The ABC’s of Antennas, part 2

There’s so much to talk about with antennas! The more you learn, the more you realize there is to learn! Today we continue our series with a few more entertaining nibbles of knowledge.

Gain is a fairly technical concept but it boils down to the amount of signal that you get when you use an antenna compared to using nothing. Some signals are strong enough that they will come in with nothing more than a coat hanger, but others need a lot more gain to give you a good picture.

High Definition
There is no such thing as a “high definition” antenna. All antennas can pick up HD signals. Even that 50-year-old monstrosity left on your roof from the previous homeowner will pick up HD.

A fairly difficult term to understand, it measures how hard electricity has to “push” to get through a particular wire. What you need to know is that antennas themselves are 300 Ohm impedance and generally use a matching transformer to change the signal to 75 Ohm to go through a coaxial cable.

J Mount
An antenna can be mounted to almost anything or strapped to an existing chimney. Some people prefer to use a mount that is bolted to the side of the house or to a fascia board. These mounts have a small bend in them that makes them look sort of like the letter “J.”

A kilowatt, or 1000 watts, is enough to power 5 computers or 120 CFL light bulbs. Broadcast towers usually broadcast signals using hundreds of kilowatts of power. It takes a lot to cover an area of 60-70 miles with a broadcast signal.

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.