The right way to arrange your indoor TV antenna for the most effective reception

Why it is helpful: In most urban areas and many suburbs, a properly positioned indoor antenna should be able to receive most or all of the local networked television channels along with several independent channels. But if you are more than 30 miles from most of your local TV stations, if you are in a dense urban area where multipath interference is a big problem, or if one or more stations are broadcasting on a low-FM station (something like that) You can find out on AntennaWeb or RabbitEars that installing a rooftop antenna is worth your time and effort, assuming you live in a place where it can. For the larger elements of a typical roof antenna design, it is easier to capture both weaker signals and the longer wavelengths of low VHF signals.

My roof antenna consistently outperforms all indoor antennas I have tested. In my house, around 150 channels are typically picked up around the Los Angeles area, while the best indoor antennas usually exceed around 100 channels. The antenna I use is a large model with eight “bowtie” elements, similar to this Channel Master model. It happened to be the winner of an antenna round that I did with a high frequency spectrum analyzer years ago. I wish I could tell you the brand of the antenna, but that would mean climbing my roof and it was probably discontinued anyway. It works great in Los Angeles, where almost all of the television stations are on Mount Wilson, but in other cities an antenna with a motorized, pivoting base may work better.

How it goes: The ambitious handyman with access to their roof can probably install a roof antenna in about three hours. It took me that long to mount my outdoor antenna on the roof and then run the cable through an outside wall, through my attic, into my living room wall and finally to a wall socket. But for those three hours of work, my reward was 15 years of perfect TV reception – and I later added a splitter to get the same clear signal in other rooms in my house. If you are unwilling or unable to assemble the antenna yourself, this should be a task that should be well within the capabilities of any home worker hired.

Regardless of the type of antenna you choose, investing a little time in the right setup will pay off in hours of viewing pleasure. Best of all, this antenna will never cost you an extra dime and it won’t ask you for your credit card number or password.

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