Radio antennas are receiving antennas that convert power into radio waves. Radio waves carry signals that are picked up by a radio receiver at different frequencies. Every single radio – whether it's your car radio or the radio on your MP3 player – requires an antenna in order to receive transmissions. Antennas come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, which usually determines the effectiveness of the device. Common radio antenna brands include the TERK PIB AM/FM Antenna, the Stellar Labs Outdoor Omnidirectional FM and the Winegard RoadStar Omni-Directional VHF/UHF Antenna.
In cases where your device's built-in antenna doesn't pull a strong enough signal, you can purchase an external antenna. Radio antennas are also useful if your original antenna is broken. Several factors affect the strength of your antenna, including where you install it, other devices in your home that might be causing interference and the quality of your receiver.
Radio Antennas: What to Look For
When shopping for a new radio antenna, your main goal is finding the maximum signal strength for your device. Note that FM radio signals travel horizontally instead of vertically, so your antenna should be configured to accept these waves. Look for bandwidth span, and you may even consider the types of accessories that come with the antenna. Below are some other important considerations to factor into your decision.
One of the most important things to consider when looking for a radio antenna is knowing what you plan to use the device for. AM/FM digital antennas are designed to help you get a stronger signal from local radio stations or pick up stations that are further away. A UHF/VHF radio antenna is used for two-way radios and marine signals. The two differ in the range of frequencies they pull in.
Typically, digital antennas come in two types of reception patterns: omnidirectional and directional. An omnidirectional antenna radiates radio wave patterns in all directions, while a directional antenna refers to a specific direction – such as horizontal or vertical. Specific examples of multidirectional antennas include the whip antenna, the dipole, the mast radiator and the loop antenna. The most common directional antennas include the log-periodic antenna and the corner reflector.
The frequency type of any radio antenna refers to the rate of oscillation of the radio waves. FM radio frequencies are between 88 and 108MHz, while AM stations lie on the frequency range of 535 to 1605kHz. AM radios have lower frequency ranges, while VHF TVs and microwaves have high frequency ranges.
Radio antennas can be battery operated or come with an AC adapter. Battery power makes the antenna more portable, while an AC adapter saves money in the long run.
With a range of radio antennas to choose from, you no longer have to settle for poor reception. Even with the smallest of designs you can enjoy improved radio reception.
Antennacraft FMSS Review
The Antennacraft digital antenna is designed to help you get stronger radio signals whether you are at work or at home. It requires a permanent installation, has a durable construction and is compatible with most standard analog and digital receivers.
This durable radio antenna is omnidirectional, which provides you with a 360-degree coverage. This design helps you get signals regardless of where the local transmission towers are located. For those looking to increase their FM reception, this antenna has the ability to pick up stations up to 80 miles away. You can also add a signal amp to increase the number of channels you can pick up. The main drawback of this antenna is it needs to be mounted to a high location in your home or business. If you live in an apartment and are on the ground floor, this may not be possible. For homes, you can attach the antenna to a rafter in your attic. For safety reasons, don't install the antenna near power lines or other electronics.
The frequency levels on this digital antenna range from 88 to 108 MHz. The antenna is designed to block out other frequencies that can cause distortion or background noise.
This antenna requires no special power cords or cables for effective operations. If your receiver is still not getting a better signal after installing the antenna, you may have to run a designated coax cable from your stereo to your antenna. This can be cumbersome if you are running the cable from a radio in your basement, for example, to the antenna at the very top of your home. In some cases, you may have issues with your receiver picking up the antenna at all, so you may have to manually set it up to work with your radio.
In general, the Antennacraft FMSS digital antenna works well to increase the radio signals within your home or business. The antenna has a durable construction and a unique design that allows it to pull in out-of-state stations. The installation can be difficult, but once it is installed, you won't have to move the antenna around even if you purchase a new receiver.
Cobra Electronics CM 300-004 Review
The CM 300-004 is a fiberglass marine antenna that attaches to the outside of your boat. It is a directional antenna constructed of fiberglass, which helps guard against corrosion if it gets wet. It stands five feet tall, so it can pick up surrounding signals effectively.
Like most marine antennas, the CM 300-004 is limited to 25 watts of output. This type of antenna also works off a line of site technology. The frequencies don't bend around objects or go through anything, so you must have a clear line between you and the user on the other end for it to work. Typically a 5-foot marine antenna can receive transmission from around five miles away.
This radio antenna can pick up frequencies of over 30 MHz. This type of antenna is helpful if you are stranded in the middle of the water, allowing you to radio others for help. If you need an antenna for FM frequencies or television frequencies, though, you'll need to add an additional antenna to your boat. One drawback with this antenna is that you need to drill four small holes to mount the antenna.
