Watching Out for You - Answers to your antenna questions

July 15, 2009 --

This can all be confusing, there are so many options to choose from with antennas, but which one is the right one?

Watch the video with this story to learn how to make your own antenna.

"There are small little things that look like ufo's to larger antennas which we would typically see on top of a house."

KAIT Engineer, Mike Cathey, says with the switch to digital, companies making antennas are also cashing in.

But he says choosing the best antenna for your home is all about research before you buy.

"For Region 8 the best antenna would be a VHF/UHF combination."

The VHF picks up the lower frequencies and UHF picks up higher frequencies.

He says the best option is an outdoor antenna.

"Preferably on a rotator so you can point it towards memphis when you want memphis and jonesboro when you want jonesboro. It can be just the standard yoggy type antenna that you've seen for years and years over your house, that's perfectly fine. And just size that according to how far away you are wanting to pull the signal in from."

With these types of antennas, they can range in price from $70 to even $200.

If you are still having trouble getting a good signal with a larger antenna, Cathey says amplifiers can help.  But there are some things you need to know.

"Any older amplifiers that viewers may have out there, probably need to get rid of those because they are probably too noisy for the digital signal. And an additional factor in choosing an amplifier is picking something that has an fm filter, that can filter out the fm stations that might be in the lower 90's 91 range."

He says rabbit ears aren't really a good choice for an antenna with the new digital signal.

"The signal has to look just right to the receiver, to be able to be picked up, it's not enough for it to be a strong signal, it's got to be a good quality signal as well."

Here are some suggestions for you if you are using rabbit ears:

1)  Experiment with different antenna locations, preferably up high and not on the TV.  Some TVs interfere with digital reception.
2)  Try placing the antenna near a window facing toward Egypt (West Jonesboro).

3)  Try adjusting the "ears" out as closely to a "T" shape as possible (flat).

4)  Measure and set the length of each rabbit ear to about 15-1/4 inches in length.
5)  Orient the flat side of the "V" or "T" toward Egypt (West Jonesboro).

Call 870-931-8888 ext. #3 with any questions you may have.