Do you need an antenna upgrade?

Does your antenna look like this one?  That’s a clear case for upgrading or changing your antenna. As you walk through your neighborhood, you might see antennas in various states of disrepair, perhaps missing elements or just threatening to fall off the roof. It’s pretty clear that they need an upgrade.

But what about…

Let’s say you put up an antenna just ten years ago. It’s been working well for you and it’s still looking good. Does an antenna like that need an upgrade? The answer can be a little more confusing.

UHF-only antennas should be upgraded

When the United States went to digital broadcasting in 2009, the hope was that all broadcasts would be in the UHF band, then defined as channels 14-51. However, that dream wasn’t fulfilled. The federal government let some broadcasters stay on their original frequencies, often in the VHF band of channels 2-13. Yet, manufacturers spent a lot of money developing UHF-only antennas and advertising them as “HDTV” antennas. A lot of people bought them.

At Solid Signal, we sold — and still sell — UHF-only antennas, but anyone who asked for a recommendation was sold the antenna they needed at the time. Most areas of the US didn’t need VHF reception at first, especially if you were willing to give up an obscure foreign language channel or two. However, some areas did still need VHF/UHF antennas and we always made sure to make responsible recommendation.

This all changed when the FCC decided to take away channels 37-51 and give those frequencies to cell companies for 5G service. I’m not saying that was a bad idea, but it did mean that more broadcasters found themselves moving to the VHF frequency range.

As a result we recommend that all new antennas purchased today have at least some VHF reception ability. Often times the VHF range is more limited, in order to keep the antenna smaller. VHF antennas need to be bigger to get the same range as UHF antennas, and people want small antennas. They don’t want giant ones that their HOAs might shoot down.

Get the antenna you need

You can get the perfect antenna upgrade by shopping at Solid Signal.  We carry all the popular brands and you’ll find the perfect antenna upgrade whether you’re replacing something from 1957 or 2007. If you’re not sure what you need, why not get a free antenna recommendation? Our technicians look over every request personally and provide you with an antenna recommendation and complete parts list so that you can get everything you need! Need even more help? Call us during East Coast business hours at 888-233-7563 or try our Facebook Group.

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.