use a primestar dish as an ieee 802.11 wireless networking antenna

a primestar dish as an ieee 802.11 wireless networking antenna

i’m totally going to do this, and i think i just scored an extra direct tv dish too.

..make a dish into a highly directional antenna for the very popular IEEE 802.11 wireless networking. The resulting antenna has about 22 db of gain, and is fed with 50 ohm coaxial cable. Usually LMR400 or 9913 low loss cable is used if the source is more than a few feet from the antenna. The range using two of these antennas with a line of sight path is around 10 miles at full bandwidth.

10 miles!

Comments

  1. you’re in seattle right?

    If you want to build antennas, you should come to a seattlewireless hacknight. We do a fair bit of it and have the cabling, connectors, etc. If you’re in-city, there’s a good chance you can make a link with that thing.

  2. hcker2000 says:

    This is a bit of an old story. People (like the seattlewirelss group) have been doing this sence the 802.11x devices came out. I prefer the bi quads as they can be made from trash if need be. Now if only I could find cheap rp-tnc connectors.

  3. Herrstabby says:

    So, where exactly can you find these old things? I’ve looked around in all the usual places (scrap heaps, garage sales, and dumps), but I haven’t been able to find one. Are they available from the company? The seattle hacknight is out since I live in Florida…

  4. mrgrey says:

    an easier alternative is to use a USB 802.11 adapter in the focal point of the dish. Since the signal is turned digital by the USB adapter the only distance factor for signal loss is on the maximum length of the USB cable (50-100ft?), Probably cheaper than the cables and connectors.

  5. emrys says:

    I wonder… how legal is this?

  6. emrys says:

    Ooops. Never mind.

    “(You may use any old dish, but if it is bigger than the Primestar the gain will be higher, and it may not be within the Federal Communications Commission rules for use within the United States. In fact I have come to find out that there seem to be several different dishes that Primestar used, and I am only sure that the one I used, pictured above, used with the ordinary Wavelan or Airport transceiver card is within the effective radiated power limits given by the FCC.)”

  7. Binarywolf says:

    I’ve wanted to try the usb mod on my primestar (scroll down on my page to see it) http://www.binarywolf.com/249/pringles.htm, but have yet to try it. Here’s a ZyXEL ZYAIR G-220 USB adapter that might work well, http://www.slcentral.com/g-220-wireless-usb-stick/index.php
    Any recommendations for USB adapters?

  8. Eric_h. says:

    Cantenna’s are the _WORST_ feeds for the primestar dish. Try using a Bi-quad to feed the dish. I’ve picked up networks as far as 12mi with a Primestar dish feed with a bi-quad antenna and a 12mW 802.11b cheap-o card.

  9. Myself says:

    The thumb-sized USB adapters are universally terrible. The actual “antenna” inside is more like a surfacemount choke that might almost resonate at 2.4GHz. It’s essentially a dummy load.

    The older Lucent “USB client adapters” were just PCMCIA cards in a special socket with a cover. (All the Lucent cards had USB electronics on them, so other cards won’t work in that socket. I know you were thinking it.) Removing the cover gives you access to the MC connector. Throw the adapter behind the dish, run a 24″ pigtail out to a biquad feed, and you’ll get stellar performance.

    Another idea would be to use one of the dipole-equipped USB adapters. Some have two antennae (the belkin f5d6050 comes to mind) and I’m sure with research, you could find one that lets you select between them.

    Mounting such a dual adapter so that one is right at the focal point and one is a bit off would give you a “sharp” and “broad” focus, which might be handy.

    Mounting it so they’re both in the focal plane but one is left and one is right would give you a “stereo” dish, and by switching between the antennae you could tell your target’s relative direction. A quick hack to Netstumbler’s audio RSSI feedback, and stereo headphones on your laptop…..

    (Why does this bastard thing strip my capitalization? Here I thought all the commenters were just lazy.)

  10. mike says:

    im sure i missed this, but how do you connect your internet connection to the dish? you can contact me at computerkid1212@verizon.net

  11. Larry Creech says:

    There is a better feed at trevormarshall.com that uses an easy to build biquad feed.

  12. drew says:

    some crazy speculation here..

    what kind of performance could you get with 2 of these dishes pointed at each other?

  13. flash says:

    It’s like using backbone cable, depends on the equipment you hook it up to…the commercial equivalents we use (4′ and 2′ Harris digital dishes) give us at least t3 speeds, our 6′ and 8′ dishes give us DS3.

  14. strider_mt2k says:

    How could you make this track a ground vehicle?
    It would be killer for some cheapo telemetry.

  15. hyacer says:

    can i capt internet without phone direct through satellite?

  16. John Tetreault says:

    I’ve heard of some using an old Direct TV dish, AND its feedhorn with no modification, just hooking up co-ax direct, and having good results, even though the dish network feedhorn is designed for an 11.7 to 12.4 Ghz signal. Has anyone heard of doing this ruining your wifi equipment? For that matter, I’ve got an old 1 meter C band dish, which is has a feedhorn designed for 3.7 to 4.2 ghz.

  17. John Tetreault says:

    I’ve heard of some using an old Direct TV dish, AND its feedhorn with no modification, just hooking up co-ax direct, and having good results, even though the dish network feedhorn is designed for an 11.7 to 12.4 Ghz signal. Has anyone heard of doing this ruining your wifi equipment? For that matter, I’ve got an old 1 meter C band dish, which is has a feedhorn designed for 3.7 to 4.2 ghz.

