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What is a UHF Antenna?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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An ultra high frequency or UHF antenna is a type of antenna that is structured to pick up broadcast signals from channels that transmit on the ultra high frequency bandwave. In terms of actual channel identification, this involves any broadcast television channels in the 14 to 83 range. In many cases, a single antenna is configured to receive both UHF and very high frequency of VHF signals, but it is possible to purchase inside and outside antennas that only receive UHF signals.

In many areas, most television broadcasts involve stations that transmit on the UHF bandwidth. This means that anyone who wishes to receive those signals over the air rather than via a cable or satellite service will need an antenna for optimum reception. There are several types of UHF antennas designed for this purpose ranging from compact models that are intended for inside use only, and more robust models that are mounted in an attic or outside. Generally, the inside antennas will have roughly half the range of an outside model, which makes the smaller inside UHF antenna more suited for people who live in the city and the larger outside models more effective for those who live in outlying areas.

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One of the benefits of a UHF antenna is that this solution is much less expensive than a UHF/VHF model. This is because the hardware needed to receive VHF signals is somewhat more complicated and increases the expense of the device significantly. Assuming that the majority of the broadcast stations in the area are UHF, a homeowner may do well to go with this less expensive option.

While the typical UHF antenna is less expensive, this does not necessarily mean that reception will be ideal in all situations. In general, UHF signals are less efficient that VHF signals. This means that the UHF signal is more likely to be affected by adverse weather conditions, and is sometimes much more sensitive in terms of where the antenna can be mounted for optimum reception. While antennas of this type were once mono-directional, many today are configured for omnidirectional use. In addition, antennas designed with today’s HD or high definition technology in mind also often are equipped with boosters that help to increase and stabilize the ability of the device to receive and hold broadcast signals.

The outdoor UHF antenna of today is much smaller than the models that were popular prior to the advent of cable and satellite television. In some cases, the outdoor unit may be no larger than a common table lamp. An indoor UHF antenna may be flat and no larger than a standard sized magazine. The smaller dimensions make it much easier to mount the antenna is a location that provides the best reception without calling a great deal of attention to the presence of the device.

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