Your guide to choosing the right TV aerial

March 26, 2017
by
Tom Smart
Picture of a man installing a TV aerial

Ok so here is a subject that I think some people faff a little too much over because if you are in doubt on what aerial to choose, go out and pick a high gain wideband model. Now I’m not condoning the use of high gain aerials for all jobs. Most of the time it will be over-kill and unnecessary, but until you have run a signal test or have a very good knowledge of the local transmitters and reception areas around those transmitters a high gain wideband aerial would be the safest bet. You do run the risk of overloading your TV equipment but this isn’t as common as people think and easily solved with an attenuator.

 

First things first, I recommend finding your optimum local transmitter using the postcode checker on this site. http://www.digitaluk.co.uk/industry/About_DTT/The_postcode_coverage_checker. This can’t be relied upon 100% but will tell you everything you need to know about the transmitters in your area with most likely selection, such as Frequencies, future frequencies and amount of channels that this transmitter broadcasts. For example, the transmitter may only broadcast Freeview Lite which is about half the channels. In this case it may be beneficial to use another transmitter that maybe is a bit further away or weaker in your area.

 

Once you know the transmitter you intend to use you are in a better position to choose the aerial. If you are not far away a simple log periodic aerial will be fine. If the transmitter is a Group A transmitter and this isn’t going to change after the next auction off of frequencies for mobile broadband, I would recommend installing a simple group A aerial. This will see a significant signal gain over a wideband version and will limit unwanted signals from nearby transmitters. If the transmitter is far away I would recommend installing a high gain wideband or correct banded aerial for that transmitter.

 

If you are still in doubt, I would recommend looking at your neighbours. If they all have high gain aerials and gigantic masts you know there is a good chance that you will need something similar, If they are small 10 element aerials on short masts, or not there at all as because they could be installed in lofts. There is a good chance that you are in a good signal area.

 

Before you install the aerial you choose, check what polarity the transmitter you are using broadcasts on as this will change the way you have to mount the antenna and have a HUGE effect on the signal.

 

Please use the above as a rough guide but not rely upon totally, as you can follow all the right advice and still pick the wrong antenna. TV aerial reception can differ from house to house, and even on different sides of the chimney as I have found out myself and installing aerials have often been referred to as a “black art”.

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