Do you have “too much antenna?” Is there such a thing?

“Too much of a good thing is still a good thing.” –Anonymous

That’s certainly true of many things, whether it’s money, computing power or chocolate. But it’s not necessarily true of antennas. Recently we had a complaint about our HD8200XL antenna from Xtreme Signal. The customer who bought it complained that it actually brought in fewer channels than his cheap indoor antenna. After working with him to make sure he had properly aimed and installed the antenna, we figured out the problem. He had too much antenna.

Too much antenna?

If you put in a huge antenna and you don’t need one, the result can be that the signals are so strong that your TV’s tuner begins to reject them because they’re distorted. This is especially true with antennas combined with amplifiers. It’s called “overdriving” and I’ve written about it before. It’s pretty common because a lot of people think, whether it’s the engine in their car or the antenna on their roof, that the only answer to any level of dissatisfaction is to simply get something bigger. That isn’t true with engines or antennas, it turns out. In this case, the customer had attached a powerful amplifier to what is already a powerful antenna.

One of my very first experiences with overdriving was back in my college days, when my dorm room faced a broadcast tower with a clear line of sight about half a mile away. My television reception wasn’t good at all. I saw a very distorted, mostly green picture. On the other hand, I learned that it’s possible that you can have too much antenna. Nothing I could do at that point helped me to get great signal. Eventually I ended up moving to the other side of the building, and that’s what it took.

How we solved the problem

This is why I love our Xtreme Signal antennas. In this case we advised the customer to remove the amplifier and replace it with a simple barrel connector. The problem went away instantly because the antenna wasn’t being overdriven. If it hadn’t, we would have recommended an attenuator or simply adding a splitter which does the same thing. The point is that you reduce the signal level and the TV is much more able to deal with the signals you get.

In this case, the customer was happy with the solution but they wouldn’t have had the problem at all if they had asked for an antenna recommendation using our free service. They did pay a little too much for an antenna they didn’t need but after a few modifications things were perfect, so there was no need to play around with another antenna purchase.

If you’re looking for an antenna, don’t be discouraged by the hundreds of choices you’ll find at Solid Signal. We have experts just a phone call or email away and we’ll help you find the right one the first time. Give us a try! Call 888-233-7563 or use our live chat. Both the phone and chat are available during East Coast business hours.

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.