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What is a Directional Antenna?

By Dulce Corazon
Updated May 16, 2024
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A directional antenna is a kind of antenna that radiates power in one or more directions. This capability generally allows a directional antenna to maintain an increased performance in transmitting and receiving transmissions. It can also focus all its strength and transmitting power in one general direction, thus, optimizing its signal strength and minimizing loss of signal.

Most directional antennas also have the ability to reduce interference from several sources. This often makes them the most ideal among to be used in areas that have a lot of interference. This interference often comes from other transmitting devices like microwave ovens, weather conditions, and other obstructions that may be man-made or natural.

The log periodic and corner reflector antennas are some of the most common directional antennas being used. These directional antennas are usually combined and are made available for purchase as TV antennas specially designed for residential areas. A directional antenna can also be used for devices like cellular repeaters in order to receive and transmit signals that are normally out of range for certain types of cell phones.

Antenna directions are often important in setting up directional antennas. The wrong direction for a directional antenna can usually render its abilities useless. It is often necessary to first survey the area of installation for the presence of obstructions and potential sources of interference before choosing an antenna. Another important factor frequently considered is the direction in which the antenna will be pointed. This is because a directional antenna will be most effective when it is pointed at the nearest source of target signal with the least amount of interference and obstruction.

Mounting a directional antenna is usually a big issue because it needs to be mounted facing the target signal. Being focused in one general area, a directional antenna's coverage is often limited. When it is used for a larger coverage area, it frequently becomes less effective. One option that can be used for larger areas is the omnidirectional antenna. An omnidirectional antenna is another type of antenna that can receive and transmit signals from several directions.

The best installation area for directional antennas is outdoors or in open areas inside the house. The number of obstructions in an enclosed space will generally limit the effectiveness of this antenna. It is often recommended to research the advantages and the disadvantages of using directional antennas in a particular situation and environment before making the purchase.

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Discussion Comments
By EdRick — On Sep 28, 2011

@robbie21 - Honestly, I don't know. But we did used to have an outdoor digital antenna, so I'll tell you what I know about getting one.

We spent a few hundred dollars buying the thing and having it installed. Finding someone to install and service it was definitely the tricky part! That's where I would start if I were you. Find a knowledgeable service person who can tell you all about yagi directional antennas and whatever other options are out there.

We loved having the antenna. It was so nice not to have a middleman between us and the local stations. No cable company, no satellite. Then, we did actually get satellite for a while, and we were able to use our satellite receiver's DVR to record over-the-air channels, too. (It was complicated, but doable.)

Good luck with the project! TV wants to be free!

By robbie21 — On Sep 28, 2011

We really used to like picking up TV channels using an over-the-air antenna, but we've had cable since the digital switch.

We'd like to go back to using an antenna and I've heard you can get good digital ones. Our old antenna had a Channelmaster that you would use to change the direction of the antenna. We had the thing calibrated so that you would set it to a particular number, and it would face the right direction for the channel that matched that number.

An omnidirectional antenna sounds expensive. Do the wifi directional antennas not have Channelmasters? Is it not possible to adjust the direction?

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