Background: No Broadband
We relocated to regional Queensland but found we couldn't get Cable or ADSL Broadband Internet. We're in a gap area with no spare copper lines and it isn't commercially viable for Telstra to close the gap.
We tried Satellite and endured 2 years with Telstra with terrible download speeds then changed to Reachnet/Orion Satellite for 3 years. Speeds were pretty ordinary and although calls to tech support gained a boost for a while it would soon decline to about dial-up speed.
People in town were getting respectable download speeds on Wireless Internet without external antennas but I'm a realist and knew that being 25km North of Bundaberg may put us out of high speed wireless range so rather than whine about ISP's not bringing Broadband to my door I should be doing something positive about it.
As an amateur radio operator I understand propagation and could see the possibilities of an external antenna. I also have the means to build anything I need.
The next step was research
There is some vague material floating about on the Web and some of it is actually wrong but it's not difficult..... just concentrate on what Wireless frequencies you need to capture with your antenna.
My focus was Telstra/Bigpond Next G only... so be prepared to use your common sense as you research this stuff, ok?
Navigating this Site
The Menu links above will take you to pages with theory, materials, antenna dimension and a step by step photo diary of how to build a simple Yagi antenna.
There is also a section answering Frequently Asked Questions and a photo gallery of other people's antennas. You will be amazed at how ingenious some folks are!
Who taught me?
A fellow club member VK4UD had written an article about his quest for better internet when he was working in the bush and this got me thinking about to make it better.
We trialled a modem with a VHF antenna and got a good signal so figured that building an 850MHz antenna would have to work from our location.
There is some good modeling information at VK7JJ Next G Yagi and Phil's work inspired my Yagi project.
By the way, I know there are commercial antennas which cost at least $200 but I found they were trying to be one-size-fits-all and besides, making your own is so much fun. This DIY Yagi costs less than $20 so if you'd like to make one, read on.