UHF antennas

How to Spot the Difference Between UHF Antennas and VHF Antennas?

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Should you have made up your mind that you wanted to cut ties with your existing cable TV provider, or if you are so keen in adding more local TV stations that are not in your current TV bundle, installing either a UHF antenna or VHF antenna to your existing TV setup will help you achieve that.

Anyway, it is fairly simple and easy, and if you think it will cost you that much, it is very cost-effective.

Traditional over-the-air TV signals are being broadcast on two frequency ranges, although we consider this only as a minor complication. You may be so keen on seeing specific TV channels that are, however, being broadcast in just one band or the other.

Unfortunately, this signifies that you won’t have any chance of seeing them on your TV set without using the right antenna.


TV signals, these over-the-air types, are broadcast on 2 different bands, in ultrahigh-frequency (UHF) and very high frequency (VHF). UHF channels usually come available in much higher frequencies, anywhere between 470 MHz to 890 Mhz.

How well a signal travels is one important factor to consider or something that must be looked into when making choices on frequency.

Before cable TV came and dominated the airwaves, the majority of TV stations broadcasted their programs over the VHF band because it is known to be less susceptible to interruptions. Besides that, it is also reputed to carry the signal farther when given a certain amount of transmission power.

Nowadays, the UHF band is more popular because it provides greater bandwidth which is essentially important in high definition programming.

Antenna Design and Broadcast Frequency

The radio frequencies for both the UHF and VHF operate at varying wavelengths. With that, it is not unusual for the VHF signal to send a relatively huge volume of radio waves, whereas the UHF signals come in smaller waves instead and they usually arrive closer together.

When we pertain to UHF signals as a “high frequency”, you should take it in the most literal sense.

The UHF antenna’s prongs or elements are directly proportional to the radio wavelength. One cardinal rule to remember here is they come in opposites in such a way that the bigger the number, the smaller are the elements and radio waves that the TV antenna will receive.

Antennas That Come With Visible Elements

UHF antennasOne glance at an antenna system with visible elements and you can easily tell if it is capable of receiving UHF, VHF, or both. Outdoor UHF types of antenna come with short elements, and they are usually only a few inches wide. You will notice that manufacturing firms would be arranging them in parallel rows of straight prongs.

In the case of outdoor VHF antennas, the elements are longer and they usually come in the familiar V-shaped pattern. When you come across both V-shaped prongs with small, straight element clusters in one antenna, take that as an indication that it can receive both signals.

Antennas That Doesn’t Have Any Visible Element

Sometimes it is visually challenging to identify an antenna. This is either because it is hidden right inside them in a streamlined case, or it might be that they are using a nonstandard shape instead. They are usually flat, making them ideal for wall-mounting.

Under the given scenario above, seeing what channel or frequency it is receiving would be telling well the story. This piece of information can be seen most of the time on the decal or plate on the antenna itself, sometimes also it would be indicated on the user manual instead. The UHF band will have the 2 to 13 channels, while it will be 14 to 51 for the UHF TV channel.

Deciding on What TV Antenna to Have

There are 2 important things to consider if you are on the verge of choosing on the type of antenna you’d want to have, the channels that you want to get, and the signal strength they come in.

Things can get tricky here in the sense that, say, for example, Channel 2 for local news could be transmitting now on VHF channel 2 and UHF Channel 38 even when you can still see it on channel 2, which helps the station in preserving its branding.

If you will refer to the official website of the Federal Communication Commission, you’d be able to search out your station using a call sign. With that on hand, you’d be able to make a comparison between virtual channel numbers and the real channel.

For this, you may decide on having VHF antennas, UHF antennas, or something that can carry out both.