C-band satellite dishes were used to receive satellite television signals during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. These satellite dishes were usually about 10 feet across and were a constant complaint for homeowners and neighbors wherever they were installed. Because of changes in television signals and advancements in technology, these large satellite dishes have been replaced with a smaller and less costly dish. However many of the big satellite dishes still work and can be used for new technology applications. If you have a big satellite dish and want to continue to use to watch television, there are many free-to-air television stations still accessible through these satellite dishes and some stations periodically open their scrambled feeds which can be picked up with the satellite dishes. But if you want to use this dish for a bigger project, you can also use the dish as a wifi internet antenna.
To convert your satellite dish into a powerful wifi internet antenna, you will need to purchase several items including an N-connector and a pigtail connector with the necessary connector for your internet access point on one end and an N-connector on the other. You can find the N-connector and pigtail cables available for purchase online and in case your not sure where to purchase all the different parts needed, you can find several different kits available for purchase. The most important part for this entire project is the N-connector so you may want to purchase more than one. You also need a thin copper sheet, plastic for the base, and a soldering iron.
Using standard solid-core house wire you need to build an element for the wireless signal. Cut a piece of wire 244mm long and bend the wire into a double diamond or bow tie shape. You want to make each diamond in this element symmetrical so this may take a little bit of practice. You should have extra wire available incase you want to stop and start over several times. If you find the wire too hard to bend, try using two pairs of pliers as it can be very firm. Next, you need to cut a 110mm square of black plastic to use as a base for your new wifi reflector. You should drill a hole in the center of your plastic to allow the N-connector to fit properly.
Prep your N-connector by soldering a piece of copper wire to the center pin and to the outside of the connector. In order to save time, you should solder the outside wire first as it will take longer to heat and attach. After your N-connector has cooled attach it to one side of the plastic base using epoxy and epoxy the thin copper sheet to the other side of the plastic base. After the epoxy has cured, solder your copper bow tie to the two vertical wires, the bow tie can not directly touch the copper plate below it so you may want to prop it up with a couple pieces of excess copper plating. Once all your solder points are cooled, trim the excess from the vertical wires and relish in the fact, you just made an antenna.
Now it is time to connect your antenna to the satellite dish. Connect the N-connector to the feed horn on the satellite dish remembering to point the copper side of your antenna towards the satellite dish. This antenna is going to pull in wireless signals from your area and you will need a converter for your computer to take the signal being sent down the coax. This could be another access point or a cable internet box. The type of converter used will vary upon your computer and your available hardware. You can also convert your new satellite dish antenna to project your own internet signal in order to boost your wifi range.
After you have the antenna connected, you should set your satellite dish to point in a direction you expect to find at least one wifi signal. You may want to use a software program like kismet to search and find wifi signals in the area and test your antenna. You should be cautious with your new internet antenna as it may be more powerful than allowed by the FCC. Building these large wifi satellite dish antennas is a little complex and time consuming but for people who live in areas where it is hard to get broadband internet this is a viable and cost effective solution. If you live in an area where you have a large amount of open space and need or want to access the intent in these open areas, you can pick up satellite dishes for free from people who want to get rid of old equipment and build your own network of wifi antennas.
No matter which way you slice it, the thing's still a BUD. The concept is probably limited to those in extreme fringe WiFi coverage areas who have more time than money and no neighbors to complain about the BUD.
The part I don't get is how it can be considered "free". The BUD as described is little more than a BISB (big ugly signal booster) for service you're already paying for.
it's basically building a huge external wifi antenna, the same thing that's in your laptop. the issue would be in that this is instructing you to tap into someone elses connection which can be hazardous at least and illegal and immoral at worse.