Hands on with the Winegard HD6055P FM Antenna, part 1: The problem

Nothing wrong with kicking back with a few tunes while you’re working. I generally use internet radio. I’m not one of those alt-rock types, it’s just that… my home AV system has a bit of a deficiency. I don’t do so well with FM radio. It’s not that I’m really remote, but I don’t get good reception inside.

So, I get 5 FM channels, and you know what they’re not even channels I like.

It’s always occurred to me that I could split off the feed from my OTA antenna and probably get better FM reception. But I never got around to it. So now, my time has come.

Why does an FM Antenna look like that?

When people think of FM antennas, they generally imagine the long metal tube that telescopes out from a radio, or maybe the rod coming from a car hood. These are effective antennas… obviously or you wouldn’t see them on most radios. That sort of antenna is called a monopole and it works to transmit or receive radio waves. For better reception, though, you need a dipole. A dipole has two elements which work together to get a better signal. Your average roof-mounted TV antenna uses dipoles… every pair of elements is a dipole which is specifically designed to help pull in particular frequencies.

The Winegard HD6055P looks like a TV antenna, except all the elements are almost the same size and they are all at right angles to each other. You may be asking yourself, why does an FM antenna need to look like that?

TV antennas are designed to pull in a very wide range of frequencies, ranging from 54 to 806 MHz. Each pair of elements on a TV antenna picks up different frequencies in that range, which is why they are all different sizes. On the other hand, FM radio only broadcasts from 87 to 108 MHz so all the elements in the antenna can be used just for that range. The result is, they all look about the same. They can also be at right angles and pick up as much of those frequencies as possible.

I asked my friends at the Solid Signal home office for an HD6055P FM Antenna, because I figured with only 5 FM channels in the house I wanted the best possible chance. When it comes in, I’ll take you through the process of installing it. If you’ve read my earlier articles you probably realize that there’s an excellent chance that painter’s tape, fenceposts, or zip ties will be involved.