  18. Ryan says:

    this is quite the nifty project! detailed instructions and the like are in “hardware hacking projects for geeks” by scott fullam.
    everybody should buy this book.

  19. Donna bowen says:

    I got an old Primstar dish and put a can for feed. Using a Linksys wireless-b adapter and 16 feet of usb cable, i was able to drastically improve my signal just by making a slit in the can for the dipole. It still needs fine tuning. What I need to know is this…can i get an mc connector and remove the one from my adapter and hooking to it with a pigtail. weather is a problem with my current config. Thx

  20. angelo says:

    I still dont get how the thing transmits. I only understand this thing from a recieving standpoint. Don’t I need to enhance

  21. Deprogram says:

    l.n.b.s need to be powered. Satellite receivers send around 12 volts D.C. down the cable to them.
    i wonder if you would get something out of an unpowered l.n.b., but you’d do a lot better if you powered it. Also, I don’t know what all you can grab off satellite these days, but an ordinary satellite dish can’t talk back to a satellite. directPC used to use a dial up connection for the upstream path.

  22. Joe M says:

    Just to set the record straight on a few things here (In the interest of productivity, Not rather than argument):

    People who are asking about uplinks and 2-way internet, This conversation is about receiving WIFI internet from a LOCAL access point (not in space–nothing to do with satellites) that is out of your range of a regular WIFI antenna VIA satellite dish, Pointed directly towards the signal’s location (access point). (and yes, dishes are 1-way– common ones at least)

    Dishnet LNB’s receive signal from 950 MHZ to 2,150 MHZ, NOT 11.7 to 12.4 GHZ!!

    Satellite receivers supply the LNB with 13V and 18V, Depending on the polarity, Satellite, and Transponder it is looking to receive the feed from.

    No, You wont get anything (useable) from a non-powered LNB.

    An LNB (LNBF) stands for low noise blocking feedhorn, It is essentially a bandpass filter, Allowing a RF signal within that set band to ride ontop of a steady DC voltage, To the receiver to be decoded.

    I know this because I have been a satellite (dish) technician for a long time and have a detailed knowledge of almost all aspects of it and related to it.

    It’s kind of funny, I had the idea one night of putting up a dish and rigging it to my wireless because I cant quite get the neighbors internet from my house (But around the corner in my truck I do fine). I thought I had come up with the greatest clever hack idea of all time, Been thinking of the best way(s) to do it… Then I was looking up some wifi info on the net, Found out (LOL), To my amazement the idea certainly wasnt original.

    With my knowledge of all aspects of a satellite system (here on earth) I plan to test this soon with a great many dishes/lnbs/and configurations. If I have any really great results, I’ll be sure to post them.

  23. I’m in the same situation as John Tetreault
    with the Direct TV dish
    I’ve got a friend with 7mb cable internet
    4 miles away I want to connect to
    but I also have a 16foot tv ant I could use for something as well perhaps I will boost my cell phone reception

  24. I’m in the same situation as John Tetreault
    with the Direct TV dish
    I’ve got a friend with 7mb cable internet
    4 miles away I want to connect to
    but I also have a 16foot tv ant I could use for something as well perhaps I will boost my cell phone reception

  25. grim_reaperx21 says:

    i probably missed something talking about this, but i was wondering if there was any way to directly connect the satellite to the computer without needing a wireless card or adaptors or anything that needs configuring? i’m new to connecting certain things to my computer and i’m too broke to actually buy any equipment. the place i’m staying in now came with a satellite dish on the roof even though i’ve never used it. is there a way to directly connect the satellite to the computer without extra equipment?

  26. b36 says:

    Here’s my project –

    Using a dish antenna like this one, I’m trying to build an auto-tracking wifi dish antenna. Unfortunately, I have zero experience with motor control so it’s something of a learning process. For auto track, I’m trying to interface a Netstumbler script’s output of SNR strength with the motor controller to coordinate where the dish points. I’ve got it planned out in my head, and somewhat on paper, but getting my grubby paws on motors, a controller, and a chassis for the dish is proving to be somewhat difficult… without shelling out several hundred dollars.

  27. VALERIE says:

    i have a direct tv dish on a tripod in our rv. we have a satalite finder to find the correct satalite for tv service. how can i have tv service and hook up my wifi laptop using the same dish (not in a hot spot area).

  28. davide says:

    I am attempting to create a primestar satellite dish that will receive wireless internet from an access point long range.

    Is it possible for it to send AND receive?

    if you have any information that i could use,
    please send it to salemdavide@yahoo.com

  29. indiglosk8 says:

    I have the direct tv slim line dish. it works fine with a commercial cantenna feed horn like above. its line of sight use for the most part. yes it works for send and recive for four blocks or more from AP source.

  30. dan de jomg says:

    can i use my c’band to pick up internet signal and or use it to increase signal pick up like the wireless i use now

  31. chris says:

    Hello
    Am Chris and would like to make an order of dish from your store and would like to know the types and sizes you carry in stock as well as the prices and the types of credit cards that you accept.
    More over i would like it to be shipped to West Africa Ghana.Hope to
    hear from you ASAP
    Regards
    chris

  32. mark says:

    I’ve got access to a pile of these dishes, just the football shaped part, no mounts, LNB or LNB masts. Anyone who wants one or who knows where to get some lnb masts for these please drop me an email to: lakecountybavarian@yahoo.com

    The guy who has the dishes wont want much if anything for them.

  33. marketing says:

    There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.

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