Firstly, should you ‘boost’ your antenna signal?
Sometimes I get calls from customers saying, ‘How can I boost my signal?’ My answer is always a question. Is that the right solution to your problem? Will ‘boosting a signal’ solve the problem the customer is experiencing? For example, signal issues are not always too little signal but can also be a poor quality of signal because of interference from a nearby mobile phone 5g transmitter for example. Hence, what you can end up doing is you also boost that interreference at the same time! So, in that scenario ‘boosting’ is not the way to go. This is a classic case of ‘more is not always better!’ Now that doesn’t mean that a booster isn’t ever appropriate, sometimes it is, and we’ll discuss that next.
When to ‘Boost’
As a TV Aerial engineer for TV Aerials Stockport, I can tell you that when we are dealing with low levels of signal, boosting the signal is always the last options for us, let me explain why. Yes, it’s true that a good strong signal is always preferable. However just as important is a ‘clean signal.’. A ‘clean’ signal is a pure signal that is devoid of interference. So, the best possible way to get that is always at the head end, in other words from the aerial.
When we are finding on an installation that the signal is a tad low, we will often move the TV Aerial to a place where we might get a better signal. Whether that be in a different location or elevating the TV Aerial higher utilising a taller mast. Thus maximising the signal available rather than boosting it. If after all of that has been tried, the signal is still below the desired level, only then will we add a booster. This is usually in the form of a MHA- mast head amplifier that has a variable gain and set the gain as low as possible. Why, well it’s because, whenever you add a booster or amplifier you add noise, in other words the purity of the signal is compromised, so it becomes a delicate balance of quality over quantity.
Why you need test equipment
One thing I would like to address here is that when doing any of the above it’s VERY important to use the correct test equipment. This is because, without it, you really are working blind. A spectrum analyser will look a not only the levels of the various multiplexes but also any possible interreference from outside influences. Therefore, I never advise customers to do a DIY job and install a booster themselves, as they do not have the correct test equipment. I would always suggest calling an expert when considering a booster or any type of amplification as a solution to your weak signal because perhaps we can boost your signal without a booster 😉
TV Aerials Stockport. Houldsworth Business & Arts Centre, Houldsworth St, Stockport SK5 6DA.
Tel: 0161 883 3687