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 DAT790 LR antenna from Televes. 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.

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 amplified antennas. 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.

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. All I got was a horribly distorted picture but I learned that it’s possible that you can have too much antenna.

This is why I love the Televes antenna line. In this case we advised the customer to unplug the amplifier’s power supply 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.

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.