Andrew Steele

Television & Radio Hardware - Aerials

The aerial is just as important as any other equipment used in the install.

Type

The aerial types page contains more information about how different aerials work, and the positives and negatives of each.

Location

The location of the aerial is particularly important. The obvious suggestion is in a location with line-of-sight to the transmitter, however not every house will have that. The gable end provides easy access to the aerial in the future, and allows a bracket to be screwed into it. The bracket should never be fitted to the soffits however, as these aren’t strong enough to support the aerial in windy conditions.

Chimney installs require proper lashing kits which grip onto the chimney and spread the load. The chimney should not be drilled into as the wind loading of an aerial can easily damage the brickwork and also weaken the stack. Future maintenance of chimney installs can be difficult however unless one has access to a roof ladder.

Loft installs are also possible in good signal strength locations. The aerial should point out through the slates of the roof, particularly in terraced housing rows as pointing it out through the wall means that there will be many other walls for the signal to travel through.

Multiple Aerials

There are many houses that have multiple aerials installed all pointing in the same direction – presumably one installed for each television in the house – and it doesn’t need to be like that. Planning issues aside (and there are regulations surrounding aerial installation), for most households a single aerial and splitter/amplifier will be able to server multiple devices. In fact, communal installs in hotels, care homes, and other multi-dwelling locations can support hundreds of connection points throughout the building running from a single aerial.

The only time multiple television aerials are ever required outside extremely specialist situations is when the household wants to receive broadcasts from different transmitters, and therefore require multiple aerials pointing in different directions.

Indoor Aerials

An indoor aerial (sometimes known as a set-top aerial) are still able to be used, though their performance is obviously not as good as an outdoor type. They will only work well in strong signal areas.

The best type of indoor aerial is one that closely resembles an outdoor type – being a yagi or log directional type. Omni-directional aerials such as those with extendable poles or flat panels are poor performers. Any that have a gain control on them as well should be avoided.

As with outdoor aerials, the polarisation is important and should be mounted correctly for the transmitter in use.