How to Install a UHF Antenna

By Shellie Braeuner

Antennas are not obsolete, even with the DTV conversion.
i antenna 2 image by Madrider from

Television plucks signals out of the air for broadcast. Cable companies receive the signal through large satellite dishes and send it to individual homes and TVs through a cable. Satellite companies install a dish on the home. But for many years before there was cable and satellite, homes used antennas to capture the signals. UHF and VHF are the two bands of signals used in over-the-air transmission. VHF stands for Very High Frequency, and transmits channels 2 through 13. UHF refers to Ultra High Frequency and covers channels 14 through 83. Cell phones, which use many of the same frequencies, received channels 70 through 83 in the 1980s. As of August 2010, UHF channels are 14 through 69.

Installing an Outdoor Antenna

Choose a location. The antenna should be placed in an area that is free from trees, tall buildings and other obstructions. An antenna can't be attached to a working chimney since the smoke and fumes will damage the aluminum.

Tie a rope around your waist and anchor the rope to the roof. Do not work on a roof without a safety line.

Mount the mast to the roof. The mast is a heavy gauge metal pole that raises the antenna above the roof line. The height of the mast will depend on the brand of antenna and any obstructions that might be present. Different mast models have different instructions, so follow the manufacturer's instructions. If holes are drilled for installation, be sure to seal any holes in the roof with caulk.

Mount the antenna onto the mast. Different models have different shapes and mounting hardware. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Attach the cable to the antenna. Install a coaxial connector to one end of the cable. Screw one end of the coaxial cable to the antenna. Hold the cable to the mast with the plastic ties. This will help to prevent wind damage to the cable.

Run the cable across the roof toward the section of the house the signal is needed. Use wire staples to hold the cable down to the roof. Drop the cable over the side of the house. Using a ladder, climb up to the roof line and attach the cable around the gutter, and down the house to the insertion point.

Drill a hole through the wall of the house as close to the final point as possible. Poke the cable through the hole. Inside the house, have someone pull all the cable through the hole until there is an inch of slack in the outside wire. Do not pull so tightly that the wire staples pop out. Caulk around the cable inside and out.

Inside Installation with DTV Converter Box

Attach the cable from the antenna to the DTV converter box. If your TV does not accept digital transmissions, the DTV box will be needed to convert the digital signal sent through the air to an analog signal the TV understands.

Attach the power cord to the converter box and plug into the electrical outlet.

Using the cords provided with the converter box, connect the box to the TV.

Turn on the TV and check for a signal. Note where channels come in clearly, and where there is video noise, or snow.

Climb back up on the roof, attach the safety rope, and adjust the antenna for the best picture possible.

Inside Installation Without a DTV Converter Box

Attach coaxial cable to the TV

Turn the TV on and check for a signal. Note any channels that are clear, as well as any that have video noise or snow.

Climb back up the ladder, attach the safety rope and adjust the antenna for the clearest picture.