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Wireless Hacks by Rob Flickenger

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Pringles Can Waveguide

How to make the infamous Pringles cantenna.

At the Portland Summit in June 2001, Andrew Clapp presented a novel yagi antenna design (http://www.aeonic.com/~clapp/wireless/). It used a bolt, metal tubing, washers, and PVC tubing to make an inexpensive “shotgun” yagi, either 18” or 36” long. While his antenna shows between 12 and 15 dBi gain (which is impressive for such a simple design), it’s also quite large. When we returned from Portland, some members of our local group and I realized that, if we were careful, we could fit a full wavelength inside of a Pringles can (see Figure 5-4). This would show a reduced total gain, but would also make the entire antenna much more compact.

The complete Pringles can antenna.

Figure 5-4. The complete Pringles can antenna.

This now infamous hack takes about an hour to construct. Table 5-1 shows a list of the parts you need to get started.

Table 5-1. Part list for a Pringles can waveguide

Part

Approximate cost

All-thread, 5 5/8” long, 1/8” OD

$1.00

Two nylon lock nuts

$0.10

Five 1” washers, 1/8” ID

$0.10

6” aluminum tubing, 1/4” ID

$0.75

A connector to match your radio pigtail (we used a female N connector)

$3.00

One 1/2” piece of 12 gauge solid copper wire (we used ground wire from house electrical wiring)

Negligible

A tall Pringles can (any flavor, Ridges are optional)

$1.50

Scrap plastic disc, 3” across (for example, another Pringles can ...

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