Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.
What Is a DB8 Antenna?
A DB8 antenna has 4 pairs of elements or 8 in all. In contrast, a DB4 antenna has two pairs of elements for a total of 4 elements. DB4 antennas are sometimes called hanger antennas since they can be made from a set of coat hangers.
Overview of DB8 Antennas
The DB8 antenna modification allows you to receive Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) TV stations beyond the range of a UHF conventional antenna.
For example, if your UHF TV antenna can receive TV stations thirty miles away, the DB8 modified antenna will receive signals from eighty miles away. DB8 antennas receive both regular and high definition TV signals. Their greater number of elements mean they have better reception.
Tilted top and bottom planes are added to the UHF antenna to create a trough reflector. These planes are triangular in shape. The DB8 antenna modification is similar in shape to a bow tie, which is why they are sometimes called bow-tie antennas.
The DB8 antenna receives signals from any direction, though there is no such thing as a fully omni-directional antenna that receives signal equally well in all directions.
A DB8 antenna eliminates the need to install a directional antenna on a rotating motor. It functions best when there is flat land and few features interrupting the signal it is attempting to receive.
The Benefits of DB8 Antennas
DB8 antennas have very high gain, letting you receive Over-The-Air (OTA) signals even if they are far away - a strong point in their favor if you live in a rural area.
DB8 antennas in suburban areas can receive OTA TV signals despite interference from foliage and surrounding roofs.
This type of television antenna won't suffer from interference from electronic devices in your home. In contrast, streaming media to your smart TV or laptop could be delayed by interference by someone else's wi-fi hotspot or the bandwidth taken up by a family member's gaming device.
DB antennas regardless of the number of elements are nearly immune to wind damage compared to satellite dishes.
The Downsides of DB8 Antennas
If you stack the elements to save on real estate, the antenna tower ends up being rather tall. And in this configuration, you end up with a directional antenna.
Making one on your own becomes harder as the number of elements increases.
In some cases, you need a DB16 antenna (with twice as many elements as a DB8 antenna). This is necessary if the signal source is more than 60 miles away. However, at this range, you may be better off getting satellite or cable television.
© 2012 Tamara Wilhite
Brenda Barnes from America-Broken But Still Beautiful on April 17, 2012:
I need an antenna since we do not have cable television. I will look for one and appreciate the information you have given. Thanks Tamara.