Pantenna Ungineering And The Woks of Others

Following up on my previous post on in-Corporation antenna engineering and Scandinavian cookware, two updates.

One, the PANTENNA. Far beyond mere-napkin-ring WiFi enhancement, I’ve moved on to folding foil pie pans, connecting to access points distant. I learned two important lessons in the process – first, a powered USB hub can give you serious performance gains on these little radios, especially if you overpower the device a little with an adjustable adapter. The other lesson is that it is a bad idea to leave them plugged in and overpowered for more than a few hours, as they overheat and die.

Two, a guest post from longtime fiend and logician Philosophy James, who, inspired by the PANTENNA and other efforts, produced his own wok-based antenna system. Details in his own words:

” I’ve been thinking about a wokfi set-up, but woks are usually pretty heavy and I thought I’d have to drill or weld. But then I found this 14-inch wok at a thrift store for $4 — nice price, big wok, and light weight — so I bought it; but I still thought I’d have to modify it. But it turns out that modification was unnecessary; nor do I need a tripod. The spot where you can plug a cord into it is perfect for mounting it with a screwdriver! So I pulled out my box of screwdrivers and picked out the junkiest one that was thick enough to fit the hole snugly; buried the screwdriver handle in a giant beer glass full of pocket change; and set it on my kitchen table. Now I’ve got a neighbor’s access point coming in at 54 Mbps (non-wavering), but with an eight-inch strainer it wavers between 18 and 36 Mbps, and without a reflecting device it wavers between not registering at all and coming in between 1 and 8 Mbps. Note: I removed the adaptor casing to prevent overheating and to let the antenna dangle a little farther from the chipset. Also: moving the antenna a half inch can decrease the signal quality from 54 Mbps to 24 Mbps. “

Quality work, James! Onward, Forward, Upward! Your contribution to wok-fi science has been duly noted, edited, uploaded, and laid bare for the scrutiny of future generations.

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