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Extending the Wire Length of a Typical Wind Up Reel Type
 Shortwave Antenna to Improve Shortwave Reception
This simple modification will help increase your shortwave reception!

A bonus is that it only cost pennies!

The optional shortwave antenna reel thay many people buy to increase the reception of their portable shortwave radio will help reception some, but due to the shorter length of the extention antenna inside the reel, it may still not provide you with an adequate signal for those weaker shortwave radio stations.
By using this modification to the length of the wire in the reel, it will certainly help more.

Shortwave Reel Antenna
Typical Shortwave Reel type external antenna extension.

Pictured above is a typical wind up reel type shortwave antenna extension.

It is used to attach to the telescoping antenna that comes with most portable shortwave radio receivers to help increase the reception of shortwave stations an make better reception possible than using just the short telescoping portable radio antenna.
Most reel type antenna extensions are a typical length of about 20 feet or more extended, but sometimes leave much to be desired when the shortwave signals are weak.

This article describes how to add an additional length of antenna wire to the existing wire that comes rolled up inside the reel that should enhance your shortwave radio listening pleasure.

IMPORTANT!!!  First you must determine that the wire stored inside the reel is NOT spring loaded to help with winding back the extended antenna wire when storing the antenna wire when not in use. If it is, then you must take care when using this modification to NOT let the wire be pulled completely inside the real after the end is cut! If it does, then you may not be able to get it back out where you can add the extension to it!
You must assure that the wire WILL NOT BE PULLED BACK INSIDE THE REEL!

In this modification, you will be cutting the end of the antenna wire coming from the reel a few inches from the end clip that  would normally attach to the telescoping antenna on the radio in this modification.

You should not need anything but an additional length of wire to extend the original length coming from the reel except some electrical tape. The wire you chose should be insulated and not bare. The choice of the length and diameter of the extra wire to be added is yours. Remember that the larger the diameter of wire, the more weight it has. Standard speaker type wire works well. Split the 2 conductors in half length wise and use one single length of it.

You can in most cases add wire from a few feet to as many as your room area will allow. A good length to experiment with is about 40 to 50 feet long including the wire that is extended from the reel. So if the original wire inside the reel extends to say 20 feet, then by adding an additional 20 to 30 feet for your antenna, it should work fine and help increase your reception of stronger signals.

If you are, as an example, using the radio in a room that is say, 15 by 15 feet, then the maximum wire to be added should not be more than about 15 times 4 or 60 feet if you spread the wire around the outer edges of the room near the ceiling. You will have to determine how to support the wire with whatever method you choose. Thumb tacks can be used as an example or those stick on picture hangers that remove from paint  easily. You will have to decide if the wire will be temporary or permanent. Regardless of whatever method you use to support the wire, it is best to keep it away from house wiring that may be in the walls. High near the ceiling is usually the best location.

The choice of the "direction" or layout placement of the extra wire is yours since room dimensions vary from home to home. You can experiment with "straight" wire or placement around the edges of the room as needed for best reception. Even a zig zag pattern could work fine for you. Experiment for best results.

Now to the actual modification and addition of the extra length of wire. Refer to picture below.

Typical Shortwave antenna reel antenna modification
Location of main cut in original reel antenna wire.

Measure about 4 to 5 inches from the end connector toward the reel wire and cut the wire.
Do not let the wire going to the reel go inside the reel!

Lay the end connector aside and save.

Now remove about 1 inch of the insulation from the wire coming out of the reel. Do not cut the inner wire if possible or you will have to start over. Remove any oxidation from the wire end. It should be bright colored after the oxidation is removed.

Now do the same procedure above with the wire you intend to add to the wire reel wire. You only need to do one end of it.

Connect the bare end of the additional wire you intend to add by twisting several turns around the wire end coming from the reel. Twist tightly and cover with electrical tape. There is no need to solder the connection unless you have the skills. Just make sure the "splice" is good and tight.

Now you should see your wire reel with the added length of antenna wire leading to the connector.
Extend the full length from the reel, stretch out the completed longer wire, connect to your telescoping antenna on the radio and hang around your room as needed for the space you have...connect the antenna end clip to the radio antenna in whatever method works best for you. If by some chance the clip will not fit the telescoping rod, which is rare, then just cut of the end clip, bare the wire like in the above instructions and twist it around the telescoping rod several time to make it tight.

You may solder the wire splice connection if you have the skills. You will get a better connection than twisting the wires together.

You may wish to store the "long wire" antenna by winding it back inside the reel....if there is room for the extra length of wire.

An option for this modification is to simply eliminate the reel and the wire it contains and simply just splice the original telescoping antenna connector to a longer wire that will extend the total length of the "new" antenna wire as long as you have room for it. This is the simplest modification.

It is highly recommended that you DO NOT put the antenna wire outside due to lightning hazards.
If you want to experiment with it outside, then get it up as high as possible to prevent trip hazards and to aid the reception of shortwave signals. Don't place it on or very near any large metal surfaces.

You may notice that after you use the longer wire that you have more noise, this is normal and shows that the antenna is improving the receiver!

See this link for how to build an effective out door shortwave multiband antenna!