I really have no idea how antennas work. But I was inspired to try something today, and I'd like to see if someone can give me more information, or a place to look (I really don't want to pay $70-$100 for a proper antenna).
My girlfriend's iBook was having trouble with airport reception (turns out, jiggling the antenna connector for the card fixed that) so I somehow put 3 things together.
cell phone antenna adapter cable
cell phone car antenna
Airport card antenna from a G5
I ripped apart the G5 airport card antenna to get the MC-card connector out of it (I don't know how many of these things I've come accross... but if I ever get a G5 and need one, I am pretty sure they are cheap).
I jerry-rigged it to the adapter cable, which is connected to an older style cell phone car antenna (the one with a magnetic base, a spiral near the base of the antenna, which is slightly over a foot tall, bought for a quarter at a yard sale). I made sure the connection was tight between the MC-card connector and the adapter cable, all the proper metal pieces are touching. I hooked it up to the Airport Extreme's antenna port... set it about 8 feet away to give line of sight down a long hallway that my airport sometimes has trouble seeing around, well, mostly just all the way in the back room is where the signal gets flaky... I went back to test the signal... and... whammo! Absolutely no difference in signal strength.
I disconnected the antenna and plugged it into my cell phone to see if I got better reception. I did... from two bars without it to 4 with it... I tested it a couple times because I couldn't believe I was getting 4 bars (until today, I've never seen my cell phone give 4 bars way out in the country where I live).
I am nearly certain my cell provider uses freqs. in the GHz range... and so does the Airport...
So what gives? Assuming my connections were ok...why didn't this antenna work to give me better signal down a line of sight of about 35-40ft?