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Over The Air HD Antenna Scams

All over the air antennas have a particular range that they can receive broadcast channels. Generally, the larger and higher you mount the antenna the more likely it can obtain broadcast signals from a greater distance. Lately, I have noticed some antenna manufacturers are claiming they can obtain signals from 100 – 150 miles away with OTA antennas the size of a standard indoor flat window or wall-mounted antenna. These claims are false and misleading to consumers.

OTA Antenna Scams


Many of these antennas are also claiming they will broadcast your images in 4K and improve your image quality. Over the air broadcasters have not made the switch to 4K and there is still no date on when it will be implemented. Television manufacturers have not even started installing (ATSC 3.0) 4K tuners in any televisions in the US, Canada, or the UK. You may have a television that can display 4K, but its OTA tuner can only display signals as high as 1080p. You can see the false imagery below.

Distance Clams

These antenna manufacturers are claiming that their antennas can receive a broadcast signal from 100 – 150 miles away using a special signal boosting technology. The images below suggest all you have to do is mount this small antenna on a wall or window to receive OTA signals from that distance. This is completely false and misleading consumers. See the images below.


Some of these antenna makers are also claiming you can receive cable channels like ESPN, TBS, A&E, Fox News, Discovery Channel, and History Channel. These channels are not part of any OTA broadcast lineup and are false advertising. Examples of these images and claims are pictured below.


All images provided by the manufacturer.

Here are examples of some of these OTA antennas for sale. Many of these antennas are popping up on Amazon and eBay.

Broadcast Signals

These antennas will still work as a standard OTA antenna and are capable of pulling in broadcast signals, just not at the mile range and stations, they are claiming. Generally, indoor antennas of this size are limited to about a 50-mile range. If you want to obtain broadcast signals further than this, you will need a larger antenna mounted in the attic or on the roof.


Most reputable antenna companies don’t have these types of claims. So if you are buying an over the air antenna, do some research. Make sure it is the right size and type for the distance you are from the broadcast towers. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. You can find antennas from credible companies on this website using our antenna locator tool. Unfortunately, some of the ads generated on this website are not under our control and may display antennas that we do not recommend. Please share this post so we can prevent scammers from misleading consumers. Thank you.

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July 14, 2023 0

The Best Over The Air Antennas Based on Performance and User Feedback

Last updated: Friday, July 14, 2023Having a reliable over-the-air antenna is important. It can improve the reception of television stations and ensure a strong signal. In this article, we will discuss the best over-the-air antennas based on performance and user feedback. These antennas have consistently received positive reviews from users and are recognized for their ability to capture signals effectively. However, it’s important to research and consider your specific location, terrain, and distance from broadcast towers to determine the most suitable antenna for your needs. The Best Over-The-Air Antennas Based on Performance and User Feedback Channel Master EXTREMEtenna CM-4228HD The Channel Master EXTREMEtenna [...]
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.


  1. True that Johan,
    Also true that a TV antenna is a TV antenna. The old style outdoor antennas work just as well as newer ones. TV antennas meant to pick up at long range are large. They also are somewhat directional. So if you have distant channels in different directions you will need to be able to turn it. I’ve have left a set of vice grips attached to the antenna pole to turn but that gets old especially in bad weather but for a few more bucks a rotor will fix that. By the way we ditched the cable and satellite and we survived. Not sure we could ditch the internet though as that’s how I shop for most non-grocery most things I buy and I still communitate with some through email. But we at least save a lot on TV programming and I think we enjoy living real life more as a consequence.

    • You are right about a rotating antenna. It can help in obtaining stations broadcasted from different directions. I would have a hard time ditching the internet as well. It has become a necessity.

  2. In addition to the issues that you mentioned, many of these antennas are using RG174 coax cables; even bragging, “Military Level RG-174”. “RG” is an abbreviation for “Radio Guide” (US Military: circa 1930).

