How important is it that your outdoor antenna is level?

Here’s another questions that came in from our customer service representatives. One of our customers sent a photo of their droopy antenna, asking if it was ok.

Actually a pretty relevant question

The peak time for putting outdoor antennas on homes was about 1950-1970. That means that there are still a lot of homes out there with very old antennas on them. They’ve been sitting up there for over 50 years. Some of them may be long unused. Others may have found a person like me who loves antenna TV. I use an antenna that’s roughly the same age as I am, and it still works great.

But, I’ll admit, it’s a little unsightly. Some of those long elements are kind of droopy. So, just for myself, I decided to find out the answer to the question.

Pretty important but not supremely important

That’s the answer I got. On a scale of 1 to 10, probably about a 7. In other words, not earth-shatteringly important but still pretty important. In most cases a droopy antenna is more of an aesthetic thing than a real problem.

Antennas, like everything else, droop over time.

A Yagi-style antenna like the one in the picture is usually mounted level when you put it up, but over the years it can droop a little bit. This generally isn’t too much of an issue because of the design of the antenna itself. The hybrid yagi/log periodic antenna, which was the most common style in the mid 20th century, isn’t really one antenna but many. Each one of those horizontal elements is a specific antenna for a specific range and they are designed not to interfere with each other. They still won’t interfere with each other if the antenna’s a little droopy. However, if it’s a VHF/UHF antenna (and most are) then the UHF antenna on the front is going to get less effective as it droops over.

In fact the smaller UHF antennas are going to be more of a problem if they droop over, simply because of the design of most UHF antennas. Loop or bow-tie designs get a lot less effective if they’re not facing the towers and if they’re pointing downward they’re certainly going to lose effectiveness. This is true of any antenna — it must be pointing toward the source of the signal — but UHF antennas are more sensitive to this.

When the cosmetic stuff becomes an issue

And of course, I’ll point out that a droopy antenna is unsightly and I suspect your neighbors would appreciate it if you fixed it. Personally I see a lot of droopy antennas in my neighborhood, owing to the fact that the antennas themselves have been up there on the roof for fifty years or more. People may not even be using them but may not know how to safely dismantle them. It’s usually just a matter of loosening some bolts if you need to remove the antenna, but it’s usually just as easy to tighten those bolts if you would rather keep an antenna on the roof and start getting free TV.

Time for a new antenna?

If you’re ready to replace that older antenna with a newer and more efficient model, shop for one at Solid Signal. We have all the best brands and a selection you won’t find anywhere else. And, of course, we have the best pre-sales support! Call us at 888-233-7563 if you’d like to know more. Our techs will help you find the perfect antenna for your area.

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.