TV antennas can stay working on a chimney stack for decades. Once installed correctly, they can bring in a good quality signal and provide trouble free viewing on the television without any need for maintenance. Ask us about this. However, like any piece of equipment they will eventually fail. Though why would an aerial be working one day and not the other? Why would an aerial stop working?

​Well, there are a few reasons why.

  • Water ingress and damage to the antenna or cable
  • Frequency changes from the transmitter mast
  • Cable degradation
  • Amplifier Fault
  • A fault with the television

Water ingress or damage to the antenna or cable

​Bye far this is the most common fault amongst TV aerials that are fitted outside. The two reasons why this can happen are;

  1. The original aerial is of poor quality and design. Therefore, it isn’t up to taking the punishment it gets from being out in all weathers. The aerial then allows water to gradually get within it.
  2. Over years the waterproofing housing where the dipole is located fails and allows water to penetrate it. This tends to happen if an aerial is decades old.

Water can also get into the coaxial cable via a compromised antenna, allowing it to travel in some instances directly to the TV. Unless stopped, it will damage the television, often beyond repair.

The Transmitter changed its frequencies

​Although this doesn’t happen that often it did happen in a large way throughout the UK back in 2020. This was due to the roll out of 5G. This was allowed to use some of the top frequencies being used by the Freeview platforms, hence in many areas there was a need to retune the television.

​This is probably the best reason for an aerial to stop working as it is an easy fix that most people can do themselves.

Coaxial cable degradation

​Coax cable will degrade over time. It is pretty hardy stuff, yet it isn’t indestructible. Over time though UV light in particular will slowly destroy the out sheath causing it to crack and split. Once that happens water will get in and cause problems with the signal and the inner copper braiding and core will corrode.

Fault within an amplifier

​If the aerial feeds into an amplifier, then here is another area where there can be problems. Amplifiers like any electrical equipment only last so long. Eventually, they will fail. This usually begins with the amp causing noise interference which corrupts the digital signal. Replacing the amplifier will rectify this fault. They cannot be repaired, or rather they aren’t worth the money it would take to repair them. Buying a new one is cheaper.

A fault with the TV

Cheaper and older televisions can develop problems with their digital tuners. The problem manifests itself by the TV saying no signal, or by losing channels, or by having channels break up and become unwatchable. The result is exactly the same as if the aerial wasn’t working. The only way to check if it is the TV or aerial is to either swap the TV for another that is definitely working and check the result. Or, test using a signal meter, but these are usually only used by an aerial engineer. Here is an article if you fancy having a go yourself


So, aerials can stop working, but it isn’t always the same reason and, in some cases, it isn’t even the aerial itself. For the best way to find out if the aerial is faulty, an experienced local aerials engineer is the best bet.

Digitec Aerials
19 Wolseley Street
Lancaster, Lancashire, LA1 3PH
01524 489188
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