Outdoor as good as indoor antenna?

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Jun 26, 2014
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Eau Claire, WI
#1
I'm looking for an antenna to use indoors, but I keep hearing that any outdoor antenna is going to be better. I'm assuming that what's being referred to is the idea of using the antenna outdoors, rather than one that's designed to be outdoors.

What I'd like to know is that if I'm going to be using the antenna indoors, would one that is designed for outdoor use actually work better than one that is designed for indoor use? Outdoor ones aren't as compact, and I'm wondering if the larger size and the fact that it's not made for looking good and sitting nicely on a tabletop means that it's designed better for picking up signals.

Truth be told, I'm asking specifically about TV antennas here. I've had no experience with indoor/outdoor antennas with my scanner and just used what came with the unit, but I have never had a TV antenna indoors that was designed to be outdoors. Today's outdoor TV antennas are pretty compact.
 

mancow

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#2
Outdoor because it's higher and not covered up by your house (walls, insulation, metal objects) and less nearby electronic interference.

Anything indoor generally sucks due to the above issues. Get a discone type and put it outside as high as possible with decent cable if you can.
 
Joined
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#3
Outdoor because it's higher and not covered up by your house (walls, insulation, metal objects) and less nearby electronic interference.

Anything indoor generally sucks due to the above issues. Get a discone type and put it outside as high as possible with decent cable if you can.
I understand that an outdoor antenna works better outdoors, but I'm asking if an antenna that is designed to be outdoors but is used INDOORS would generally outperform an antenna that was designed to be indoors. I'm wondering if the way outdoor antennas are designed is better for picking up signals, regardless of where it is placed.

Here's another way to ask: If you were to find the best INdoor antenna ever made, and also the best OUTdoor antenna ever made, and then you tried using them side-by-side INDOORS, which one is likely to pick up signals reliably?
 
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#4
On a given frequency, a larger antenna will almost always have more gain than a smaller antenna.
So, comparing a small indoor antenna to a larger outdoor designed antenna isn't a good comparison unless you are specifically taking into account the gain differences.

Using a higher gain antenna indoors would likely result in a slightly improved signal level.

However, most homes have a lot of modern electronics. All those electronics generate RF noise. All that RF noise can get into your radio and cause reception issues. Using a higher gain antenna indoors will increase the strength of both the desired as well as the undesired RF.

As Mancow said, the reason why "outdoor" antennas work better than "indoor" antennas is because:
-You are getting them away from the RF noise makers in your home.
-You are getting the antenna up higher. On VHF And UHF frequencies, they tend to be line of sight. The higher your antenna is, the father off the "radio horizon" is. In other words, higher up means you can hear signals from farther away.
-Getting the larger antenna outdoors makes it less of an issue inside the house.

If possible, get a good antenna designed to be mounted outdoors mounted up as high as you safely can outside your home. Connect it with high quality coaxial cable to your radio. Likely you will be amazed at the improvement in reception.
 
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#5
Here's another way to ask: If you were to find the best INdoor antenna ever made, and also the best OUTdoor antenna ever made, and then you tried using them side-by-side INDOORS, which one is likely to pick up signals reliably?
"Best" can mean different things to different people. What you are asking is: "If I have an indoor antenna with a given gain at a specific frequency and compare that to an outdoor antenna with the same gain at the same specific frequency -mounted in the EXACT same location-, will there be a difference in performance?"

Answer = No.
 
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#6
"Best" can mean different things to different people. What you are asking is: "If I have an indoor antenna with a given gain at a specific frequency and compare that to an outdoor antenna with the same gain at the same specific frequency -mounted in the EXACT same location-, will there be a difference in performance?"

Answer = No.
Thanks!
I've been looking at a lot of outdoor antennas versus the indoor ones. I'm not too sure that I could mount it outside, which is why I was thinking of doing it inside. Probably no use in that if it won't make any difference.
 
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#7
Thanks!
I've been looking at a lot of outdoor antennas versus the indoor ones. I'm not too sure that I could mount it outside, which is why I was thinking of doing it inside. Probably no use in that if it won't make any difference.
Yeah, unlikely.

Unless you are listening to a specific radio site and can utilize a directional antenna. That might show an improvement.

Generally speaking, though, getting any antenna outdoors and away from the RF noise in the home will help. Even getting it up at roof level will likely greatly improve performance.
 

NC1

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#8
What is your situation that requires an indoor antenna? I know some communities, planned developments, and condo's/apartments frown on just about anything other than a tree or shrub in the yard.

We could probably come up with a solution or a more specific direction if we had an idea of the setting. One person I know wanted an outdoor antenna, but could not because of the restrictions. What he did was design an antenna out of aluminum foil, spray glued it to the side of his house, ran the foil "wires" down to the foundation to the house, and then painted over it. He used two screws to connect the foil to the cable and had great TV reception.

Gotta think outside the box sometimes, but detailed information is key.
 

