I'm doing a project on the arduino with simple 433MHz antenna modules. And I was wondering if someone could offer clarifications on how receivers work.

I read that high gain receivers can pick up a very narrow beam of radio power and thus, can transfer data at high rates. Given that this signal is tightly focused to the transmitting end.

And a low gain receiver can pick up a much wider beam of radio power.

My question is the following. When they say "narrower beam" does that represent the amplitude of the signal or the number of different waves that are being transmitted? OR does it refer to the number of DIFFERENT frequencies it can pick up? Sorry, if my question is confusing. Happy to clarify any part of it.

My Source: http://www.qrg.northwestern.edu/projects/vss/docs/communications/2-what-are-high-and-low-gain.html


Think of the receiver as a camera with a telephoto lens.

With the lens zoomed out you can see a large area. You get visual information from all over.

With the lens zoomed in you can only see a very small area. The visual information you receive is only from a very small field of vision and things outside that field never get to you.

It's exactly the same with radio waves except that the shape of the antenna affects the zoom instead of lenses.

  • Oh ok, that makes more sense. So just to clarify, with a low gain receiver then, it can pick up many different frequencies from all directions while HGAs do the opposite right? – Jonathan Oct 29 '15 at 19:12
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    Low gain is zoomed out. It can receive from many directions. High gain is zoomed in, and receives from less directions. Both are tuned to a specific range of frequencies. Eg a satellite dish is high gain but a car aerial is low gain. – Majenko Oct 29 '15 at 19:15

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