Two and a half years ago, Wirecutter guided me towards my first (and only) baby-monitor. They now have other recommendations, but DXR-8 is still on the short list.

It has its shortfalls. A white-noise filter would have gone a long way, but I can't really complain given that the monitor has been abused for almost 1000 days. Puts the cost of ownership - so far - to $ 0.18 a day.

The antenna support was the first thing to go. Broke more than six months ago. It just dangled there with the cord as the only support. Even the toddler knew it would eventually tear...

It's not a pretty monitor. But it's sturdy.

As soon as I realized it wasn't operational, grabbed a couple of guitar picks and started to try and pry the case open. I should have searched beforehand. iFixit, as always, has knowledge to offer.

There had been something loose inside the device for a very long time (years!). I just discarded it as I blamed the antenna support. But no, was this guy right here:

A ceramic inductor had been loose for years. They do make it sturdy.

After re-soldering the inductor, I shifted my attention to the antenna.

Below you can see where the wire broke. I also opened the plastic antenna casing, but it just didn't have enough cable for me to work with it. Made due with what was at hand. A PCI Wi-Fi adapter.

A TL-WN751ND served as the donor for an antenna port

Having a proper port, I removed the solder that was still attaching the original cable. Then used a couple of wires to connect it to the donor port and dug a bit of the frame with a x-acto knife to make way for the connector's bulkiness.

The last missing piece was an antenna from a retired Alfa card I had bought almost a decade ago to experiment with some long-distance security penetration. These cards are fantastic for packet injection. It's been a decade, but the memory of penetrating a couple of company networks, with permission, and helping secure them, is still vivid!

Repurposed a hacking antenna for a baby-monitor!

I'm pretty happy with the end result. The range increased dramatically. I can now control the nursery from across the street, and the monitor looks battle hardened. Next on the list, try the Alfa Directional Panel Antenna!

Full signal where I only had 1 bar! ;)

2023 update:

A reader kindly got in touch asking if I could help to do the same modifications to their monitor. I definitely could, but don't recommend them. If you know how to solder and like to tinker around with your stuff, great! Otherwise, alterations generally become an unusable mess fast.

Even being extra-careful, look how much the antenna travels after some usage:

These projects are extremely entertaining, but they're hacks. If you want sturdy and functional equipment, you're much better served by putting money into a better baby monitor like the Eufy SpaceView.

Even better would be to buy a cheap soldering iron and try to do it yourself. Developing a new skill, even if you trash the equipment, is always a worthy investment.