    Please correct me if I’m wrong, but a quick look at some online cable loss calculators indicates that 10 feet of RG174 will reduce the signal of the upper UHF channels by almost 50 percent (3dB) and 20 feet of that cable will double that loss.
    470MHz (ch14) about 2dB loss
    806MHz (ch69) about 2.5dB loss
    Addin connectors to each end of the cable puts the loss closer to 3dB.

    RG174 has an impedance of 50 ohms. TV coax input connectors have an impedance of 75 ohms. That mismatch will cause about a 5% loss. A few of these TV antennas ship with RG58, RG59, or RG6; all of which have the correct impedance of 75 ohms for TVs.

    10 feet of:
    RG58 at 806MHz is about 1.4dB loss
    RG59 at 806MHz is about 1.0dB loss
    RG6 at 806MHz is about 0.9dB loss

    Several antennas offer amplifiers, but many amps are near the TV. Hopefully, any noise picked up in the 10+ feet of RG174 will be filtered out before the amplifier stage. A better design is to place the filters and amplifiers near the antenna.

    RG174 usually has 1 layer of shielding. RG6 usually has 2 or 4 layers of shielding. More shielding is generally better (if it is constructed correctly and grounded). Proper shielding/grounding can help around some types of LED lights and dimmer switches.

    A few of these antennas mention needing a battery; even models that do not have amplifiers. Sometimes the battery claims to be included. Perhaps this is just a copy/paste error in the product’s specs.

    The caveat to all of the info above is: I could be wrong 🙂

    • Actually those tv antennas use a metric 75 ohm cable not RG 174.
      The coax they use has similar loss to RG59 so at 20 or 30 feet it’s perfectly fine especially since 90% of those antennas use a antenna mounted 30Db gain preamp that negates all coax loss.
      And you never need more than a quality dual shield RG6 for any antenna installnregardless of all the misinformation on the web.
      The quad shield gimmick is meaningless when it comes to TV frequencies and needed shielding since even the cheapest RG6 has over 80Db of shielding.
      I have installed hundreds of antennas over my 4 decade career in engineering and installing CATV head end antennas, and hotel/motel, Hospitals, and Apartment complex antenna and distribution systems.
      And i have never used anything but Belden dual shield RG6 and in 4 decades never once had any interference issue because of coax shielding.

      • Thanks for the additional info.

        The three antennas (from 3 different vendors) that I had the misfortune to work with, all claimed to use RG 174. All three were purchased by a friend (without consulting me) and I got stuck with the task of trying to make them work on one TV. We ended up returning all three. We eventually went with a model that didn’t use an amp and used RG59.

        Perhaps the people writing the sales blurbs didn’t know what was really being used when they bragged about using “Military Level RG-174”. The coax had a very small outside diameter (about 3 millimeters*) – much smaller than anything that I had ever seen used for TV antennas.

        * a bit smaller than an iPhone’s USB charging cables

        The amplifier seemed to be inside a rectangle near the TV and was powered by a short USB cable. You can see one such rectangle in the pictures in the article. It’s possible that the rectangle was just a place to connect power – then that DC was sent to an amp on the antenna, but the rectangles were pretty big and were identified as the amplifier in the sparse instructions. Again, perhaps the authors of those instructions didn’t know their subject matter.

        I hope to never get involved with antennas like these again.

  3. *Adding* connectors to each end of the cable puts the loss closer to 3dB.

  4. Sadly, another correction:
    RG58 has an impedance of 50 ohms

    …too many browser tabs 🙁

    • All very great points. You are right, most of these cheap antennas do not come with very good cabling and are poorly shielded. Thanks for sharing your advice.

  5. Sadly every Youtube channel is only there to sell products for their sponsors NOT to give you facts and honest reviews.
    The fact is the brands that don’t bribe youtubers are the best.
    Brands like Winegard and Channel Master make the best antennas by far.
    The rest use fake gain figures and fake distance claims to sell to the gullible.
    I can buy a “45 mile”Winegard 7694 for under $60 and it will easily outperform every “200 mile” and “990 mile” antenna on the market so why spend more?

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