How to Spot the Difference Between a VHF and a UHF Antenna?

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If you will add an antenna to your current home TV setup, you can decide to cut your subscription with your local cable provider. It is a simple cost-effective work that lets you also add local TV stations that are not part of your current TV bundle. Over-the-air TV signals that are being broadcasted on 2 sets of separate frequencies is a minor complication. 

The specific channels that you may be most interested in watching could be available in just one band or the other. However, there is no chance at all for you to see them if you don’t have the right antenna to use.  

UHF Antenna vs. VHF Antenna

There are two different bands by which over-the-air TV signals are broadcasted, one is very high frequency (VHF) and then the other is the ultra-high frequency (UHF). UHF channels work at higher frequencies, that is around 470 MHz and 890 MHz. 

As for the VHF channels, they can effectively transmit in radio frequencies anywhere within 54 MHz and 216 MHz.  

Video Credit to SurvivalComms
Any ham-radio enthusiast will love imparting this to you at a great length. The choice of frequency you will decide to have on will have something to do with how well and good the signal will be traveling.

During those times when the concept of cable TV is still unheard of, the vast majority of stations would be broadcasting on the VHF band. It is more advantageous to use the VHF band because it is not very prone to interference. Besides all that, it tends to carry the signal even farther at a given amount of transmission power. 

The use of UHF antennas these days is even more popular since it offers users a greater amount of bandwidth, which is just suitable for high-definition programming.  

Antenna Design and Broadcast Frequency

Both VHF and UHF radio frequencies tend to work well at different wavelengths. Comparing VHF signal to UHF signal, it sends out relatively big radio waves whereas the latter would be sending on smaller waves and it is normal for them to arrive closer together.

If you hear someone describe a UHF signal as synonymous to a “higher frequency”, that is what it means, literally. 

The antenna’s prongs or elements are proportional to the radio wavelength. There is one fundamental rule here, they are opposite. The bigger number you have, the smaller the radio wave gets and the smaller the TV antenna elements that can receive it.  


Antennas With Visible Elements

You can easily tell if your antenna is a UHF antenna, VHF antenna, or both if it comes with visible elements. An outdoor antenna of UHF type usually comes with short elements, and they’re normally only a few inches wide.

Their straight prongs are arranged in parallel rows while a VHF antenna comes with much longer elements. Instead of parallel rows, their prongs come in a V-shape pattern.

If your antenna happens to have a small cluster of straight elements and V-shaped elements, it only goes to show that it can receive both types of signals. 

The basic rabbit ear antenna is perhaps the most simple design of an indoor antenna, and such types receive VHF. The loop-type of an antenna is intended usually for UHF, and they can be arranged whether vertically or horizontally.

Many antennas that we can see out in the market now come with both loops and rabbit ears designs, just so they can both set frequencies.