Why can’t you buy a VHF-only antenna?

It’s very hard to find a VHF-only antenna designed for over-the-air TV reception. Honestly, Solid Signal doesn’t carry one at the moment. Why? Just the laws of supply and demand.

A little history

Since TV went digital in the mid-2000s, most TV channels moved to the UHF range. UHF and digital broadcasting are a good fit for each other, and the hope was that 100% of channels would move to UHF. About 90% of channels have, but many markets still have one or two VHF stations that still broadcast. It might have been better for the FCC to have forced all of them to move, but if you remember those days you remember that money was tight for everyone and new broadcast facilities are expensive.

Within the last five years, the VHF band has gotten more crowded, not less. TV broadcasters gave up channels 37-52, and those frequencies were turned over to cell carriers for 5G. It was the right decision since there’s huge demand for those services. Also, the outdated rules that kept broadcasters from using adjacent frequencies are gone now. That makes it easy to fit more channels in a smaller range of frequencies.

This “repack” has meant more channels going into the VHF band. Sure, we all hoped VHF wouldn’t be used anymore after 2009, but that just never happened.

VHF-only antennas won’t do much for you

Still, a VHF-only antenna hasn’t been a terribly useful thing. If you had a VHF-only antenna, you’d be missing out on most of the channels in your home market. Not only that, but most of the bulk of a large antenna is actually in the VHF part, so VHF antennas tend to be large and bulky and taking out the UHF portion doesn’t actually save space or money in manufacturing. What I’m saying is that a VHF-only version of our super-powered HD8200XL wouldn’t be much smaller or much cheaper, but it would be less useful.

What’s the solution? The right choice is almost always replacing the antenna with one that has UHF and VHF capability. But if you’re looking for a VHF-only antenna, it’s not hard to make one. Start with practically any UHF/VHF antenna. Generally there is a combiner somewhere that can be disconnected. Bingo, there’s your VHF antenna. You can also look at making your own or buying specialty ham radio antennas and modifying them.

If you’re really hard-core you could fabricate your own out of aluminum. For the rest of us, though, a VHF/UHF antenna works just fine.

Get the antenna you need from Solid Signal

Solid Signal has the best selection of all the best antenna brands. Browse now to find the antenna you’ll need, or give us a call at 888-233-7563 and talk to a real, certified antenna technician at our Novi, MI corporate offices. We’re here to help you realize your antenna dreams! If you’d prefer to contact us over email, fill out the form below and one of our staff will get right back to you, usually with 24 hours.

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.