Radio Antennas

Whether it's a transceiver or a simple receiver, a radio's performance is largely dependent on the antenna. Nowadays, FM is the most common type of radio signal. The right radio antenna can improve signal quality and increase the signal reach of just about any radio device. Though antennas seem simple, they have evolved over the years into specialised devices designed to cater to the needs of specific radios. Choosing the right antenna requires some knowledge of radio technology as well as careful consideration of the support equipment available for different uses.

Antenna Type

Traditional or satellite is the most basic choice one has to make when selecting an antenna. The traditional ones are usually omnidirectional and can even be embedded as part of some devices. Satellite antennas are multidirectional and require careful placement, so they can receive satellite broadcasts from outside the atmosphere.

Active or Passive

Another distinction one should make is between an active and a passive antenna. The passive antenna in many cases is nothing more than a metal rod, though it can also have a special shape and reflectors which aid in signal reception. Choosing the right passive antenna is largely dependent on the radio's main use, so consult the manual to select the right one. The active ones have circuitry and noise-cancellation technology to help deliver a clear signal. Active antennas require a power source as well. Longer distances and environments where a lot of interference is expected call for the use of an active antenna.

Cables and Connectors

The performance of antennas which are not directly connected to the radio is very dependent on coaxial cables and connectors. Standard cabling and connectors provide adequate shielding and acceptable signal loss; however, those who have a more sensitive receiver might need to invest in high end equipment. The same applies if the antenna is a long way from the radio without an amplifier or repeater. Exposure to weather elements can also impact the signal quality, so consider either protecting the cable or investing in one of higher quality.