Optimize Your DTV Antenna with AntennaWeb

Posted by AfroWhitey | Home Theater & A/V | Monday 14 December 2009 1:01 pm

Lucy and Ethel feel your pain

Since moving into a new house, I have been in a constant battle with weak digital signals. I placed our over-the-air antenna in a room with a south-facing window, thinking all our local repeaters were to the south of us (a fact that was even incorrectly confirmed by my local NBC station through one of their engineers). Yet every time we wanted to watch a show on a different network than we were on, I had to trudge up to the second floor and move the old bunny ears around while my wife shouted confirmations from below. Something had to be done.

As a quick aside, it wasn’t all bad. In an email exchange with the local NBC station attempting to get them to boost their signal since theirs is the only channel we can never get, the engineer let me know that an antenna with bunny ears is the best at getting VHF signals, which are the lower channels on your TV and the stations with the lowest frequency. In my case, NBC is channel 3 and the lowest frequency in the area. Keep that in mind when choosing your antenna, bunny ears are not obsolete after all.

After countless vain attempts to get the elusive NBC on our TV so my wife could watch Biggest Loser without waiting the week that Hulu requires, I started looking at outdoor antennas, figuring all the wireless signals in our house and the thermal barriers we put around it were causing too much interference. In my searches (I’m leaning towards this one), I came across a website that has changed our TV watching forever for the good: AntennaWeb.

AntennaWeb.org

AntennaWeb proclaims itself as a way to “Maximize your television reception,” and maximize it does. You simply choose your antenna (or the closest match), enter your address, adjust your location for better accuracy, and it tells you what direction each local station’s signal is coming from (in degrees). I simply busted out my trusty Boy Scout compass, pointed the antenna in the exact direction stated on the website for optimum signal reception, and we now get just about every channel in the area without having to move any bunny ears.

Now, there are still many factors that go into the quality of your signal reception. The slightest change in weather can affect things as can microwaves, wireless internet, cell phones, and other similar devices, so keep that in mind when choosing the best room for your antenna. If indoors, it’s best to put it near a window as the signal passes better through windows than walls, and you’ll want it to be as high as you can get it, above any possible interferers. We sometimes even get NBC when everything feels like cooperating.

I’m still going to get the outdoor antenna, but with AntennaWeb, I can be sure where to place it and that it’s going to work. If we get most channels with an indoor antenna, we should definitely have better luck with a stronger outdoor antenna. Go ahead, try out AntennaWeb and let me know how it works in your area.

Disclaimer: This post is for informative purposes only. I am in no way involved with or a part of AntennaWeb or any possible affiliates. I have received no compensation from AntennaWeb for this post.