You don’t have to believe it, but there is proof that television has become an essential part of all our lives. When we get tired from work, we turn it o and watch a thing or two to relax. We turn it on for our children to relax and have fun, and the use case of television is endless, but have you ever thought about how the television works?
Having a television is one thing, you must most definitely have an antenna before you can watch anything randomly on your TV, so when we try to understand how the TV works, we are directly asking how an Antenna works also.
We are aware that many people have switched to a more modern style of watching TV, many have satellite dishes, while others have cable, but trust me, and you’ll be shocked at the number of people who still have antennas in their home. This article is for those who want to have a general understanding of the antenna works.
What is an antenna?
An antenna in simple terms can be described as a tool, specifically designed to help to receive television broadcast signals over the air. The antenna works to capture the signals released from different TV stations. This is possible because the Televisions equally have a transmitter, which can receive compatible signals.
So the TV stations, have a way of placing their signal tower at a very high tower which can help spread the signal to as many televisions are within the line of sight.
Types of antenna
Necessarily there are two main types of the antenna under which other kinds of antennas fall under. For knowledge, we are going to be talking about the indoor and outdoor types of antenna.
The Indoor Antenna
From its name, you should be able to know it will be placed. The indoor antenna is one which can be fixed on your television, or just beside it on a table or TV shelf in your home. It connects to your television using a feedline. The feedline is actually what helps receive and translate signals to your television.
The beautiful thing about the indoor antennas is that they are not so enormous, and can be placed where you have little space to receive signals for your television. The downside, however, outnumbers the advantages.
The first downside to using this kind of antenna is that you can only accept a limited number of channels on the signals. It also has to be used within a location with proximity to the television stations; if not, you might not get a good reception.
Although the antenna is good, it is, however, a waste of time to use an indoor antenna in a rural location, urban areas are will help you find a perfect use case for your antenna, rural locations should be looking to get outdoor antennas if they want to enjoy the programs on their local channels.
You should also be aware that there are different types of indoor antenna. All function to help bring signals to your television but they have different mechanism they use in achieving this. A list of some of the indoor antennas are;
- Loop antenna
- Rabbit antenna
- Whip antenna
- Flat antenna
This antenna is designed specifically to receive UHF signals. Remember we spoke about both types of frequencies, and how they are the station location of any TV station. The Loop antenna is fixed together with a UHF loop to make sure a single loop of the antenna can cover as many channels as it can reach.
This is by far the most ancient type of antenna in use. It has been existing for a long time now and can still be found in the homes of many today. Initially, when they were introduced, they came with any new television set bought, but as time advanced, they could be purchased separately.
It has a base to which two rods are attached to form a V-shape, hence the name Rabbit Antenna. The antenna is very flexible and can be folded back when not in use. You can quickly try to adjust the angle at which it was placed if you want to allow for better receptivity.
Although the rabbit antenna provides an excellent signal reception strength, it is not as powerful as the outdoor antenna. The V-shape of the antenna is what gives it the dynamics it uses in sourcing for signals even at a long range.
The whip antenna is like the rabbit antenna but with just a single rod. It is made of the same type of rod as the rabbit antenna, and with this, you can expect half the amount of signal strength as the rabbits. The design of this antenna is one such that it receives a signal in all directions and works excellently in urban areas, when not in use it can be tucked in.
This antenna is like the modification of the loop antenna, but they have an extra feature which is the signal amplifier. They come in square shapes, are extremely thin and have a lightweight. After the introduction of the digital antenna, the flat antenna was what was widely used and in circulation.
They can equally receive signals from all direction and can be connected to a television using using a coaxial cable.
With most of the things we have pointed out about an indoor antenna, you should be able to think out some things that the outdoor antenna is suitable for. As you know, the indoor antenna has a frail reception strength, but that is corrected with an outdoor antenna.
In rural places that are located far away from the TV station towers, the signals can accurately be captured by an outdoor antenna. The higher, the better, the more height your antenna can attain, the better, and clearer your reception quality.
The outdoor antenna is also made to be unidirectional; this means that you can only receive signal for individual stations when the rods are facing a particular direction. It all depends on your taste, and what you want, you can get both the omnidirectional and unidirectional antennas.
Just like the indoor antenna, we also have different types of outdoor antenna you should know about. More and more designs were made, but the basic principle of operations never changed from the list of antennas below;
- The log periodic antenna
- The Yagi-Uda antenna
- Reflective array antenna
The Log periodic and Yagi-Uda antenna
The log periodic antenna is one such that the rods are designed to receive signals from a wavelength which is half the length of TV signals. And they are used to receive both UHF and VHF signals from any direction.
The beautiful thing about such an antenna is that they either have an enormous rod or a small-sized rod. Having a huge rod would allow for more direction coverage and a better gain for the reception, and vice versa.
The way the antenna works is that you can have both in one antenna, as the Yagi-Uda makes up for the reception of the UHF signal, while the log directional is designed mainly for receiving VHF signals. You can, however, use one of the two at a time, it all depends on your need.
The Reflective array antenna
This antenna is mainly designed to receive UHF signals alone, and it features a vertical screen made of only metals. One thing you should know about the TV stations is that they are located in several angles and you can only have access to them when your antenna is in a particular direction.
This is why the rotator was designed as a component of outdoor antennas, just in case you need to adjust the antenna without the need to climb your roof.
How does an antenna work?
Before we meddle into the details of how an antenna works, we first have to understand how a TV transmission works so that you can have comprehensive knowledge, so here goes.
A TV station essentially has signalled that it transmits, these signals have programming which is peculiar to a channel, and they are called the line of sight. The shape of the earth, the sphere, affects the transmission because the line of sight is not always in focus, and the earth also rotates on its axis, and the curves keep changing for an average of every 80 miles.
When this rotation happens, the line of sight breaks and the signal equally breaks, but an antenna helps keep the line of sight intact without any break in transmission.
Now that we have a grasp on how the TV transmission works let us talk more about the antenna. The major and primary job of your antenna is to pick up these signals from the TV stations and deliver them into your TV with the best possible clarity that can be gotten.
The Antenna works to receive both UHF Ultra High Frequency) and VHF (Very High Frequency). These two frequencies are like the addresses of the television stations, so your antenna helps to pick them up from their addresses and help deliver them safely to your home.
What you can find within the signals being transmitted are video and audio files, and this is what your antenna translates. Awesome, yeah? Totally!