Station Questions Home-Built Antenna Performance

KAUZ-TV, the CBS affiliate in Wichita Falls, Texas, broadcast a story this week, "Home-made antennas, will they work?" that may spur some debate among RF Report readers.

My TV Technology columns on home-built TV antennas generate more e-mail than any other topic. The KAUZ-TV article quotes the station's Chief Engineer, David Swartz.

“The efficiency of the antenna that you would build would be nowhere near the efficiency of an antenna that's been well-designed or well-built, and of course, would hold together under all weather conditions,” said Swartz.

That may be true for the simple antennas described in YouTube videos, but I'd argue that the Gray-Hoverman antennas I showed in my recent RF Technology column will work and survive as well or better than many commercial antennas. The amount of craftsmanship and materials required to create such an antenna requires much more time and, for higher performance/quality designs, may ultimately cost the same or more than a commercial antenna. However, the home builder has the opportunity to tweak the design to match the needs of his or her location and has the pride of building something that's as good as or better than the best commercial designs.

In my April RF Technology column I'll look at VHF home built antennas, including a fractal antenna that shows excellent performance in a relatively small space.