Connecting aerial to TV

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You asked about - or hinted at - connecting a new cable to your existing aerial. That is one of your questions that I answered. You asked if it would be difficult. My answer covered what you'd come across and what it would look like It's either going to be....

A bare wire connection

OR

an F connector.

Those are the 2 possibilities.

Now you know what you're dealing with you can be prepared for either eventuality.

F connectors are featured mainly on an aerial type called a Log Periodic. It has a very distinctive look (use Google image search to find LOG PERIODIC aerials to see if the pictures match what you have.)

Most other standard domestic TV aerials have a way of connecting bare wires. If you've ever wired up a mains plug then the size and style of connection is very similar.

You then went off at a bit of a tangent asking about F connectors and more channels through a satellite dish. I'm not going through that again. You have the basics in my previous answer.

Regarding Fire TV sticks as an alternative to sorting the aerial. Yes, there are lots of channels. You're basically picking up the catch-up TV services and also other channels from different parts of the world. It's a bit like bloatware on a new computer. Lots of programs that are of no use to you but packaged with the main attraction as filler. Lots of crap.

This is what I found too with the "free to view" TV channels offered as apps that will run on a Fire TV stick. What was missing was most of the live channels you get from watching Freeview. There were hundreds of other channels; stuff from Europe and Africa and the Middle East etc, but the local UK channels weren't there or were only represented via the catch-up services.

I did find some services that would relay the live UK Freeview channels, but only on subscription, not free.

Be aware too, if you watch BBC iPlayer then that counts as needing a TV Licence.

If I was you I'd take a close look first hand - in the flesh - at what your friends say they have on their Fire TV sticks. Things are always changing, and maybe in the year or so since I last looked then it's possible that there are new services that are comprehensive. You should go round to one of your friends homes and see it for real, ask about the hidden costs (VPN service, subscriptions etc) and also take a good look at the quality.
Thank you again for your answer and for giving so much time to it, it's been very helpful. I do have a TV licence and have had one for 3 or 4 years now (since whenever it became mandatory to have one for watching catch-up even). And you actually need a licence now to watch any TV, whether BBC, ITV, Channel4 or whatever and also whether you watch live or on catch-up. After what you've told me about Firesticks I'll definitely look into them more before investing in one. Thank you again for all your help.
 
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The TV User manual (if you do not have one) can be found at

The TV antenna connector is the "common" "female" Belling-Lee connector (which Lucid termed "the push-in TV aerial plug")
(The required "male" connector looks like this. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:IEC_169-2.jpg )
(These are now often mis-called "PAL Connectors", perhaps since NTSC countries tend to use "F" connectors on their TV equipment.)

However, since it is likely that you will be installing new co-axial cable from the antenna to the TV "location", you will probably need to install a new "wall-plate" and a TV connector on the wall at this point.
I strongly suggest that you use a "F" Connector at the wall and, therefore, you will need a TV "cable" with a "male" Belling-Lee connector at the one end and a "male" "F" connector at the other. (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:F-Stecker_und_Kabel.jpg)
Either that, or a cable with a male "F" connector at both ends plus a "F" to Belling-Lee adaptor at the TV end (https://www.satellite.ie/acatalog/F-to-tv-coax-connector-adapter.html )

The "Wall Plate" will require a "female" "F" connector ( https://www.satellitesuperstore.com/satellite_wall_plates.htm ) and these fittings are "female" "F" connectors on both sides - so that the co-axial cable in the wall can screw onto the rear of the wall plate "fitting" and the lead to the TV can be screwed to the front.
My reason for suggesting the use of "F" connectors at the wall is that they are much less likely to be dislodged accidentally.

Of course, wall plates with more than one "F" connector are available, so a plate with two connectors could be installed, with the second "F" connector being available for a satellite co-axial cable as well, if you get to use one later.

Lucid wrote concerning "F" connectors :-
"I always use compression plugs. The plugs I use have a little rubber grommet inside that helps create a moisture-resistance seal between the aerial and the downlead." which is good advice, especially for any "outside" "F" connector.

However, such "Compression Plugs" require a special tool for the job and you may not be able to justify the cost of this tool for only two connections,
Unless you can hire/borrow the necessary tools, and considering that working on the roof of a two story house is involved, it may be better if you used a professional antenna installer, at least for the external part of the task.
If you obtain and position the wall-plate and install a "draw wire" from the ceiling space to the wall-plate, it should reduce the time taken for the installer to complete the job.
 
