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 four 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), and 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 eliminate it.

OTA Antenna Interference

OTA antenna interference can be very frustrating, especially if your favorite station loses its reception. There can be several 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 reasons.

Electromagnetic Interference

Electromagnetic interference can be caused by many different things like outside power-lines, 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

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 RF and EM interference. It can also protect your equipment from power surges and spikes.

eBay:

Furman Power Conditioner

Amazon:

Furman Power Conditioner


Tripp Lite Isobar 2 Outlet Surge Protector

The Tripp Lite Isobar can also help to reduce EMI/RFI noise. This surge suppressor provides two widely spaced NEMA 5-15R outlets. The built-in isolated filter bank will limit noise interaction among connected equipment.

eBay:

Tripp Lite Isobar 2 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip

Amazon:

Tripp Lite Isobar 2 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip


Ferrite Core Cord Noise Suppressor

A Ferrite core cord noise suppressor can also help. It filters out high-frequency noise or EM interference in the power cord or cable. Just place it around the cable, and small magnets in the suppressor remove the interference.

eBay:

Ferrite Core 1/4 Cord Noise Suppressor

Amazon:

Ferrite Core 1/4 Cord Noise Suppressor


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 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.

Channel Master LTE Filter

Eliminate Over The Air Antenna Interference

The Channel Master LTE filter 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:

Channel Master LTE Filter

Amazon:

Channel Master LTE Filter


Streaming Devices

Eliminate Over The Air Antenna Interference

Amazon Fire TV Stick, causing interference.

Wireless streaming devices can cause interference. Some of the popular streaming devices like the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Chromecast connected directly to the HDMI port of the television. In some cases, there is not enough cable to distance itself from the antenna input. I experienced problems with signal interference when my Fire TV Stick was touching the antenna cable going into the television tuner input (See picture above). On certain stations, the signal kept dropping, causing pixelation and signal loss. To fix the problem, I added an HDMI extension cable to extend the Fire Stick and move it away from the antenna cable, which fixed the interference problem.

Poor Shielded Cable

Eliminate Over The Air Antenna Interference

Another common place interference happens is from 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 alleviate this is to upgrade to 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. You can also visit our forums page to pose questions and share information.

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July 1, 2020 0

Using a Signal Strength Meter to Find an Over The Air Signal

Last updated: Monday, July 6, 2020One of the most frustrating things about watching TV with an over the air antenna is finding a good signal. There are several ways to go about it. You can use a compass and an app to point the antenna in the direction of the broadcast towers. The other option is to use an over the air signal strength meter. This will ensure you are getting the strongest signal from the broadcast towers. A signal strength meter is a small portable device that is plugged in line with the OTA antenna. Then position the antenna until the LED lights on the meter indicate the strongest signal. It is an easy and quick way to set your OTA antenna. OTA Signal Strength Meter An OTA signal strength meter can be [...]
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About Johan
I started this site to educate the public on 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.

140 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.

      • I am so frustrated.my upstairs tv does great with rabbit ears antenna fir the most part except when it rains.my downstairs tv is a pain. It helped slightly that i put an antenna up the stairs higher buttt it still a fight. When cars go by alot of the time messes with the pixels and sound and when someone is walking around in the room above it messes it up too. Of course both messes up during rain. My question is why it messes up when someone is walking around upstair or when my neighbor(apt.) Is going through their door etc.

        • When people are walking around they must be causing interference with the antenna. You should try using a window antenna upstair or if you can mount an antenna outside. Try putting the antenna away from any obstructions and as high up as possible. To avoid interference with the downstairs TV use the same upstairs antenna with both TVs, by adding a splitter. This will allow you to share one antenna with both TVs.

        • I was watching tv using my digital antenna and my screen went black and there was a message box that read scrambled channel. How did that happen? What causes a scrambled channel over an antenna free broadcast?

  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?

      • Art Northrup, Jr. July 11, 2020 at 9:30 pm

        I don’t know the applicable rules/regulations, but apparently, like radio stations, TV stations increase or decrease their power output during certain hours. Radio stations are required to (FCC Regs.)

        And I note that on the map & listing of transmitters for my area there’s an icon that indicates “Adjacent channel warning” — meaning there’s another channel broadcasting on a frequency that’s so close to the channel you want to watch that you could get “bleedover”. You’ve no doubt experienced it with the radio in your vehicle while travelling — e.g., you’re listening to 95.7, but when you drive thru an area which has a station on 95.6, you hear some of what it is broadcasting, even though 95.6 is weaker.

        But those are analog signals & with digital TV signals, instead of getting part of the broadcasts from two stations right next to each other (in the frequency band), one station disrupts or blocks the other. If one station increases its power output it can overpower the other & then the problem’s gone.

        Also, I live in a wooded area & have noticed that digital TV broadcast signals are so “delicate” that even wind blowing thru the trees will cause a signal to break up!

        My solution was a new outdoor antenna with a built-in “smart” signal amplifier which boosts signals when they need to be but not when they don’t. I used to have the same type problem with certain channels — i.e., I could watch them during certain hours but not during others — but now I can watch them anytime.

        I’d have to put an antenna on a tower to get it above the trees, so I just put it on the pole that came with it, which is less than 5 feet high, but that works fine. I got up on the roof & attached the pole to the chimney to see if that would be better, but it wasn’t. It would have been in an area that’s relatively flat & doesn’t have 75-foot-tall trees, but with the trees & hills in this area it didn’t make any difference.

        But switching from an indoor antenna to an outdoor antenna with the self-adjusting signal amplifier made a HUGE difference. 18 channels with a top-rated indoor antenna, 35 with the new outdoor antenna & amp, even though the new antenna is less than 5 feet above the ground.

    • I am having a similar problem. Several stations are having intermittent interference, I have checked my in house items, but found nothing. Appears to be in ota path at different times. A couple of channels are never bothered. What can I do to eliminate this interference?

      • If there are no household items causing interference, you might have to readjust the antenna. Try a larger antenna or mount it higher.

  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. 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.

  5. Hi Johan,

    I also have interference with OTA channels. I first thought it was my very old TV I had mounted on the wall in my exercise room. So I recently purchased a new HD FIRE TV for my exercise room. When I turn on my treadmill I still get picture distortion with the new TV for OTA channels, but not with the FIRE TV internet based apps. So I do have it narrowed down to the OTA channels. I do have an digital roof antenna/coax cable. What do you suggest I do to correct the situation? It’s really frustrating and causing me not to even use my treadmill (believe me I do like my treadmill and have a regular walking habit). Do I need an electrician or is there something I can purchase to fix the issue? I did buy regular surge protectors for both the TV and the treadmill.
    Thank you for your assistance!

