Did it occur to you that TV aerials can be used for more than just capturing signals coming from a TV service transmitter? If you enjoy listing to the radio, you may be interested to know how to use your TV aerial to connect to the radio. It is worth mentioning that a TV aerial can help you connect with an FM and DAB radio, due to reasons that will be presented further into this article from Digitec.

The antennas used by TV and radios function on different frequencies

Before you even get to using a TV aerial to get radio signals, you first need to know about things about how things work. So, when it comes to the emitting frequencies, radios use different frequencies than TV aerials. This is why your TV signal is not interfered with by radio broadcasts. Radios broadcast in the Very High-Frequency band or VHF, while TV aerials use the Ultra High-Frequency band, or UHF. The differences in broadcasting frequencies mean that different antennas are required to get TV and radio. Also, due to the used frequency band, radio aerials are usually higher than TV aerials.

But, even so, it is possible for TV aerials to get more than the frequency it was designed to capture. How can this be possible? Well, with slight adjustments, a TV aerial will be capable of getting signals beyond the purpose it was created for. More precisely, if you place a metal plate on the roof of your house, on a higher place, your TV aerial will begin to get a variety of frequencies it wasn’t capable of finding before. In this case, if there are any radio frequencies around, you may have the chance to get them with your TV aerial alone.

The aerials used for TV and radio are set in different directions most of the times

When you install a quality TV aerial, it is set in the ideal direction for capturing signals from the main transmitter or the closest transmitter that can provide a clear and undisputed signal. The same happens when installing a radio aerial. So, in most cases, these two aerials have to point toward different directions in order to get the best signal. This is why some TV aerials won’t be able to get a good radio signal, in spite of the fact that there’s a great radio signal in the area. In other words, you cannot point one single aerial in two different directions, to get the best of both signals.

Fortunately, radio frequencies are lower than those required for TV service broadcasting, which means that they are capable of travelling on longer distances and can cover wider areas. If we are to translate this, it means that your TV aerial doesn’t have to be perfectly positioned in order to get a radio signal. Due to this, installing radio aerials is not always necessary to get FM and DAB radio signals. Instead, Omni-directional poles were used, as they are capable of getting signals from all over the place, without the need to position them in a particular direction.

Pay attention to the polarisation of the antenna

It is very important to take into account the polarisation of the transmitter you are about to use. So, when installing your antenna, it is important to consider the polarisation of the transmitter you are planning to use. In other words, if you’re trying to get signal from a transmitter with horizontal polarisation, you will have to install the antenna on its side, so that its elements will point sideways, in a horizontal manner. If the polarisation is vertical, then you will have to make sure the elements of the antenna are pointing upwards. For this, you may have to rotate the antenna to 90 degrees, until the polarisation is a vertical one.

When installing your antenna, it is very important to pay attention to this aspect. A polarisation done in an incorrect manner will be translated into a poor signal from the preferred transmitter. A tip would be to avoid installing an aerial upside down, as it will turn into a pool filled with rainwater when the weather is bad. This will lead to water logging both the aerial and the coaxial cable.

What are the polarisation used by radio signals? This piece of information is needed so you’ll know how to install your aerial to enjoy radio signals as well. Thus, it is worth noting that FM radio transmitters use horizontal polarisation and DAB radio transmitters use vertical polarisation. And when it comes to terrestrial TV transmitters, they can utilise both polarisation.

​It all depends on the type of transmitter, so it is possible to get both signals by using one single polarisation of your aerial. In general, the main TV transmitters will be horizontal and relay transmitters will be vertical. Of course, there are exceptions to these rules. This is why you need to get sufficient information about the transmitter you are about to use.

Using an amplifier may be of great help

There are cases in which an amplifier, added to the TV system, may increase your chances to get a radio signal. However, if you want to try this method, you should know that not all amplifiers work. You need to opt for one that is capable that goes beyond the bands used by radio frequencies. If it can’t do this, you’ll just get a filtering of radio signals instead of actually capturing one.

​A downside of this method is the risk of overloading your TV’s distribution equipment or tuner. When the equipment experiences a signal overload, the signal that will reach your TV will be of poor quality. This means that the TV will display images with visible pixels and blocks.

Radio on Freeview TV guide

This is a rather simple method and may grant you access to a number of digital radio stations. If you’re not that picky, aiming for a particular radio station, or are curious about what you can find, it is worth using your Freeview TV guide. You just need to open the Freeview TV guide and start your search at channel number 700. Browse through the available channels that start with this channel and above and see if the finds suit your tastes. If they do, you don’t need anything else to enjoy good radio music, news, shows, and anything else these stations may broadcast.

The only thing you may not enjoy that much is listening to the music provided by the radio station through the speakers of your TV. No matter how modern your TV is, we all know that these speakers don’t always offer the best audio quality. But, a decent soundbar or surround system may solve this problem for you. Also, you’ll be able to use such gadgets when watching a movie, for improved experiences.

Aerials capable of getting both signals

It is worth mentioning that there are aerials made to get both TV and radio signals. If you want to enjoy them both while buying one single aerial, look for models that can do both. Ideally, you should get an aerial that gives you the possibility to add a supplementary power supply, which will improve the strength of the signal. As we discussed earlier, a signal overload is not something to look forward, so more power added to the aerial will allow you to enjoy both without unwanted issues.

However, it is worth mentioning that these all-in-one aerial types are not the best. There are cases in which the TV signal can be compromised, not offering the level of quality you’d hoped for. But, when you can’t install two aerials and none of the previous methods work in your case, this may be your best shot.

You can always opt for an indoor aerial if you want to enjoy the radio

Indoor radio aerials look like pieces of wire, but, in reality, they are authentic aerials. In many cases, you don’t need anything else to find the radio station you enjoy the most. By simply moving its position, gradually making it point toward a different direction, you will notice an improvement in the signal you enjoy. And all of this is possible without the need to connect your indoor aerial with the outdoor, TV aerial. It is a method with lower risks because you can’t disturb the TV signal in any way.

But, if you want to enjoy DAB radio and not FM radio, an indoor aerial won’t do much for you. When looking for DAB radio frequencies this way, the signals you’ll get may be of poor quality or you may not be able to locate all the stations you would like to find. In this case, connecting to an outdoor aerial is the only way to solve the situation.

But, before making the connection with the aerial installed outside, try to see if you can get a better signal in a different room of your house. Maybe there are rooms where the indoor aerial works better, due to their positioning. Usually, the higher the floor is, the better the signal should get. So, if you have a house with multiple stories, try looking for a radio signal at a superior level. The results might be better than what you expect.