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How is a UHF Antenna Different from a VHF Antenna?

You’ve finally acquired that HDTV antenna as part of your cord-cutting efforts. This brand new antenna you have will pick up on the same local channels where major TV networks broadcast.

These channels may not be included in your streaming services, but are available to anyone with an antenna for free and over the air (OTA). 

You need to consider a handful of factors if you want to find the right kind of antenna to use. To begin, OTA stations can broadcast their programs on 2 distinct frequency bands, UHF and VHF. The TV stations you may be looking for and want to see on your boob tube could be found on either.

If you check out all the VHF and UHF antennas available on the market, you’ll realize they can pick up either one of these bands or they can pick up both bands. Nevertheless, you may not be fully aware of what exactly is right for your needs. 

Should You Get a VHF or a UHF Antenna? 

antenna

Before 2009, analog TV broadcasts tend to be in the VHF band. Back in those days, the shorter wavelengths of VHF supported transmission distances of greater length and seemed to perform much better because they exhibited less interference.

Because television broadcasts nowadays have transitioned to digital, UHF provides better bandwidth, which is good for high-definition programs.

The bulk of the digital transmissions today have migrated to the UHF spectrum. Although a handful of UHF stations will move to VHF until July of 2020, there are still a few VHF television stations in use.

This has something to do with the FCC’s channel repack initiative, which is redistributing frequencies in the UHF band for cellular service for 5G mobile phones.

The underlying reason for this is the FCC’s channel repack program, which aimed to redistribute frequencies in the UHF band for cellular service for 5G mobile phones.

Can You Tell Their Differences Just by Looking at Them? 

Indoor Antenna

There are many famous antenna designs, such as the rabbit ears, that are made to handle VHF frequencies (high-band VHF). You can extend the sides of the V to fine-tune the accuracy of the station you’re hauling in.

Rabbit ear antennas, with the addition of a loop, can be either UHF or VHF antennas.

The majority of current indoor antennas employ looped dipoles within the plastic enclosure to absorb the UHF band.

While some manufacturing bodies claim that these panel antennas acquire VHF and UHF broadcasts, in reality, they are unlikely to gain low VHF channels. Remember that the wavelength of Channel 2 is nearly 20 feet.

station antenna

However, a UHF antenna for indoor use works well in an urban setting with TV stations nearby. 

Outdoor Antennas

The majority of outdoor antennas expose all of their dipoles, so it is much easier to determine whether an antenna can only receive one type of frequency band or a combination of both.

Outdoor antennas are pieces mounted on a boom. They are primarily designed to catch multiple wavelengths employing multiple dipoles. These elements work together to maximize antenna gain.

Additionally, the number of components, as well as their length, diameter, and spacing, are determined by the waves they are designed to catch.

Due to the shorter range of UHF signals, they often require more elements because they’re catching instead smaller waves.

Which Is Better, VHF or UHF Antenna? 

In the era of analog transmission, VHF is at an advantage because it is capable of transmitting at a longer distance with the same amount of power. The majority of TV stations in 2009 shifted to UHF where possible, considering that higher frequencies are ideal and well suited for digital compression and error checking.

UHF type of antennas is much more inclined to come in smaller sizes and are thus far easier to set up and install. With regard to their signals, they perform exceptionally well even if you have them in densely populated urban settings. 

Nonetheless, one or more of the local stations in your area likely transmits on VHF. In any case, you’ll be happy with the image if the signal is strong enough and the antenna can receive it.