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Resolving Antenna TV Signal Issues: A Step-by-Step Guide to Clear Reception

At times, TV picture may experience intermittent glitches, pixelation, or may not appear at all. The cause of the disturbance could be a fault in the TV receiver or an issue with the antenna system. Occasionally, the reason may be due to network maintenance or other interruptions.

Fortunately, it's possible to fix TV picture disturbances yourself. In this article, we'll go through the most common causes of antenna network issues and how to resolve antenna faults. If necessary, you can also consult an antenna installer.

Troubleshooting Intermittent TV Picture Issues

1. Faulty component in the systemTV signal-related issues can be caused by a broken device in the antenna system, such as moisture penetration in the antenna's symmetrical housing, or damage to connections and cables. Network devices can be damaged during thunderstorms.

The most common causes of TV picture problems are a faulty connection cable between the TV and the antenna socket, or a damaged mast amplifier or power supply unit.

2. External disturbancesExternal disturbances are most common when using an older amplifier that also amplifies LTE signals, causing overload. Disturbances can also be caused by interference from electrical devices (e.g., electric fence) or an incorrectly connected or faulty electrical device.
3. Incorrect antenna system or improperly sized system

Signal glitches can also be caused by a low-powered antenna or amplifier. The system's devices may have been correctly sized initially, but over time, for example, tree growth can obstruct the signal, requiring more amplification. In addition, snowfall in winter can significantly affect the amount of signal received by the antenna. It's also a good idea to check the antenna's alignment.

The need for more powerful devices may also arise in situations where the internal network has been expanded, i.e., a new TV viewing point has been added, or the chain network has become too long.

Sometimes, an initially too powerful amplifier in a strong field can cause overload as well.

4. Terrain obstaclesTerrain obstacles between the antenna and the transmitter station affect primarily in the immediate vicinity of the antenna installation site. When choosing the installation site, it is good to consider high cliffs, dense vegetation, and other tall terrain obstacles in the direction of the transmitter station. However, with powerful devices, proper alignment, and height, signals can also be received in challenging conditions.
5. Television or set-top boxTV picture problems can also be caused by a faulty television or set-top box. The easiest way to identify the fault is to try another television or set-top box.
6. Radio weatherA relatively rare but possible phenomenon is so-called radio weather. In this case, disturbances are caused by a distant transmitter whose signal reaches further than usual.

How can antenna faults be resolved?

1. Replacing the faulty component

The easiest way is to first check the condition of the cables and especially the connections. After that, it's a good idea to check the physical condition of the network devices and antenna. A television signal meter can also be used to help troubleshoot, which can be found in the television settings menu depending on the television model. The green light on the signal meter indicates that the network is in good condition. However, it's also a good idea to check the signal quality and power. Low quality usually indicates a fault, and if the signal curve fluctuates, there is not enough power, and an antenna amplifier is needed in the system. Here are the different parts of the antenna system that, by replacing or adding, can eliminate TV picture problems.

TV antenna

Most often, the fault in the antenna system is found elsewhere than in the antenna, but sometimes the TV antenna can also be damaged, for example, due to weather conditions. Faults manifest as either the breaking of elements or "spikes" or moisture entering the TV antenna's symmetrical box, i.e., the cable connection box. The TV antenna can be replaced with a more powerful option or a different model that is better suited to the location due to weather conditions. In the TV antennas product category, you can find Triax and Fagor antennas for all types of locations: TV antennas

Go to the TV antennas product category by clicking the image.

Mast amplifier and network device

It is recommended to use a mast amplifier and network device combination with the antenna when signal reception conditions are challenging or the distance to the nearest TV transmitter is very far. The amplifier should also be changed when an old amplifier is in use that amplifies LTE signals and thus causes interference to the television image due to overloading. When the signal power is poor, it is a good idea to change to a more powerful amplifier model. We recommend changing the network device at the same time for compatibility reasons. Otherwise, it is essential to check that the voltage in the device is the same as in the mast amplifier. The network device may also be broken in such a way that voltage is supplied, but the device breaks the signal and thus causes pixelation in the image.

Line amplifier

An alternative to the mast amplifier and network device is the line amplifier, which is used indoors between the antenna and the TV receiver. The line amplifier is designed for situations where additional TV viewing points are desired or the existing signal needs to be amplified.