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The TV User manual (if you do not have one) can be found at

The TV antenna connector is the "common" "female" Belling-Lee connector (which Lucid termed "the push-in TV aerial plug")
(The required "male" connector looks like this. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:IEC_169-2.jpg )
(These are now often mis-called "PAL Connectors", perhaps since NTSC countries tend to use "F" connectors on their TV equipment.)

However, since it is likely that you will be installing new co-axial cable from the antenna to the TV "location", you will probably need to install a new "wall-plate" and a TV connector on the wall at this point.
I strongly suggest that you use a "F" Connector at the wall and, therefore, you will need a TV "cable" with a "male" Belling-Lee connector at the one end and a "male" "F" connector at the other. (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:F-Stecker_und_Kabel.jpg)
Either that, or a cable with a male "F" connector at both ends plus a "F" to Belling-Lee adaptor at the TV end (https://www.satellite.ie/acatalog/F-to-tv-coax-connector-adapter.html )

The "Wall Plate" will require a "female" "F" connector ( https://www.satellitesuperstore.com/satellite_wall_plates.htm ) and these fittings are "female" "F" connectors on both sides - so that the co-axial cable in the wall can screw onto the rear of the wall plate "fitting" and the lead to the TV can be screwed to the front.
My reason for suggesting the use of "F" connectors at the wall is that they are much less likely to be dislodged accidentally.

Of course, wall plates with more than one "F" connector are available, so a plate with two connectors could be installed, with the second "F" connector being available for a satellite co-axial cable as well, if you get to use one later.

Lucid wrote concerning "F" connectors :-
"I always use compression plugs. The plugs I use have a little rubber grommet inside that helps create a moisture-resistance seal between the aerial and the downlead." which is good advice, especially for any "outside" "F" connector.

However, such "Compression Plugs" require a special tool for the job and you may not be able to justify the cost of this tool for only two connections,
Unless you can hire/borrow the necessary tools, and considering that working on the roof of a two story house is involved, it may be better if you used a professional antenna installer, at least for the external part of the task.
If you obtain and position the wall-plate and install a "draw wire" from the ceiling space to the wall-plate, it should reduce the time taken for the installer to complete the job.
Thank you for your reply and thank you to everyone who's advised me on here. But to be honest it's starting to sound quite complicated, and with the prospect of having to go on the roof and also the possibility of having to buy a special tool for the job, I think I might just follow your last piece of advice and get a professional in, although if I do I wouldn't want him to install a new aerial if the one I've got could do the job.

Something in your answer that I didn't understand was your reference to a wall plate. Do you mean a plate to go on the chimney stack or to go on the wall outside my living room from where I will feed the cable through the window casing into my living room.
 
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Thank you for your reply and thank you to everyone who's advised me on here. But to be honest it's starting to sound quite complicated, and with the prospect of having to go on the roof and also the possibility of having to buy a special tool for the job, I think I might just follow your last piece of advice and get a professional in, although if I do I wouldn't want him to install a new aerial if the one I've got could do the job.

Something in your answer that I didn't understand was your reference to a wall plate. Do you mean a plate to go on the chimney stack or to go on the wall outside my living room from where I will feed the cable through the window casing into my living room.

It's only complicated because your questions lack specifics about the aerial, so we're having to keep options open. In reality, it's almost a binary choice:

AERAIL FITTINGS.jpg


That's about as complicated as that part gets. But if you insist on keeping us in the dark then we have to leave both options open. I'm sorry if an A-or-B choice is causing you such a headache.

Getting on the roof carries an element of risk, and not everyone has a head for heights. Perhaps you had better leave it to someone who knows what they're doing.

As for not wanting a new aerial installing, I can understand that, but as an installer myself I'll give you two good reasons to reconsider then leave it up to you.

