This Is No Longer A Hit Or Miss Proposition.
Welcome to step one – Finding the broadcasters antennas. This is probably the most important step in the whole process of getting over the air broadcasts. This is because unless you know exactly where and how far away the antenna farms are choosing the proper antenna for your television set is going to be pretty much hit or miss arrangement.
When I first started setting up my over the air system I had a general idea of where the antennas were located, but I didn’t know how far away they were. So like most of us guys I just figured I’ll get the biggest damn digital antenna I can find and that will solve the problem. Let me tell you it didn’t solve the problem, it just made the problem more expensive. Make sure you watch the video below.
The mistake I made was to buy a 6 foot plus antenna that was directional. What this means is that it only received what I pointed it at and anything outside a narrow arc was lost. Turned out that I had for antenna farms to deal with and none of them were very close together. After that fiasco I decided to look into it a little more closely and located myself a really great omni directional antenna. An omni directional antenna has much greater receiving radius and is therefore is less dependant on any precise aiming. Even this though took some trial and error in order to find the proper direction for the antenna farms.
The good news is that you don’t really have to go through all this trial and error. Since my original escapade I’ve come across a website that will tell you exactly where the antenna farms are in your area, how far away they are and which stations are broadcast from each of those farms. All you will need to do is enter your zip code and your street address to be taken to an interactive map that will tell you everything you need to know. You can see a screenshot of that map above. Just click on the map and you be taken to the website which is AntennaWeb.org.
The website is a wealth of information and it will not only tell you all the information I have elaborated on earlier it will also tell you what type of antenna you should be using. The antennas are broken down into various categories and color-coded from yellow to violet. This can be a great help in trying to decide on the proper antenna, but don’t discount reading reviews on individual antennas from people that might be in the same situation you are. These too can be invaluable!
While you’re at the site make sure you print off the listing of the antennas in your area and their locations. Once you have this information you will not only be able to select the proper antenna, you will also while installing it be able to point it in the proper direction using a simple compass.
So there you have it the end of step one. Now that wasn’t so bad was it?
Now that you have all your information on the antenna farms in the area, their direction and distance from you, you can move on to step two, which is choosing your antenna. Not only will we be choosing the correct antenna in step two we will be also pairing it up with some other equipment such as coax cable and an amplifier.