    • It sounds like interference from the treadmill motor. You can try a few things. First, try running an extension cord from the treadmill to another outlet in the house in a different room. The antenna, TV, and treadmill could be on the same circuit. How old is the wiring in the house? Are your outlets 2 prongs or 3 prongs? If they are 2 prongs then it could be a grounding issue and you may need to upgrade your electrical system. I know you said you have surge protectors for the TV and treadmill. Do they also isolate and filter out noise? I recommend something like these: Tripp Lite Isobar 2 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip or Tripp Lite Isobar 2 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip Direct Plug-In. If your OTA antenna is powered. Make sure that it is also on a different circuit and plugged into an Isobar surge protector. If these suggestions don’t work you may have to call an electrition to isolate the problem. Good luck!

  6. You do realize that your using “interference” redundantly every time you write “EMI interference” or “RFI interference” since the “I” in “RFI” & “EMI” stands for “interference”. Thus your actually saying Electromagnetic interference interference. 😉

  7. I have an interesting variant. I live in New York City within sight of an elevated portion of the #7 subway. I have good reception with a (heap Amazon Basics) antenna, but whenever the 7 train goes by (once every few minutes), the signal cuts out. I can see electricity arcing at times below the train, so suspect it’s EM related, though I obviously can’t shield it as you mention in the post. Is there any product or antenna I can buy that will help?

    • Looks like that train is causing an obstruction. The only suggestion I have is to try and place your antenna as high as possible. Can you place an antenna outside or on the roof of your building? It seems like you need to get your antenna out of range of the train. You could also try putting the antenna on the opposite side of your building away from the train.

    • I live near a trucking company. Every time a truck goes by my house it interrupts the signal, just for a couple seconds. It’s so aggravating. It seems to be worse at night for some reason. Regular traffic, like cars, don’t cause any problem. I’ve tried a couple different indoor antennas. No improvement. Do I need a filter? Which one? Please help. I’m about to go crazy and smash the tv!!!

      • This seems to be a common problem. You could try a larger outdoor or attic antenna. This may help improve your reception. Try to keep the antenna away from the road.

        • Art Northrup, Jr. May 11, 2020 at 1:57 pm

          I used to live next to a highway that semis used often & had the same problem. The only solution is to mount your antenna ABOVE the semis. TV signals will bounce off the metal sides of a typical semi trailer & as long as your antenna is in the same height range as semis that’s going to happen. The legal height limit for semis (without an oversize permit) is 13′ 6″ from ground level, so your TV antenna should be @ least 14 feet up.

  8. For several years, I’ve used an outdoor antennae on a 20 foot pole. Inside, a splitter sends the signal to two TVs. One in the living room and the other in the den. We’ve had great reception but limited by range. No problem there. Recently, like Christmas, we started losing reception of several local channels. All hours of the day, our channel 5 and channel 9 are unobtainable. We have rescanned over and over, and can’t even get them to be included in the scanning line up. The list jumps from 4.3 to 14.1 on the channels. My wife is having to live without her General Hospital on channel 5. She’s not happy about that at all. We added an antennae booster, and changed the antennae transformer that connects to the antennae atop the pole. We are now starting to loose other channels as well, like 62.1, etc. Yes, we do have LED lights in the kitchen and den. But they’ve been there for two or three years with no problems. Nothing new has been added inside or outside the home.

    • It could be several things. The FCC is re-banding some channels and those channels have been affected and moved. Although they should pop up as new channels on a rescan. The other could be the broadcast towers have recently decreased their power or moved and you are out of range and need a bigger antenna. Can you check with your neighbors who have antennas and see if they are experiencing the same problems. It might be worth a call to the local channel affiliate and see if they made any recent changes to their broadcast setup. Did you check to see if there is any damage to your antenna and if it moved out of place? There could also be an obstruction causing the problem. Are any new buildings going up in your neighborhood? As for the other channels, the new booster could be over boosting the signal causing channel loss.

  9. Our channel 9 did move, and we were instructed to rescan by a particular date in November. That went well, and hasn’t been a problem. There isn’t any other blockage like tall buildings, etc. Our problem began immediately, not gradually. We checked the antennae for damage when it was down on the ground. We will attempt to check out the other suggestions, although I doubt the channels would change something without warning us of a change. Thank you for responding, and we’ll see what we can find out.

  10. Seems so much of our reception success or failure is through trial and error. There should be a better way to determine precise antenna placement, (like with a meter or even a phone app). I can get everything running well and then two weeks later reception starts messing up on channels that were once OK. Do changes in the season/atmosphere cause reception problems? I have definitely noticed clean channels start to act up when the weather is bad. Can cloud reflection cause multi-path interference? There should be a filter developed that will detect multi-path interference and attenuate/block the weaker duplicate signal. Also, I am using two antennas (with a reversed splitter) which greatly improved the weaker signals, which used to be unwatchable, but I fear I might be over-driving the receiver sometimes with too-strong signals from the nearer stations (which can also produce reception problems). There should be a filter to detect and attenuate a signal that is too strong down to the proper level. This OTA business shouldn’t involve so much guesswork. Seems many of the problems described by us readers could be solved electronically.

  11. >>There are some phone apps to help point your antenna. You could try using a splitter with a Channel Master CM-7777HD TV Antenna Amplifier with Adjustable Gain. This would allow you to control the output of your antenna signal to your TV tuners. This could help with overmodulation to the tuners.<<

    Good tips! Thanks.

  12. I have my antenna on a 16 foot pole beside my house and I hadn’t had any interference with my TV signal until about a month ago. Every time my neighbor gets in his truck and starts it up I loss my TV signal until he is down the road and their are a couple of houses between us or until he shuts his truck off. Please advice me as to what I can do to fix this.

    • The only thing I can think of is that his truck has some type of electronics in it that is interfering with your OTA reception. Does he have a large antenna on his truck? Maybe he has a ham radio in his truck that is causing interference. Could you tell him your issue and maybe both of you could troubleshoot the problem? You could try adding an EMI power conditioner. It may help. Good luck!

    • The one factor some people tend to forget involving OTA signals, unless you’re in a valley and shrouded behind 90′ trees, like we are, is “The higher, the better” They are line of sight signals. Put the antenna outside and as far away from mother earth as possible.

  13. I have trouble when my neighbor starts his 78 ford pick up. It knocks out my tv.
    Anything I can do besides kill thy neighbor?

