Eliminate Over The Air Antenna Interference

I received an email from a reader last week with an interesting problem. Every time her friend turned on the lights in the living room she would lose 4 over the air antenna stations from her television. Once she turned off the lights the channels came back. It turns out that using certain types of LED light bulbs can cause interference with some frequencies. The LED pulses on and off at a very high frequency (beyond that which our eyes can perceive). This pulsing can create RF noise. If not shielded sufficiently, this RF noise can interfere with TV or radio signals. So I figured in this article, I would discuss what else can cause OTA antenna interference and how to eleviate it.

OTA Antenna Interference

OTA antenna interference can be very frustrating, especially if your favorite station loses it’s reception. There can be a number of different causes for over the air antenna interference. Some interference can cause pixelation, picture noise or loss of signal. Let’s look at some of the causes.

Electromagnetic Interference

Electromagnetic interference can be caused by many different things like outside powerlines, thunderstorms, LED or fluorescent lights and solar flares. Many household appliances like a blender, electric heater, popcorn maker, electric blanket and refrigerators can also cause interference. Any appliance with electric motors like a ceiling fan can disrupt an over the air TV signal. In some cases, light dimmers have been known to cause issues due to poor wiring. To troubleshoot start by unplugging or switching off each appliance and then check to see if your signal improves.

Power Conditioner

Furman M-8X2 Merit Series 8 Outlet Power Conditioner and Surge Protector


If you’re having problems with Electromagnetic Interference, in some cases a power conditioner can help clean up dirty power in your home. It can help to reduce RFI and EMI interference. It can also protect your equipment from power surges and spikes.

Multipath Interference

Multipath Interference is caused by the OTA signal being bounced around certain surfaces such as wet or icy surfaces, buildings or a passing airplane. Certain hilly terrains and trees can cause issues. Often times just moving the OTA antenna a few feet can help alleviate the problem. If the problem persists you may have to elevate your antenna to the roof or mount it to a pole.

See Our Article on Different Mounting Options for Your OTA Antenna.

Cell Phone Tower Interference

Eliminate Over The Air Antenna Interference

With the proliferation of smartphones, there are more and more cell towers being built. Many of these towers broadcast very close to the frequencies of the TV towers. This can cause pixelation and signal problems. If you live close to a cell tower and are having receptions issues you may need to add an LTE filter to your antenna setup. This will filter out any offending 3G and 4G cell frequency interference. The filter simply screws in line with your antenna set. The video below explains how it works and how to set it up according to your antenna system.

Channel Master LTE Filter

Eliminate Over The Air Antenna Interference


Poor Shielded Cable

Eliminate Over The Air Antenna Interference

Another common place interference happens is with poorly shielded cables. A coaxial cable is used to transmit an over the air signal from the antenna to your television tuner. The coaxial cable comes wrapped in shielding usually consisting of metal and plastic. Shielding helps to reduce electromagnetic interference. If the cable is poorly shielded you can get signal loss and interference. One way to eleviate this is to upgrade to better thicker shielded RG6 coaxial cable.


If you want to know more about how to improve your OTA antenna reception see our article below.

How to Improve Poor OTA Antenna Reception

Feature image courtesy of panuruangjan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Conclusion

As you can see there are many things that can cause interference with your OTA antenna signal. You can mitigate many of these problems by a simple process of elimination. Have you had any antenna signal interference? If so please comment below and share your experience.

November 14, 2018 0

Amazon Fire TV Recast Over The Air DVR Examined

Last updated: Wednesday, November 14, 2018Amazon is entering the over the air DVR market with the Fire TV Recast. The Fire TV Recast will record your favorite programs using an over the air antenna. You can then play them back over WiFi using most mobile devices, tablets, Fire TV, Fire Stick or Echo Show. There are no monthly fees and you can schedule recordings using their channel guide. You can record up to 5 shows simultaneously. It works seamlessly with the Fire TV and Fire Sticks interface. It’s nice to see this space having some more development and competition. Let’s take a closer look. Fire TV Recast Over The Air DVR How It Works The Fire TV Recast is similar to the Tablo TV. It is an over the air [...]
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About Johan
I started the site to educate the public on the alternative ways you can watch television besides subscribing to cable. I have been in the audio visual business for over 20 years. I also have an extensive computer networking background. I am a Microsoft Certified Professional and CompTIA Network+ Certified Technician. I hope you will find my articles and reviews helpful in conscious uncabling.

8 Comments

  1. We had new neighbors move in across the street. Well now we no longer can use our antenna when they are home unless I hold the antenna high in the air right in front of the TV. No sure what to do.

    • Interesting. It may be some electromagnetic or RF interference from their lighting or appliances. It might be time to mount an antenna outside or in the attic. Put it up higher than your previous one. Hope this helps.

  2. I loose 2 sec of audio only whenever the account STOPS or if I turn a ceiling fan or any electric motor OFF. Figure that one out.

    • That’s an interesting dilemma. Seems like some type of Electromagnetic interference. It could be a grounding issue. You could try lifting the ground from the main power to your TV or antenna. Here is an example of a power ground lifter: https://amzn.to/2uM93du

  3. I lose two of my favorite stations usually at the same time. Between 8:30 to 9:30 am these two stations go from unwatchable to perfect and stay perfect until between 5:30 and 6:30 pm when they become unwatchable and stay like that until the next morning as above. LTE signals are on all the time, terrane stays the same. I have tried turning off every circuit in my house and it has no effect. Wet weather maybe slightly worse but not much different when dry. ANY IDEAS.

    • That is an interesting one. Sounds like something turns on between those time periods that causes interference. It could be the broadcast tower or something in between. Do any of your neighbors have the same problem? This could eliminate the broadcast tower. Did you try an LTE filter to rule out cellular interference? Some stations also reduce their broadcast power during certain times of the day and increase them during prime viewing hours. Do you have more than one TV? If so, does it happen to both?

  4. I have a 25 foot outdoor tv antenna on the side of my home. I also have an outdoor LED light fixture installed at the rear of my home, about 30 feet from the antenna. Whenever the LEd light comes on at night I lose a couple channels on my TV. When I turn the outdoor LED light off the TV stations come back in. Is the emi interference coming thru the antenna cable, power, or the antenna itself? What would be a good way to reduce this emi interference?

    • Can you replace the outdoor light with a non-LED bulb and see if it goes away. The LED diodes could be producing EMI interference. Then you will know for sure if it is the LED bulb. Are the antenna and outdoor light on the same circuit? If so you could try moving the antenna to a different circuit and see if it eliminates the problem. Good luck. I hope this helped. Please let me know if you fixed the problem.

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