How high should a TV antenna be mounted?

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Antenna elevation from ground level is crucial in deciding what kind of results you will be getting from OTA transmission services.

There are a number of factors that go into deciding how high you should set your antenna.

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1) Geography

All the factors listed boil down to one thing. What’re your surroundings like? Are there many tall obstacles between the antenna and the transmission tower? Is it a rather plain area or does it have elevated and dipped areas? Elevated obstacles, though they may not necessarily block the signal entirely, can still cause a large amount of scattering and other phenomena which diminish signal strength. Signals over plain areas naturally travel faster and without deviation resulting in clearer images and better results in general. However, there aren’t too many plain areas that are packed with towers. If you think about it, the plainest areas like fields are mostly relatively uninhabited. That’s the reason they’re plain. Whenever inhabitation starts, it brings towers, tall buildings and other norms of the sort with it. So the problem mostly is that signals have to travel over and beside tall objects that hinder signals.

Generally, a height of about 30 feet is preferred for densely populated areas or areas with more obstructions in the way of the signal. Tall and bulky obstacles will obviously cause more obstruction and may tend to give lower quality results whereas plainer areas provide a much smoother environment for signals to float around in, giving transmission ease and efficiency. Places like suburbs are quite densely populated while some more grand areas have a lot more trees than densely packed buildings that obstruct signals quite significantly. Areas, where there is a presence of a higher quantity of metals, may also experience bad reception due to the interference created by ores and related material.

So in summary, the first thing to keep in mind is the natural background of your residential area.

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2) Surroundings

Antennas have to be kept clear of metals and other objects in their vicinity that may cause disruption. If the height of the tv antenna is in a plane where it is clear of all hindering objects then there should generally be less of a need to raise the antenna. If the surroundings are cleared, it’s possible that you may not need to raise the antenna at all. Though a general height between 10 feet and not much more than 30 feet is preferred. So always paying attention to what’s around the antenna and how it can be cleared away, like raising the height of the antenna is a step towards better reception.


3) Transmission Towers

Transmission towers are the link between the broadcasters and the receivers. The better and stronger the link is, the better the reception, the better the net outcome on your TV screen. Areas, where transmission towers are close-by, may not require your antenna to be too high up and the consumer may get the same results whether the antenna is 30 feet up or 10 feet up. Tower density is also quite important in deciding how your antenna reception will be. In areas with higher tower density, signals coming in from all directions will essentially shower the antenna with good reception.

Whereas in an area of lower tower density, getting great reception will tend to be trickier. It may require more orientation and positioning to get the ideal condition for reception which is supposed to be a straight line between the tower and the antenna. Websites are available for you to be able to see exactly where the transmission towers are around you and how many of them there are so you can get the positioning of the tv antenna just right.

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4) Signal Amplification

Amplification essentially means to make something bigger or more powerful. As an EM signal travels through the air, it gets scattered and weakened so when it finally reaches the antenna, the intensity it had when it had just gotten emitted from the tower isn’t there anymore. This tends to give worse results to consumers. Signal amplification tries to bring that intensity back, providing you with better results. So if you have an amplification box between your antenna and the receiver box, you may not need to position antenna as high up as you would have to without an antenna. Every little detail helps in getting signal strength up to the standard. You can actually check the relative signal strength for a channel on OTA coverage on the settings screen of your TV. If the strength is below standard due to the antenna being too low, an amplification box could iron out the problem. Generally speaking, anything beyond 10 miles should be looked into as a possibly problematic distance from the transmission tower, which could be straightened out by an amplification box.


5) Type of Antenna

There are three general types of antennas

  • Uni-directional: Antennas that only catch single from a single direction and act like the end of a straight-line connection between the transmission tower and the receiver. These have to be pointed straight towards the tower or where the signal is coming from.
  • Multi-directional: Antennas that can catch signals from multiple angles. These offer better reception as they link the receiver to multiple signals rather than a single one.
  • Omni-directional: Antennas that can receive signals from all directions. It should offer the best reception around.

If you have an Omni-directional antenna, you may not have to elevate your antenna too much higher levels than what is required if you have a uni-directional antenna. The difference in results from the different sorts of antenna may be quite noticeable or minute depending on factors like where you live and what sort of environment the reception has to face. Omni-directional antennas should obviously be the best choice, although if you have other factors like tower density and elevation on your side, you may do just fine with a uni-directional antenna.

What’s common in getting the best reception from any type of antenna is that height gives you more of an edge with every single one of them.