  14. Trying out an OTA antenna in our family room for the second day and have discovered that closing the backdoor is disrupting the signal, causing it to completely disappear or severely breaking up. Open the door and signal is restored and all is good. Thankfully, there’s a storm door on the outside that leads onto a screened porch, which keeps the cold out. The door faces the SE, and transmission tower is NW of our house. ???

    • Looks like the door is blocking the signal. You may have to move the antenna to a higher location or another room with less obstructions and movement.

  15. I have a powered antenna in my attic. We get 4 channel 7s and 3 9s.out of the blue the 9s will get interference after having coming in fine but it does not effect the 7s. ??????? neighbors have same problem. also certain vehicles knock out the signal until they get down the road a ways

    • Seems like you may have some type of obstruction in your area that is causing a multipath issue. It could also be a cell tower. Any new cell towers in your area? You could try adding an LTE filter to filter out cell phone interference. As far as vehicles, this seems to be an ongoing issue for many people. The only suggestion I have is trying to reposition your antenna away from the road. If possible.

  16. I am wondering if an antenna could be made or modified to limit sidelobes. Every RF antenna has sidelobes that pick up non line-of-sight transmissions. Maybe a directional shield around the antenna would help, to make it more like a dish antenna that is focused on a precise direction? This would require more precise pointing of the antenna, but that should be doable. I might try some aluminum foil “walls” around my antenna, just for fun.

  17. We get really bad interference on our tv in the livingroom when we use the waterpik in the bathroom beside. What do you think will help that? Thanks!

    • Sounds like it could be the Waterpik motor oscillation causing interference. It may be causing interference in the power lines of your house. You could try adding a Ferrite core noise suppressor around the power cord of the Waterpik. This could help reduce interference. The other option is to try moving the Waterpik to different outlets in the house to see if there is an improvement. The Waterpik and your TV could be on the same circuit.

  18. You were right:) The ferrite core noise suppressor worked. Not completely, but much improvement! That was with just attaching it closest to the waterpik. I’ll try wrapping it (I think with the 1/4″ I’ll only be able to wrap it once) and see if that helps even more. Thank you so much for your help!!

    • Glad it helped! You could try applying more than one Ferrite core noise suppressor and see if it improves.

    • Same problem here, but I have it solved. It’s not pretty, but it works.
      So first, I did the usual things with adding chokes, capacitors and even wrapping it in metal. I even connected it to a different circuit, near the bathroom, but nothing worked.
      The bathroom is directly below 1 antenna and just about 15′ away from the main antenna.

      So my final test was to put my isolation transformer in line.
      For those who do not know, it’s a transformer that you plug into the wall and the output stays at the same voltage, but is “isolated” from the mains as it goes through its own windings.
      THIS WORKED!!
      I tested on all TVs and the 2 channels that the Waterpik affects!

      So this is something, at least.

  19. I’m finding that gps in cars and trucks are cutting off my ota signal as they drive by my house. Attic antenna is as high in the attic as I can get it 30ft and as far from the road as I can 18ft. any filters or any solutions? thanks

    • I haven’t heard of GPS causing these problems. OTA broadcast signals and GPS operate at different frequencies. Sorry, I don’t have any more solutions to your problems.

  20. We have an 8-bay Channel Master antenna about 20′ on a pole. We are at the bottom of a hill with trees and a two story neighbor’s home. Even so, we got all the channels we wanted to see fine, until they built 2 schools at the top of the hill. Now most of the channels are still fine, a few are spotty, and 1 is nearly impossible to receive. The signal already goes to an amplifier. Would a higher pole help? Would a second amp closer to the TV make a difference?

    • A higher pole should help. If you can get the antenna higher or away from the obstruction it will make a difference. Adding a second amp will not help. In fact, it could make things worse. The signal will be overmodulated.

  21. I was unable to get a local news channel with my indoor antenna. As a result, I purchased and installed a larger, outdoor antenna in my attic (rca Yagi). For months every channel came in crystal clear. However, lately, a channel I never even had trouble with before installing the larger antenna, gets pixelated and has signal disruption. Doesn’t happen all the time. Just off an on. I’m at a loss for what to do. What would you recommend as a first step?

    • It could be some type of obstruction. You could try readjusting the antenna and see if the signal gets better. The other possibility is the broadcast tower is having intermittent issues.

  22. I was installing my antenna on the roof. When I had it where I wanted it I ran autochannels on my TV and found 20 stations. I screwed it in place on the roof in the same spot and ran the scan again and it found 0. The only change I did was screw it into the roof.

  23. Hello, thanks for this article! I’m still at a loss here, though. My antenna is 25′ up, but whenever a tractor trailer or large straight truck goes by I get pixelation on only 1 channel (which happens to be the channel I watch the most) for about 3 seconds then I go back to my flawless signal. Why would this only happens to 1 of my channels and what could I try to alleviate the problem? Thanks for your time!

    • That is frustrating. It could be that the channel is weak, to begin with, and the truck passing by interferes with the signal. Check the signal strength of that channel compared to the rest. If it is weaker then you may have to reposition or buy a larger antenna to strengthen it.

  24. All of a sudden we’ve had issues with pixelation and disruption when someone walks in front of the TV. We have OTA (antenna)TV. We do have chromcast and it is not close to the antenna cable.

    • If your antenna is wall mounted, you may have to move it to a higher elevation. It could be causing interference when someone walks by. You could try powering off the Chromcast and see if it makes a difference to rule it out. Otherwise, I am not sure what else it could be.

  25. We have a Mohu Air 60 antenna mounted in our bedroom window (top/2nd floor) and live in a rental apartment, so external mounting is not an option. My wife likes to use a personal/desk fan on her side of the bed when she sleeps, however, it is obvious that the fan puts out EMI and kills a handful of the channels that we prefer to watch as we doze off for the night. Not using the fan is not an option. So, I’ve read about “brushless” fans that supposedly put off less EMI, but I can’t find any to purchase (10 inches or smaller)…any recommendations? Also, would a power conditioner solve the problem?

  26. I live next to Chicago Transit Authority elevated tracks and when a train passes the picture on my tv goes out for up to a minute. Up to 500 trains a day go by. Over the air tv is pretty much not possible for me.

  27. My issues are weather related. When the weather’s great, the local ABC channel is usually sketchy but the Fox channel is one of the best. When the weather gets bad, the ABC channel is just fine but the Fox channel is pretty much impossible to watch. Suggestions?

    BTW, my problem with digital TV signals is that when there’s interference, the signal pixelates or just cuts out. With analog signals, there were rarely any problems but even when there were, you could still get the signal, albeit with snow.

    • With digital TV signals, unfortunately, it is all or nothing. You could try a larger antenna or mounting one outside or in the attic. If you have not already done so. Looks like multipath interference.

