We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What are the Antenna Basics?

Mary Elizabeth
Updated: May 16, 2024

An antenna, also called an aerial, is a device made of metal rods and wires and sometimes other materials. The word comes through Latin from Greek, in which it referred both to an insect’s sensory appendages as well as to a yardarm, a spar attached to a mast to support a sail, and therefore sticking out of the mast at an angle, similar to the way an antenna protrudes from an insects head. The purpose of an antenna is to radiate and receive radio signals. Antenna basics include the fundamentals of how antennas work, the main uses to which antennas are put, and the main types of antennas.

Antenna basics of how antennas work includes the recognition that antennas can either be devoted solely to reception or to transmission or perform both tasks. Transmitting antennas convert electrical current into electromagnetic radio waves and project them into space. Receiving antennas, on the other hand, convert electromagnetic waves back into electrical current. Antennas that both receive and transmit do both.

The main applications in which antennas are used is a second element of antenna basics. Television and radio antennas have long been used in many households. TV antennas are designed to receive the signals of broadcast television. Home radio antennas for AM and FM radio are used only for reception, while CB radios, ham radios, and two-way have antennas that can both receive and send signals. Other uses of antennas include wireless LAN (local area networks), cell phones, WiFI, GPS (Global Positioning System), and radar.

One of the other elements of antenna basics is the types of antennas. Besides being described by use, antennas are typed by their construction. Television antennas include dipole antennas — some of which are called rabbit ears, stacked dipoles, reflector antennas, log-periodic dipole arrays (LPDA), and Yagi antennas. Radio antenna types include the short so-called rubber duck antennas that, for example, come with portable CB radios; tower antennas; omni-directional/unidirectional antennas that change function according to orientation; and dipole antennas. CB antennas are made for base stations, mobile CB radios, and portable CB radios. Another way of typing antennas is by placement. There are indoor and outdoor antennas, and those mounted on building roofs, vehicles, and towers.

EasyTechJunkie is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary Elizabeth
By Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for EasyTechJunkie, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.
Discussion Comments
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the...
Learn more
EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

EasyTechJunkie, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.