How to Amplify an Omnidirectional Antenna

by Ken Burnside

Antennas are used to receive (and in some cases send) radio frequency signals. Antennas come in two broad varieties - directional (often "bidirectional" or "quad directional) and omnidirectional. Directional antennas have to be pointed at the source of the broadcast to get optimum reception, but usually get better reception from a weak signal. Omnidirectional antennas don't have to be pointed at a specific broadcast point, but the signal strength from the broadcast tower has to be stronger.

Omnidirectional antennas are used for indoor and outdoor installations, and are pretty much required for any kind of mobile device. Because omnidirectional antennas have the weakest reception, antenna boosters, called amplifiers, can be used to improve the reception of the antenna. Because of the changes made in broadcast television with the digital transition, the clarity of the signal has become much more important, and the market for omnidirectional antenna amplifiers has grown. While there are a handful of manufacturers for amplifiers, most amplifiers work on the same underlying physics - what they do is act as a second "directional" antenna and use a digital signal processor to fill in the gaps (or filter out the noise) on the signal of the existing antenna.


Turn off the television.


Disconnect the antenna cable from the television.


Plug the antenna into the amplifier.


Plug the amplifier into the television. Plug in the antenna into an electrical outlet. Have as much slack on the cable to and from the amplifier as you can.


Turn on the television, and follow your television's instructions for detecting channels. Once the television has found the local channels, experiment with moving the amplifier around for each channel. Because your television broadcasts come from different directions along the horizon, you may have to find a compromise position for the amplifier.


  • check Metal objects reflect television signals. Putting the amplifier near or behind a metal object, such as a metal filing cabinet, can cause doubled images as it picks up both the broadcast and the reflection off of the object.

Items you will need

About the Author

Ken Burnside has been writing freelance since 1990, contributing to publications as diverse as "Pyramid" and "Training & Simulations Journal." A Microsoft MVP in Excel, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Alaska. He won the Origins Award for Attack Vector: Tactical, a board game about space combat.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images