The Parabolic Grid Antenna

There has been a lot of chatter recently about the benefits of using a parabolic grid antenna:

The large RF reflector and the narrow beam the feedhorn produces has, by all accounts, resulted in superior signal acquisition. Taking a look at its frontal lobe pattern supports that opinion:

Many people have purchased a 2.4 GHz version to use on a 1.9 GHz (1900 MHz) EVDO network. Mainly due to the lower cost. The 2.4 version will work, the loss is less than one dB with the minor mis-match. Minimal indeed.

If you are using Verizon and are in a 800MHz area you will, of course, need a grid that will work in that frequency. Hyperlinktech makes a 900MHz parabolic antenna that will meet that requirement. Here.

Andrew makes a 1900 grid but it costs more and does not have as much gain. If you are a Verizon customer find out what frequency they are using in your area, 800 or 1900, and get the right antenna. Sprint customers don't have to worry about this since they use 1900 MHz (PCS) exclusively.

With thanks to John (K1DEU), he pointed out a simple modification to convert a 2.4 to a 1.9. A simple spacer between the small reflector and the feed horn arm makes the mod:

Even without this mod the antenna will work just fine.

Here is a sample wiring diagram for using the grid antenna:

note regarding the cable: one end has to have a male connector. The other can be male or female but the adapter must match accordingly. Adapters come either male or female N to FME/female. Just get the right match.

You could incorporate an amp into this diagram for additional reception if you are really in a fringe area but many folks don't need one. the antenna is that good.

Keep in mind the polarization. For EVDO the antenna requires vertical polarization with the ribs and feed horn running North/South:

This antenna can be used in NLOS (non-line of sight) situations with good results. Locate the closest tower using the tools I've discussed in other posts and mount it as high as possible. Of course if your elevation is significantly higher than the cell tower you need to adjust angle accordingly, i.e. you're on a mountaintop - tower is in the valley.

The main reason for height is to clear foliage and obstructions as much as possible. If you live in the desert ... no problemo

Coupling 10' lengths of pipe for a mast (available from Lowes/Home Depot) will get you the height needed, or gear from Radio Shack will work fine.

Mark over at dslreports uses a grid to make a 10 mile connection, with no amp. His photo:

If you live in a lightning prone area consider proper grounding and arrestors which are also widely available.
Note: When aiming the antenna use the signal strength meter on the connection manager, not a router, to fine tune. After you have achieved maximum signal you can then put it back in the router. The router will not give you an accurate measurement. Rotate the antenna slowly and pause to allow the signal indicator to settle down before moving again. Patience.

Shop around for a good price, the model shown here is a popular choice. Its a great bargain for something that works so well. Definitely worth it.