Should you worry about repairing an indoor antenna?

One of the things I don’t like about today’s technology is that it’s not designed to be repaired. Oh, I understand why. Things change so fast and can be made so cheaply that in most cases you’re ready for a new thing long before the old thing breaks.

But then again, it would be nice to be able to make a few quick fixes and bring an old friend back to life. That’s why I have mixed feelings about the repairability of the current crop of indoor antennas. By which I mean, the lack of repairability. Making the antennas so small and so thin makes them practically impossible to repair, at least by human hands. And that means you’re stuck buying a new one if something breaks, even something as minor as the connector on the end.

The good news, though, is that indoor antennas are more efficient, better and cooler looking than ever. They’re also really inexpensive. Indoor antennas make it easy for people who live within 10-15 miles of broadcast sites to get free HDTV and not worry about paying another cent, and really, they don’t break very often.

There really isn’t a whole lot in an indoor antenna to break. Most of them consist of a layer of thin foil which acts as the antenna, usually encased in plastic for the sake of durability, and a tiny circuit board which does nothing but change the impedance of the signal so you can use a plain old coaxial cable to connect it. That’s one of the reasons you’ll rarely find a broken one, no matter how hard you beat on it. But if you do… the only real consolation is that they’re not expensive to replace.

OK, there’s one other consolation — today’s indoor antennas are really better than they were just a decade ago. In addition to being better tuned to the television frequencies we actually use today, they’re also better built with fewer parts and they look better. So if those rabbit ears are beginning to look a little rusty, maybe it is time to upgrade to something a little sexier… and it may actually work better too!