OTA antenna in attic or higher up on the side of the house near the roof peak?

We cut the cord years ago, and are lucky enough to live in a place with decent signal strength for all the major networks (NBC, ABC, FOX etc). The TVfool report for our house shows all the networks slightly northeast of us (they’re almost all lined up in a straight line just very slightly east of due north) and max 45 miles distance for the most distant one. Currently we have a 35 mile antenna zip tied to the roof over our front porch but we get spotty reception on all but ABC, and it seems to be related to weather mostly.

I want to reliably get all the channels we should and I suspect the problems are the current antenna is not high enough, and a little underpowered. I want to order a stronger antenna (65 or 75 miles?) and either have it properly mounted pointing in the correct direction on the wall just under the roof peak, or in the attic. Does the roof itself or any mechanics nearby interfere with the signal if your antenna is in the attic? It would be in the same part of the house as the HVAC although the signal doesn’t have to go through the HVAC. It would be pointing away from it. I’d prefer to have it up there simply because it would be hidden, but not if it’s not going to really help my situation. We’re having the HVAC replaced in a couple of months and we have to get someone to install an access hatch and lay some flooring in the attic to give the contractors a safe space to work in, and I was going to get the same workman who will be doing this to also install my antenna either in there or he could attach it to the wall right up by the roof peak on the outside which I assume wouldn’t be a problem as long as he has a tall enough ladder. I was hoping to find out some info so I’ll know what would be the most likely successful location before I get him involved so I don’t waste his time and my money.

On the other hand in case he doesn’t want to do this, how hard is it to find dedicated TV antenna installers who have experience and know what you need for your location? I’ve googled and this doesn’t even seem to be a category on yelp for my area. Is there some search term I should use besides TV antenna installation?

7 Replies to “OTA antenna in attic or higher up on the side of the house near the roof peak?”

  1. Your wood and asphalt roof shouldn’t attenuate the signal. The higher you can get the antenna, the better. Aim it using a real compass, not a compass app on your phone. You can tilt it slightly upward a degree or two, as well.

    I’ve installed many antennas on roofs, masts, towers, and in attics. In attics, I’ve put them on masts and hung them right from the rafters. The reception you get comes down to how well you aim it, how high you get it, the quality and length of your cable drop and connectors, and your location relative to the broadcast towers. You can buy a $500 antenna and get crap reception if you aim it wrong or have junk cable ends and splitters. Conversely, you can build a yagi out of scrap copper pipe or a bowtie out of 2×4 and wire and get phenomenal reception if you do everything right.

  2. Look on Amazon for warehouse deals. Antennas are often returned because it didn’t work for a person’s particular situation.

  3. I would buy the antenna, place it in the attic and see what you get. Outside is usually almost always preferable. Keep in mind those 65 to 70 mile antennas can get awful big (8+’ length) which are much more unsightly and also more unwieldy if you are trying to position on a roof or side of a house. Are the channels all UHF, or a combo of VHF lo/high? The UHF only antennas are smaller in general.

  4. I had been planning on mounting my antenna outside but I realized that it would be a little difficult to get it mounted where I wanted it. So I thought I’d try it in the attic before I started trying it outdoors.

    I was pleasantly surprised it worked really well in the attic. I haven’t done a final install so it doesn’t take into account coax and splitter losses.

    I’m about 25 miles from the antennas and I’m using this one…

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0024R4B5C/

  5. Sling/Dish will mount AND supply an antenna to attach to your eaves for $150 in most areas. What’s your zip code? They don’t do installations where a major network is on a low-VHF channel.

  6. You’re always better mounting outside over an attic install. I’d try that first if it’s something you can do yourself, before buying a bigger antenna

  7. Thanks for all the suggestions! I decided to order the antenna u/chrisblahblah mentioned, and FYI if you buy it from amazon warehouse it’s 20% off so I was able to get one for $30 including tax. I’ll probably just have it installed on the outside. It’ll be in the backyard and I realized honestly it’s not worth worrying much about how it looks.

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