1) Aerials don't last forever. The covers over connections come adrift resulting in corrosion. Weathering and fat pigeons can take their toll too. Aerial installation jobs don't pay fortunes, and so any installer is looking to get finished as quick as possible unless you're willing to pay them for the extra time it might take buggering about with a corroded old aerial

2) Depending on your local transmitter there's a fair chance that the frequencies used have changed since your old aerial was installed. This, and possibly if the wrong type of aerial was installed originally - for example, a wideband high-gain where the better choice would have been a group A or group B aerial - may mean that your old aerial is no longer (or never was) a good match to the local transmitter


You can find out which your local transmitter is likely to be by putting your postcode and house number in to this web page: https://www.freeview.co.uk/corporate/detailed-transmitter-information


@FrodoOne made a comment about wall plates. He has assumed you had your aerial installed properly with the cable drilled through the wall in to the back of a sunken wall box finished with a cover plate a bit like the way proper power sockets are installed. By the sound of it you or the previous tenant/home owner went for the cheaper option of the installer drilling a hole through the window frame and feeding the coax through that. Ignore the wall plate comment. It's obviously not appropriate to you.
 
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(USER=243956]@FrodoOne[/USER] made a comment about wall plates. He has assumed you had your aerial installed properly with the cable drilled through the wall in to the back of a sunken wall box finished with a cover plate a bit like the way proper power sockets are installed. By the sound of it you or the previous tenant/home owner went for the cheaper option of the installer drilling a hole through the window frame and feeding the coax through that. Ignore the wall plate comment. It's obviously not appropriate to you.
Thank you for your "clarifications" - and I did like your comment concerning "Weathering and fat pigeons can take their toll too." !!!

I would have hoped that my posting of
might have made that to which I was referring somewhat "obvious".

(I was careful to post a UK wall-plate reference - rather than any Australian or North American reference, of which there are many on the WWW.)
(However ?!?!?!)


I really did not consider "drilling a hole through the window frame and feeding the coax through that".
While I am not a "professional" installer, the only times when I have found it necessary to run the co-ax down the outside of a building and drill through the wall, the cable entry hole has always been drilled "upwards", sealed (appropriately), slight external excess cable left - to allowed for a "drip point" - with "excess" cable "left inside" the wall cavity - so that any future "installer" would have some "slack" to utilise for future changes..
.
 
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It's only complicated because your questions lack specifics about the aerial, so we're having to keep options open. In reality, it's almost a binary choice:

View attachment 272916

That's about as complicated as that part gets. But if you insist on keeping us in the dark then we have to leave both options open. I'm sorry if an A-or-B choice is causing you such a headache.

Getting on the roof carries an element of risk, and not everyone has a head for heights. Perhaps you had better leave it to someone who knows what they're doing.

As for not wanting a new aerial installing, I can understand that, but as an installer myself I'll give you two good reasons to reconsider then leave it up to you.

1) Aerials don't last forever. The covers over connections come adrift resulting in corrosion. Weathering and fat pigeons can take their toll too. Aerial installation jobs don't pay fortunes, and so any installer is looking to get finished as quick as possible unless you're willing to pay them for the extra time it might take buggering about with a corroded old aerial

2) Depending on your local transmitter there's a fair chance that the frequencies used have changed since your old aerial was installed. This, and possibly if the wrong type of aerial was installed originally - for example, a wideband high-gain where the better choice would have been a group A or group B aerial - may mean that your old aerial is no longer (or never was) a good match to the local transmitter


You can find out which your local transmitter is likely to be by putting your postcode and house number in to this web page: https://www.freeview.co.uk/corporate/detailed-transmitter-information


@FrodoOne made a comment about wall plates. He has assumed you had your aerial installed properly with the cable drilled through the wall in to the back of a sunken wall box finished with a cover plate a bit like the way proper power sockets are installed. By the sound of it you or the previous tenant/home owner went for the cheaper option of the installer drilling a hole through the window frame and feeding the coax through that. Ignore the wall plate comment. It's obviously not appropriate to you.
Thanks again for your reply. I checked out the transmitter using the link you provided and my postcode (TS5 6AX) and it gives the most likely transmitter as Bilsdale Tower. In the column "Reception Summary" it gives 2222, which means nothing to me. You were asking about my aerial so I've attached a photo of it here.
20220624_173033.jpg
 
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Thanks again for your reply. I checked out the transmitter using the link you provided and my postcode (TS5 6AX) and it gives the most likely transmitter as Bilsdale Tower. In the column "Reception Summary" it gives 2222, which means nothing to me. You were asking about my aerial so I've attached a photo of it here.