The best location to mount the antenna is ideally the highest point on your boat and on a flat surface. This type of installation may not be appealing if there's a chance the antenna won't be a permanent fixture. You can also use this antenna with a handheld VHF radio using a standard adapter. The antenna itself comes with an 18-foot coax cable that provides you with plenty of length to attach the device anywhere on your boat.
To connect this radio antenna to your radio you need a standard PL-259 connector. This type of connection is standard for most receivers, so it should not be difficult to locate. This type of connection was originally designed to be used to transmit radar signals, so it is dependable when you need it most.
The Cobra Electronics CM 300-004 radio antenna is designed for people who enjoy boating and want peace of mind for effective communication while on the water. The antenna is sturdy and mounts to your boat with four bolts. It is constructed of durable materials, which helps guard against rust and damage when exposed to the elements.
Opek HVT-600 Review
The Opek HVT-600 digital antenna is a high-performance HF/VHF ham radio antenna that works for most portable and mobile applications. It has a durable copper wire core that helps transmit signals as soon as it receives them. The antenna also has a wide frequency range, an effective ground connection and mounts to any vehicle using a SO-239 mount, which is not included.
Although this antenna is designed for both portable and permanent applications, when using the antenna for portable radios, you may have a difficult time setting this antenna up. This digital antenna works best if you create a permanent mount to the top of your vehicle. You may even need to remove some of the paint in order to achieve the greatest connectivity. It is extremely important during setup to make sure the ground registers greater than 0.8 ohms to ensure the clearest signals.
The HVT-600 radio antenna features a frequency range from 3.7 MHz to around 146 MHz. Like all ham antennas, the signal of your station depends on the band conditions and your antenna. Typically the taller your antenna, the more signals you can draw into your radio. Also, when setting up this radio antenna, you should be sure to run your coax cable as far away from your vehicle's electrical system as possible or you could experience feedback from the engine, including interference every time you step on your car's gas pedal. You should also leave at least 15 inches of space between your antenna and any vertical metal objects.
When setting up your HVT-600, you only need to connect the antenna to your radio. No other connections are required in order to get a strong signal. It is important not to use a foam dielectric coax cable because it can absorb moisture and cause distortion.
The Opek HVT-600 radio antenna is designed to keep you connected and provide you with strong ham radio signals. The antenna features sturdy construction and works best when you install the antenna in a permanent location far from any external electrical equipment and as far above vehicle's roofline as possible. The design is compact and works well in all weather conditions.
Petra Axis PET10-8110 Review
The Petra Axis delivers a clear reception on your FM stereo stations. It can be installed quickly with a screwdriver and provides hours of listening enjoyment from your home stereo system. The antenna picks up frequencies quickly and efficiently, has a large span spade and can be easily mounted where you need it most.
This durable radio antenna is a standard dipole antenna, one of the most common radio antennas on the market. It features two conductive symmetrical elements. Because of its unique design, this antenna spreads out over a greater surface area, allowing you to grab signals from two different directions.
The device attaches to the back of your radio (as long as it has screw connectors), and you adjust the antenna until you achieve clear sound from your radio station. The center lead expands up to five feet, which provides you with a large reception area and helps improve the sound on your FM radio stations. The two spades extend a total of six feet and work best if you can spread them out as far as they will go. The Petra Axis radio antenna picks up all standard FM radio frequencies. This limits the use of this antenna, but the smaller design lets you move your antenna wherever your stereo equipment is. You can adjust your reception by simply moving the cords in different directions until you get maximum performance.
Like many other portable FM antennas, the Petra Axis doesn't need a power cord or batteries for you to achieve good sound. The antenna works the minute you connect it to your stereo. It is designed for indoor use only, which may limit your use if you are looking for an antenna for your outdoor entertainment system.
The Petra Axis radio antenna is designed to deliver a crisper and more pure sound of your favorite FM radio stations. It connects quickly to your device and doesn't require any programming or special installation before you can start getting a clearer sound, but it can only be used indoor, which limits the number of places the antenna can be used.
Pixel Technologies SR-6P Review
The Pixel Technologies SR-6P antenna is a commercial-grade Sirius and satellite radio antenna. It has a durable weatherproof design, so it is constructed to withstand the elements when installed outside or mounted on your vehicle. You can adjust the elevation of this antenna, so you can pick up even the weakest signals from a distance. Unlike some satellite radios, when you connect the SR-6P radio antenna, you do not have to hook up any additional external amplifiers.
If you are experiencing any type of distortion or additional feedback with a specific radio station, this radio antenna is designed with an advanced two-stage filtering system that rejects out-of-band frequencies. With this technology, you are guarded against more than one radio station trying to overlap another on the same station.
