That new TV antenna is out of the box, put together according to the instructions, and ready to go. You go to mount it, but realize – you don’t know which end is the front of the TV antenna!
You aren’t dumb, it’s actually quite a common question. If you aren’t an antenna expert, then sometimes it is not obvious which part of the antenna is the bit you point at the transmitter.
The really quick and simple answer is that usually (with some exceptions) the smallest end of the tv antenna is the front – this is the part you want to point in the direction where the TV signals are transmitted from.
But there are a few different types of TV antennas, and it can be a little tricky. So let’s take a look at each type and I’ll include some images that make it really clear and easy to tell which part is the front.
Which Part Of The TV Antenna is The Front?
The key to knowing which part of the TV antenna is the front is knowing which part of the antenna does what.
Take a look at the image below then I will give a really quick (promise) rundown of the parts of the antenna.
Parts of a TV Antenna
Without going into the technical details, here is a quick rundown of the parts of an antenna.
- Reflector (back) – The reflector helps gather the signal – this is the rear of the antenna
- Dipole – This is the part of the antenna that is connected to the cable
- Directors (front) – These are the front of the antenna and are usually the smallest part, you want to point this end in the direction of the TV transmitter.
That’s it – pretty simple hey?
But If that didn’t answer the question for you, there are a few different types of antenna so I will provide an image showing exactly which part is the front of each type below.
You can learn more in our in-depth guide about the parts of a TV antenna.
Yagi antennas are great at picking up weaker signals, although their use is getting less and less these days.
The way they look often varies a little, and the reflector can often be only slightly larger than the directors in some models.
Phased Array Antenna
Phased array antennas are generally used where weaker signal is an issue and can help solve ghosting problems on an analog TV. They tend to be designed to pick up UHF only.
They are very flat-looking antennas and once again, the smaller elements face the direction of where the signal comes from.
Hybrid TV antennas are designed to pick up both UHF and VHF signals.
The directors are usually noticeably smaller and it is quite easy to tell which end is the front.
A panel antenna has all its parts internally – so you cant use these like you can on other antennas to determine which is the front.
The front, wide part of the antenna will face the signal source.
Generally, you will find though that there will be labels on the rear, and there will likely even be markings indicating which part of the antenna is the front.
Omnidirectional TV Antenna
An omnidirectional TV antenna is just that….it picks up signals from all directions on the horizontal plane.
So there is no front!
It should be noted though that these sorts of antennae do not usually work well in areas with poor signal.
Rabbit Ears Antenna
Rabbit ears antenna can be quite difficult to get orientated correctly.
Depending on the model of antenna you have they may or may not have a reflector – but if it does, then this is the back.
It really is a matter of experimenting with the length and orientation of the telescopic antenna segments to get the best signal – but in the end, rabbit ears antenna should be used as a last resort only.
If you are stuck with a rabbit ears antenna, then you could try the foil trick to help boost the signal.
Which Direction To I Point My Antenna?
So now you know which part of your antenna is the front – the next question is how do you know which way to point it?
Luckily there are a few things you can do to determine which way your antenna should face.
- Look at other antenna in the area – if they are all facing the same way, try the same
- Use the Antennas Direct transmitter locator – a great tool to find the nearest source of TV signal
- Use the signal strength meter on your TV – If your tv has a signal strength meter, you can use it to get a rough idea as to the best direction to face your antenna.
If you have your antenna facing in the right direction, and you still can’t get a reliable signal – there are a few things you can do to boos the signal in this article.