  28. I have played around with positioning my antenna and found that even small adjustments make a big difference. Slight angle changes and even slight left, right and height changes worked wonders. Maybe signals are blocked and bouncing weirdly off the many homes in my neighborhood. I had my antenna in the attic and got marginal reception, so I moved it to my living room, family room and then dining room, played with locations and angles and got it to work perfectly. Now what? I have an antenna in the middle of my dining room!

  29. We recently switched from cable to sling, with their air box. So we bought an antenna to receive our local channels. We have good singal until we turn our sound bar on. Then we pretty much go to no singal. Not sure what’s going on. Interference of some sort?

    • Does your soundbar have Bluetooth? You could try turning Bluetooth off. It could be causing interference. If that is not the issue. You could try and move the soundbar away from the television to see if it is causing interference with the tuner.

  30. I have an indoor/outdoor Mohu digital antenna, which is currently outside. On certain channels, there is a disturbance whenever a car passes by on the road in front of my house. Any idea what kind of interference that could be?

    • It could be multipath interference, every time a car passes by the signal gets bounced around. If the antenna is facing the road you could try moving it away from the road.

  31. I’ve been looking for some kind of meter that will tell me what knocks otherwise strong TV signals off the air. I’m familiar with “rain fade” & there is a major airport about 20 miles away. I’m not under a commonly-used glide path, but occasionally a plane will fly overhead. I have an outside antenna on a pole which I intend to mount to the side of the chimney, but it’s not up that high now. And I live near the end of a street that’s only one block long — older residential neighborhood of one-story houses, narrow streets, almost -0- traffic & no businesses. So other than inclement weather & the occasional aircraft, there isn’t anything I can think of that would knock every station off the air @ irregular intervals. And it doesn’t happen every day — I might have perfectly clear reception for 2 or 3 weeks & then “out of the blue” on a perfectly clear day every station I select gets knocked off the air so often I just have to forget about watching TV. It usually doesn’t happen @ night, but occasionally it has. And the problem may last one day, or 5 in a row — there’s no discernible pattern.

    • It sounds like it could be bad wiring or your preamp may be faulty causing intermittent problems. I would check to see if all your components and wiring are working properly.

  32. We live north of Duluth MN in the woods. Our TV gets digital signal to our OTA antenna on the roof. Our picture pixilates and breaks up on our channels 3 & 6, also 21. BUT channels 10 and 8 seem unaffected. Read your antenna interference article carefully, but the selective reception stymies us.

    • It seems like the broadcast towers for some of the affected channels are in the opposite direction of your antenna. That could be the cause of the reception issues. You could try repositioning your antenna to include the other tower or try an Omni-directional or larger antenna to gain the other channels.

  33. In our travel trailer, every time we turn on the bathroom exhaust fan (DC powered) the OTA signal goes out. The fan is almost 20 feet away from the TV. Any ideas?

    • Sounds like interference from the exhaust fan motor. You could try upgrading the fan to a better quality motor. Some lower quality fans can cause interference. It could also be a grounding issue. Check to see if your antenna power is grounded correctly.

  34. I have the tv mounted on a single arm’ed articulating wall mount with the antenna inside an enclosure behind the wall. If I push the tv all the way back against the wall I lose 1-2 channels. If I pull the tv away from the wall about 4-5 inches, the channels come back. The problem just started a few months ago after working fine for over a year.

    • It sounds like it could be a bad cable. The antenna cable could be going bad from moving the TV back and forth. Most quality antennas will let you replace the coaxial cable from the antenna to the TV. Try replacing the cable and see if it fixes it.

      • the cable does not directly connect to the tv. there is a box that is next to the antenna that takes the antenna connection/hdmi/usb/etc and then a data cable goes from that box to the tv. I was wondering if somehow the metal of the wall mount or something in the tv could be causing the interference…

        • It could be interference from the wall mount. The reason why I think it might be a bad cable is that you said it was working fine for a few years. Sounds like something is giving out.

  35. Hi.I live right next to airport. Is there any indoor antenna that will work? Everytime one goes over I have no reception.

    Thanks
    Judi

    • You could try an antenna with the narrowest possible beamwidth in the vertical axis. This will help reduce the signal strength of the reflected signal off the aircraft while still receiving the desired signal from the towers. It should help with the broadcast signals bouncing off the airplanes. These antennas will be outdoor antennas like the Antennas Direct ClearStream 4MAX TV Antenna.

  36. Art Northrup, Jr. October 6, 2019 at 5:42 pm

    > I live right next to airport. Is there any indoor antenna that will work?

    Unfortunately, no. You could buy a directional antenna, mount it by a window so signals don’t have to go thru walls, and turn it to get the line-of-sight signal from any given TV station’s transmitter, but aircraft taking off & landing will break up the signal no matter how strong it is.

    I live about 25 miles from a large airport (Charlotte, NC) & while my house is not directly under the most often used glidepaths, from time to time an aircraft will fly overhead & regardless of its’ size, it will break up the signal from any TV station.

    Although I haven’t mounted it to the chimney on my house yet, my TV antenna is outside on a pole & has a signal amplifier. I’m sure it will work better when I attach the pole to the chimney, which will raise the antenna up about 30 feet, but aircraft flying overhead will still cause the signal from any TV station to break up.

  37. Hi, I have a Winegard FreeVision FV-30BB Antenna in Philadelphia region, about 7 miles from the towers. I receive around 40 channels. The problem is that the picture will pixilate and freeze when watching live sports (e.g., football games). This happens on several channels (CBS, NBC, FOX) which is very annoying. I haven’t experienced this issue with standard programming, only during football games. Do I need a new antenna or a signal booster? Or something else? Thanks

    • It sounds like it could be the turner in the television. I don’t think it is the antenna. Some televisions have options in the menu for sport mode or game mode. Try switching the setting to that and see if it makes a difference. If you have another TV try and see if that one does the same thing. Otherwise, it might be something wrong with the television tuner.

  38. Have you ever heard of a utility pole-mounted street light causing RFI for some over the air TV channels? What about a roof-mounted cellphone signal booster? A charger for deep cycle batteries (golf cart, etc)? Passing airplanes high overhead, particularly military? I thought there was an agency in the federal government, that’s in charge of tracking down and eliminated nuisance RFI and signals that “step on” other signals that have permission to occupy a certain part of the spectrum, particularly broadcast bands. I heard that this agency will force those people responsible for whatever is causing the RFI to cease and desist. I’ve even heard of people having the culprit equipment confiscated. What happened? Is the electromagnetic spectrum now just the Wild West , and whomever shows up with the strongest signal wins the showdown?

