Can you use the HD-BLADE as an FM Antenna?

I knew it was a long shot, but I thought I’d try it. Signal Group Forums member jonjlindsey asked if the HD-BLADE could be used as an FM Antenna. I knew it wasn’t designed for it but I thought I’d give it a try.

The HD-BLADE is designed for VHF-High and UHF reception. You see, every particular broadcast frequency is best picked up by a particular length and configuration of antenna. Large TV antennas have many different elements of different sizes and shapes, some turned 90 degrees from others, to capture as many frequencies as possible without having to move the antenna. Small antennas like the kind you find on a handheld radio can be moved and tilted until they get to the right configuration.

So far, HD-BLADE has performed far above its design specs. I mean, I threw it in the attic, 55 miles away from the towers, and it got almost as many channels as my roof-mounted aerial! But, there are limits. I mean, you can’t cut a steak with a carrot, right?

For this test, I used the same A/V receiver I used for my shootout with the Winegard HD6055P FM antenna. Since I did that shootout, I’ve been fairly happy with a long bare wire attached to the antenna port. I mean the HD6055P, as good as it was, was overkill for my situation.

The bare wire doesn’t always work, but today it did fairly well. I scanned for FM channels and found 23 stations that came in reasonably free of static. That’s pretty good — I don’t usually do that well but sometimes the weather around here cooperates and I get channels I didn’t expect. Today was a good day to test, obviously.

So, I disconnected the bare wire that I’d rigged up and connected the HD-BLADE with its 6-foot Razor Thin Cable. I anxiously awaited the results of the channel scan.  Just imagine the sound of a pac-man dying…

13 stations.

So, it turns out the HD-BLADE isn’t a terribly good antenna. It beats the 5 stations I was getting with my A/V receiver’s supplied antenna but it doesn’t even come close the results you’ll get with a long bare wire attached to an F connector. It seems the HD-BLADE has limitations after all!

I tried several other orientations, put the antenna up on the wall, turned it around 180 degrees, no different. In fact disconnecting the antenna and running the same test on the cable with nothing connected got me 11 stations.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.