How to Make an HD Antenna Work Better

by David Lipscomb

High definition antennas are the key to free over-the-air digital television. Lacking a costly monthly subscription fee, over-the-air high definition broadcasts are clear, cheap and attractive. However, the nature of digital broadcasting means that pointing the antenna accurately is more important than ever. The cabling used with the antenna, as well as the orientation of the device, make the difference between stunning images and a pixelated visual mess.

Ensure you are using 75 Ohm RG-6 quad shielded cabling. This information is marked on the outer jacket of the cable. The shielding in RG-6 is designed to better protect the delicate digital signals from an HD antenna. The 75 Ohm impedance of the coaxial cable matches the 75 Ohm connectors on the antenna and tuner, preventing signal loss.

Look at the path the cabling takes. The cable should not have kinks or sharp bends. Any changes in direction should involve a coil or curve.

Change your coaxial cabling leading from the antenna to the tuner if it incorporates multiple splices or coaxial cable couplers used to extend length. These connectors create more resistance to the signal, increasing the chance of dropouts.

Add an amplifier to your antenna if the coaxial run exceeds 200 feet. Amplifying the signal also helps with losses incurred from splitters and distribution panels.

Consult online sites like to orient yourself relative to broadcast towers. Use a compass to dial in your antenna for the best orientation to these antennas. Make small 5-degree adjustments, then run a channel scan on your tuner. Repeat until you receive the channels you want.


  • If you are in an area without an abundance of large trees or buildings, experiment with an indoor antenna. These low-profile units prevent the need to get on your roof.


  • Always use caution using ladders or operating on rooftops. Never work within reach of high-voltage power lines.

Items you will need

  • Compass
  • Internet access

About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

Photo Credits

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