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Selection and Installation of a Quality TV Antenna System

A worksheet of sorts, How to Select and Install a Quality TV Antenna System provides a step by step guide that makes it possible for even the novice to install a quality, trouble free TV antenna system. One that provides excellent reception better than cable or satellite and best of all it’s free. With the introduction of HDTV and ever soaring cable bills the TV antenna is making a big comeback.

I have attempted to provide a one-stop information page that provides the information to make it possible for anyone to select and install a TV antenna system. I have also scoured the Internet in search of the best TV antenna websites and placed their links near each topic so you may easily visit each site and return to this page.
Additional Resources
#1 TV Antenna Selection and Installation
The first step in selecting and installing a Tv antenna is to go to the the Digital TV Antenna Selector and find out what TV antenna is best suited for your location. When your finished at the "Selector" click on the back arrow button to return to this page. The "selector" will provide you with a list of the TV stations in your area. The distance and direction to the transmitting towers. It will even recommend what type and size of TV antenna is best for your location.

Many factors can effect TV reception. Most difficulties can be overcome with the proper knowledge and equipment. For an example, if a medium sized antenna is recommended for your location and you live in a wooded area surrounded by miles of dense woods you may want to choose a larger TV antenna to compensate for the reduced signal strength created by the trees. The same goes for low or high elevation at the location of the antenna installation. If you live on a hill surrounded by miles of open land a smaller than recommended antenna may be used, and just the opposite for low elevation. Buildings, hills, trees can all block signal, examine your terrain carefully before you select your TV antenna. One more thing, antennas installed outside work better than those installed inside. TV antennas installed above the highest roof line of your house and your neighbors if possible work better than those installed below the roof line.
Additional TV Antenna Selection and Installation Resources

Understanding TV Antenna Range

Erecting a TV Antenna

Getting Better TV Antenna Reception from Your TV Antenna
#2 Selecting the TV Antenna Amplifier
A TV antenna amplifier referred to as a preamplifier is usually necessary to achieve high quality TV reception. Preamplifier's don’t actually improve the antenna performance even though it appears that way. What they really do is provide amplification of the TV signal at the TV antenna, boosting the signal to a level that is greater than the signal loss that occurs as the signal travels through the down lead cable from the TV antenna to the TV(s). There are two parts to a preamplifier. The outdoor portion that is installed near the TV antenna is the amplifier. The indoor portion installed along the down lead cable run is called the power supply or power insertertor. The down lead cable feeds in and out of each unit. The amplifier amplifies the signal, the power inserter supplies the power to the mast preamplifier via the down lead cable. Things to consider before you buy the antenna amplifier. Do not purchase an amplifier larger than really needed. This page preamplifier vs. distribution amplifier is an excellent source, providing information to help you determine what size amplifier is right for you. If you do purchase an amplifier that has considerably more amplification than required for your TV antenna system, signal overload may occur. Also consider the noise figure rating for each particular amplifier. Noise is measured in decibels or dB. The lower the noise dB number is the better. Generally anything 3 dB and under is acceptable. If the antenna preamplifier manufacturer does not readily offer the dB noise rating for a particular amplifier it usually means the noise figure is poor for that amplifier and is not acceptable.

Additional TV Antenna preamplifier Resources

TV Antenna Amplifiers, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Mast Mounted TV Antenna Amplifiers TV Antenna Amplifier Basics

Understanding TV Antenna Amplifiers

#3 Selecting A TV Antenna Rotator (Rotor)
The TV antenna rotator often referred to as a rotor has one purpose. To turn your TV antenna to obtain optimum reception when TV transmitters are in different directions from your location. If your area TV broadcast towers are all located in the same direction a rotor will not be necessary. If you haven’t already, visit the Digital TV Antenna Selector to determine the location of the transmitters in your area. When your finished at the "Selector" click on the back arrow button to return to this page.
Rotors consist of two parts. The outdoor motor unit and the indoor control unit. The outdoor motor unit is located below the TV antenna and turns your antenna to the desired direction. The indoor control unit indicates the direction the antenna is pointing and allows the user to control the direction of the TV antenna. A wire reffered to as a rotor wire is ran from the motor unit to the control unit.  When choosing your rotor quality is the most important consideration. Beware there are inferior rotors on the market. Most of these inferior rotors are manufactured by the same company and sold under many different names.
Additional TV Antenna Rotor Resources

TV Antenna Rotors and Installation
Which Way to Point a TV Antenna

#4 Selecting the proper antenna mount

One of my favorite mounts and our most popular is the antenna eave mount. The eave mount is installed to the eave facing at the peak of the roof and is a non roof-penetrating mount.
Another popular mount is the tripod. It has three legs and can be installed, straddling the roof peak or on a flat roof. When properly installed the tripod is a sturdy trouble free mount.
The chimney mount uses straps around the chimney to hold two corner antenna - mounting brackets securely to the chimney. This mount should only be used on brick or block chimneys.

Wall brackets may be used to install a standing pole along side of the house, burying the pole several feet into the ground. If the distance from the ground to the bracket is more than fifteen feet I recommend the use of two brackets. Locate the second bracket halfway between the top bracket and the ground.

Antenna tower is rarely used today mainly do to the high cost and difficult installation. If you decide to install a tower, I recommend that you hire a professional to do the job.

Additional TV antenna mounting Resources

#5 Selecting and Installing TV Antenna Coax Down Lead

When installing coax cable, fasten the wire securely. Failure to do so will result in eventual reception failure. Unfasten wire will rub against objects wearing through the rubber coating of the wire and allowing water to enter the cable. Select only good quality wire, I recommend nothing less than solid copper RG 6 coax cable.
Additional TV Antenna Coax Resources



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