What is a VHF Antenna?

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

An antenna or aerial is a device made to transmit and receive signals for radios, televisions, and other devices, like cordless phones and cell phones. Antennas are made of wires, metal rods, and sometimes other materials. Radio waves, more properly called radio frequencies (RF), are divided into a number of frequency ranges. VHF is one of the radio frequency ranges, and a VHF antenna is an antenna specifically created for that band of frequencies.

One form of the VHF antenna is the dipole, which is often called a "rabbit ears" antenna.
One form of the VHF antenna is the dipole, which is often called a "rabbit ears" antenna.

The radio frequency bands range from very low (VLF) to extremely high (EHF). High frequency (HF) — 3 to 30 MHz — used by shortwave and some CB radios, for example; very high frequency (VHF) — 30 to 300 MHz — used by television broadcasts and FM radio, for example; ultrahigh frequency (UHF) — 300 to 3000 MHz — used by television broadcasts, mobile phones, GPS, Bluetooth®, microwave ovens, and GMRS radio (General Mobile Radio Service), and wireless LAN (Local Area Networks), for example; and super high frequency (SHF) — 3 to 30 GHz — used by radar, microwave, and wireless LAN (Local Area Networks), for example, are the four frequency bands that are most widely used in the 21st century. Since there are different types of devices operating in the VHF radio frequency range, a VHF may be designed to accommodate different needs and conditions to fit these varied purposes. In addition, a VHF antenna may either be an independent antenna, only made to serve the designated VHF frequencies, or it may be combined with antennas for other frequency ranges, most commonly UHF.

The relationship between UHF and VHF television antennas may be unexpected in that many UHF antennas can pick up certain VHF stations, often channels 7–13, while many VHF antennas can pick up many UHF channels, often channels 14–69. These capabilities depend on distance and direction, and the uncertainty of results is why these two antennas are often used in combination. This, and the fact that a VHF antenna may be used in a variety of situations, given the different uses of the frequency range, means that a VHF antenna may appear in many shapes and be available in many sizes. In addition, VHF antennas may be intended to be located indoors or outdoors.

One form for the VHF antenna is the dipole antenna, sometimes referred to as bunny ears or rabbit ears, designed for indoor use. It is also found combined with a UHF loop. On the other hand, the Yagi antenna, which originated in Japan — also called a or a Uda-Yagi antenna in order to include the names of both inventors — has a very different appearance, featuring a long boom to which a number of thin rods called “elements” are attached. This is an outside-mount, directional antenna that works best when placed as high as possible.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to EasyTechJunkie about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments


Interesting article. As far as TV goes, when I got my digital TV, my VHF antenna became useless. However, I was able to pick up digital signal through my UHF antenna. That was a nice surprise.

Then I moved away from the city to enjoy the country. My UHF antenna was useless at that point. I had to spend money for a digital TV antenna, which did not work well in my area.

So, I bought one that is powered, and now my reception is fine. I am told that it is nothing more than a glorified UHF antenna, but the power makes a big difference.

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