Antenna Not Picking Up VHF Channels: What Are The Most Probable Causes?

The reason that antenna not picking up VHF channels might be the quality of the antenna is not top-notch, the placement might be wrong, or there can be too much signal interference.

The application of VHF, Very High Frequency, bandwidth lies within the radio or television broadcasting network. However, for the above-mentioned reasons, the signals of the VHF channels might be weak or attenuated in time.

Hence, we’ll look at some reasons why an antenna might not be picking up VHF channels, as well as some tips for improving VHF channel reception.

Reasons Behind Antenna Not Picking Up VHF Channels

Antenna Not Picking Up VHF Channels

Broadcast antennas are mainly designed to function in VHF mode. But some factors might disable that particular antenna gain and interfere in picking up VHF channels.

Without further ado, let’s look at every reason behind this issue:

1. Distance from the Broadcast Tower

Distance from the Broadcast Tower
Broadcast Tower

Though VHF signals are strong and suitable for long distance transmission, the relation between the signal strength and the distance of the broadcasting tower is inversely proportional.

For that reason, in some cases, your indoor or outdoor antennas might not be able to receive the VHF channels. 

So, if you wish to have a strong signal strength from a great distant tower, you must have an antenna with higher antenna gain for picking up VHF range.

2. Poor Antenna Placement

The antenna placement is another major factor for the application of signal reception. If your antenna is located at a height where there’s more obstacles, such as trees, buildings, or other signal deflecting objects, then the signal reception might be poor.

Additionally, indoor antennas face comparatively more obstacles for receiving the signals. Hence, picking up the VHF bandwidth seems difficult for them. For efficient signal reception and gain, locate your antenna at a suitable height to avoid such obstacles.

And for indoor antennas, try to find a more open place so that the signals don’t have to face interference.

3. Signal Interference

The bandwidth of VHF signals lies between 30 MHz to 300 MHz. When interference occurs, this range drastically narrows down, disabling all the antennas from picking up the high frequency channels during channel scan.

Signal interference is responsible for all the electronic devices, such as microwaves, Wi-Fi, smartphones which interact with the receiving signal and, thus, resulting in signal distortion, decrease in rms value, the gain, and the power loss.

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To avoid such interferences, make sure to place your antenna at a location where there’s no electronic devices to disturb the flow rate of the receiving signals.

4. Antenna Quality

Different antennas are designed to serve different applications of radio or television stations. Hence, for VHF channel scan, the quality of the antenna has to be durable and, most importantly, high gain.

If an antenna has high gain, this means that it has the ability to amplify the signal it receives. So, if your particular area has weak VHF channels, a quality antenna with high gain will compensate for such disasters.

5. Bad Amplifier

Indoor or outdoor TV antenna has a built-in amplifier installed, allowing the amplification of the weak or attenuated signals coming from a great distant broadcasting tower.

This allows that particular antenna to achieve a high gain which enables it to pick up high frequency signals (VHF). But, in some cases, if your antenna has a bad amplifier, the signal will not be amplified properly, and hence, virtual channels with high frequency will not support your network.

So, if your antenna has a bad amplifier, we suggest fixing that issue or replace that immediately.

6. Equipment Might Be Faulty

If you ever notice that your antenna is not picking VHF bandwidth, our first suggestion will be to check for any faulty equipment, such as receiver, loose connections or any other similar physical damage.

Fix the issues that led to your antenna’s physical damage and double check the connections. If your antenna still does not receive VHF broadcast channels, the problem might lie behind other issues.

7. Problems Related to Transmissions

After you’ve examined all possible causes for the antenna being unable to pick up any VHF or RF channels and not find any, the major reason might lie in the transmission centers.

If the broadcasting stations are experiencing technical difficulties with the VHF bandwidth, wait for certain hours for the problem to be fixed. All you can do is file a complaint, and they will contact you regarding the issue.

8. Connection Hassles

Sometimes, cables or connections that help to function an antenna properly are damaged, then that antenna will not pick up any high frequency channel. So, it’s your job to firmly check all the connections or cables and look for any loose or short circuit in the wirings.

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If the condition of the wire has gone bad, we suggest changing them immediately.

What Are the Tips to Improve The VHF Channel Reception?

After figuring out the necessary cause for the antenna not picking up VHF channels, it’s time to learn the helpful tips to improve the VHF channel reception.

They are as follows:

1. Identifying the Broadcast Tower Location

As mentioned earlier, in order to get a smooth broadcast signal, there must be as few obstacles as possible between the antenna and the tower. So, the first thing to do is to find the nearest tower from your location.

Then, place the antenna at the highest possible height to interact with the tower so as to account for maximum signal reception in your antenna.

2. Choosing the Right Antenna Type

Choosing the type of antenna is also a helpful tip for improving the signal reception. There’re many antennas associated with VHF applications– indoor antennas, outdoor antennas, directional antennas and so on.

According to your budget, area, and location, choose the most affordable antenna and enjoy some digital TV broadcast on high frequency ranges.

3. Ensuring the Antenna is Properly Grounded

Grounding the antenna is an important step to ensure that the antenna has good signal reception. If an antenna isn’t grounded, there’ll be static charge flowing all over the antenna, which might destroy or damage the electrical components or parts associated with the antenna element.

When you properly ground an antenna, this unwanted static charge will flow to the earth’s surface. Additionally, it also reduces the signal interference caused by other electrical appliances nearby, thus improving the overall signal reception.

4. Minimizing Signal Interference

As mentioned earlier, signal interference reduces the antenna gain, resulting in anomaly in VHF signal reception. Hence, one should always minimize the signal interference by keeping the antenna far from any kind of electronic or electrical devices.

Furthermore, the antenna should also have a proper ground connection in order to minimize the interference.

5. Use A Signal Amplifier

Another way to compensate for the reception of low-VHF signals (weak signals) is to attach an efficient signal distribution amplifier. An amplifier will generally increase the antenna gain of the reduced power and eventually improve the signal reception.

In other words, a fine inline amplifier (similar to a signal amplifier) will help you view major networks associated with VHF.

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6. Regularly Scanning for Available Channels

New channels may occasionally become available in your area (satellite services may vary), so make sure you scan for channels on a regular basis to keep your channel list up to date.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you test a VHF antenna?

Testing a VHF antenna is necessary to determine whether the antenna is picking up VHF channels properly or not. In order to establish such result, follow the steps below:

  • Check out the connections properly.
  • Inspect the whole antenna for any kind of physical damage.
  • Scan the channels for more VHF ranges.
  • Continuously check the signal strength (signal reception).
  • Compare the signal strength with a VHF signal generator.

How do you point at a VHF antenna?

In order to point at a VHF antenna, one should consider some factors. Such factors include determining the tower’s direction, positioning and adjusting the antenna angle for highest reception, and, most importantly, tuning the antenna to get the best possible value of the signal reception.

How high should my antenna be?

Depending on the type of VHF channel, the optimal height of the VHF antenna will vary. The height for VHF low band channels should be between 20 to 30 feet. On the other hand, VHF high band channels will need a height range from 10 to 20 feet.


So, why is the antenna not picking up VHF channels? Firstly, there might be some connectivity issues, such as loose wires or short circuits. Apart from that, the antenna equipment might also be faulty.

But the major reasons are signal interference, antenna placement might be wrong, and, most importantly, the antenna amplifier might’ve gone bad. Additionally, there are certain ways to solve this issue.

You can manually install a signal amplifier to strengthen the signals, choose the correct antenna for your household or other applications, or carefully ground the antenna to improve the signal reception.

A powerful TV antenna needs a high gain signal to support the VHF channels, and now you know how to establish all that!

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