Hands on with the HD-BLADE, part 10: In a bathtub!

I think I finally figured out something the HD-BLADE can’t do. Signal Group Forums member Babalu suggested we try the HD-BLADE in a bathtub full of water. The more I thought about it, it’s a great test. Bathtubs, at least older ones, are cast iron covered in porcelain. They have a lot of cast iron pipes around, and the whole room is insulated to keep heat in.

I was curious, would the HD-BLADE do worse than it did when I covered it in aluminum foil? In order to test, I needed my 50-foot cable, which as I’ve said before is a heavy-duty quad shield run made by my friends at Solid Signal. I would expect a little worse performance with the Razor Thin Cable. I also didn’t “fill” the bathtub, as I thought that would be kind of wasteful. The tub was filled to a depth of about 6 inches.

As I’ve said before, DON’T DO THIS. Don’t ever put anything even vaguely electrical under water or in the tub. Yes, it’s true that the energy going through an antenna is measured in microvolts. IT DOESN’T MATTER. Don’t start testing things under water just because some blogger does it. For the record I used rubber gloves and hooked the TV to a good surge protector in case it shorted. I also had a fire extinguisher nearby. The fact that I didn’t need any of that stuff doesn’t mean ANYTHING.

The results were interesting. 6 channels, which is actually worse than I got in my paperclip test. All of them were VHF-High or lower frequency UHF channels. Seems like the higher frequencies have a bit of trouble traveling through cast iron and water. So in general I would not recommend mounting the HD-BLADE in a bathtub full of water.

On the other hand, the water did a good job of washing off the paint that my favorite 4-year-old put on there a couple weeks ago and after some careful towel drying and a little time, the HD-BLADE was good as new and picked up 72 channels in a quick, random test. So there’s a good result… we don’t recommend this antenna for outdoor use but it doesn’t look like a little water once in a while will hurt it.

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.