The ABC’s of Antennas, part 4

When you get to the back part of the alphabet, it’s hard to decide which terms to feature! There are so many to choose from… here are some that might help you in your quest to learn all about antennas.

QAM is a technology used by cable boxes, not by antennas. When setting up your antenna you generally have a choice of scanning for channels using “Air” or “Cable.” What they really mean is “FM” or “QAM.”

Radio Waves
All TV transmissions use radio waves. Wi-Fi, cell phones, RF remotes, Bluetooth, all of it uses radio waves. They’re more important than you thought.

Signal Finder
A simple signal finder like the one shown here can help you aim your antenna easily and quickly, especially if you don’t have access to a site like that can give you compass headings.

A trap is sort of an “anti-amplifier.” It reduces signal strength so that the TV or amplifier isn’t overloaded. A trap would be used to keep very close signals from overpowering more distant ones. Traps can work on the entire radio spectrum or can affect only a small range of frequencies.

Back in the 20th century, UHF channels were less important and it was rare to find network programming on UHF channels. Since TV went digital, almost all programming has moved to UHF. (You can’t tell because the channel numbers on your TV haven’t changed.) Many antennas ONLY pick up UHF signals even though there are still quite a few channels that still broadcast on VHF.

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.