Need Help Replacing TV Antenna

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    I need somebody who feels comfortable with heights to help replace my

    mother’s-in-law TV antenna. It’s at the end of the peak of the roof which

    is about 18-20 feet high. The work should be done early in the day before

    everything gets hot. We’re in the Admiral area.

    My husband is disabled with heart problems so he shouldn’t be on the roof,

    but he’s been taking his chances to do a little at a time. We can’t pay a

    lot but would really appreciate the help. Thanks.

    520-403-9144 or



    Tina: I wonder if it is even worth the trouble if you don’t have a digital television. Analog TV broadcasts will gradually cease beginning in September 2008 and will end completely by February 2009. Unless you know you have a digital TV that antenna is going to be scrap metal soon.




    Existing TV stations will broadcast HDTV signals on much the same VHF and UHF frequency bands that they now use to broadcast analog signals.


    An antenna is only a conductor that resonates at a given frequency, or across a certain band of frequencies. Being basically made of simple pieces of wire and the like, the antenna doesn’t differentiate between various types of information content that the signal may or may not contain.


    But it faithfully passes along any variations in the signal that it receives. It’s those variations (the modulation of the signal) that the receiver then decodes, and presents to you as sound and a picture.


    Your old antenna will still receive the TV stations’ signals, even after those signals start to contain a different kind of information encoding.


    In the same way, the antenna on a shortwave radio feeds both AM (analog) and Morse code (primitive digital) signals into the radio equally well. But the radio receiver must have the proper circuitry to decode whichever type of modulation that a station is using, or you won’t be able to hear the station.


    See for example:

    HDTV Antenna Hype – No Such Thing as an HDTV Antenna, at



    Tina, I guess I got off on a maybe less than helpful tangent there for a minute. To answer your question, this is something I know how to do right, and years ago I would gladly have helped with it, but I’m not physically able to anymore.

    Hubby can evaluate this himself, but I hope everything’s as safe with this as when doing the same work for a job and making non-emotional safety decisions about it. Even a normally very sensible guy (this is me I’m talking about now) could be and was swayed a lot by the idea or the duty of helping my mom in situations like this.



    Bob, your clarification (and warning about safety) is so right-on. It’s hard to admit we can’t climb ladders or run around on the roof *any more*. After ten years, I’ll stop saying its temporary :-)

    BTW, does your explanation of antennas mean no one needs the converter boxes for which I got the two $40 off coupons? I was actually planning to give them away, since we have cable, but sounds like they may be unnecessary.



    You’ll need a converter box for over-the-air reception with an antenna, if you want to use your old analog TV.

    If you have a coupon, note that it expires three months from when you got it.

    The coupon type of converter boxes aren’t designed to work with cable TV. But after the switchover, some cable operators might still supply analog signals for local stations.

    Cable will also provide digital signals for many premium offerings (or with Comcast, maybe for everything, nixing analog altogether). For digital cable, an analog TV would need a digital set-top box, one that the cable company no doubt will tell you about. But that’s not the coupon type of converter box, which is only for over-the-air reception.



    You could look around for a handy man kinda guy. This is a job that needs the right tools more than electronics expertise.

    Tina have you had any work done around the house?

    You could check with them to see if they know of some one.

    BTW – after this cycle of Dr. Who finishes up we’re saying goodbye to cable tv. The converter box is here and thanks to the forums I found an antenna.

    Hi Margaret!

    Thanks again!



    I’m not sure I get it. With a converter box and antenna you can get what? The local channels? You still need to pay if you want cable TV, correct?




    And then ask questions. The current FCC apparently employs marketers rather than engineers to write their documentation so the info is at times vague and overly simplified and rarely addresses specific questions.

    Generally speaking, if you currently use an antenna to receive signal, you will need a converter to use the new “digital” signal with your existing antenna and analog tv.

    So repair your antenna if you like, but just putting a new 75ohm cable to the existing antenna might make it as good with the converter/tuner as it was with the analog signal. Or it might not. As long as the signal you want is as close as the antenna-farms on top of Capitol and First hill you might be fine.

    Antennas used for current tv frequencies in VHF will probably pick up the weaker digital signals (or the strong stations) ok but some remote stations which were viewable yet not perfect, may not be receivable at all. The cliff effect is the reason.

    This article tells the tale.

    Some of the links within that article may be of use as well.

    Enter your address (and uncheck the “send me spam” buttons, and it will give you the details of where and which direction the digital signals will be coming from and make suggestions as to type of antenna.

    Just a note, pretty much all of us who have a battery operated tv will find it useless after 2/2009 making it useless also for the disaster kit I kept it in.

    The whole business seems to be a massive scam perpetrated by the FCC for the benefit of the Cable companies and those who bought the frequencies previously held in common as property of all citizens, but a greater crime had already rendered them useless as public service/ public information conduits.



    Nice to hear that i am not the only one in WS with a function TV antenna. if only chan. 13 would behave consistently;)

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