A viewer asks: Why J-Pole antennas? I mean it’s a cool design and all, but some people swear by them. What advantages do they have? Lower take-off angle? Gain? Joe and I share some insight on why the J-Pole is such a popular antenna for VHF/UHF operation.

That’s a great question. The J-Pole is really what I call a medium gain antenna. It’s a half wave antenna by design so it has about 2.5 – 3 dB of gain depending on how you want to calculate things. It doesn’t have a whole lot of gain but really a lot of times you don’t need a whole lot of gain for a good vhf uhf antenna.

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The way it’s constructed, the feed point is at dc ground so it’s got a very low noise floor so it does an excellent job at receiving signals. With medium gain antennas it’s a good matchup if you’ve got, say a handheld radio or something that doesn’t have a strong front end, so don’t really want to overload with a lot of a lot of signal.

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And they’re relatively inexpensive. For those starting out with a handheld it’s a great first antenna which then as you upgrade it can be your backup antenna or your spare antenna. These antennas are practically indestructible. I’ve had one installed, going on 15 years and it works as well as day one. I’ve also have customers that have gone through wind storms, the mast bent, but the antenna was just fine.

The J-Pole antenna just plain works, and it works very well.