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People around the world, from Shenzhen, China to Los Angeles, California, have used beers cans to improve their radio reception. Even so, most people I talked to about them hadn't ever heard of them. Once I described them as a few dozen beer cans stacked one on top of the other, with a cable or a radio antenna through the center they usually remember seeing them, somewhere, sometime. Myself, I've never made or used a beer can antenna before, but today it just seemed like it would be a fun way to spend an afternoon. Not that I'll empty enough beer cans myself. That would make just about anything seem a little fuzzy. I just salvaged some that we had in our recycling bin.
From talking with several beer-can-antenna aficionados, including one guy who takes his with him while traveling through Europe, I've put together a few notes on how to make the best use of such an antenna. First of all don't confuse the "beer can antenna" with the Beverage antenna. A Beverage antenna is actually named after Dr. Harold T. Beverage who helped design the Beverage antenna in the 1920s.
The beverage antenna is considered a precursor to contemporary "wave" antennas. The beer can antenna, on the other hand, is not considered a precursor to other technology so much as it's enjoyed or needed as an ingenious way to pull in signals with recyclables.