How to Increase Antenna Power
By David Lipscomb
Rooftop antennas are the conduit to free, over-the-air programming from your local broadcasters. Despite the simple technology involved, there are a few factors that potentially degrade these high-quality images. Excessively lengthy or damaged wiring and antenna maladjustment both cause abnormal amounts of interference. Antenna power is effectively increased by resolving these issues through proper cabling and alignment.
Aim the Antenna
Determine your orientation to local towers using a resource such as AntennaWeb.org or TV Fool.com. Sites like these use your address to plot your geographic location relative to local broadcast towers, allowing you to aim the antenna correctly.
Use your compass to compare your antenna's direction with your location findings. Rotate the antenna with the extended portion of the array towards the cluster of antennas as depicted on your map.
Move the antenna no more than 5 degrees per adjustment. Return to your tuner or television and perform a channel re-scan. Make note of which channels appear that were previously unavailable.
Check Your Wiring
Look at the numerical distance measurements marked on the coaxial cable leading from the antenna to the tuner or television. Count them to determine the total length of the coaxial cable.
Remove any coaxial cable featuring numerous splices, cuts or barrel connectors. Pull out any wiring without an "RG-6" or "RG-6U" marking on the cable. The RG-6 family of coaxial cables offers superior shielding and wire gauge compared to RG-59, another common type of antenna wiring.
Connect an antenna preamplifier close to the threaded output on the antenna using a short piece of coaxial cable. Screw the coaxial cable leading into the structure to the other end of the preamplifier. These devices help compensate for longer cable runs over 100 feet, or if the cable enters a distribution amplifier inside the structure.
Connect a distribution amplifier if multiple cable splits are required. Amplifiers boost the signal to compensate for the 3 decibels of signal loss incurred at each split.
- Have an assistant perform a channel scan after every adjustment, so you don't have to get off the ladder and go to the tuner every time.
- Always use caution if you have to get on the roof with a ladder. Never install or work on an antenna close to high power lines.
David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.