That is the transmitter mast which caught fire and collapsed. Have they replaced it yet?
 
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Thanks again for your reply. I checked out the transmitter using the link you provided and my postcode (TS5 6AX) and it gives the most likely transmitter as Bilsdale Tower. In the column "Reception Summary" it gives 2222, which means nothing to me. You were asking about my aerial so I've attached a photo of it here. View attachment 272980

Thanks for the picture. That's really very useful.

I skipped the local transmitter summary list and went straight to the Bilsdale info a bit further down the page. This is the bit that's most useful to you:

bilsdale.jpg


From your point of view you're just interested in whether the boxes are green, amber or red. Yours are all green. This doesn't mean you'll get great reception regardless of the gear. If an aerial or the cabling is broken, unsuitable, incorrectly aligned or in some other way buggered up (that's a technical term ;)) then you can still end up with little or no signal. Similarly, if your aerial is pointing directly at a huge stand of trees or there's some other by physical obstacle such as a large building then that will affect reception too.

The prediction is saying "all things being well, the general signal strength in this area is good".

Looking at your aerial, I can tell it was aligned at some point in the past on to a main transmitter rather than a relay. This confirms that Bilsdale is your most likely transmitter rather than one of its relays. I can tell this because the little bars of the aerial are parallel to the ground. We call this horizontal alignment, and it's to match the horizontally polarised signal from a main* transmitter. Relays mostly use vertical polarisation.

Summary so far then: You're on a main transmitter and, local conditions not withstanding, you should get a fairly strong signal.


Looking at the aerial itself, I can tell you it's very likely that this is a low rent contract aerial. That would match with the bodge-it solution of drilling through a window frame to install an aerial cable. I suspect it's pre-digital era, so it's been up at least 25 years, maybe much longer. This reduces the chances that you'll have nice clean wire clamps inside the connection cover. Even if the cover is still in place, atmospheric moisture over a quarter century or more will have taken its toll.

Being a contract aerial means it wasn't top-quality high-performance deal. Quite the opposite in fact. These were built to the lowest price possible. Compared to an ordinary Yagi (a common type of aerial design), the contract aerial will have pulled in far less signal. That didn't matter so much in a strong signal area, but after 25+ years of outdoor exposure and digital TV's more fussy signal preferences then it may be a consideration.

The masting to the aerial looks really quite sturdy though. That means if you change the aerial then - if it is as good as it looks - then you're literally just swapping the aerial rather than the whole system. I would strongly recommend you change the aerial - either you or an installer. Pre-digital-era aerials weren't 75 Ohm and the cabling was only single shielded. You're going to have a fight on your hands to get the old cable off and fit new on to an aerial that's really quite poor. If you want to keep the costs down then fit a Log Periodic and some new coax. Hacksaw off the U-bolt from the old aerial rather than trying to shift the rusted nuts.






... * Please, anyone about to chime in about the odd exceptions where main transmitters use some vertical alignment, remember this is a guy asking for help who is confused by the basics of an F-plug. Let's not derail the thread with stuff that doesn't apply to him. (y)
 
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Thanks for the picture. That's really very useful.

I skipped the local transmitter summary list and went straight to the Bilsdale info a bit further down the page. This is the bit that's most useful to you:

View attachment 273010

From your point of view you're just interested in whether the boxes are green, amber or red. Yours are all green. This doesn't mean you'll get great reception regardless of the gear. If an aerial or the cabling is broken, unsuitable, incorrectly aligned or in some other way buggered up (that's a technical term ;)) then you can still end up with little or no signal. Similarly, if your aerial is pointing directly at a huge stand of trees or there's some other by physical obstacle such as a large building then that will affect reception too.

The prediction is saying "all things being well, the general signal strength in this area is good".

Looking at your aerial, I can tell it was aligned at some point in the past on to a main transmitter rather than a relay. This confirms that Bilsdale is your most likely transmitter rather than one of its relays. I can tell this because the little bars of the aerial are parallel to the ground. We call this horizontal alignment, and it's to match the horizontally polarised signal from a main* transmitter. Relays mostly use vertical polarisation.

Summary so far then: You're on a main transmitter and, local conditions not withstanding, you should get a fairly strong signal.


