What are the best Portable Aerials? Features to Know!
| Reuben Howe
In a world of instantly accessible content, digital entertainment and 24/7 connectivity it can seem archaic to proclaim the benefits of a terrestrial aerial. With services like YouTube, Twitch, Catch-Up TV and entire digital broadcasts we can’t exactly blame you for forgetting the humble aerial that started it all with just a metal rod and some modulated waves.
But, now more than perhaps ever before, aerial technology is showing its importance. With the world branching out, travel becoming common again, small businesses moving in to old buildings and the advancing complexity of what we consider “Normal” technology the simple concept of a plug and play aerial is a delight to many.
In this Article -
- What is a Home Aerial, Anyway?
- The Best Portable Aerials of 2023 and How to Use Them!
- Simple Aerials
- High Gain Aerials
- Amplified Aerials
- The Best Aerials For Businesses
What is a Home Aerial, Anyway?
A little bit of a tongue-in-cheek question but one that is becoming increasingly prevalent in 2023. While many homes still have large, spindly aerials jutting out the roof and arcing towards the nearest transmission tower, more and more properties are neglecting an aerial altogether with Linear Reach in the UK floating around 80%.
A home TV Aerial is a long surface of metal attached to the roof of a house. The metal is designed to receive radio waves (Or electromagnetic waves for Digital TV) and carry that wave data cleanly and safely down into the house. The radio wave would become distorted and even interrupted if the aerial was not in open space on the roof, able to best catch the waves as they are broadcast outwards from a transmission tower.
These radio waves carry the channels, audio, visual, text and everything else needed to give you TV. So, it’s only by catching these waves with an aerial that you can watch anything!
For an explanation of radio waves and how they give us audio look at our article on FM VS DAB radio transmissions.
The Best Portable Aerials of 2023 and How to Use Them!
The technology is pretty simply defined, so what’s the fuss with portable aerials? Well, taking the idea of a home aerial and miniaturising it poses a few problems. For one, the aerial works because it is in open space on a roof. Secondly it is large and directional, but portable aerials have to be small! Finally a home aerial has miles and miles of scan range, but a portable aerial is a fraction of the size so how can it compete?
Let’s find out…
The August DTA180 - Your Basic Portable Aerial
To use an example, take the DTA180. This is the bare essentials of a portable aerial. The device is small, compact, light, requires no power or batteries and plugs in using a universal indoor TV aerial coaxial cable. This is what you get when you chop the end off of a spoke of your roof aerial and put it on a plastic base.
Other simple aerials that develop on the concept include the DTA220, which uses a dual-antenna or “Rabbit Ear” design. This increases coverage and the telescopic nature of the antennas is highly adaptable to provide TV signal to a number of indoors and outdoors locations.
The technology is all there, and the portability afforded by its size has seen success when geographically near an aerial, up high, and stationary. However, in terms of interesting technological advancements and a reason to get invested into aerials as late as 2023? It doesn’t quite cut it.
The August DTA240 - High Gain Amazon Top Seller
Stepping up a notch we have the DTA240. This thing takes the idea of the DTA180 and creates a modular, refined and altogether more powerful bit of kit. Again, the premise is the same. However, this time there’s a naturally engineered amount of innate Gain.
Gain is the ability for an aerial to scan further than it normally would by manipulating its polar pattern. Basically, the DTA240 scans in an oval instead of a circle.
Consider a circle with the DTA240 at the centre. It scans equally in all directions and cannot gain extra range.
Now consider the same area being scanned, but in an oval shape. Now, with no extra power or a larger aerial, the wide range has a much higher maximum distance! The microphone becomes more “directional” as you have to point the tip of the oval at a transmitter if it is beyond the reach of the circular pattern.
The Magnetic base of the DTA240 helps with this directionality and also boosts scanning range by transforming metallic objects into signal boosters!
Modern tech is incredibly smart and communicative and interactive, but something about the tactile nature of Aerials and their simplicity makes them endlessly enjoyable.
The August DTA300 - A Professional LTE Filter Amplified Aerial
We get to explain three(!) new feats of aerial engineering at once with this next example! The DTA300 is once again a High-Gain aerial and so throws its scan range ahead of itself to reach transmitters from a greater distance. There’s something else different that you may have guessed from the image, it’s a flat aerial!
Flat aerials are tailored for a more specific range of signals than a traditional antenna or dual antenna. By picking up UHF (Ultra-High-Frequency) waves and digital broadcasts flat aerials ensure efficiency and quick connectivity with less static and down-time. They can be set up on a stand or wall either horizontally or vertically to best receive signal.
On top of that, the DTA300 is also Amplified. This feature uses signal boosters to provide power to the aerial to boost gain upwards of 25dBi (The DTA240 we saw earlier used only up to 4dBi). This makes amplifying aerials exceptionally long-ranged and directional, for locations far afield from transmitter towers. Outdoor Aerials are able to more freely pick up waves, and the portability and easy set-up make the flat aerial incredibly close to behaving like a real roof aerial just with the benefit of putting it in a car, mobile home, campervan and tent!
The Best Aerial for Businesses
Finally, for the DTA300 is the innovation of LTE filters. Business owners and people setting up TV in public areas best be aware of this feature! An LTE Filter enables an aerial to receive transmissions without interference and disturbance from the 4G and Mobile Phone networks in the area. In a restaurant or café with hundreds of different devices coming in and out a day, a 4g block filter is almost a necessity. Aerial technology is deceptively simple, and it’s interference like this and even from other channels themselves that have spurred the development of High-Quality Digital Broadcasts rather than analogue.
Aerials Are Still Vital Technology
The core of what makes these aerials so handy when made portable is the simplicity of the engineering combined with the variable usage. One person may need a travel aerial to pack into a car or campervan while another may own a business and need to entertain guests / provide background noise. Yet another person might be interested in giving a hotel room, elderly relatives bedroom or a gaming loft TV signal where the Home Aerial just won’t connect.
After seeing the new developments still being brought to the table, from miniaturisation to LTE Filtering, it’s clear that there is a reason over 80% of the UK still access Linear TV. Streaming and Catch-Up are enjoying a boom during and following the pandemic, but the tried-and-true method of aerials and waves sustains the nation for the majority of its entertainment. Daffodil are proud to stock innovative and classic aerials that help millions access free entertainment without any conditionals.