TxScanner

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#9
I have my HP2 connected to my HDTV antenna that I have outside, works pretty well. Not perfect. None that I've used indoor or outdoor have worked perfectly

Sent from my Galaxy S9+ using Tapatalk
 
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#10
The gentleman is considering various antennas for TV reception. Many readers here would prefer an outdoor mounted antenna, as a poster said it gives an unobstructed shot at stations that may be problematic for indoor antennas. Frequently people have good luck with modestly sized Yagi antennas placed in an attic, but limitations include metal roofs (even an ordinary roof attenuates signals) rf noise present in the house, and lack of ability to change the orientation of the antenna for signals arriving from different directions. If one of the sought-after stations is distant and using low-vhf, an outside, full-size antenna may be the only choice.
If one is lucky, and all the desired stations are using UHF , nearly at the same azimuth, and are not too distant, a 2 element "bowtie" antenna with reflector may work great indoors. I have a friend that has very good results using an indoor "bar" amplified antenna, made, I think, by GE. Perhaps the poster could fill us in on attic space availability, true rf channel of the stations, and distance/direction of desired signals. Your surrounding topography and obstructions also are factors. There are some wonderful DIY antenna plans out there on Youtube, and a quick internet search on "cord-cutter tv antennas" will give many results. I am getting a channel 7 station , 43 miles distant, using a $5 flea market antenna that is of the amplified rabbit ears/loop combination. My experience is that cheap flat panel antennas are often poor performers. Flea markets are often full of cheap antennas that have been dumped by people that gave up on broadcast tv and went back to cable. I got a sweet Terk antenna that fit that description for 2$ at the Flea, and it works very well. A big part of the solution is trying various locations, and fiddling around with the elements--in the case of rabbit ear antennas, etc, --until you get some satisfaction. If you can find a company/place that accepts returns, you might try the Moju indoor antennas. I can get about 40 channels via cheap indoor antennas, and the closest station is 27 miles.
 
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#11
What is your situation that requires an indoor antenna? I know some communities, planned developments, and condo's/apartments frown on just about anything other than a tree or shrub in the yard.

We could probably come up with a solution or a more specific direction if we had an idea of the setting. One person I know wanted an outdoor antenna, but could not because of the restrictions. What he did was design an antenna out of aluminum foil, spray glued it to the side of his house, ran the foil "wires" down to the foundation to the house, and then painted over it. He used two screws to connect the foil to the cable and had great TV reception.

Gotta think outside the box sometimes, but detailed information is key.
I live in a house of my own that is only about 4 feet away from my neighbor's house, and they aren't very nice. They seem to like stealing/vandalizing anything they can reach into my backyard for or climb over my fence to steal. That eliminates the idea of attaching an antenna to the south side of my garage, which would be an ideal place. Currently, I have an older style TV antenna on my roof but don't use it anymore because the rotor no longer works. The antenna is also pretty beat up. I could replace it with a new one that I've been considering. But without the rotor, I couldn't adjust it. So right now, I feel I'm better off with my indoor antenna that I'm using, which is an amplified "loop" antenna, which I guess is a UHF antenna. At least it's easily moved and adjusted.

However, there are often times when signals break up and makes programs unwatchable, no matter what I do. Oddly, I can watch one channel that my TV shows is getting a weak signal (2 or 3 bars out of 5), and have no problem, while another channel is showing all 5 bars, and yet still breaks up. I've been thinking that a better antenna is needed, but am not even sure that would help based on what I've been experiencing. Sometimes, such as over the past several days, I can watch anything with no problem at all. Not sure why it changes so drastically.

If you can find a company/place that accepts returns, you might try the Moju indoor antennas. I can get about 40 channels via cheap indoor antennas, and the closest station is 27 miles.
I assume you mean Mohu. Yes, I was at Walmart talking to a salesman and he was highly recommending one of those and said it's what he himself has had the best of luck with as far as indoor antennas go, but he was also recommending an outdoor antenna even more. Since many of the outdoor ones cost less than the $50 Mohu antenna he was pointing out, I thought maybe one of those would be ok to use indoors, but it's not sounding like that would work so well. I was even thinking it would give me an option of putting it outdoors if the chance came up (such as if I moved, which I'd like to) and not have to buy an expensive indoor antenna now and then an outdoor one again later.
 
Joined
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Messages
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#12
Most indoor tv antennas are snake oil since size matters when it comes to antennas they usually only pick up UHF stations.
Mohu is among the worst at snake oil.
........
NO small antenna will pick up VHF tv channels well and rabbit eard will easily work as well as any of the snake oil indoor antennas.
.........
Stay with Winegard or Channelmaster and you can't go wrong the rest are merely snake oil.
...............
 

iMONITOR

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#13
About 90% of the numerous outdoor antennas I've owned over the years have been used indoors, ground floor, in my office. While not ideal, I've had very good results.

What bands/frequencies are you monitoring?
 
Joined
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Olathe, Kansas
#14
OK for TV depending on where you are compared to the channels you widh to receive. I have home built 8 element folded dipoles of 22 ga. wire attached to a piece of cardboard and it just hangs behind the TV, I get close to 50 channels. If you are further away and outdoor antenna may be your only choice for decent reception. Since it's all digital TV now. there is no static or snowy reception. It' either recieves 5x5 or nothing.
 
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#15
IMO indoor is almost always last resort. Walls alone can cause a reduction in signal strength. Stucco is held on by wire mesh. Aluminum siding is not easy on signals. Many times insulation has a foil backing etc etc. You see where I'm going. Then you have the internal house wiring. Try outside first. If you have a theft/vandalism I guess the inside route may be best.
 
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#16
About 90% of the numerous outdoor antennas I've owned over the years have been used indoors, ground floor, in my office. While not ideal, I've had very good results.

What bands/frequencies are you monitoring?
From what I've looked up, assuming it's accurate, it would be between 210 and 674 MHZ. The TV channels are 13, 18, 28 and 48, although there's also a channel 8 about 50 miles away that I used to get at one time.
 
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TxScanner

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#17
This is the outdoor antenna i use, used to use for the tv, but now just use it for my HP-2, works great, i listen to our local Law on it that is digital 859.xxx stuff, and it also picks up the local VFD’s on the old analog 154.xxxmhz stuff, but not so great on that, but good enough. Does a lot better job than a rubber duckie or stock antenna indoors.

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/antenn...VGHZeCh0FNQ1xEAQYASABEgKVLfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

I have it mounted outside on the eve of the house on a old Dish satellite mount.


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