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What’s the Difference Between VHF and UHF TV Signals?

Difference Between VHF and UHF

Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:18 am

You may want to discontinue your cable TV subscription and want to opt for OTA TV.

OTA TV now being fully digital in the USA, offers some programs that rival paid cable or satellite TV services.

OTA TV’s Two Frequencies

You may have learned that OTA TV is broadcast in two separate frequencies.

The two frequencies are VHF and UHF?

It’s important to know the difference between the two frequencies so that you can choose the correct antenna to enjoy your OTA service.

This is because some of your favorite channels may be broadcast over VHF and some others over UHF.

VHF TV Signals

VHF stands for Very High Frequency.

VHF’s wavelength is between 1 and 10 meters. It is capable of supporting a frequency between 30MHz and 300MHz.

In practice, a VHF TV signal is usually transmitted in a radio frequency range of 54MHz and 216 MHz.

Generally, channels 2 to 13 are VHF channels as used in TV broadcasts in USA and Canada.

FM radio stations also use the same channels.

Amateur radio operators use VHF for their transmissions.

VHF Signal Drawback

VHF signals have a drawback. Their transmission range is limited. They can’t penetrate hills or large solid structures.

As such, VHF signals are used for short-range transmissions (radio, TV, and electronic navigation devices)

VHF’s short-range transmission has an advantage though.

Two transmitting stations a few hundred miles apart can transmit in VHF without their signals interfering with each other.

Because of their limited transmission range, VHF signals of the same frequency can be used by transmitters several hundred miles apart without interfering with one another.

UHF TV Signals

UHF stands for Ultra High Frequency.

UHF operates between a wavelength of 0.1 and 1 meter.

Higher radio frequencies of between 470 MHz and 890 MHz are used to transmit UHF TV signals.

UHF channels are from 14 to 36 as a general guide.

The UHF frequency is commonly used for some types of police communications and aircraft navigation, among others.

UHF signals are used for analog TV and digital TV broadcasts.

VHF Antenna or UHF Antenna?

If you’re favorite OTA programs are on both VHF and UHF, then it would be wise to get an antenna that supports both these frequencies. This is also FCC’s recommendation.

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