How to Locate the Best Place for a Digital Antenna

by Adrian Grahams

Finding the right location for your digital television antenna is essential for great TV reception. If you live within five to 10 miles of a main TV transmitter, then an indoor, set-top antenna may receive a strong enough signal. For most people, an outdoor rooftop antenna is the best option for getting stable pictures on all available digital TV channels. Use a ZIP-code-based "transmitter locator" website to find the correct direction and distance of your local digital TV transmitters.

Survey your house or apartment. Look for a digital antenna installation site that offers a clear view toward the TV transmitter. For optimum reception, your antenna should be mounted as high as possible and above the roof line. Usually this will be from a wall bracket fixed to the eaves of your house or the top of an exterior wall. A roof-mounted tripod stand is another option.

Climb to your chosen antenna installation site safely with a ladder, steps or raised platform.

Use a directional compass to check the bearings for nearby TV transmitters. Directional antennas require exact alignment with the transmitter. Omni-directional antennas receive signals from transmitters at different locations so require less precise alignment.

Check that your antenna will have an unobstructed view toward the TV transmitter, clearing any nearby buildings or trees. You may need a longer mast to achieve this. Note that antennas should never be mounted more than six feet above the supporting wall bracket.

Ensure there is room to move and align the antenna correctly so that no part of it, including the rear reflector, comes into contact with the roof or wall.

Check that the antenna and mast will be well clear of any power lines. Never install a TV antenna near power cables. Also avoid locating your antenna close to telecommunications cables or other antennas and satellite dishes because they can all interfere with reception.


  • close Always position your ladder on firm, level ground. Get a friend to hold and steady the ladder while you climb.

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About the Author

Adrian Grahams began writing professionally in 1989 after training as a newspaper reporter. His work has been published online and in various newspapers, including "The Cornish Times" and "The Sunday Independent." Grahams specializes in technology and communications. He holds a Bachelor of Science, postgraduate diplomas in journalism and website design and is studying for an MBA.

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