    • You are right. It sure seems like none of this is being regulated.

      • The agency is the Federal Communications Commission & while they can & do enforce the relevant statutes & regulations, you’d have to file a formal written complaint before they’d do anything. And it is the “Wild West” in that new devices have been / are coming out so fast it’s virtually impossible to keep up with ’em all.

        The usable frequency range (bandwidth) is limited & one thing the FCC has to do is try to figure out which frequency range to assign an ever-growing number of different types of devices to. For example, one time I heard what a lady was saying on her home phone on my police / fire / ambulance radio scanner because the frequency her cordless phone used was in the same range (800 Mhz). If you look in the book that comes with most scanners you can see that there are many different bandwidths that police / fire depts. in different cities use & a while back I saw that new cordless phones used the 900 Mhz band rather than the 800 Mhz band. The FCC has been shifting different devices to different bands to avoid problems like being able to listen to a private phone conversation on a police scanner — also the reason for the switch from analog to digital for broadcast TV. Theoretically, if all TV signals were in one band, all emergency radios in another, cell phones in another & so on, different devices wouldn’t interfere with each other, but when you get too many of the same type of device using the same frequency range, you get “bleedover”. For example, you’re driving down the road listening to FM station 95.7 & happen to drive thru an area where there’s a station on 95.9 & it has a stronger signal. 95.9 will bleed over onto 95.7 until you get away from 95.9’s transmitter.

        And in the “good ol’ days” of broadcast TV, you’d never have channels right next to each other in the same area. I.e., if one town had 3 channels, they could be 4, 9 & 13, but they would not be 4, 5 & 6. But digital signals don’t bleed over, so that’s why you can have stations using channels that are very close to each other, e.g., 46.1, 46.2, 46.3, 46.4, 46.5, 46.6 & so on.

        But every time a new device comes out, the FCC has to figure out which band to assign it to. And the 1st choice might be too close to what another type of device is already using. As long as there are new types of devices coming out that’s going to be a problem.

  39. You see device labels or notes in user manuals about devices being “FCC compliant.” Not sure what that really means. I guess you could file a complaint with the FCC or the device owner if you are pretty sure what’s causing the interference. Don’t hold your breath, though.

  40. “FCC compliant” means that at the time the device was manufactured, it complied with the Regulations established by the Federal Communications Commission for that type of device.

  41. I have antenna TV and live about 35 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Most of the time I receive great reception from Phila and Allentown. However, a day or two after rain (not during the rain) certain channels, WPVI, WHYY from Phila and WLVT, WFMZ from Allentown, are pixilated. The reception returns to normal after a day or two of clear weather. ???

    • It could be multipath interference from leftover rain on the ground bouncing off something. Do you have a large surface that rain can collect and not dry out for a few days? If you have an outdoor antenna have you checked your wiring? It could be faulty.

  42. I just moved a week and a half ago. I have been struggling with my OTA antenna reception – at this point, I receive one Fo station and a bunch of entertainment-only stations. I like to view the stations that are about 50 miles south of me, in El Paso, Texas.

    I live in downtown Las Cruces, where *many* businesses have satellite equipment on or near their buildings. I also suspect cell phone tower interference. The image from the one local station is very pixelated and it freezes every few seconds. I am using a Mohu Leaf antenna, mounted inside my living room. I have noticed that large industrial trucks driving past will interrupt my signal.

    Because I just moved, I don’t have very much money I can spend on new equipment. Would a signal booster help?

    • The Mohu Leaf comes with an amplifier that boosts your signal. The only way to receive more stations and a stronger signal is to get an outdoor antenna and mount it outside or in your attic.

  43. Since rescanning my channels on October 18, my TV signal strength is fine, but I am only able to record from my DVR one channel.. Strange, because this channel is CBS 2 in Chicago, which is at the low end of the bandwidth. All other channels cannot be recorded by my DVR due to poor signal quality since the rescan. I already have a booster on my antenna, but i’s old. What can I do to get my DVR to work properly again?

    • The FCC is in the process of rebanded a lot of stations and it may be affecting your area. I have noticed that some of my stations disappeared for a while and reappeared after a rescan days later. This has happened several times this year. It could also be your booster or DVR. Do you have a TV with a tuner, allowing you to bypass the DVR to check and see if the channels come back?

  44. My antenna has worked perfectly since new 4 months ago. One week ago suddenly down to 1-2 channels from 13… I’m in a condo, beginning to think owner above me is now using his electric fireplace in cold weather — THAT may be my interference problem??? Almost directly over my t.v.!!! I’m moving my antenna as far away as possible, which is further from window. Help, please.

    • Looks like you have to find a new place for your antenna. You could also try a larger antenna. Have tried a channel rescan on your TV. It could be another issue.

  45. The 16 foot antenna cord isn’t long enough to get around fireplace to the window. Owner condo above — fireplace same location, but he has electric insert. Could that cause interference between the floors of the two condos? Am I going to have to find different brand antenna w/longer cord? I’ve been re-scanning several times day. Widow, can’t afford another antenna after only 4 months…. thanks for your time & comments.

  46. > Owner condo above — fireplace same location, but he has electric insert. Could that cause interference between the floors of the two condos?

    It’s possible. Everyone needs to know this: the flow of electricity generates a magnetic field —— wherever & whenever electricity is in use a magnetic field is generated. Around the power lines outside, around the compressor in your refrigerator, around an electric heater, etc.

    How strong that field is depends on the amount of power in use & Volts x Amps = Watts. (Watts is what the power company charges you for). For example, I’m using an electric heater that uses 1500 Watts on the high setting —— standard household current is 120 Volts, so that means the heater is pulling 12.5 Amps. The heater is not far from the TV, but my antenna is outside, so nothing inside affects it.

    > I’m moving my antenna as far away as possible, which is further from window.

    You want the antenna to be as close to a window as you can get it. At one time I used a flat panel indoor antenna & I put it ON a window! (With some double-sided tape). Depending on what materials are used to build a house, apartment, condo, what’s in the walls can block or degrade a broadcast TV signal (AM & FM radio signals too). TV signals will go right thru some materials, but not others.

    You being in a condo with another above you, and assuming wood framing, there probably isn’t anything between your unit & the one above that would block the magnetic field generated by whatever electrical devices are in use in the condo above. So put your antenna as far away from the fireplace as you can, and as close to a window as you can.

