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Setting up Antenna to receive free OTA TV channels

Updated on August 25, 2009

Setting up indoor Antenna

Since the digital transmission started there is so much craze about receiving OTA (over the air) TV signals with HD quality from local broadcasting stations. Because they are digital signals reach more distance with high quality than before. If you live within 20-30 miles from big city you can easily receive these signals.

I was thinking about setting up to receive local HD channels through OTA from last couple of months and finally decided to give this a try few weeks ago. I have experimented from last couple of weeks and looks like I have finally settled with Antenna adjustment. By the way I live in Lansdale area near Philadelphia (philly). My HD TV is old projection TV, also called dinosaur TV. 

My TV don't have digital tuner also called ATSC tuner, most of new TV s have this tuner built in. I have to buy Coby's ATSC tuner for my TV. There are not that many companies who sell these tuners now a days. Also you need to buy an TV antenna which can receive UHF and VHF signals. You can buy either indoor or outdoor antenna. Outdoor antenna is the best way to receive local TV signals. But it's not an easy task to achieve. You may have to spend few hundred bucks to do set this up. I decided to try with indoor antenna. If you live bit farther from TV stations then buying one with amplifier is a good idea.

I experimented with many antennas including Philips Magnovox Mant 400 (this I had purchased like 7-8 year back), RCA 1450, RCA 1550, Terk HDTVa. I initially placed these antennas right behind TV near a window. All of the antennas did ok job in receiving local channels but except for ABC (WPVI) and PBS (WHYY) channels. I just could not get these channels how much ever I tried. Otherwise I easily received CBS, NBC, MyPhl, Fox, Mind, Ion, CW and even WFMZ from Allentown.

I did some research online to find that ABC and PBS transmit their signals in VHF frequency range unlike most of other networks who transmit in UHF frequency. It looked like many people had problem in Philly area receiving ABC after Digital transmission cutoff date in June 09. I really wanted to get these 2 channels. Of course setting up outdoor antenna would have solved the problem, but considering what it will take to setup roof top antenna I decided to try indoor antenna as much as possible. Somewhere on internet I read that you can setup antenna in the attic. I do have big attic in third floor, also called as loft.

I started to look for antenna to be placed in attic, thinking these are specially made for attic. But that was not true, then I got wild idea that why not try indoor antenna in the attic. Luckily in my house coaxial cables are pre-wired throughout the house. Using I knew which direction I should be pointing the antenna. I placed RCA 1550 multi directional antenna at the highest point near window facing TV stations. Because it's attic I used some boxes to gain height to place antenna. In the basement I re-directed coaxial cable from attic to family room cable. Lucky enough this time I received ABC and WHYY easily. I now also receive NJN channel (PBS 23), although signal not strong enough sometimes.

Hope this article helps you to setup antenna and receive all local channels and enjoy HD TV.


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      BobbyFranchise 5 years ago

      manjuvreddy--try an antenna amplifier, from radio shack..about 15 bucks---i bought one, and i went from getting 5 stations to 15, and i live in Malvern, with it setup in the 2nd. floor advice--set it your antenna up on the highest floor in your place--NEAR A WINDOW.

    • manjuvreddy profile image

      manjuvreddy 6 years ago from USA

      Josh, Not sure if this Antenna come with signal booster (also called Amplifier). Try other Antenna like RCA ANT1650R. Hope you will get better signal very soon.

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      Josh 6 years ago

      I have been trying to get OTS TV feed. I live in Wyncote just north of north philadelphia. I bought an indoor RCA antenna 1080 from Amazon. I get NBC crystal clear as well as channel 35 and that's it. I have tried moving the antenna around a little and it doesn't help. According to Antenna web most of the other channels are about the same direction as NBC not sure why I am only getting NBC, I guess I will keep trying, if you have any suggestions for my specific case, they would be welcomed. THanks

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      Kendall Davies 6 years ago

      Hey Hi manjuvready,

      Good article explaining your experience. What I actually liked about what you did was using a multi directional Indoor antenna in the attic. Obviously seemed to work for you.

      Most peoples situation is different, so experimenting what works for them is paramount, and you did that.



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      cleo2010! 6 years ago

      Hi manjuvready. God bless you! My brain circuits are currently too busy to thoroughly upload and process this OTA TV feed at this time. Perhaps it will be my next project. I found your feed on repairing your microwave and just wanted to say thanks. My son put one popcorn seed in our microwave oven to see if it would pop. The magnatron in it popped instead. I will definitely check your hub for other cost saving information.