Here’s what’s stopping you from getting the channels you want on your antenna

So many of the readers of this blog are longtime antenna enthusiasts. The great thing is that the community is getting bigger all the time. Every year, tons of folks find the great selection of over the air antennas at Solid Signal and learn how to get free television programs. There’s no secret to it… it’s all there for you to find.

Occasionally I hear from someone who is frustrated by their experience. They aren’t getting the channels they were expecting. Sometimes it’s just a matter of pride. They expected 60 channels and only got 45. Sometimes it’s more important than that. Sometimes they feel like they’re missing out on network programming they want.

This article is for those people.

The art and science of antennas

Getting signals from the broadcast tower should be straight science. We know how well signals travel in air. We know how quickly they lose power. Not only that, we can figure out how far away a signal is when it starts. And we can measure how sensitive our antennas are. Just those facts should be enough to tell you what channels you get.

You can go to a site like, feed in your address, and get an idea of what channels are out there. You can even figure out the actual broadcast frequencies. This will let you know what kind of antenna to buy. Some antennas only pick up UHF, while others pick up UHF and VHF-High (channels 7-13.) Only the largest antennas can pick up channels 2-6, because the lower the channel number, the larger the antenna you need.

It should be as simple as that. But, it isn’t. I’m about to tell you why.

Here’s what’s stopping the signal

There are a hundred things, probably more, between you and the broadcast towers. You can see the close ones. They’re the trees and houses near you. But, you can’t even see the distant ones. There could be hills, buildings, and all sorts of things between you and those towers.

Obstructions are a problem because broadcast signals get weaker as they pass through. Sometimes, a building or even a large hill can block the signal completely. If it’s more than a few miles away you might not even know it’s there.

Here’s how to fix it

The key is height. Get that antenna up as high as you can. The higher the antenna is, the more likely it is to have a straight path to the towers. If you can, mount the antenna to the highest point in your home. For most people, that’s the chimney. A chimney mount from Solid Signal makes it easy to do it. The metal straps go around the chimney, then you tighten it down. If your chimney is in good condition, there’s no damage at all.

If that’s not high enough, you can put up a small tower. This sounds like a really daunting thing, but it isn’t. Towers are custom designed to give you the height you need. In most cases you’ll want to secure them into concrete so they don’t move. The good news here is that we at Solid Signal are tower experts. You can get a custom, no-obligation quote on the tower you need. We have people in our Novi, Michigan corporate offices who specialize in helping people with antenna towers. It doesn’t have to be scary.

Give the experts a call. The number is 888-233-7563 and we’re here during East Coast office hours. If it’s after hours, fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you, usually within one business day.

No matter how you choose to get that antenna up there, adding height will almost always help you get better signals. Solid Signal is here to help.

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.