Can you use an antenna without its reflectors?

Modern antennas sure look different from the ones we saw on roofs in the old days. Back then, outdoor antennas looked like big combinations of metal spikes. Indoor ones were rabbit ears. and honestly, that was all there was. Today, antennas come in all shapes and sizes. Some are amplified to give you more signal in fringe areas. Others have compact shapes to allow them to be used in HOA neighborhoods and in apartments.

Take a look at the antenna up top.

This is Televes’ DATBOSS Mix. It’s a mid-size antenna; not as small as some of the others and it doesn’t hide the spiky metal parts like some of the smaller antennas do. But it’s a solid performer and it doesn’t take two people to put it up. One of the ways it gets extra performance is its special design.

Televes antennas use large reflectors, which you can see at the left side of the image. They’re the tall, diagonal panels to the left of the orange assembly. They help the antenna receive signals more efficiently and block signals from opposite directions. But what if you don’t want them?

It’s a little hard to understand why you would not want these reflectors in place but let’s assume you don’t. Here are some possibilities:

  • The reflectors have been damaged in a storm. I don’t know, maybe a well-placed tree branch took them out and miraculously avoided the rest of the antenna.
  • The reflectors are too big. Maybe you need to mount the antenna in a fairly small space, or mount it very close to a roof line.
  • You actually want to get signals from two completely different directions. One thing the reflectors so is isolate signals that are coming from the back side of the antenna. If you are trying to watch TV from two stations that are 180 degrees away from each other. This antenna will actually do a fair job of that if you take the reflectors off.

So, what does happen with the reflectors off?

I did some very quick testing of this antenna with reflectors on and off. I didn’t go too deep. Why? At first I thought that removing the reflectors would just kill the antenna’s performance. And then, when I figured out the truth, it was also pretty obvious.

Turns out, the antenna does a fairly good job of compensating. Overall, raw signal levels were within 2-3dB when I took off the reflectors. The amplifier is one of the smartest ones out there and it’s often capable of boosting the lower signals you’ll get without the reflector. You may get a little more noise, however, so it’s best to leave the reflectors on unless you have a specific need.

Get the antenna you need

If you’re looking for a quality Televes antenna, or any over-the-air antenna, you’ll find everything you need when you shop at Solid Signal. Don’t know what you need? We have a free service to help! Fill out this form and a real certified antenna technician will review your request. They’ll send you back a list of everything you’ll need and will even be available to take the order and give you support after the sale!

That’s the Solid Signal difference. Real customers service along with the best selection and best prices. Why shop anywhere else?

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.