How to Test Antenna Signal Strength (8 Simple Steps)

How to Test Antenna Signal Strength

There are two ways to measure your TV antenna signal. The first one is measuring how clean the signal you get is. And the second one the actual strength of the TV antenna signal. These are referred to as the NM(DB) or the noise margin and the Pwr(dBm) or the power margin. So today we are going to show how to test antenna signal strength.

And we will also dabble a bit on what factors can affect your antenna signal strength. So that you can avoid factors that tend to lead to a weekend TV signal.

How to Test Antenna Signal Strength Using an Antenna Signal Multimeter

Checking for your tv antenna signal strength is quite easy. And we need a signal strength meter or multimeter. Allow us to break it down below.

  1. Disconnect your coaxial cable from your cable tuner or television.
  2. Look for the F connector on your antenna. Then attach the F connector to the socket of your antenna signal meter that is marked as “ antenna.”
  3.  Then connect your TV to the socket on your antenna signal meter marked as “TV.”
  4. Then turn the antenna signal meter on. Tune in to the lower broadcast channel for your area.
  5. Rotate your antenna to 360 degrees. Then check at what position the antenna signal reads the highest. Then jot it down.
  6.  Get a compass and use it to read the direction where the highest signal was recorded.
  7.  Repeat each step for every channel. So you’ll be able to see in what direction the antenna per channel is the strongest.
  8. If you have an antenna rotator, use it to direct your antenna to the optimal drivetime. If you don’t have an antenna rotator, you can use a compass to calculate the average for the optimal strength.

How Do You Test Coaxial Signal Strength

Coaxial cables play a big role in how clear or how weak your TV signal will be. More often, complimentary coaxial cables don’t perform that well. That’s why you’re better off buying a separate cable that’s more high quality

And an RG6 coaxial cable is often more suitable. A high-quality coax cable will help your antenna pull in more channels and receive stronger signals. So do not undermine the capabilities of a coaxial cable.

Going back, here is how you can check for the signal strength of a coaxial cable.

  1. Unscrew the coaxial cable. 

You’ll find this on the narrow side of the box. And attach it to the cable signal meter. 

  1. The signal meter will report the signal strength as dbmV (decibel-millivolts). 

Record the reading. This will serve as your baseline.

  1. Reconnect the source cable to your cable box.
  2. Then trace the cable to its first terminal end. 

It can be a TV, modem or a junction.

  1. Unscrew the cable from the terminal and connect it to the cable strength meter. 
  2. Record the signal reading. 

The signal output should be the same as the one we measured earlier, which is the baseline reading. If this reading is too far away from the baseline reading, it means that your coaxial cable needs to be replaced. 

  1. Repeat the same step for each length of your coaxial cable on your network. 

Take note that the signal will slightly diminish for every passing junction of the length of the cable. But the depletion in the signal should not be that significant. Otherwise, it means there is a cable failure

  1. Check for cable failure

If there is cable failure, you need to replace your coaxial cable and splitter altogether. 

  1. Replacing the cable and splitter when warranted.

It  will help your cable maintain its signal integrity.

Top Picks for Signal Strength Meters

Signal strength meters and multimeters are the more convenient way to measure the signal strength of your TV antenna. If you don’t want to do a ton of compass readings, a signal strength meter is what you need. 

Let’s dabble a bit on our top three picks. 

The Cimpl Co Signal strength meter

This signal strength meter already comes with a coaxial cable. The coaxial cable ensures an easier connection.

It’s our top pick because it’s a versatile signal meter. You can use it for stationary positioned antennas. And at the same time, it’s also suitable for RV antennas. So you can also easily find the best direction for your antenna even if you are amid greeneries and nature. 

If it helps you track down signals in an unfamiliar area, it can definitely perform well in urban areas where there are lots of transmission towers.

It’s also light and portable. So it will not be a pain in the ass if you bring it with you. It can help you get the best direction for your antenna.

KING SL1000 SureLock Digital TV Signal Finder

This is suitable for over-the-air antennas and RV antennas as well. So similar to our first pick, this signal meter is also quite versatile. It can connect in and between your TV antenna and cable. 

You’ll be able to check for the signal strength via the LED lights. You can easily adjust the antenna base by the max number of lights the meter reads. You’ll be amazed at how many channels your antenna will be able to pull in once you change the angle or the direction.

It’s easy to follow the instructions. But make sure not to confuse this with a booster. It’s not a booster, instead, it will help you know the best direction for your tv antenna. And it will help you direct the antenna to where the signal is at its strongest. 

This can be hooked in between your tv and the antenna. You can also use a cable splitter and use its lead. You can leave it in place and it won’t interfere with your TV signal. 

KKmoon Satellite Signal Finder Satellite antenna Signal Meter 

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Instead of LED lights, it has signal numbers that reflect the strength of your tv antenna. This is a nifty unit as you can use it both for TV antennas that are located near the transmission towers. At the same time, you can also use this for TV antennas that are far from broadcast towers.

What sets it apart is that it comes with a compass that makes up for easier tracking and tuning. It’s also portable and handy so you can easily bring it with you.

Final Say

If your TV isn’t pulling as many channels as it did or the images are just too blurry, you have to learn How to Test Antenna Signal Strength. And using a signal meter is one of the easiest ways to do it. 

Checking your antenna signal sheath is quite easy. And it should be included in your routine maintenance. Because if there is a weakened signal, there might be cable failure. Thus, there might be a need to change your coaxial cables. Furthermore, a minimal change to the direction your antenna is pointing should suffice.