Can you use a multiswitch with an antenna?

This one comes to us from our hard-working phone representatives. Our Novi, Michigan based call center is always talking to customers and that’s where some of our more … interesting questions come from. This customer asked:

I’m cutting the cord and I want to use my old satellite setup. There’s a big grey box that all the wires go into. Can I feed the antenna into that and have it all work?

It’s a multiswitch

Believe it or not this customer was rocking one of these old-school beauties:

This Zinwell WB68 multiswitch is still available at Solid Signal, but it hasn’t been in wide use since about 2009. It was the standard way to get more than four receivers with your TV back then, but it’s been replaced by SWM technology. However, the WB68 is just solid, simple technology and it will work by itself for years without even a separate power source. It’s actually powered by the receivers itself, if you were curious.

How is a multiswitch different from a splitter?

There’s a longform article here if you want to dive further, but here are the basics. A multiswitch is more than a splitter. It actually sends one of several different, incompatible signals to each port. That’s why you can run a single wire to each receiver even though there are up to six distinct satellite signals that pass from the dish.

A splitter just takes a single signal and passes it to multiple outputs. It’s a lot simpler. A multiswitch uses a small amount of power to run the computer chips which let it do its magic.

What happens if you connect an antenna to a multiswitch?

Probably, nothing. The antenna signal is very different from a satellite signal. A multiswitch wouldn’t know what to do with it. Plus, your television doesn’t supply power up the line, so the multiswitch wouldn’t work anyway.

So what can you do?

You can replace that multiswitch with a splitter like the one you see above. This particular splitter sends signals to 8 TVs. If you don’t need that many, you may want to use a smaller splitter because the signal going through a smaller splitter will be stronger.

Get all the cord-cutting equipment you need at Solid Signal

Whether it’s an antenna, cables, or every accessory you need to do the job, you’ll find all the best cord-cutting equipment at Solid Signal. We are your one-stop shop for the kind of things you won’t find anywhere else, and no one can give you the same level of support you’ll get from Solid Signal. From our blog to our Facebook Group to our 100% US-based call center, you’ll get the support you need! Call us at 888-233-7563 for the best answers in the business from our qualified technicians!


About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.