DIY Outdoor TV Antenna


Cable or satellite TV don't work for everyone, and you may not have access to them in your area. If left out of that loop, you don't have to miss your programs. Pick up broadcast stations without these luxuries by installing a digital TV antenna outdoors. This method will provide a better signal than rabbit ears or even a larger antenna installed in the attic. You won't find the setup terribly difficult, although you may want to get a volunteer to help you.

Pick A Spot

Consider a number of factors before coming up with a final decision on where to place the antenna. In general, look for the highest practical place to set up the antenna, according to HDTV Antenna Labs. Buildings, trees or other objects that will result in reduced image quality or elimination of some stations should not obstruct high antennas. Keep in mind which direction the transmitters face; point the antenna (unless it's omnidirectional) toward the source of the signal to have the best chance of clear picture and sound. If you live 30 miles west of the city where your television stations broadcast from, you will obviously need to point your antenna east. Remember that the signal needs a direct line of sight. To avoid interference, avoid mounting your antenna within 25 feet of any metal objects. The roof often makes the best choice for many people, as it will offer a high mounting point both clear of obstructions and out of sight.

Mounting And Wiring

Your antenna likely included a mounting mast and bracket. If not, purchase them at an electronics store. Once you have chosen your mounting site, simply attach your antenna to the mast as instructed in the manufacturer's materials, and attach the mast to the mounting bracket and bolt it to the desired surface. If installed correctly, the mounting apparatus should allow you to adjust direction. Connect the coaxial cable to the antenna and run it to the point where it enters the house. You may have a box with connectors on an outside wall, or the cable may go directly inside through a wall to the television set. Cut the cable to a length no longer than necessary to reach the set---slack in the cable will dilute the signal and increase the likelihood that wind or something else may snag the line and pull it loose, according to HDTV Antenna Labs.

Filters And Amplifiers

If you had to run your cable for more than 50 feet, recommends installing a signal amplifier, which you can find for all types of antennas, including high-definition amplifiers. The longer the cable and the more splitters and junctions the cable has connected, the more signal loss you will suffer. Add an amplifier to offset the signal loss. If you find that radio signals or other channels interfere with your signal, install a filter---a tiny box that connects two lengths of cable and has a slot for a third cable to attach. Follow the directions on your specific model to improve your signal quality.

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About this Author

The former chef/owner of Keegan's Creole Restaurant, Lee Morgan's writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University.

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