A beginner’s guide to how TV aerials work

In order to be able to watch free television channels, it’s first necessary to fit a suitable aerial and align it correctly.

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Is my current aerial appropriate?

If you already have an aerial fitted, a coloured bung on the end of it will denote the frequencies that it can work with. The bung may be red, yellow, green, brown, grey or white, but the most usual colour is black, which denotes a wide band aerial, which can pick up all frequencies.

Can’t see the colour of the bung because it’s too far away? Then you can also determine the type of aerial by looking at the spacing of the ‘fins’ – consistent size and even spacing tell you that it is a group aerial, whereas fins of different length with uneven spacing indicate that it is wide band.

According to Digital UK, it’s important to remove any aerial amplifiers and / or splitters that may have been installed to boost the old analogue signals before the system switched to digital, as they can interfere with reception.

Which aerial will work best?

Your local installer will be able to advise you on the most suitable aerial for your needs, and this will vary according to where you live. For example, if you live in or near Bath, a Google search of ‘TV Aerial Installation Bath’ will direct you to installers in that area. The installer will make sure that your aerial is appropriate and correctly aligned so that you receive the best signal possible.

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Once you’ve tracked down a TV Aerial Installation Bath service, the engineer will assess your rooftop and loft to determine where to fit it. The aerial needs to be a minimum of 10 metres above ground level for the best reception and should be clear of trees and other obstacles. Sometimes installing it in the loft is the best option.

My old aerial isn’t working properly

Long-term exposure to the elements can wreak havoc on an aerial over time, so if you’re faced with a loss of reception, or poor quality sound or visuals, it might be best to consider a complete new aerial altogether. Your local installer will advise you whether your existing aerial is simply incorrectly aligned or whether a new aerial is the best solution.

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