Any Antenna May Do

On Saturday March 27, 2021, I decided to get my portable HDTV ready for a trip to NC to visit my son. While getting it ready, I familiarized myself, again, with how to go through the menu system so I could scan for TV stations. Then I scanned a few of my Ham (Amateur) Radio antennas.

The purpose of this article, as the title implies, is to show that any antenna may do what you need done for your TV reception. You won’t know until you try it.

I decided to see how it would work with four of the antennas I have around the house. Two of these are TV antennas and two are not. One is a ham radio antenna for frequencies well below the lowest TV channel frequencies, the other is a vertical ham antenna for some of the ham VHF and UHF frequencies.

The antennas tested were:
1. An 80/40 meter dipole (D) (horizontal) (3.5 – 4.0 and 7.0 – 7.3 MHz)
2. A 2m/70cm J-pole (140-150 and 440-460 MHz) (J) (Vertical)
3. A UHF Home brew Porcupine Garage antenna (G)
4. A TV VHF/UHF antenna in the attic (A)

Interest: For those of you interested, you can see the Ham Radio Band Plan at: Ham Radio Band Chart or at:  ARRL Ham Radio Band Chart and the Icom US Bandplan Update 2020

The first I tested was the 80/40 meter dipole for amateur radio. Now looking at this, many would say that this antenna, made for 3.5 – 7.5 MHz, would never work for TV stations in my area Ch 7 through Ch 36 at frequencies 174 – 608 MHz, but any wire of any length will pick up radio (TV) frequencies. The size, and orientation, will help exclude some frequencies but all frequencies will be picked up to some extent.

The 40 – 80 meter dipole is a mostly-horizontal antenna, but it is not pointed at either Baltimore or Washington DC. It is sort of bent so that half of it is broadside to Washington and the other half is broadside, mostly at Baltimore.

The results of these tests, at least for the ham radio antennas, was very rewarding. The dipole was able to get two Washington DC stations I’ve had difficulty getting with any TV antenna I have. These were the lower VHF station for channels 7 and 9 which are still on those frequencies. The only antenna set that even gets one of these stations is the attic pair.

I have not measured the strength or judged the quality of these stations. This was simply a quick-and-dirty set of tests. I did try to watch the stations for more than a minute each and found only one was flaking out during the time I watched. This does not mean all the others would be of good quality during inclement weather or with trees fully leafed.

Until next time, I hope you have good OTA reception,

Phil Karras, KE3FL

All my blog articles are listed at: Karras’ Corner
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on my KE3FL web site.