  47. Quite some time ago I asked if there was a device I could use to determine the source / cause of broadcast TV signal interference in my neighborhood & I just found the answer —— a “Spectrum Analyzer”. I figured any such device would be expensive & I was right —— spectrum analyzers I’ve looked @ online cost over $5000 —— here’s a nice one:
    https://www.rohde-schwarz.com/us/product/etl-productstartpage_63493-9255.html

    However, a guy I was communicating with mentioned that satellite TV installers have a spectrum analyzer —— they need one to set up a new satellite TV installation. I don’t know any satellite TV installers, or I’d ask if I could borrow their unit for a day, or if they’d use it in my neighborhood to figure out what is blocking the signal from TV stations I should get with no interference. So I’m going to check around to see if I can rent a spectrum analyzer for a day or two. If I’m successful I’ll post who I was able to rent one from.

  48. I also have the problem of LED light bulbs causing me to lose some OTA channels. Mine are light fixtures in the ceiling. If I use a power conditioner to plug the TV (and DVR) into, will this help or does it have to be on the light fixtures (which wouldn’t work since they’re in the ceiling)? I recently started using a different microwave oven which also causes the same problem. Thanks for your help.

  49. I installed 25 led light tubes in my shop and lost all FM and AM radio stations. I do have a set of rabbit ears on my shops roof and it use to work great until I installed the tubes. I also removed the ballasts for the led upgrade. What can anyone recommend to get my radio working again and thank you?

  50. I’ve tried a different TV, and now my 3rd antenna. Hung on the house, up on the roof, or 30′ up a tree. Each time I install one and then run the setup scan, I can get from 4 – 140 channels. But within 30min to an hour, all the channels begin to fade away one after another. They do not come back unless I rescan. 30 min later, they fade away again. Does not matter day or night, fair or stormy. I’m approx 38 miles (3rd antenna says it has 60mile range) from broadcast tower, in south southeast texas, with a lot of trees. Very frustrating.

  51. We have a strange problem. Our tv populates or loses signal when vehicles go by. It used to be just when big trucks go by but now it doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle goes by. Which fix will work for that?

  52. I have 4 channels, 8.1 through 8.4, that sometimes breaks up a lot. When I have trouble my HDHomeRun dual tuner box reports that the signal strength of these channels is about 95% but the signal quality is about 50% or a bit less and the symbol quality jumps around from 0% to about 50%. It seems that if the signal quality drops below a certain threshold then the symbol quality is lost and overall the channel breaks up. The signal strength is good but the signal quality isn’t for some reason. How do I find what is causing the signal quality to be low and improve the signal quality?

    • You can try repositioning your antenna or get a larger one. If your antenna does not have an amplifier or built-in cellular filter you can try adding one of those. This may help improve the quality of the signal. Some stations may be having problems with their broadcast towers. You can try calling the station to see if they are having issues. Also, check with your neighbors that have antennas and see if they have the same problem. If so it may be time for a larger antenna.

  53. I lose the OTA signal on my TV when the LED lights in the living room are ON. Would you recommend that I replace the LED bulbs with halogen, or can I correct the issue with a better insulated coaxial cable between the antenna and TV?

    • I think that might be your only solution. You could also try compact fluorescence lights if they are still available. If the antenna is in the living room you could try moving it somewhere else.

  54. The antenna is just outside an external wall, ~10 ft from the LED lights in pendent fixtures. I will replace the LED lights with halogen, my only other option in pendent fixtures. I am not a fan of halogen as they produce excessive heat and burn out quickly compared to LED. Thank you for your consultation.

  55. Check earlier comments; I seem to remember there is some kind of filter you can buy to eliminate the interference caused by LED’s.

  56. Purchased some LED Grow lights and noticed when they are on the signal to my Tv which is over the air cuts out. Any recommendations on reducing the noise from the grow lights? Power strip with noise filter or perhaps ferrite rings on the cord running to the lights?

  57. We have an OTA antenna on the roof of our house. Whenever we turn on certain wall light fixtures, the kind with the switch on the wall, that have LED bulbs, many of our TV channels disappear. Turning the lights off brings the channels right back. We also have the same problem with certain kitchen appliances. After reading the recommendations here, we bought both the Furman power conditioner and the Tripp Lite Isobar surge protector. Neither helped on their own, so we put the kitchen appliances on the Tripp Lite protector, and the TV on the Furman power conditioner. It helped with some of the channels, but others still have the same problem. We have to really plan out when the use the microwave especially if we care about whatever programs are on. Considering the minor improvement, I wouldn’t say it was worth the price. Maybe we’ll try some of the other suggestions here next. We’ll keep checking here in the hopes that someone will eventually find an answer.

  58. Sunday all the TVs in our home lost the same channels at the same time. The stations were cbs, cw and ion which was about 20 channels. I have tried moving the antennas on all of them and nothing. Then I tried a rescan on one tv and the Channels reduced from 67 to 31?!? So I did not rescan the other TVs. What ever is happening is affecting all the TVs. We have not had a roof antenna and in years. We also do not have cable tv, fire sticks or anything like that. I’m at a loss and my mom is so frustrated that she cannot watch The Price is Right Or Bounce TV among other channels. 🤷🏽‍♀️

    • Lossing about 20 channels all at once sounds like your antenna or power amplifier may be faulty. If your power amplifier is bad many of your stations could drop out because the signal is too weak. Some antennas come with one and some don’t. They plug into your power outlet. Try replacing it. Depending on the antenna manufacturer you should able to find a replacement.

  59. Art Northrup, Jr. May 19, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    The same thing happened to me & it was the in-line signal amplifier. The antenna still works, but some weaker channels I used to get won’t come in anymore. If your setup is like mine, where the amp is a separate unit the antenna lead plugs into, then another lead from the amp goes to the TV, you can unplug/remove the amp & run the antenna lead straight into the TV. I did that & got some of the lost channels back —— an inline amp that doesn’t work creates resistance to all signals.

    And you can buy a replacement signal amplifier that doesn’t necessarily have to be the same unit that quit on you, or even the same brand as your antenna. They’re not very expensive & you can use ’em with any antenna that doesn’t have a built-in amplifier. But if your antenna has a built-in amplifier & it quits, you’ll have to replace the antenna.

  60. I have a pretty new outside antenna. All was well for several months and then lost a local station about 10 mi. from me. The sister station with same tower is good. Tried a different antenna and got reception, but lost other stations. If I do not rescan and hook up outside antenna I get reception but lost all other channels as with indoor antenna. Checked all connections (good). My other tv with inside antenna picks up the station fine. I will try new amp. Any other suggestions?

    • You could try repositioning the outside antenna. Since spring has arrived, the tree’s leaves are appearing and could be causing interference issues. I have also noticed that all tuners are not the same. I have two different TVs both from different manufacturers using the same antenna. My Samsung TV maintains a stronger signal than the RCA TV. My Samsung TV’s tuner does a better job not dropping weaker signals then the tuner in the RCA TV.

