Home and Garden

Troubleshooting Common Rooftop Antenna Problems Homeowners Encounter

April 4, 2020

Dealing with rooftop antenna problems are frustrating. Especially if something time-sensitive is on TV or you have been waiting all week for your favorite show to come on. Those moments are not when you want your TV signal to be fuzzy, snowy, intermittent or, worse, non-existent.

Not only can you not watch what you want when you want it, but you are also now stuck with trying to figure out what’s wrong with your signal. It’s easier when you have an idea of what to look for.

So here is a troubleshooting guide listing things that may be causing the problem.

Antenna Positioning

In order to get the best signal, your antenna needs to be properly positioned. It needs to get pointed directly at the broadcast towers with nothing obstructing the signal. Antennas can get knocked out of alignment by the weather, so even if it looks like it is still pointed in the originally installed direction, it may be slightly skewed.

If your signal was working fine, it is possible that something is new is blocking your signal or your antenna got knocked out of position by high winds or falling debris. Look around your house to see if one of your trees needs trimming down or whether a neighbor has erected something that is now in your way. There may not be anything you can do about your neighbor, but you may be able to raise your antenna up higher to resolve your signal reception problem.

Antenna Outlet is Broken or Loose

If the cable behind your outlet has gotten broken or loose enough, it can cause a break in the connection to your TV. This is something people may not notice has happened since, in order to determine if this is the problem with your roof-mounted antenna, the faceplate on the wall needs to get removed and pulled out.

When the antenna cable got connected to the outlet, it is possible that an error got made when removing the insulation. The wire may have gotten nicked or scratched, both of which can cause a bad connection. It can also have lead to the wire breaking when the outlet got pushed back into the wall after the antenna cable got connected.

Fly Lead is Not Working

A fly lead is a cable that runs from the outlet on your wall (that connects to your antenna on the roof) to your television. On both ends of the fly lead are plugs that attach to the outlet and to your TV. When these plugs get bent or broken, they won’t make a good connection and the fly lead will need to be replaced.

Antenna Cable is Damaged

The antenna cable runs from the backside of the outlet on the wall in your house up to your antenna. This means that part of the cable is inside your house and another part is outside. The cabling inside the wall can be difficult to check on a DIY basis.

The cable can deteriorate over time, especially outside, but the cable can also be damaged by rodents who may have chewed into it. Once the protective coating on the outside of the cable fails to cover the wiring, moisture can cause corrosion of the wire or rust to accumulate, both of which will interfere with your signal.

Balun Has Gone Bad

The balun is what converts the balanced signal your antenna receives to the unbalanced current needed to communicate with your antenna cable. Excessive heat or cold can cause a balun to crack. When this happens, a break in your signal may be lost.

The Weather May Be Causing Interference

The signal to your outdoor antenna can be interfered with by high winds and severe storms and other weather conditions. So your signal was fine until the recent weather change, it is possible that your problem is temporary. It is likely your signal will be fine once the weather clears up, but it is also possible that the weather may have knocked your antenna out of position or damaged cables connected to your antenna.

TV Has No ATSC Tuner Built-In

Older televisions do not come with an ATSC tuner built-in. Neither do some newer ones. If yours does not, you will need to get an external tuner.

Problem Occurring After Purchasing a New TV

If your antenna was working fine until you purchased a new television, it is likely that your new TV is not set up properly. If instructions on how to set up your TV didn’t come with your TV or your TV antenna, you can check the manufacturer’s website for instructions or look online for information on how to set up your TV.

Rooftop Antenna Doesn’t Work or Needs an Upgrade

If you’ve checked all the cabling, connections and your antenna’s position, it is time to consider that the problem lies with your antenna itself. An antenna installation professional can confirm this for you.

A new antenna installation will be needed if your current antenna no longer works or if your old antenna needs to be upgraded. If your current antenna is a UHF-only antenna and the channels you want to watch are broadcasted in VHF, you will need to upgrade to a UHF/VHF antenna.

Use These Tips to Troubleshoot

These tips address the most common issues people have with their rooftop antenna. Use them to get the reception to your TV working or to help determine that you need to schedule an appointment with an antenna installation professional.

If you found this article helpful, be sure to browse our articles on indoor and outdoor topics we know you will love.

Troubleshooting Common Rooftop Antenna Problems Homeowners Encounter was last modified: by

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