This specialized radio antenna is designed to block out other frequencies and concentrates instead on Sirius radio signals. As a result, you can pick up clear radio signals on your satellite radio no matter where you travel. You can also mount this antenna on the exterior of your home to pull in satellite frequencies for your home system. The unique design pulls in both Sirius radio station frequencies and satellite radio frequencies simultaneously.
This digital antenna connects using a special RG-6 cable, which is often used to connect audio and video equipment, including TVs, VCRs, DVD players and satellite radio receivers. This special coaxial cable helps eliminate interference. It comes with everything you need for installation, including the mount and the base. Depending on where you want to install the antenna, you can mount the device either vertically or horizontally.
This HD radio antenna runs off the power from your entertainment system, so you don't need batteries or any additional cords for operation. You can purchase accessories and additional cable through Pixel, and you can even purchase a female adapter cable to expand the usage of the antenna. This antenna can connect with 200 feet of cable, which makes it ideal for industrial and other commercial applications. It can be used both indoors or out.
This radio antenna is used only for Sirius and satellite radio systems. It filters out any other radio station, which can limit your usage. It is lightweight, and no external amplifiers are needed for optimal performance.
Sangean ANT-100 Review
The Sangean ANT-100 is a durable radio antenna that helps increase the range of your signals on your weather radio. It is designed to be used with most mobile applications, so you can connect it to your portable weather radio in the event of a power outage or a weather emergency and still receive up-to-date information on incoming weather conditions.
The ANT-100 is a multidirectional digital antenna. It can pull in weather update signals from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), so you can get up-to-the-minute updates on major storms and conditions headed your way. The antenna features a coil whip in the center to help conduct the weather signals from the antenna to your radio. However, this design is prone to interference from weather conditions, and this interference may be particularly noticeable during thunderstorms, one of the times when you need weather updates.
This digital antenna is designed to work with most Sangean radios, a company that makes short wave and pocket radios. While the antenna works well with these radios, it is made of plastic parts and the design isn't held together very well. Because of this, the cord on the antenna has a tendency to fall free from the magnetic base, rendering the antenna useless. The company offers a warranty, so if this happens, you can contact the company for a replacement.
This external FM radio antenna comes complete with a standard 6.5-foot coax cable with a 3.5-mm RCA connector. You do not need any other power source to use the antenna other than your weather-band radio. The small magnetic base allows you to mount the antenna to your radio or even to your vehicle. Because it is a magnetic mount, you can move the antenna as needed or carry it with you when you travel.
The Sangean ANT-100 radio antenna is designed to help you receive dependable weather updates regardless of where you are. You can take the antenna with you when you are camping or use it at your home with your weather radio when you've lost power. The antenna is made with inexpensive parts, but works well when combined with a Sangean radio.
Shakespeare 4353 Review
The Shakespeare 4353 radio antenna is a marine radio antenna that provides strong AM/FM signals, so you can enjoy music or listening to talk radio while you are out on the water. It features a unique construction that doesn't take away from the external beauty of your boat, and the compact design keeps it out of the way.
The unique shape of this radio antenna offers an omnidirectional reception signal. The antenna itself is constructed with embedded antenna elements that are attached to sticky tape you stick to your boat's windshield. The antenna's adhesive is designed to stay put, even when the antenna gets wet. It is a low-profile antenna that doesn't stick up from the frame of your boat.
This digital antenna obtains frequencies between 550 and 1,600 kHz and 88 to 108 MHz. This allows you to receive most AM and FM radio signals that are in your area. It can also pull in weaker signals that you would not otherwise reach without the antenna.
The only connection needed with this radio antenna is the included 6-foot RG-62 cable. The end of the cable is equipped with a Motorola-type plug that connects to your marine radio and fits most marine antennas without the use of an adapter. The antenna itself does not need an additional power cord, because it works immediately once it's connected to your media device. The cable is six feet long, so you can attach it to your radio and run it to the front of your boat without having excess wire laying around. You can install the antenna to front or back of your boat's windshield, and you can trim the antenna if it is too long.
The Shakespeare 4353 digital antenna is designed to help you get stronger radio frequency signals on your boat, providing you hours of entertainment on the open water. This antenna attaches discretely to your windshield and is designed to remain out of the way while still providing you with strong radio signals. Because of its compact and unique design, others probably won't know you have an antenna.
Stellar Labs' Outdoor Omnidirectional FM Antenna helps provide reception for your FM radio equipment. This radio antenna features a rugged design that installs on an existing mast pipe or in your home's attic. It receives FM signals, including HD radio, so you can tune in to your favorite FM stations and listen to high-quality audio.
