but isolated and balanced with respect to ground reference. For casual reception this may not matter much. The dipole may be constructed with thick elements to increase bandwidth and a bowtie shaped dipole can also be used. In a directional antenna such as a yagi array or reflector type antenna. A 1 Watt transmitter was used at the house. P a g e 3 | 10 . a big problem in yagi antenna design is getting a good balun so a truly balanced feed is obtained to the driven element and no trace of radiation or reception from the feedline or matching system is evident. This can be done in several ways. The corner reflector consists of a balanced half wave dipole placed in front of a conducting surface which has been bent at an angle of 90 degrees or less. +KV for one dipole element and -KV for the other. An actual transformer can be used or the transmission line can be used. Gain is typically 8 to 10 db (isotropic reference) for a reasonable sized antenna of 1 to 2 wavelengths. the gain tends to increase but the antenna tends to get larger and the dipole feed impedance becomes lower. or in other words. Excellent pictures were received 8 miles away and. As the angle gets smaller. balanced feed is a must. This is important when you are seeking 20 to 30 db rejection of signal in unwanted directions. this is a disaster. and the spacing of the dipole from the reflector may also have adjustment provisions for optimizing the feed impedance. but can be made 14 to 15 db or more with a large reflector (>5 wavelengths) and a narrow (45 degree or less) angle. However this may get mechanically rather impractical below 1000 MHz. Polarization is depends on the direction of the dipole axis.

and effectively isolates the dipole element from ground. We have tried both and were able to achieve a satisfactory match (1. This is known as slot feeding. Other stray effects such as slot width.One way is to coil the coaxial line to form an inductor to isolate the end of the line from ground. Another way is to split the outer conductor lengthwise for a quarter wavelength and connect the inner conductor to the end of one segment. The quarter wave sleeve looks like an open circuit at the corresponding frequency. and the fact that the feedline diameter is not negligible with respect to the dipole length probably are the reasons for this observed behavior. P a g e 4 | 10 . The folded dipole was expected to match the split balun better but a simple dipole worked just as well. A quarter wave choke sleeve can be placed over the outer conductor as shown in figure 4. See Fig 3. and to one dipole element. This type of balun gives a 4:1 impedance transformation and can feed a folded dipole or a simple dipole. The other segment is connected to the opposite half of the dipole. Another is to use a ferrite bead to accomplish the same thing (See fig 4) These methods are not too practical at UHF but work well at lower frequencies (<200 MHz). element thickness.5 : 1 or better VSWR) by adjusting slot length and trimming dipole length. and adjusting dipole to reflector spacing. Dipole to reflector spacing affects the dipole impedance.

wind loading must be taken into account as this type of antenna presents a large projected area. Installation Instruction The construction of a corner reflector antenna for 900 MHz will now be discussed. field tests show that both methods work well and the slot feed method seems a little easier to implement mechanically. The sleeve balun is a little more difficult to build. Also. the dimensions can be scaled from those given using table 1 as a guide. It also has the advantage of DC grounding both sides of the dipole. With a slider ring around the outer conductor. unless you can find or make suitable hardware yourself. P a g e 5 | 10 . up to a few wavelengths. However you should get equal results in each case. This is obviously more difficult at 400 MHz than say 1300 MHz.However. since suitable diameter hardware and insulators to fit the tubing can be hard to find and may have to be made. While both methods give good results. However. For other frequencies. This is best done on a lathe and is therefore out of the question for many hobbyists having no access to a lathe or a machinist friend. At the lower frequencies. the slot method is the easier one to use. the slot can be adjusted in effective length to adjust the match. the antenna is larger so some compromises as to reflector size may have to be made in order to keep within practical mechanical size. A good idea from a performance standpoint is to keep the reflector as large as you can. weight and structural stability. as size increases the extra gain may not be worth the mechanical difficulties and cost.

to a length of about a half of a wavelength at the desired operating frequency. This reduces wind loading. and these rods are usually 1 wavelength or more long. FIGURE 5 P a g e 6 | 10 . First. The antenna shown in fig 1 is fairly simple to construct with just hand tools. plus another 1 to 2 inches to allow for the connector and mounting flange as shown. 6.Designs for lower frequencies use rods spaced about 0. Figures 5. cut a piece of 5/8 OD brass tubing with a .015 wall thickness.05 wavelength apart to simulate a reflector surface. This method will not be discussed further. and 7 illustrate the mechanical details of construction. which is available at well stocked hobby shops.

