Why Is My Antenna Not Picking up Channels?

Finally getting a chance to sit down in front of the TV only to find that your antenna is not picking up any channels is quite annoying.

Or maybe you just can’t pick up any channels at all, or the picture is blurry or one TV works in your house but the other doesn’t?

Well, the good news is there are a few things you can check that can be quite simple to fix.

Let’s take a look at how to fix some common antenna problems.

TV with no signal

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Why Is My Antenna Not Working?

TV Not Tuned Correctly

With modern, digital TV signals- channel lists and frequencies can often change. This can result in your TV picking up too few, or even no channels at all.

Signs that this might be the problem:

  • You used to pick up channels, but not now less or no channels
  • Your TV is asking you to re-tune

How To Fix The Problem:

Luckily, solving this problem is as simple as re-tuning your TV.

Most modern TVs make it very simple to re-tune.

The exact method is going to carry from brand to brand, but it will go something like this:

  1. Locate the ‘Menu’ button on your remote (it may be called setup)
  2. Find the ‘Installation’ section and navigate to is
  3. Locate the section for ‘Auto Tune’ and let it run
  4. Check that your TV channels now work

You can of course tune your TV manually, but this is much more in-depth and with modern TV’s and signals, rarely needed. If you do wish to manually tune then you will need to follow the instruction manual of your specific TV.

TV Doesn’t Have a Digital Tuner

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In the USA, full power broadcasting of analog television signals officially ended on June 12, 2009.

What this means, is that any TVs that weren’t manufactured with a digital tuner will have stopped working on this date.

Signs that this might be the problem:

  • You are using an older model of TV
  • A newer TV works, but the old model doesn’t

How To Fix The Problem:

Luckily, there is an easy fix – even for older TVs. You just need to get a digital converter box.

These are handy devices that connect in between your antenna and your older TV. They take the digital signal and convert it to a signal that your old TV can understand and display.

You should be aware though that you will need to change channels through the new remote control provided with the digital converter box.

Amplifier Not Working Correctly

A common component of in-home antenna systems is a signal amplifier. What these handy devices do, is take a weak signal, and amplify it to make it stronger.

Amplifiers are electronic devices, and that means they are prone to fail from time to time.

Signs that this might be the problem:

  • There is no signal at all
  • TV antenna stopped working suddenly

How To Fix The Problem:

TV Antenna amplifiers are quite cheap, and generally not worth repairing. If it’s anything beyond a bad connection then you are best just to replace the amplifier.

The amplifier may be located in a number of places:

  • Behind the TV
  • In a roof or crawl space
  • Near the antenna on the roof

Depending on where the amplifier is located, it may be best to contact a professional to help you with this problem.

Amplifier Missing Power Supply

TV Signal amplifiers require a power supply to keep them working. When this power supply is removed or it fails, then they block all signals.

Signs that this might be the problem:

  • There is no TV antenna signal at all
  • The signal stopped working after you made changes to your antenna wiring
  • Someone may have unplugged a power supply without realizing what it is

How To Fix The Problem:

If the power supply has simply been accidentally unplugged – then plug it back in.

If the power supply is faulty, then you will have to source a new one of the same voltage type.

Keep in mind that an amplifier’s power supply can be situated behind a TV, or in a roof/crawl space.

It is also worth noting that if you have made changes to your antenna cabling then it might be difficult to fix. Especially if you have more than one antenna outlet in your house.

If you use coaxial cable splitters, then it is possible that only one outlet of the splitter will be “power passing”. This means that only the marked power passing outlet of the splitter will allow power through the cable to the amplifier.

If this is the case, then you may want to hire a professional to help you solve the issue.

Antenna Facing In The Wrong Direction

parts of a tv antenna

Did you know that most tv antennas have a front and a back, and are designed to be orientated in a certain direction?

If your TV antenna is facing in the wrong direction then it will not be working to its full capabilities.

Signs that this might be the problem:

  • Your antenna is facing in a different direction than it used to
  • Your antenna swings around freely in the wind
  • There have been strong winds recently

How To Fix The Problem:

Depending on where you live, you may have a number of TV signal transmitters nearby. You can find the transmitters near you by using this handy tool.

Once you know where the TV signal transmitter is, you will need to point the antenna in the correct direction and secure it so that it cant move again. This should be a case of simply tightening up some bolts.

Safety Warning: Antennas are usually located high on roofs or masts. It is advised that you contact a professional to do this for you.

Faulty Cabling or Bad Connections

damaged coaxial cable
Image source

This is one of the more common causes of poor TV reception. Poor quality cable, old cabling or bad connections can have a huge impact on the TV signal in your home.

Signs that this might be the problem:

  • The signal works for a while then can suddenly disappear
  • You have birds congregating on or around your antenna regularly
  • The signal gets worse when it’s raining

How To Fix The Problem:

How to fix this problem really depends on where the actual problem is. It is highly recommended that you contact a professional to solve this issue.

If it’s a problem with the cabling quality, you may need to replace all the cabling in your home.

If birds have chewed holes in your cable, then you will need to replace the damaged sections and protect them from future damage.

If water is getting into a join or fitting, you will need to repair the connection and replace and water affected cable. You will then need to protect the connection from water ingress in the future.

Faulty Antenna

This is actually the least likely problem.

It’s also quite hard to diagnose a faulty antenna without professional tools (a field strength meter).

Signs that this might be the problem:

  • You have checked all the problems listed above and nothing is working

How To Fix The Problem:

If you think that your antenna is faulty, then then the obvious thing to do is to replace it.

But it is really going to depend on what type of antenna you have and how accessible it is.

I know I am saying it a lot, but it really is best to talk to a professional about this problem.

Weak or No TV Signal

The final thing I am going to talk about is the fact that you might just have a weak signal in the area…or even none at all.

If your signal is weak, you can try to boost it with a signal amplifier. These take what signal you can get, and amplify it so it is stronger. You need to be aware though that these devices are not magic and cannot make a very weak signal work. They also amplify noise in the signal so it may not actually help.

If you have no signal at all in your area, then there really is not much you can do. I suggest getting a good quality internet connection and investing in a streaming service.

The Wrap up

If you have read this entire article, you will have noticed that in almost every case I recommend calling a professional antenna technician.

This is because most of the time when you are dealing with TV antennas, you are also working at height – and height is dangerous.

Please be careful, and don’t try to fix your antenna if you arent comfortable working at heights – AND make sure you have the right safety gear!

So, my final piece of advice is to – call a professional to help!

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Aaron Green
Aaron is a qualified electronics technician with over 20 years of experience. He has an avid interest in all things tech-based and loves to keep up with the latest products and inventions.

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