Despite the availability of cable television and Web radio, millions of people rely on antennas for TV and radio reception. And with the popularity of satellite TV, portable radios, cell phones and wireless gadgets, more antennas are in use today than ever.
But why all the shapes and sizes? Antenna span, for one, is dictated by the type of broadcast it captures; an incoming radio-frequency wave resonates best when an antenna's length is one half that of the wavelength. Because waves can vary from 18 feet for channel 2 television to three inches for cellular telephony, proper antenna length is key to reception.
This article was originally published with the title Catch a Wave.