The Best Antennas for an OTA TV

By Andrew Copley

Antennas for over the air (OTA) TV come in many shapes and sizes. High definition and digital TV has created a lot of hype about the right one for best viewing. The truth is old style antennas are still the best. Use your city's OTA station listings to decide what antenna works best for you.

Rooftop Antenna

If you wish to have a rooftop antenna or one mounted on a high pole, then a dual antenna is the best choice. TV signals are sent using VHF (very high frequencies) or UHF (ultra high frequencies). Standard bow-tie antennas are UHF antennas. A dual antenna incorporates both types of signal reception in one unit.A "log periodic" VHF antenna with a "yagi" UHF antenna is mounted on a single horizontal boom. There are many different design styles and depending on the materials used different dB ratings. These antennas are very directional and need to be used with a rotor in order to focus in on the signal. They will give you the best dB rating along with durability. These antennas are designed for high winds and bad weather so they will not only bring in the signals but they will last.

Indoor Antenna

When setting up an outdoor antenna is not possible, the best alternative is an indoor two-bay bow-tie antenna. They measure up to 16 inches wide by 20 inches high. Each bow tie can be one solid piece of metal or four metal rods joined at the center to form the shape of a bow tie. They attach one bow tie to the top of the stand and they attach the other at the bottom. A reflector screen is placed behind the bow ties.This type of antenna is a smaller version of outdoor antennas. Indoor walls reduce reception capabilities, blocking the signals from the TV stations. Each model of antenna has a "dB" rating (the antenna's sensitivity measured in decibels or dB). Selecting the highest dB rating will give you the best indoor antenna. Place the antenna by a window and turn it into the direction of the TV station for best signal.

Balcony Antenna

Like its counterpart the indoor antenna, the best antenna for a balcony or small space is a four-way bow tie. Instead of two bow ties, there are four lined up on the pole with a reflector screen behind it. With it being larger there is a greater surface to capture the signals. This gives the antenna a higher dB gain than the indoor model. The antenna is mounted to a rotor (motor to turn the antenna) in order to rotate the antenna in the direction of the TV signal. Due to curvature of the earth, the average distance an antenna can receive signals is limited to 70 miles. Larger antennas for most cities are not needed. The bow-tie antenna is the best design. It is manufactured by many companies out of different materials. Look for the highest dB rating to get the best antenna.