  61. FYI I went back turned the antenna about 10 degrees, everything came back, but sketchey , readjusted to about 5-7 degrees and all is ok. Even though the transmissions towers are close and two stations are together the digital system is not forgiving. Tell all that a lot of problems can be solved by re-adjusting can make the wife smile. Thanks

  62. Art Northrup, Jr. May 24, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    I’ve run into some goofy problems too & I’d recommend using the “TV Signal Locator” on the “TV Fool” website:

    http://tvfool.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29

    Enter your specific address & if you’re using an outside antenna, the height it is off the ground. The program will generate a map of where the transmitters are for TV stations you should be able to get, along with a chart showing how far away they are, their signal strength, and “Path” — whether or not the signal is “Line of Sight” (LOS) from the transmitter to your location, or if there is something like a big hill in the way. “1EDGE” in the Path column means there’s one obstruction between your antenna & the transmitter, “2EDGE” means there are two.

    The chart will also show if a given station transmits on VHF (Very High Frequency) or UHF (Ultra High Frequency) & that really makes a difference. In my situation, all the channels I can get broadcast on UHF except one, and while the transmitter for the one VHF station is less than 10 miles away, located on top of a (small) mountain, I can’t get it without a signal amplifier.

    Also, while most of the channels I can get are LOS (Line of Sight), one set is 2EDGE (two obstructions) & I can only get those with the signal amplifier.

  63. I live in Northeastern NC and have a 150 mile range pingdingbing HDTV Amplified Antenna. Last summer I installed it 45 feet above ground. I regularly pick up 60 channels (including down channels) and when the atmosphere is just right I receive over 80. Many are repeated networks, but the down channels are different.
    My issue began about a month ago. Channel 7.1-7.6 started pixelating wildly one afternoon and the channels were unwatchable for a couple of hours and then it cleared up. Same thing the next day and for several days afterwards, but the pixelation began earlier and earlier and the clearing came later and later, then it stopped. I did a little research and bought a LTE filter and it seemed help on many channels, as I have two cell towers within a mile or two from me. Then it began again with a vengeance, showing No Signal half of the day. All other channels were fine, or at least normal day to day loss of some far off stations. By chance, I turned off my preamplifier and all of a sudden channel 7.1-7.6 come in clear as a bell. I figured it must be OVERLOAD, but that tower isn’t even the closest to me, my antenna isn’t even pointed in it’s direction and it’s been fine for the last 9 months. My antenna points WSW towards Raleigh and channel 7 is 50 miles SSE of me. It isn’t the most powerful station near me either. I leave my antenna in that WSW facing position because that seems to work best for all channels, I even pick up Norfolk (ENE) off the back of the antenna sometimes.
    Anyway, as a result I have to turn off my preamplifier at 3pm to watch a certain court show and then turn it back on to watch any other channels. I was wondering if it will harm my preamplifier if I turn it on and off everyday like a light bulb, will that prematurely age my preamplifier? OR… Do you have another suggestion.
    Thank you.

    • Your preamplifier should be fine switching it on and off. It seems like those channels are getting overloaded. Do you have another television? If so does it do the same thing? It could also be the tuner having issues with that signal. See if it does the same thing with a different TV. Another thought is maybe that tower is having issues with its antenna.

      • Art Northrup, Jr. June 12, 2020 at 10:47 pm

        I live in southeastern NC & don’t get as many channels (35 under the best conditions), but I’ve experienced the same problems. I have an outside directional antenna on a pole with a remote control that will rotate it. Using a map from “TVFool.com” I can see where TV station transmitters are & if there are obstructions in the way.

        But for reasons I can’t fully explain, sometimes a channel that comes in clear @ a certain time one day breaks up terribly @ the same time the next day; a station that comes in clear @ night I can’t get get during the day & so on. Sometimes turning the signal amplifier off works, sometimes it doesn’t.

        One thing I’ve learned is that digital TV broadcast signals are “delicate” — tree limbs & leaves moving because of wind can break up a signal — heavy cloud cover, “rain fade”, a semi-truck driving by, your next-door neighbor turns on an LED porch light — there are so many things that can cause a digital TV signal to break up or even disappear.

        My antenna is rated to pull in signals as far as 150 miles away & most of the transmitters for stations that broadcast programs I want to watch are less than 10 miles away — but sometimes I can’t get a clear signal from them, no matter what I do.

        I have come to realize that a digital TV broadcast signal is like a laser beam — like one you can tease your cat or dog with & laugh while they chase the red dot around. Block that beam with anything — your hand, a piece of paper, whatever, and the red dot is gone. ANYTHING that blocks or deflects a digital TV broadcast signal does the same thing.

        • Yes Art, you are correct. I used to live down in your neck of the woods (Surf City – Snead’s Ferry), and you’re kind in a hole the nearer to the coast you get, making your antenna height the only way to receive any signals more than 30-50 miles. Fortunately, I live 98 feet above sea level, plus my antenna height (45ft), and that’s the reason for my abundance of stations.
          Last summer I moved my antenna because of trees. It was only 35 feet, and worked fine, but a nearby tree had grown dangerously close to it so I moved it to the other side of the house and raised it up another 10 feet. That made quite a difference.
          Since I live in a very small town, there are no buildings over three stories and because of the curve of the earth, there’s nothing between me and most towers but air. That makes a huge difference.

      • Thank you for your quick reply. I think I figured it out. I did try another after market tuner/converter (MediaSonic Homeworks) that I had, with the same results. Then I noticed something. Ever since I installed the antenna, the part of the preamp that you plug in has been sitting on a table near a window as close to the antenna as it could be and still be indoors (50 ft). The wire coming out of the back of it labeled (To TV) was still wrapped in a twist tie just as it came out of the box and I had about 30 feet of coaxial cable running under the house to my TV. I undid the twist tie, stretched out the wire and… Voila! Instant clarity!! I watched channels 7.1-7.6 all day and barely a pixel out of place. Plus other channels that I normally only receive at night were suddenly crystal clear. It’s weird that this problem only arose now, but it must be the Spring time atmospheric conditions that enhanced the signal so much that caused my problem.
        As an antenna TV watcher for over 50 years, I understand the weather has very much to do with reception and so do other obstacles, but where I live is relatively flat from central NC to the coast so I’m fortunate to be able to receive signals from so many different areas. Sometimes I get Wilmington, NC, Myrtle Beach, SC, Richmond, VA and Greensboro, NC. Once I even watched a station from Orlando, FL for several hours!
        Thank you for taking the time to answer my question. Maybe my experience can help others.

