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.

September 3, 2018 0

OTA TV Channels Are Moving Time to Rescan

Last updated: Monday, September 3, 2018The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is making some changes to some of the OTA stations by auctioning off some of their frequencies. This means that some station and channels will be moving to a new home on your television dial. This could also open up opportunities for new stations and content. To stay current with these new stations and channels you will need to rescan your TV channels from time to time. This will ensure that you have the latest channels. Over the air television is watched by over 72 million Americans. It is an excellent way to cut your cable bill. If you are lucky and live close enough to broadcast towers then installing an OTA antenna is quite simple. [...]
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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.

4 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

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