• Constructing a Tape Measure Yagi Antenna

    For Hidden Transmitter Hunting or Fox-Hunting

    Parts List - Antenna Without Handle

    • 3 feet of 1/2 inch schedule 40 PVC pipe
    • 2 - 1/2 inch schedule 40 T connectors
    • 1 - 1/2 inch schedule 40 cross connectors

    Parts List - Antenna With Handle

    • 3 feet of 1/2 inch schedule 40 PVC pipe
    • 1 - 1/2 inch schedule 40 T connectors
    • 2 - 1/2 inch schedule 40 cross connectors
    • 1 - 1/2 inch schedule 50 cap (optional)

    Common Parts for either configuration

    • 1 - 1 wide tape measure (Harbor Freight has them for $4)
    • 2 - #12 (11/16 inch to 1 1/4 inch) hose clamps
    • (If you want to use hose clamps instead of tape for the director & reflector, buy 6)
    • 5 piece of solid wire for hairpin tuning component (12 to 18 gauge will work)
    • Black electrical tape

    Tools required

    • Hacksaw or PVC pipe cutter
    • Soldering iron or gun
    • PVC cement
    • Electronic solder
    • Wire cutter
    • Flat blade screw driver or 5/16 nut driver (to tighten hose clamps)
    • Zip Ties


    Step 1

    Cut an 11 1/2 inch, a 7 inch, and a 5 inch piece of PVC pipe. Before cutting the pipe, it might be helpful to measure and mark the length using a sharpie black marker. The 5 inch piece is for the handle and is optional based on your design preference.

    Step 2

    If building an antenna with a handle, glue an end cap on the 5 inch (short) pipe.

    Step 3

    Glue the two long pipes together using a cross connector (as pictured).

    Step 4

    For the handle version, glue the two cross connector & T connectors on to each end of the assembly from step 3.

    For the shorter non-handle version, glue one cross connector & two T connectors on to each end of the assembly from step 3.

    Make sure to align the connectors. An easy way to align the connectors is to place them on a flat surface before the glue sets and twist them to be flat with the surface.

    Step 5

    If building the handled version, glue the 5" piece with end cap to bottom end of the assembly from step 4.

    Step 6

    Cut four pieces from the inexpensive tape measure: 41 3/8 inch, 35 1/8 inch, and two lengths of 17 3/4 inchs. Be careful not to cut yourself on the sharp corners or ends.

    Apply short pieces of black tape on each long section, and on only one end of the two shorter pieces. This is for protection from the sharp edges.

    Step 7

    Attach the longest (41 3/8 inch) piece of tape rule to the cross or T connector closest to the center cross connector. It will be helpful to mark the center point (20 11/16 inches) with a black sharpie marker. Position the tape over the cross connector, so the curve of the tape rule is similar to the curve on the cross connector. Center and secure the element with hose clamps or electrical tape on each side.

    Attach the next longer element (35 1/8 inch) to the T connector at the other end of the boom in a similar fashion.

    Step 8

    Prepare the hairpin tuning match by bending it into a "U" shape about 3/4 inch wide and tinning the ends of the wire.

    Step 9

    Scrape about 1/4 inch of paint off of the two remaining pieces of tape rule from the untaped ends. Tin the bare areas, then attach the hairpin match and coax wire.

    Step 10

    Next attach this assembly to the boom using two hose clamps (as pictured below).

    Step 11

    Secure the coax wire to the boom with a zip tie or black tape. The antenna is now ready to use.