NICE AND EASY: Can you use an indoor antenna outdoors?

Well, you could… I’m certainly not going to stop you. Our amazing HD-Blade antenna outperforms all other antennas in its price range and size. Since its release almost seven years ago, praise has been pouring in. The latest version is clear and small and works so well you’ll want on connected to every TV.

But can you use it outdoors?

The antenna itself is pretty weatherproof… the parts that actually do the work are laminated behind two pieces of plastic. The electronics that work to translate the antenna signal so it can be used on a regular cable aren’t in a waterproof case, though. It wouldn’t be hard to weatherproof that bottom plastic lump if you really wanted, though. It’s already what I’d call “weather resistant.” I’ve famously tested the generation 1 HD-BLADE in the bottom of a tub full of water. It didn’t work because of the iron in the tub, but it did work fine once it dried out. I don’t know if it would have held up to months of rain, but obviously a little water didn’t hurt.

Will it work better?

There’s not a lot of benefit to using the antenna outdoors, though. It won’t stand up by itself so it’s going to flop around a lot if you put it on a mast on your roof. (The Flatwave Air is a better choice for that use.) I suppose if you didn’t have any windows in the direction of the towers then it would make some sense to mount it on the outside of the house to keep the signal from dropping due to your home’s construction. Remember that in most cases roughly half of the signal from the broadcast towers is lost when it passes through your home. That’s why we recommend putting outdoor antennas outside if you can possibly do it, instead of putting them in the attic.

Speaking of which, here’s another question: Is there any benefit to putting the HD-Blade on the outside of a window, instead of the inside? The answer is, it depends. Newer windows with UV protection may also cut down on RF transmissions even though they aren’t supposed to. It might be worth some testing to see if you get any better reception from the antenna when it’s placed on the outside of the window. Most of the time you won’t see any real difference, but if you do, there’s your answer.

If you do decide to mount the antenna on the outside of a window, you’ll want one other piece.

Check out this flat cable

I love telling people about this flat RG6 cable. It’s so thin you can put it between a window and its frame. Because it’s so short, loss isn’t really an issue. Don’t drill holes when you don’t have to. This cable works really well. I advise people to pick up half a dozen at a time, because they’re so inexpensive.

A flat cable like this will help you test all your equipment for outdoor use and it’s just a cool thing to have around.

Get the right antenna from Solid Signal

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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.