Place the 5/8 tubing over the 1/4 inch tube. Slip a 1/2 inch copper pipe coupling (use the kind that has no stop) over the outer conductor. In addition. Shape the folded dipole as shown in the figure. drill holes for dipole elements as shown. and check to see that the the end of the center conductor is flush with or is slightly shorter than the outer tube. on opposite sides of tubing. File the ends of the dipole elements to remove burrs and sharp projections so as not to stick yourself.05 wavelengths long at the desired center frequency. If needed. Cut two slits lengthwise along one end of the 5/8 tubing. Try to make the dipole as accurately as you can. The commonly used 1/2 inch copper water pipe is 5/8 OD so a P a g e 7 | 10 . Carefully clean up and deburr cut edges. solder one end of the 1/4 inch tubing flush to the center pin of a type N connector. Use a hacksaw or small slitting saw. Cut a piece of 1/4 inch tubing to a length about 1/8 inch shorter than the 5/8 tube. Next. clean connector flange with fine steel wool for later soldering. If desired. The slits should be 1/4 wavelength at the operating frequency. If necessary. build up the diameter of the center pin with some bare copper wire as shown. A small cutter can be obtained at a hobby shop. concentric as shown. Next. If you have one. use a tubing or pipe cutter. add a shorting ring to adjust slot length as shown. This can be done later with a strip of brass or copper if preferable. cut a length of 1/16 ot 1/8 inch brass rod about 1. Trim center conductor as needed. Use a drill the same diameter as the dipole elements for a snug fit. Next. The slit width is not very critical. a simple dipole can be made and converted to a folded dipole by adding a jumper made from #12 wire or brass rod as shown in the fig 8.FIGURE 6 Make sure the ends are squarely cut. These tubes will form the dipole feed assembly and balun. We used 3/32" brass welding rod. You can also use #10 solid copper house wire with insulation removed if convienient. for a snug fit and to ensure concentricity.

Plywood or even heavy cardboard P a g e 8 | 10 . Connect to a receiver and check to see if it works as a receiving antenna. Making sure tubing is concentric. slot length. Check to see that predrilled holes for dipoles are aligned. Clean all flux residues with alcohol. the dimensions of each side of the folded dipole should be equal and symmetrical. but we used a #28 drill to allow extra clearance. Next. Remove the screw after joint cools. You now have a half wave slot fed dipole. This will be affected by reflector spacing. Try orienting vertically and horizontally for best signal reception. or surplus PC board G-10 material to the coupling as shown in figure. insert folded dipole as shown and solder. The dipole elements can be trimmed for lowest VSWR later. as signals are generally vertical or horizontally polarized If you have the equipment. Use as little solder as you can for a neat job. Do this outdoors away from flame or sparks. A few wooden blocks drilled with 5/8 dia holes will be found useful for holding parts during assembly and soldering operations. Make sure coupling is perpendicular to the plate.0 or better. You can insert the dipole elements and fasten them in place with tape.ment. solder connector flange to 5/8 tubing all around the outside. or other foreign material. A # 33 drill is large enough. or screening can be used. Next. as solder will not stick to stainless. Note that the outer and inner conductor are shorted together by one dipole element. Polish with fine steel wool to a bright finish. CAUTION . Next solder a 2 X 2 plate made of copper. It should be 2. If the antenna appears dead check for shorts from burrs. etc to check for correct align. use an RF source and a SWR or power meter to check the VSWR. We used . Make sure no shorts are present between outer and inner conductors (temporarily remove dipole elements). Insert the center conductor and connector assembly into the outer conductor placing connector flange flush against outer conductor. Using rosin core solder. and also presence of nearby reflecting objects. All you need is a conducting surface. If OK.FLAMMABLE. solder drops. Clean both ends with fine steel wool to facilitate soldering in next step. 019" perforated aluminum sheet sold in hardware stores for making grilles and covers for radiators. copper. This is normal.smooth slip fit should result. steel wool fragments. and if possible use a hot 100 watt iron with a 1/4 inch tip. It is nice but unnecessary for receive only purposes. Make sure they are aligned as shown. brass. Measuring from center of center conductor. Almost any reasonable material can be used to make the reflector. If you cannot do this test do not worry. remove and drill a hole at one end to pass a #4 screw. solder a #4 brass nut to the coupling as shown. wire mesh. the slit end opposite the nut as shown. etc. slip the flange assembly over the 5/8 tubing. Use a stainless steel #4 screw X 1/4 inch long to hold the brass nut in place while soldering. but solid sheet aluminum. It should work as well as your whip antenna or better.

