FROM THE CHAT ROOM: Would it help to put some sort of lens on an antenna?

It’s actually not a bad question. First off, did you know Solid Signal has live chat? If you see the LIVE CHAT icon on the right of the search bar at, that means operators are ready to help. We get all sorts in the chat room, and sometimes the questions are a little far in left field.

One of our customers asked if it was possible to rig up some sort of lens to focus more signal on an antenna. While it sounds like a weird idea, it really isn’t, because that’s actually what a lot of antennas do.

The antenna above is our deep-fringe Xtreme Signal HDB91X, and the secret that it carries is that the actual antenna isn’t very big at all. In fact it’s only about 15″ wide by 4″ tall, so small that it’s hard to even see in that picture. What’s all the other stuff then? Well, it’s kind of a lens.

The large diagonal things at the back are called “reflectors,” and they bounce the signal down toward the front edge of the antenna. From there, the x-shaped elements act as “wave guides,” meaning that they focus all that signal toward the back again, where it all hits the actual antenna element. The effect is that more signal gets focused onto a single point, which, if you think about it, is just what a lens does.

Another sort of antenna that acts like a lens is a parabolic dish, like the one you see above. The actual receiving part of the dish is housed at the end of that arm that sticks out, and all the signal that hits the back dishy part (again, called a “reflector,” gets focused on a much smaller point. The effect is very much like having a lens there.

And of course, the best part of setups like these is that they focus radio broadcast waves but don’t focus light or infrared, meaning that there is no chance of accidentally starting a fire while using them, something which should come as a relief… unless you’re the sort of person who fries bugs under a magnifying glass (ew.)

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 5,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.