Can you put a TV antenna on your apartment patio?

OK, so you’re a cord-cutter in an apartment. That makes a lot of sense. You’ve been enjoying streaming, but you miss live TV and you’ve heard there are dozens of channels that you can get for free if you put up an antenna.

So, you go to your local discount store and you buy a cheap antenna, but it doesn’t pick up all the stations you want. Is the story over? Not by a long shot.

You can put an antenna on your patio, or any private space that isn’t visible from the street. Your apartment manager can’t stop you, thanks to a federal rule called OTARD. As long as that antenna is smaller than 39″ in every direction, you can use it all you want. If the management says no, send them the PDF linked above, and there are resources that will work for you if they still no.

Solid Signal has a large selection of antennas that fit the bill for patio usage. Some pick up UHF signals only, which are the majority of TV broadcasts. However, many markets have at least one VHF station and for that reason you may want to pick a UHF/VHF antenna.

In most cases an amplified antenna isn’t necessary because amplifiers compensate for long cable runs and multiple splitters and those aren’t necessary an issue in apartment complexes. If you are far from the broadcast towers, an amplified antenna could help, though, the best choice is often the Televes DigiNOVA Boss. It receives UHF and VHF signals and has an optional amplifier built in (and will work just fine without plugging in the amplifier.) It’s small and unobtrusive and will mount pretty easily to a fencepost or railing with no damage.

You might also consider a mast and tripod which will let you place the antenna where you want to put it without having to drill into the walls (which is probably against your apartment complex’s rules.) You can secure it with sandbags or concrete blocks which you can get locally to avoid expensive shipping.

Pretty much any cable will work, but if you don’t have any, you can’t do any better than Solid Signal’s cut-to-length RG6 cable which will let you get just the amount you need so there’s not a big pile of cable sitting around. You should also consider this little flat RG6 cable which will let you run the antenna cable through a door and window frame — and then close the window!

Adding dozens of free channels to your home entertainment system is easy, but if you’re still feeling a little overwhelmed, give the experts at Solid Signal a call at 877.312.4547 and we’ll prepare a custom quote that will tell you the right antenna for your area and list all the accessories you need… all for free!

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.