A few years ago when we released our first flat antenna, I had a lot of fun finding ways to mishandle and misuse it, from submerging it to punching holes in it. I was struggling to find some new uses for this little flat wonder when I realized that I knew someone who would really torture it.
I gave the antenna to a 4-year-old and she decided to paint me a pretty picture, which looked like this:
And amazingly the antenna still worked after that. I didn’t do a lot of instrumented testing, but the performance of the antenna didn’t seem to suffer as much as you might think it would. Just for fun I looked in the closet for that old antenna but I didn’t have it anymore. I would have liked to test it now with the technology we have today.
Antennas are made to stand up to torture like this
If you think about it, an antenna lives a pretty rough life. It may sit outside for years or even decades. Indoor antennas may get knocked around by kids or pets. Antennas have to stand up to all that abuse and more. Really, that’s the difference between the antennas you find in the drug store (and on the low end of the price scale on Amazon) and the high-quality antennas at Solid Signal. Even if you’re still dipping your toes into the world of over-the-air antennas, you need something that’s reliable and that performs well. You need to know that the first time you brush against it, it won’t crumble.
I still don’t recommend giving your antenna to a kid to paint, though.
I’ve spoken before about painting things like satellite dishes and antennas. You’ll never know if the pigments in the paint will block signals. There’s no way to tell if they will degrade the surface of the antenna over time. It’s nice to know, though, if you do feel a little artistic — or your little one does — that you most likely haven’t destroyed your investment.
Oh, by the way, the young one who painted that antenna is a teenager now. She’s still an artistic person with a kind heart. You know, I really owe it to myself to remind her that her artwork is immortalized at this blog!