Connectors and cables

The quality of connection cables varies significantly, and in many fault locations, the antenna problem is found in the connection cable itself. Sometimes the solution is just changing the connection cable, i.e., the antenna cable connected to the television. We always recommend using a custom-made connection cable. (e.g., TV connection cable PRO)

Other connection points in the antenna system should also be checked, as an old connection may have become damp or otherwise deteriorated. The antenna cable itself may have become brittle, and sometimes animals can cause damage to various parts of the system. It is a good idea to change the antenna cable and connectors when needed. (e.g., Fagor CCF 020 and F-connector 6.8mm threaded)

2. Fixing external disturbances

An old amplifier that amplifies LTE signals and thus causes overloading. Some of the frequency ranges used for TV signal transmission have been taken into LTE use in recent years, and for this reason, amplifiers over 5 years old without LTE700 protection can easily become congested and cause interference in the TV image as pixelation. The problem can be fixed by changing the amplifier to LTE700 protected (e.g., Fagor AML 910 Kit amplifier package) or installing an LTE filter between the antenna and the amplifier. (e.g., Fagor LTE filter LBF M-694)

- It is also a good idea to check the connections and condition of other electrical devices. Sometimes a damaged device sends interference signals to the antenna system, causing disturbances in the TV image.

3. Optimal sizing of the antenna system

Optimal sizing of the antenna system is important to ensure the quality and power of the signal remains high. Trees growing near the antenna in the direction of the base station, weather conditions, and the expansion of the indoor network are often reasons for the weakening of signal power and/or quality. In this case, the solution is to replace the device with a more powerful one.

If the indoor network causes too much attenuation (several antenna sockets or too long a chain network), an option is to add a line amplifier to the system. Indoor network-induced disturbances can sometimes be resolved with existing components, but this requires some knowledge of the system and its components.

Sometimes, an overly powerful amplifier can be in use, causing too much amplification in strong fields and thus causing overloading. Occasionally, an amplifier is not needed at all, and problems can be fixed by removing the amplifier or changing it to a model with less amplification power.

4. Considering terrain obstacles

The effect of terrain obstacles on signal propagation sometimes has a significant impact, and it is essential to consider these factors when installing an antenna. During the installation and alignment of the antenna, it is particularly important to pay attention to terrain obstacles in the immediate vicinity of the installation site. For example, high cliffs and buildings in the direction of the base station significantly affect signal propagation.

There is also a noticeable difference between summer and winter in trees. For example, moist dense coniferous trees act as a considerable signal attenuator. In summer, when leaves appear on trees, signal levels drop noticeably. In this situation, the most effective method is to install the antenna as high as possible.

In some cases, the terrain can be utilized by installing the antenna, for example, on a cliff in front of the antenna. In this case, the signal can be brought to the television using an underground cable. (e.g., TRIAX KOKA 99 HD Plus PE antenna cable)

When choosing an installation site, it is therefore essential to consider high cliffs, dense forests, and other tall terrain obstacles in the direction of the transmitter station. With powerful devices, correct alignment, and height, it is still possible to receive signals even in challenging conditions.

5. Changing the TV or digital box

Sometimes, TV image problems can also be caused by a damaged television or digital box. The easiest way to diagnose the problem is to try another receiver. It is also a good idea to check the condition of the television's connecting cable. This inexpensive part of the system is often the cause of antenna network disturbances. The solution is to replace the connecting cable with a new one, such as the TV Connection Cable PRO.

6. Radio weather phenomenon

There are phenomena in the atmosphere that cause so-called radio weather. The phenomenon typically occurs at least in archipelagos and other open areas. The problem arises when the signal is transmitted from a transmitter that is not intended to carry the signal and thus causes disturbances elsewhere. The phenomenon is described, for example, on the website of the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority and in the accompanying video. It is extremely difficult to fix the problem, but fortunately, the phenomenon is quite rare. In addition, Digita usually reports on radio weather, and the problem usually disappears on its own after some time. Problems caused by radio weather can be fixed with a larger and more powerful antenna, such as the Triax Unix 52 UHF antenna (LTE 700).

Learn more or contact us:

Antenna Guide is a collection of Nordic Antenna articles related to choosing the right antenna, antenna installation, and antenna alignment. You can also find general information about TV and 4G/5G issues in our guides.

Why does the TV image stutter, pixelate, or not show at all? Learn more about common antenna problems and instructions for solving them: TV channels not showing, what to do?

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