The antenna's design allows for easy assembly and installation. It comes with two pieces that snap together. It has a round dipole design for 360-degree pickup. The included mast clamp comes with wing nuts to make it easy to attach to the mast pipe. The mast pipe is not included since people may install the antenna in a variety of places around the home. The hardware is stainless steel and is designed to stand up to weather. Its diameter is 17.75 inches, and it comes with a built-in female "F" connection. You can also stack multiple antennas to increase signal gain.
This FM antenna is designed to boost FM signals so you can get better sound from your FM radio equipment. You can use this antenna to boost a standard radio or even a portable entertainment system. Also, this antenna draws in stations over long distances, so you may discover stations you didn't even know existed! Since the antenna picks up FM radio waves, it obtains frequencies between 88 to 108 MHz. There is a more sensitive side to the antenna that you can locate by the thin plastic clip. The sensitivity can be adjusted to pick up more stations and maximize reception quality.
It has a maximum gain of 4dB. Like most omnidirectional antennas, this FM antenna can pull in signals from a wide variety of directions. It does not require batteries or an external power source, and no special adapters are needed to operate this antenna. Once you plug the antenna in your device, it runs off the current power from your audio system.
The Stellar Labs Outdoor Omnidirectional FM Antenna has a rugged design to withstand the elements, and it is easy to assemble and install. This radio antenna picks up FM frequencies, including HD stations, over long distances and is compatible with any FM radio equipment.
The TERK PIB radio antenna stands only six inches tall, so it has a compact design. It comes with a built-in amplifier and a special Gamma Loop technology that helps eliminate background noise. This radio antenna is lightweight and has a durable nonmarking base that won't damage your furniture.
The TERK PIB is an indoor AM/FM antenna that is designed to work with most home stereo systems. The back of the device is equipped with a round coax cable connection, so as long as your stereo can accept the round push-in connector, it should work. The built-in amplifier increases all FM signals, and it reduces the amount of feedback noise that can result in a grainy sound with too much static. The antenna also helps reduce feedback from strong channels. The result is even radio signals across the bandwidth for local stations and some long-distance stations.
This AM/FM radio antenna features an omnidirectional reception pattern. The curved bowl-like shape of the antenna helps draw in signals in from all directions. This FM antenna is constructed from durable scratchproof materials that help resist damage. It also has a sturdy base that is wide enough to prevent the antenna from tipping over.
The frequency range of this radio antenna features a 540 to 1700 KHz AM frequency range and an 88 to 108MHz FM range, which lets you pick up any AM/FM station within range. This radio antenna also has a special nonconduction circuitry that isolates the radio waves as they enter the receiver for clearer sound and better reception. But if you live in an area that is away from a local station, such as a rural area, you may not be able to pick up any signals. This antenna does not search for new signals, it merely makes existing signals stronger.
This FM antenna comes with an AC/DC power adapter. This can be a drawback if you are looking for an antenna for a portable device. It weighs less than two pounds, so it may be ideal for a portable media player if it could run off batteries.
The compact TERK PIB AM/FM radio antenna helps isolate radio frequencies for clear sound. The small size doesn't take up much space in your home and the special technologies help prevent distortion.
The Winegard RoadStar RS-3000 is ideal for those who enjoy traveling in their motorhomes but still like to relax and watch TV or listen to the radio. It offers a low-profile pedestal design with a simple installation and all power supply cords are included. The antenna searches for frequencies automatically when you turn on your media device, so it is always on and ready to use.
This radio antenna picks up VHF, UHF and FM broadcast signals that are located within a 35-mile radius. In order to get the best reception, your motorhome must be parked in an area that is not heavily wooded. When you hook up this antenna to your RV entertainment system, you can pull in most free local standard television stations including ABC, FOX and PBS.
This radio antenna is an omnidirectional antenna, which allows it to pick up a variety of signals. It also has a round design, so you don't have to hand crank or aim the antenna in a specific direction to pick up a station. If you prefer not to have the antenna sticking up on top of your motorhome, you can mount it flush to the roof; however, your reception may not be as strong as when you mount it with the pedestal.
The RoadStar RS-3000 is designed to pull in all VHF, UHF and FM frequencies, which is especially useful if you like to switch between radio and television. You no longer have to purchase a second antenna to connect to the top of your motorhome, which can affect the aesthetics of your RV. It is also available in black or white to coordinate with the color of your motorhome's exterior. This antenna comes complete with all mounting hardware, which helps make the installation simple and quick.
This digital antenna operates off a 12-volt DC adapter, which can save you a ton of money over battery operated devices, and it comes with a two-way splitter, so you can hook up the antenna more than one TV at a time.
The RS-3000 radio antenna helps you get a clearer reception on both standard radio stations and free local television programming. You can install it to sit so it fits discreetly on top of your motorhome, or you can obtain a better signal by using the included pedestal. It connects via a basic jack, and you can use more than one media device at a time, making your RV a comfy home away from home.