Reception Issues

Many of the most common reception problems are discussed here.


Problem: The TV is not receiving any signals.


There is not a clear line of sight to the broadcast towers.

If hills or other geographic features are in between the broadcast towers and the antenna, you would not be receiving enough signals.  Elevating the antenna higher, either by placing it in a higher location or using a taller mast, would increase the signal reception.  Other buildings, trees, or even shrubs will block signal from reaching the antenna.  Try to get the clearest most unobstructed view to the broadcast tower possible.

Signal is lost in the cxial cable distribution.

Check for corrosion, bad cable fittings, or a cable compromised by rodents or weather.  Also, splitters will cut a great deal of signal strength, disconnect them and run the cable directly into the digital receiver.  If the reception improves, a distribution amplifier is likely to be the solution.  Leftover parts from a satellite installation may not be compatible, removing or bypassing these items would allow the signal to transmit to the digital tuner.

The coaxial cable from the antenna to the tuner is too long.

When cable lengths reach over 100 feet, as much as 1/3 of the signal can be lost.  If you require a long cable run or using a splitter, consider investing in a good low noise pre-amplifier.

Faulty Digital Tuner

It doesn’t happen often, but a digital tuner can be faulty. Since the ATSC tuner is separate from HDMI or other inputs, the tuner would not affect any other portion of the television.  It is possible for a tuner to be faulty on a new TV right out of the box.  As a second step in troubleshooting, try installing the antenna and cable to a secondary TV.


Problem: I’m receiving every channel except for one.


The channel is broadcasting at a reduced power.

Low power TV stations are common.  Repeater or translator stations usually have low power outputs as do TV stations with Class A LPTV entitled to greater interference protection.  Other stations will run lower power due to economic reasons.

The station is broadcasting on a different frequency.

While the majority of TV stations transmit on the UHF frequency, there are some using VHF.  While some UHF antennas pick up VHF signals, it is necessary to use an antenna optimized for UHF or UHF/VHF frequencies.

The channels broadcast antenna is located at a lower elevation on the tower or even behind other broadcast towers.

Lower elevation or obstruction by other towers can cause line of sight problems.  Change the location or elevation of the antenna to troubleshoot this problem.


Problem: The picture isn’t clear or I see snow (fuzz).


The TV does not have a built in ATSC digital tuner.

Digital signals do NOT have snow!  If you are receiving snow or fuzz, you are watching an analog broadcast.  Typically, people with this problem don’t have an ATSC tuner built into their TV.  Consult the TV’s owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer directly to find out if the TV has a built in ATSC digital tuner.  If it does not have one, an external ATSC tuner can be purchased, so you can use your existing TV.

The auto program or channel scan procedure was not performed correctly.

If the TV does have an internal ATSC tuner, make sure the televisions input or source is set to “TV”.  In the auto or channel program section of the TV’s setup, make sure the “AIR” not “CABLE” is selected to scan the channels.  There are many different manufacturers and models of televisions, the procedures to perform a channel scan can vary between different models.  If you are not receiving High Definition programming consult the TV’s manual or contact the manufacturer to make sure these steps are followed correctly.


Problem: I live within 2 miles of the broadcast tower, but the signal is breaking up.


The stations broadcast antenna is oriented for long range reception.

You will need to point the antenna up at an angle towards the broadcast tower.

The TV is suffering from multi-path distortion.

This happens when the reflected signals are hitting the antenna in addition to the primary signal.  Consider trying a small uni-directional antenna and keep it away from any metallic objects or other antennas.  A variable inline attenuator will also make a difference by dropping the reflected signal below the threshold, so the digital tuner can recognize it.  A larger antenna will not solve this problem.

Television Reception District #1 of Okanogan County | PO Box 111 | Okanogan, WA  98840