Learning, Multimeter,

How to Test an Antenna with a Multimeter (Guide)

A damaged or defective antenna may cause high SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) issues resulting in poor system performance. Though these problems are severe, it’s easy to check the functionality status of your antenna. In this article, I will walk you through the entire antenna testing process. It is fairly simple and requires a couple of easy-to-find devices.

You can easily verify the performance status of your antenna using a multimeter. Simply ping the probe leads on the metallic terminals of the antenna. Then check if the multimeter registers an Ohms reading. A fully operational antenna should not have resistance, so the Ohms reading should be zero. 

Common Antennae Issues you Need to Know

Antennae are prone to many issues that make them ineffective or defective. Some of these common problems include:

Deterioration of the Antennas’ Cables

The deterioration can take place either inside or outside of the antenna. The antenna cover or jacket can wear out. It allows water or other materials to damage the insides. It interferes with the signal passage.

Antenna Outlet Problems

The connectors situated inside the outlet degrade with time. Thus, it hinders signal reception. Another outlet issue can be caused by improper removal of the outlet’s insulator. It blocks signal propagation. (1)

Damaged Fly Leads

This is a very common problem. The fly leads are used to connect the TV to the antenna. Their weak spot is the plug-fitting area. It breaks easily. Handle it with care, or replace it if it is damaged. 

coaxial cable in white color

Other common antennae issues include pointing your antenna in the wrong direction and failing to upgrade it. If you are thinking about where your antennae should face, check the guiding manual, or consult with the respective company. 

So, How Can you Test an Antenna?

Now let’s see how you can run a continuity test for your antenna by checking the ohms. You will need a multimeter (preferably digital for ease of reading) with probes, and antenna(s). Now proceed as follows:

technician holding multimeter probe and testing coaxial cable
Video | YouGottaSeeIt

  1. Set your multimeter to Ohms (reading). Turn the adjusting knob and points it to Ohms.
  2. Touch one of the probe leads to the metallic section of the antenna. It could be the tunable tip at the end of the antenna or the stainless-steel whip. It’s applicable for the fiberglass and magnetic antennas respectively.
  3. Now touch the other lead on the metallic threads or the center pin of the antenna cable (for magnetic antennas).
  4. Maintain the probe positions and note the Ohms reading. For a positive continuity test, the resistance or Ohms value should be zero or small. Replace your antenna if it doesn’t have continuity.

Types of Antennae

Different types of antennae are used in different categories of communication systems. Let’s have a glimpse at different varieties of antennae. (2)

Wire Antennae

These are one of the most common types of antennae available nowadays. They are commonly found in automobiles, ships, buildings, and aircraft. These antennae are available in different shapes and sizes, depending on their usage. They can come as straight wire or dipole, Loop, and Helix shapes.

Short Dipole Antennae

Short-dipole antennae are very similar to wire antennae. Short dipole antennae have open circuit wires having signals channeled at their centers.

dipole antennae with reflector

Dipole Antennae

dipole antennae

These types of antennae consist of 2 conductors placed on the same axis. Usually, the length of the wire is smaller than the wavelength.

Loop Antennae

loop antennae

A single or multiple wires turned into a loop constitutes a loop antenna. The radiation that is produced by this type of antenna can be compared with a short dipole moment.

Monopole Type of Antennas

monopole type of antennas

This is a special type of dipole antenna. Monopole antennae are half of the dipole antennae.

Aperture Antennae

aperture antennae

The Aperture antennae belong to a class of directional antennae. The opening in their structure emits the radio waves.  

Slot Antennas

slot antennas

Slot antennae are derived from aperture antennae. They contain one or several slots on their waveguide surfaces. They work in microwave frequency. They trace an omnidirectional radiation pattern.

Horn Antennae

horn antennae

Horn antennae take the shape of a horn. They are very popular. They behave as a natural extension to waveguides by affecting the transition between waves in the free space, and the transmission line.

Other types, not featured in the discussion, include the following:

  • Lens antennas
  • Array antennas
  • Traveling antennas
  • Log periodic antennas

Lack of continuity means your antenna is damaged, and there is an obstruction to the flow of current. It results in weak signal flow and poor reception. Replace it with a new one and enjoy your favorite TV shows. We would love to know if our antenna testing guide helps you. Please let us know.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

(1) signal propagation – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/computer-science/signal-propagation
(2) communication systems – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/

Video References


Aareff Systems

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About Sam Orlovsky

AvatarCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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