Troubleshooting UHF TV Reception Problems

We all want perfect UHF TV reception. However, perfect reception can’t be guaranteed because there are too many variables involved. There are things you can do to improve your chances for clear reception and it can be a do-it-yourself job.

Poor Reception and Poor Antennas

Your reception might be bad. But how bad is it? Are you seeing blips of video or a black screen? The problem could be caused by a weak signal, poor antenna system, the set itself, or a combination of these. We recommend using an outdoor antenna for optimal signal quality. It is far better than using an indoor antenna.

You will need an outdoor antenna for good VHF reception and for good UHF reception. If an indoor antenna gives you good VHF reception, we suggest using a bowtie or other UHF antenna.

Indoor Antennas

Indoor antennas are affected by a variety of things: walls of a house, inadequate antenna height and by people walking around the area. The indoor combination VHF/UHF antennas have a switch that can be adjusted to help get the best picture quality, but these these antennas are not good for UHF.

Outdoor Antennas

Outdoor antennas vary in price and quality. Use a good quality aerial. A good quality 18-element array has excellent directional characteristics, good performance even at the ends of the channel group and accurate impedance matching. These factors can make a lot of difference where tree problems are involved. Unless signal strength is a problem there’s no point in using a very large, high-gain array.

The best television signals are received when the home outdoor antenna and the TV station’s broadcasting antenna are in line-of-sight. Any type of obstacles interfering with the line-of-sight creates a weakened or lost signal. Some examples of obstacles are hills, buildings and trees. The farther away you are from the TV station’s broadcasting antenna the larger the TV antenna you will need.


Trees can do lots of nasty things to your reception. Trees can suddenly and unaccountably have a severe effect on reception that’s been perfect for many years. They can affect one channel to the point of eliminating it whilst having no effect on the others. They can affect sound but not vision. Reception can vary seasonally, daily or by the second. A tree doesn’t have to be between the receiving aerial and the transmitter to cause trouble: clear line-of-sight reception can be affected by nearby trees.

Antenna Rotators

Rotators are used to turn the TV antenna toward the desired TV station’s broadcast antenna. Most antenna rotators allow you to program each station’s position into the rotor control using a remote. You may assign each TV station a two digit channel number and the antenna will turn to the proper position for that channel.

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