How to Turn an Old Satellite Dish Into a TV Antenna

by Patrick Nelson ; Updated August 29, 2017

If you find your HDTV antenna reception is poor with an indoor antenna, try adapting your disused satellite dish into an over-the-air TV antenna while also taking advantage of the cables in place. You'll have to modify the cable connections and you may need to adjust the satellite's direction to get the best reception.

Remove the Low Noise Block converter, or LNB, from the arm of the satellite dish to expose the existing satellite cables. You may have to unscrew the LNB to get it off. Then disconnect the satellite cables from the LNB by unscrewing the cable terminals and pulling the cables through the dish’s arm.

Clip the amplified outdoor satellite dish clip-on TV antenna onto the top of the dish’s rim and then connect the cables you removed from the LNB to the connections on the clip-on antenna. You’ll see a set of input and output connectors labeled “In/Out 1,” “In/Out 2” and so on. Usually, you have four sets. Ignore the inputs because they’re related to applications for when you want to retain use of the dish. Connect each of the existing wires to the “Outputs.” Often, you will have two, but connect them all if there are more.

Turn off the television. Connect one of the cables that was routed from the dish to the satellite receiver’s “Input” to the television’s coaxial antenna jack, often labeled “ANT.” Turn on the television and scan for channels.

Disconnect the cable from the antenna jack and try another cable, if the channels don’t come in properly with the first cable. The cables can be of differing ages, quality and condition. Try each one until you get the best selection of channels and picture quality. Try different permutations on the roof too.

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About the Author

Patrick Nelson has been a professional writer since 1992. He was editor and publisher of the music industry trade publication "Producer Report" and has written for a number of technology blogs. Nelson studied design at Hornsey Art School.

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