Check•Build/Buy•Scan | Over-the-Air

over the air tv 1

For broadcast towers < 20 miles from your home, a simple indoor antenna may be all you need to receive 60+ channels.

STEP 1: Check for local channels in your area

Online Reception Map (check by zipcode)
Know of other online tools?  Share in the comments.  We will add them to the list.  Thanks!
ImageNameDescription
Antennas DirectAntennas DirectView the TV transmitters in your area. Using this tool, you will see the radius patterns showing the distance of coverage between your location and the broadcast towers.
dtv-govFCC.govUse this program to check for the DTV signals that are available at your location. Enter your address in the box below and click Go! The DTV coverage map will list all stations in your area.
antennawebAntennaWebDiscover how many FREE over-the-air channels are available from your local television broadcasters. Enter your address or ZIP Code below to find how many channels you can receive using an antenna.
tvfoolTVFoolA tool that can analyze your location to help determine what FREE broadcasts might be available in your neighborhood.
winegardtowerfinderWinegard Tower FinderFinding free HDTV programming has never been easier! The HDTV Tower Finder displays available HDTV towers, TV tower information, channels, call signs, networks, and distance to HDTV towers.
antopAntopDiscover FREE HDTV Channels available to you.
Rabbit Ears InfoSignal Search Map
No Cable.org NoCable.org is going to prompt you to give permission to us to grab your location so that we can automatically check to see what DTV stations and networks are within your area.
MohuMohu Zip Code Tool. Free HDTV Right For You? Find out what is available in your area.
ChannelMasterWelcome! First, let's find out what channels you will get in your area and make sure that everything you want is available. You are mainly looking for the Big Six networks: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS and The CW.

Know of additional online reception maps? Leave a comment below.

Q: Indoor antenna?  What are we looking for?
A: Broadcast towers <30 miles from your home.

tipThere is no 100+ mile indoor antenna.  Marketing BS.  Outdoor antenna is needed for the 60-100 mile range.  An indoor antenna is ideal for broadcast towers >30 miles.

  • If your in/near cities with broadcast towers <20-30 miles, an indoor antenna should work!
  • Channels 30-100 miles away?  Indoor maybe.  Outdoor is best.
  • No local broadcast channels found < 100 miles.  Good luck and go high with the outdoor mast.

Update:  I changed the indoor range to 30 miles from 20 miles.  A few viewers emailed that they had no issues with an indoor antenna receiving channels between 20-30 miles.

STEP 2 :  Build/Buy an indoor “HDTV” antenna

tip

When you start adding all the costs of a DIY (copper, balun, coax)  antenna you will probably be close to the price of a store bought.

  • A store bought antenna is nothing more than a DIY antenna wrapped in fancy plastic with all the parts and connectors in one box. No alien/Area-51 technology inside.
Our TOP 3 DIY Indoor Antennas

Keep it Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S principle) applies here.  Out of the 100’s of DIY designs out there, I found 3 that should be one of your first DIY builds.

  1. Stealth Hawk – My favorite.  A few bends of wire beats out most other designs.
  2. Gray-Hoverman – A now patent-expired design.  Stick the original simple design.  It works!
  3. Coat-Hanger/ Bow-Tie – This DIY antenna is everywhere on YouTube.  Does take some time to build.  It works, but one ugly looking 2×4 stick that needs to hid behind the tv, curtain, attic.

BEST: Gray-Hoverman  (this design is used/modified by professionals/experts)
EASIEST:  StealthHawk ($0 DIY.  If it doesn’t work, you can always bend your coathanger back into shape)

STEP 3:  Connect to TV & Scan for channels

  • Scan for channels!
  • Move the antenna around for best reception
  • Cross-fingers!

15 minutes of my time I had 23 channels scanned w/solid signals.  All major networks: ABC, CBS, NBS, FOX, CW, PBS.  Spent a whopping $0 using materials found in the garage. DONE!

stealth hawk pic

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