        • Art Northrup, Jr. June 13, 2020 at 4:34 pm

          “Since I live in a very small town, there are no buildings over three stories and because of the curve of the earth, there’s nothing between me and most towers but air. That makes a huge difference.”

          It sure does! I mistakenly said southeastern NC when I should have said southwestern — now I’m a bit west of Charlotte, not far from SC, and my neighborhood is “in a hole”. The nearest main street is 30 feet above this little neighborhood & to get my antenna above the trees I’d have to erect a 100-foot tower to put it on! I moved my antenna on a pole from where I’d put it just outside the house up to the chimney & that didn’t improve anything!

          But I recently got a new antenna (made by “onn”) & it came with a signal amplifier which doesn’t boost signals that don’t need to be. Before I had an in-line amp that boosted every signal & experienced the “overboost” problem — TV signals that didn’t need to be amplified broke up terribly, so I had to turn the amp on or off depending on which channel I wanted to watch.

          With the previous setup I got 26 channels under the best conditions — now I get 35. From the “TVFool” map I can see that most of the transmitters are in Charlotte (no tall buildings in this area, but there are in Charlotte), but there’s a transmitter near Gastonia, NC another near Rock Hill, SC & so on.

          An “omni-directional” antenna is designed to pick up signals coming from any direction, but you’ll get better reception with a directional antenna, although you have to point it towards the transmitter for the station you want.

          Another thing I’ve learned is whether the station you want to watch broadcasts on UHF or VHF — only one in this area broadcasts on a (lower) VHF frequency; its transmitter is less than 10 miles away, but without a signal amplifier I can’t get it @ all.

          Thankfully, with the new antenna setup I don’t have to turn a signal amplifier on or off — it & my (relatively new) TV’s tuner can determine if a signal needs to be boosted or not. It’d take an electronics engineer to explain how that works & I’m not one!

          But now I know that VHF signals are weaker than UHF & I’ve always known that the old saying about real estate is true about broadcast TV antennas: “the 3 most important things are location, location & location” !!

          • Roland Edwards June 13, 2020 at 8:27 pm

            Amen brother. I used to live in Charlotte back in 2000. We worked out of Oakboro, NC.
            Yeah, the TV pickins are slim in those parts. The mountains kind of have you hemmed in.
            I’m going to have to do a little research on that smart tuner and booster set up you’re speaking of, that might be my replacement for when this TV I have now inevitably goes haywire.
            Thank you guys for all the information, I’ll keep checking back so I can keep up with all the latest ideas.

  64. Art Northrup, Jr. June 14, 2020 at 7:33 am

    Roland, I bought the new “onn” brand antenna @ Walmart for $30! It came in a fairly large white box labeled “HD Outside Antenna With 150-Mile Range”. And while there’s “some assembly required” it was easy to put together.

    It has a 3-piece telescoping pole & mounting clamps, so you can put it just about anywhere — hang it in the attic, mount it to a chimney, whatever works for your situation. I’ll soon be moving to another house in this neighborhood, so I just stuck the pole in the ground @ a corner of my house where the antenna can freely rotate 360 degrees.

    I know which way to point it for the stations I want to watch & with the remote control, I can watch the antenna turn until it points the way I want it. The inline amplifier / antenna directional control unit was easy to hook up & so far it’s worked perfectly, boosting signals that need to be, but not those that don’t.

    And one thing I noticed when I unpacked the box was the coax cable is MUCH thicker than on other antennas I’ve tried. This site has an article about how coax cable is made / shielded & that is a BIG factor.

    Because I’m now in a heavily-wooded, hilly area, I’m not willing to spend a lot of $$$ on an antenna since I know the terrain limits TV reception, no matter how much you spend — unless you want to erect a 100-foot tower! But 35 channels is plenty for me & I quit paying for cable TV when the price got to $30/month — a loooong time ago! And the vast majority of what’s on cable TV I have no desire to see anyway!

  65. I agree Art, I cut the cord on cable long before it became a fad. Nothing but trash on most cable networks and over the air isn’t much better, except it’s free. I watch mostly old programs that I grew up watching and PBS British programs. I do love a mystery.
    Yeah, coaxial cable comes in many varieties. You get what you pay for. The cable I have running from my antenna to my grounding block is very high shielded and about as thick as my little finger (RG-11 I think). I got this from a cable installation that was no longer in use and the cable connection on the pole was about 2/10’s of a mile from the house it was attached to that burned down. I gathered up the cable knowing one day I would find a use for it. I still have a couple hundred feet of it. I had to special order the connections for it, but it still fits normal RF connections. I have RG-6 from there under my house to my TV, just because it was already there and I was lazy that day. I don’t have too much signal loss from my antenna to my TV according to my brother’s meter.
    That Onn brand antenna is certainly a good deal for 150 mile range with rotor. I paid $41 for a ‘pingdingbing’ 150 with rotor on Amazon. I rarely use the rotor as it sort of goes in any direction it wants randomly so I have to stand outside and point my remote for it through the window at the box and watch the antenna to see what direction it’s pointing. I just leave my antenna pointing WSW as that seems to be the sweet spot for my area. My antenna isn’t omni directional, but it does pick up signals regularly from the sides and rear. So, I just leave it in one direction unless I really want to watch a Virginia channel for some special program.
    Thanks for all the great advice. Have a great weekend.

  66. Dennis Bjorklund June 21, 2020 at 5:05 pm

    I’ve been fed up with basic cable for years so I just finally installed my first antenna so that I could cut the overpriced cord.
    All the comments above were invaluable trying to resolve reception issues.
    I also found a free smartphone app from RCA called RCA Signal Finder.
    It helps you perfectly align your antenna with the signals you are trying to receive. It uses the GPS in your phone to map exactly where all the stations are located and where I live it was 100% accurate.
    For Android smartphones:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details
    id=com.voxxaccessories.signalfinder&hl=en_US

    or for I-Phones:
    https://apps.apple.com/us/app/rca-signal-finder/id1408558807

    Thank you to everyone here for posting your tips. They were very helpful!
    Dennis Bjorklund

  67. Art Northrup, Jr. June 22, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    If you don’t have a “smart” phone (I don’t), there are a couple websites which will show you where the TV broadcast station transmitters in your area are:

    https://www.antennasdirect.com/transmitter-locator.html

    http://tvfool.com/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=29

    I’ve used ’em both & if you type in your address, you’ll get the details you need to see exactly how far away the transmitters in your area are, which direction, how strong the signals are, whether there area any obstructions in the way, etc.

    I saved the results from both sites & if I’m not sure which direction to point my antenna for a particular station, when I refer to those results I can zero in on it.

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