TV Fool is a free resource for finding out what stations you can receive and what type of antenna you need to get those stations. It’s a great site for getting into the “nuts & bolts” of TV reception and doing TV signal analysis. But there is an easier way to use it for those of us who are not “techies”.
Once you got to tv fool.com you’ll see four options. The top left option is “Check Your Address For Free TV”. Underneath that is a “Click Here” button.
Clicking that takes you to a page where you can enter your address, how high the antenna will be, and an optional title for the report. The only thing that is really needed on this page is the zip code. However, for more accurate results you will need the complete address. Fill in as much, or as little, as you like and hit the “Find Local Channels” button.
You will be presented with something similar to the picture below. your location is in the middle of the cross-hair like the diagram on the left. The TV stations in your area are found in the table on the right.
Across the top of the table, you’ll see heading related to the channel, signal, distance and azimuth. Since this is TV Fool the “easy way”, I won’t get into that in this post. Luckily, the table is color coded. Any station with a green background color should be easily picked up. Stations with a yellow or red background are a bit trickier. For stations with a yellow background, an attic or outdoor antenna would be needed. Stations with a red background require an outdoor antenna, and probably a pre-amp also.
Underneath the table, you’ll see two boxes. The left box has VHF stations in it. The box on the right has UHF stations in it. IF all of the stations you want to receive are in the UHF box, you will need a UHF antenna. If there are any stations that you are want to pick up are listed in the VHF box you will need an antenna that picks up both VHF and UHF. Most, but not all, stations now broadcast in the UHF range.
Now that you have narrowed down what type of antenna you need, where do you point it? For that, you need to look at the cross-hair diagram on the left and the last two columns in the table on the right. Your location is in the middle of the diagram. The broadcast towers are on the diagram by channel number. That is where to point the antenna. To get more precise, you can use a compass. the last column in the table shows how many degrees off magnetic north to point the antenna.