Looking at the aerial itself, I can tell you it's very likely that this is a low rent contract aerial. That would match with the bodge-it solution of drilling through a window frame to install an aerial cable. I suspect it's pre-digital era, so it's been up at least 25 years, maybe much longer. This reduces the chances that you'll have nice clean wire clamps inside the connection cover. Even if the cover is still in place, atmospheric moisture over a quarter century or more will have taken its toll.

Being a contract aerial means it wasn't top-quality high-performance deal. Quite the opposite in fact. These were built to the lowest price possible. Compared to an ordinary Yagi (a common type of aerial design), the contract aerial will have pulled in far less signal. That didn't matter so much in a strong signal area, but after 25+ years of outdoor exposure and digital TV's more fussy signal preferences then it may be a consideration.

The masting to the aerial looks really quite sturdy though. That means if you change the aerial then - if it is as good as it looks - then you're literally just swapping the aerial rather than the whole system. I would strongly recommend you change the aerial - either you or an installer. Pre-digital-era aerials weren't 75 Ohm and the cabling was only single shielded. You're going to have a fight on your hands to get the old cable off and fit new on to an aerial that's really quite poor. If you want to keep the costs down then fit a Log Periodic and some new coax. Hacksaw off the U-bolt from the old aerial rather than trying to shift the rusted nuts.






... * Please, anyone about to chime in about the odd exceptions where main transmitters use some vertical alignment, remember this is a guy asking for help who is confused by the basics of an F-plug. Let's not derail the thread with stuff that doesn't apply to him. (y)
Thank you again. That's really helpful. I don't think there are any intervening large objects, trees etc so I don't think reception will be affected for that reason. But again I feel I'm a bit out of my depth. I see that you can pay over £100 for a log periodic aerial, unless a cheaper one would do perhaps, but, having removed the old aerial in the way you suggest, how easy/difficult is it to fit the new one and how easy/difficult is it to align it properly etc. Have you any idea what I would have to pay a professional to do the job? Thanks again.
 
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Thank you again. That's really helpful. I don't think there are any intervening large objects, trees etc so I don't think reception will be affected for that reason. But again I feel I'm a bit out of my depth. I see that you can pay over £100 for a log periodic aerial, unless a cheaper one would do perhaps, but, having removed the old aerial in the way you suggest, how easy/difficult is it to fit the new one and how easy/difficult is it to align it properly etc. Have you any idea what I would have to pay a professional to do the job? Thanks again.

Theres no way on God's green earth a Log Periodic aerial should cost £100 unless sold as a kit with a whole bunch of mounting hardware such as a pole and mast clamp kit.

If some UK vendor is trying to charge you £100 for supplying just the aerial, delivered to your door, then tell them to do one.

The best Log Periodic available for your installation is this one from Aerials & TV in Sheffield. LINK
The reason is that it is tuned down to the narrower channel range that Freeview is heading towards at your transmitter. This means it picks up more signal than a standard Log.

As for what your local installers charge, I have no idea precisely. Where I am, a basic installation such as yours with current aerial removed, new one installed on the existing pole and aligned with a proper meter, then cabled down to a suitable TV point would be around £120.
 
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I see that you can pay over £100 for a log periodic aerial, unless a cheaper one would do perhaps, but, having removed the old aerial in the way you suggest, how easy/difficult is it to fit the new one and how easy/difficult is it to align it properly etc.V

Very easy to install - easy way is to get an accurate bearing from your home to the transmitter, take account of the magnetic variation for where you are. Then just aim the antenna on that bearing - if working alone. Sometimes it can be easier having an assistant on the ground with the compass, looking directly at your support mast, they should be looking at the mast on the same bearing but 180 degrees out. They just need to tell you left/right a bit until the antenna point straight at them. Finally, just check the signal strength on the TV - most these days can show a strength/quality meter on screen.
 
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Maybe not relevant to your area, but as an idea
I had an aerial removed from the roof as it had broken , the guy then suggested because of sea-air etc - he would try an aerial in the loft , as it usually work in this area (advantage of local installers) , he said he would take a signal reading and if it was no good - would go back out on the roof and fit up there
He charged me £130 in Oct 2018 , but they did give me an idea of price over the phone

I'm sure there are good local installers who are doing this all day long in your area , maybe look on social media see if any are recommendations - thats how i found mine

anyway , as Lucid mentioned, the price does not seem to have changed much since covid , unlike other services
 

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