TV Antennas – The Large Old-Style Outdoor Types Will Receive Over-The-Air Digital/HD Signals

Anyone wanting to receive the free over-the-air (OTA) digital/HD TV signals needs to be close enough to the broadcasting towers to receive them well. In doing so, that old VHF/UHF antenna left standing high on the roof, next to the chimney, or in the attic works for receiving these signals.

Almost any TV antenna can receive digital signals.

Today’s newer so-called digital antennas do have select refinements for this kind of reception. However, most of today’s digital/HD signals are in the very-high and ultra-high frequency ranges (VHF/UHF) similar to the way the older analog TV signals were. Thus, an old antenna having these design qualities will work for digital/HD reception, too.

An old antenna having the combined VHF/UHF capability (i.e., the large flat-beam VHF antenna having wide multiple-crossbars plus a V-or-curved shaped UHF reflector with shorter crossbars towards the front end of it) works okay for receiving these digital signals under the right conditions.

Will the TV itself make a difference?

Yes. Even with a necessary converter box hooked up to it, a real old or cheap TV having weak reception capability to start with could have digital reception problems with any antenna.

Our personal reception.

Because we live in a metropolitan area having several digital/HD TV stations, we can receive 22 channels with table-top rabbit-ear antennas. These channels include the main national ones plus several public, creative/food/travel, full-time-older-movie, religious, cartoon/kids, foreign-language, music, and weather ones.

However, some of our older TV’s suffer occasional interference and choppy reception with these particular antennas. Part of this interference can come from within the house itself along with that from varied outside blockages, electrical interferences, and weather conditions.

Recently, we remembered the old unused single-directional VHF/UHF antenna hanging in the attic. We hooked it up to two of our TV’s. Wallah! The result was improved and steadier OTA reception for these two TV’s. This antenna was already pointed eastward toward our main transmission towers 15-miles away.

Tips for this kind of reception set up.

  • An analog-to-digital converter box is needed on the older non-digital TV’s. It also simplifies the channel selection on the newer digital ones.
  • Height counts. Raise or extend the antenna (including the indoor telescopic adjustable rabbit-ear types) as high as possible to strengthen the signal reception. Also, if possible or if allowed, place an old outside antenna high on the house roof or on a tower near it. This high arrangement eliminates most of the common interferences and blockages. Additionally, an upper-level attic could hold a fairly large outdoor antenna with minimum difficulty.
  • Size counts. Many of the older antennas are fairly large, which is okay. These large antennas pick up extra signal and stabilize it. Also, the stacking of two inter-connected antennas on the same mast makes for a larger antenna, if needed.
  • If rabbit-ear types are the only antenna option, try to avoid letting the transmitted signal pass through several layers of room walls.
  • Limit the number of TV’s connected to one antenna. Too many turned on simultaneously will weaken the reception to all of them at once.
  • If in-house interference obviously exists, use the protected coaxial cable to connect the TV in question to the old antenna. These interferences can come from certain inside duck-work, appliances, electronics, and electrical lighting and wiring. However, this cable will not increase the signal strength nor avert physical blockages, like, hills and buildings. If a hookup adapter is needed at the antenna’s split-terminal end, one can be purchased in TV departments for about $6.

In summary, the big old-style VHF/UHF antenna can be used to receive the free over-the-air digital/HD TV signals if it is located high enough off the ground and/or close enough to the transmitting towers to receive them properly. To locate your nearest transmitting towers, and to find more information on TV antennas, see the websites below.