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by coureurdebois

Getting better TV antenna reception

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Forget the tin foil. With some basic television antenna equipment, you should be able to receive clear, regional over-the-air (OTA) UHF and VHF TV signals – with no monthly cable or satellite bill.

Now that the OTA signals are digital, you can get more channels with the same equipment that was used several years ago when I installed TV antennas in rural areas.

The antenna mast can be mounted on just about anything
The antenna mast can be mounted on just about
anything
Of course, if you live in an urban area, you can probably pick up some decent signal with just rabbit ears. The tips below are for those who live where rabbit ears just don’t cut it.

  • The more removed you are from a TV station, the larger (longer) antenna you will want.
  • When the antenna packaging tells you the range of an antenna, take into consideration that these numbers are figured based on a flat plane with no trees, buildings, or hills.
  • You can get an antenna specifically designed for each channel, but you will have to buy couplers to wire all of these antennas together.
  • The least complicated antenna system uses just one antenna, called an “all channel” antenna, which is designed to pick up all UHF/VHF channel signals.
  • An all channel antenna can be mounted on a rotor – operated from inside the house – which can be pointed to each station.
  • It’s a good idea to get a TV signal amplifier. The preferred type has a separate preamp installed outside near the antenna and a power supply that plugs into an outlet inside the house.
  • Buy enough RG-6 coaxial cable to reach from the antenna to your television. Splicing can cause signal loss and moisture problems.
  • The antenna mast can be mounted on just about anything – a deck, fence post, a tripod mounted on the roof, a chimney bracket. Although you may be able to get some signal with the antenna lying on the ground, usually the higher it is with fewer obstructions, the better.
  • If you can’t cut nearby trees, just cut out branches that are in line with the transmitting tower.
  • You can purchase a TV tower for home use, but these can be spendy. And you might need a professional climber to install and maintain the entire system. But the advantage of these towers is that not only can they get your antenna above area buildings and nearby trees, they keep your antenna system looking clean, high tech, and less unsightly.