How to Read an Antenna Spec Sheet

Updated on January 20, 2018
tamarawilhite profile image

Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of two, and published sci-fi and horror author.


Antenna spec sheets provide the technical specifications most users are going to need in order to successfully use the antenna. Let’s review how to read an antenna spec sheet.

Antenna spec sheet from Kent Electronics
Antenna spec sheet from Kent Electronics | Source


The title of the specification sheet should make it clear which antenna you’re dealing with. Who made the antenna? What model is it? What is the revision letter, if any?

Antenna Properties

Most antenna specification sheets give the key information about the antenna. What are its dimensions? How much does it weigh? What material is it made out of, if this matters to the user? What components are provided with the antenna? Some antennas are sold without any mounting hardware, while others are sold in an enclosed dome with connecting hardware.

Mounting and Connection Information

Connection information tells you how to connect coaxial cables or other wiring to the antenna. The wiring will either carry the signal your radio will generate to the antenna for broadcast or carry the signal the antenna receives to the radio.

Mounting instructions tell the owner how to mount the antenna so that surrounding hardware won’t interfere with its function. For example, an antenna may need to be pointed toward the intended signal or at a specific angle from the horizon in order to work well. Many antennas will have their electrical properties altered if it touches a metal support or another antenna. Too many antennas fail to work properly because someone drilled holes through it and damaged the tracing in an effort to put mounting holes in it before attaching it to a wood or metal boom.

Good mounting instructions will also tell you where to route the coax (coaxial cable) so that the wire carrying the signal doesn’t inadvertently impact reception or broadcast.

Antenna Factors

The antenna factor describes the required field strength that produces one volt at the antenna terminals. The antenna factor or AF is calculated by dividing the electric field strength by the voltage at the terminals of the antenna. This basic equation doesn’t take polarization mismatch loss into account.

If you were doing the analysis in decibels instead of standard units, the antenna factor is the electric field strength in DB/m minus the Voltage in dBV.

Antenna factors change along with the frequency, if the antenna sends over a frequency range. A good specification sheet will show you the antenna factors at regular intervals. The antenna spec sheet may provide a chart showing gain for all frequencies the antenna receives.


Antenna gain does reflect the antenna’s amplification of the signal. However, antenna gain is a metric that gives both the antenna’s efficiency and directivity in decibels. The higher the gain, the more focused the beam width. In theory, the antenna broadcasting equally in all directions would have zero dB gain.

Gain is different from the antenna’s transmission power; that is measured in watts and called the input power level limit.

Legal Disclaimers

Depending on the product and application, the specification sheet may include legal disclaimers. For example, it may say that you’re allowed to use the antenna for wifi or drone applications but warn that you may not be allowed to use a drone in specific locations. It could tell you the major uses of the frequency range the antenna receives but warn that it is illegal to listen in on others’ wireless communications without consent or advise that the antenna works on ham bands but you must have a ham radio license to broadcast yourself.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.


Submit a Comment

No comments yet.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)