Two or more of these antennas can be used if multidirect. larger being better. After the reflector is formed. Make sure to mount the antenna for correct polarization. The pattern is clean and well defined. with an RF source and reflected power meter or SWR bridge. You will find that the antenna has pronounced directivity. Use wood. Referring to Fig 1 the reflector is made by bending a 1 x 2 foot sheet of material as shown. cut a hole as shown and fasten the flange on the dipole assembly to the reflector as shown. If it does not heat up in a microwave oven. The dipole should be parallel to the bend in the reflector. face the antenna in the direction of desired reception. maximum pickup occurring along a line bisecting the reflector angle. You could try peaking the adjustments on a weak signal if you are fussy. Install a 4-40 brass screw in the nut previously soldered to the flange assembly to lock the dipole in place. A food container from the local dollar store can be adapted for this. Hardware cloth is also useful but hard to handle. mount the antenna in its final location. but not optimum. no further adjustments are needed. plastic. As a compromise. if weatherproofing is not needed. Final adjustment can be made later by setting the dipole position for lowest VSWR. Therefore. Polarization is same as dipole (eg. but you will find that they are very broad and have little noticeable effect. Conductive materials in front of dipole will cause detuning and pattern distortion. A piece of scrap wood is used to support the reflector and to mount the dipole in the center of the reflector. Use a clear plastic container that is microwave safe. A block of wood can be used to form the bends. Bracing can be added if desired as shown in the photo. Vertical polarization is generally used for amateur and commercial two way FM. This necessitates two 45 degree bends but is easier to use from a mechanical standpoint. and reception at 450 MHz and 1280 MHz will be adequate.3 wavelengths from the reflector. the antenna could be mounted at 45 degrees to vertical. The wood can also be used for as a surface for mounting a bracket to hold the completed antenna to a mast or other support. Initially set the dipole about 0. You should find this antenna easy to make and quite effective and may even wish to build several for different frequency ranges. or for experimental or temporary use. but horizontal is used for SSB amateur work and some amateur TV. it would be a good idea to cover the dipole and slotted feedline assembly with a plastic cover to keep out water and insects. The exact reflector dimen. or a rotator can be used. Pickup towards the sides or rear is much less. or other nonconducting material. The container can be slit and placed over the dipole and slot (slit facing down). it probably has low RF losses and will not affect the antenna. For receive only applications. as the material is easily worked by hand. vertical for vertical polarization). Simply scale the dipole element length and reflector size as needed. Clear silicone seal can be used to seal edges and joints P a g e 9 | 10 .covered with aluminum foil can also be used. Bandwidth depends on the VSWR desired. in the direction the dipole faces. Bandwidth can be increased by using triangular shaped dipole elements but we have not tried this as of yet. but an antenna as this should work well over a range of 10 percent or so. An antenna made for 900 MHz will easily work well from 800 to 1000 MHz.ional reception is desired. The lid can be used to cover the open end of the tubing.sions are not critical. If thin sheet metal is used alone for the reflector it is wise to cut the metal 1 inch larger in width and length and use this extra material to form a folded edge around the perimeter to mechanically stiffen the reflector surface. UHF TV is generally horizontal or circular. For outdoor use. Next. fiberglass.

against leakage. You can test for this. Make sure to leave a small hole in the bottom to allow escape of condensation. Place a material sample in a microwave oven for a few minutes. The material will heat up if lossy. P a g e 10 | 10 . The construction of a cover assembly is left to the ingenuity and discretion of the builder. If it stays cool it is OK. Clear materials are preferred since pigments such as metal dust or carbon can be lossy for RF.