You've probably rescheduled activities so that you can watch your team play at home, only to have your antenna misbehave. A few seconds later, your screen goes blank. It’s massively frustrating.
To make sure this doesn’t happen to you, we've made it our goal to teach you how to improve TV antenna signals conveniently.
Causes of Poor Antenna Signals
When you have poor TV reception, one of the last things on your mind is what could have caused it. Your aim, at that point in time, is to get it working again immediately.
And it's important that you get it working again, but it is equally important that you find out the cause. This will help you prevent future occurrences.
Before diving into how to improve TV antenna signals, it is best that we share some of the causes of this heartbreaking experience.
Improper Antenna Setup
Improper antenna setup has been identified as one of the root causes of poor antenna reception. If your antenna isn't properly set up, then you are bound to experience bad reception or no antenna signal at all.
A couple of things can be classified as improper or poor antenna set-up — the use of poor masthead amplifiers, poor cabling, poor positioning, etc.
This is another root cause of poor antenna reception, albeit unknown to most antenna owners.
Generally, most regions have transmitting towers nearby. These towers, if close to your current location, can boost your antenna reception. Consider your location in relation to local broadcasting towers when you’re trying to improve the antenna signal.
Condition of Your Antenna
An estimated 6.4 million households in the United States own an antenna, and most are only serviced once every 12 years.
In that period of time, these antennas have had to live through different weather conditions and seasons. Some of the time, they may become damaged and unable to efficiently offer quality reception to owners.
The condition and age of the antenna you own may be one of the causes of the poor reception you experience. With most households not servicing their antennas for over a decade, they may become too damaged to offer quality TV viewing.
Changes Unknowingly Made from Your TV
If you've been receiving clear and uninterrupted antenna signals over the years, but the reception begins to go bad, then it could be that you made a change from your TV unknowingly. This happens often, especially when you have kids around.
Aside from changes made from your TV through your remote controller, other changes like altering the antenna’s position, strong winds, etc., may also disrupt your viewing experience.
Quality of the Antenna
Oftentimes when we get bad antenna reception we barely think about the quality of the antenna. However, with the influx of various antenna brands, it has become of key importance to take into consideration the quality of an antenna.
While they may look like every other antenna, the specifications that enable some antenna to pick up signals easily may not be as strong in some antenna as it is in most of the others.
Also, some antenna come in Ultra-high frequency (UHF) or very high frequency (VHF) only.
How to Improve TV Antenna Signals
Since we've shared some of the root causes of the poor antenna signals, it is important that we talk about some of the best ways to improve antenna signals. They are:
Take your Antenna Higher
Generally, for your antenna to receive a good signal, it needs to be placed in an elevated position. Most people have referred to this position as within the “line of sight” of your local towers. As mentioned earlier, one of the causes of poor antenna signal is not finding a transmitting tower nearby.
When placing your antenna, ensure that it is facing the direction of a transmitting tower. You're probably wondering what a transmitting tower is and how you can identify one. A transmitting or broadcast tower is a tower that has been erected to offer a good signal. In most regions, there are two or more broadcast towers nearby.
A ton of electronic tools can be used to detect the location of a broadcast tower in your area. With these tools, you only need to input your street address and a nearby tower location will be shown to you.
To improve the antenna signal, your antenna should be pointed towards broadcast towers near you. To improve your TV antenna signal, you also need to ensure that nothing stands in the way of the signal.
It is advised that you install your antenna at least 15 to 20 feet above ground level, in the direction of a broadcast tower, to avoid interference and create line of sight to your local towers.
Keep your Antenna Secure Against Natural and Unnatural Components
One of the root causes of poor antenna signal is the condition, and sometimes, the age of the antenna.
To receive the best signal, you need to keep your antenna safe from natural hazards like rain, whirlwinds, storms, etc.
While antennas are mostly waterproof, they are built with metal components like screws, nuts, bolts, etc. These components, although sturdy, may loosen depending on the frequency of bad weather in your region. Also, these components may be of inferior quality, meaning that heavy storms can damage them.
In situations like this, it is important that you carry out yearly antenna inspections. The purpose of these inspections is to examine and replace any loose nut or bolt before they loosen any further.
In addition to this annual inspection, you also need to ensure that cables are weatherproof. If they are not, it is important that you change them immediately. If there are coaxial cables, you may also need to replace them for ones higher quality cables.
Basically, ensure that every component used is weatherproof.
Have your Antenna Placed Near a Window
The fewer obstructions or obstacles your antenna has to the transmitting tower, the better your signal is going to be.
You're probably wondering what constitutes an obstruction. Thick walls, ceilings, trees, and buildings are common examples. Placing your antenna on a window has proven to be one of the best ways to bypass these obstacles and get a good reception. Most of the time, having your antenna placed on a window gives you direct access to any of the broadcast towers close to you.
Although it is advised that you place your antenna close to a window, there are a couple of things you need to take into consideration when doing that.
First, you need to keep an eye out for heat obstruction. Most manufacturers have advised that you place the white side of the antenna outside to enable it to absorb heat efficiently.
Secondly, if you own a flat antenna, it is important that you have its parts taped properly to the window. This is done to prevent it from warping or bending as the days go by.
Keep your Antenna Far From Metal
Metallic surfaces are capable of causing interference that can block the antenna signal. For example, if your antenna is placed on a window with burglary bars or other metallic parts, this could greatly affect the signal you receive. It is advised that you keep your antenna at least six feet from any metallic surface.
Try Out Different Placements Before Settling for One
Ideally, you should try out different antenna placements before finally settling on one. Your aim is to improve your antenna signal. Since there is no stipulated placement position, you need to try out different positions to find the one that works best for your home.
Even after you've identified a broadcast tower, you need to try out different positions until you find one that offers you a good signal.
If you're already experiencing a bad antenna signal, endeavor to change the position until you get one that is both suitable and good for your antenna. In addition to trying out different positions, it is equally important that you opt for a quality antenna.
As mentioned earlier, many antennas have different antenna signal reception tools which may not be as advanced as those found in others. With this information in mind, it is advised that you purchase only the best antenna. That is one that is made with quality materials and is capable of receiving signals efficiently.
Improving TV antenna signals is one of the most daunting tasks antenna owners have to deal with. Not only is bad reception heartbreaking and frustrating, but it also requires that you put in work to correct the problem. Fortunately, this piece has discussed how to improve antenna signals, illuminated some of the root causes of poor antenna signals, and offered you tips on how you can correct those root causes.