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How to Turn an Old Satellite Dish into a TV Antenna [A Complete Guide]

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You’ve probably seen those satellite dishes on people’s roofs and wondered what they’re used for. Turns out, many of them are no longer used to receive satellite TV signals – they’ve been repurposed as antennas to pick up free, over-the-air TV signals. If you have an old satellite dish lying around, this guide will show you how to turn it into a TV antenna. It’s a quick and easy project that can save you some money on your monthly cable bill. So let’s get started!

What You’ll Need

A few easy techniques involving minor disassembling work, some attachments, and more, can be used to convert an old satellite dish into a TV antenna. With the right equipment and our easy instructions, you can convert that outdated satellite dish into a TV antenna and watch your favorite TV shows. Here are some things you’ll need to prepare before we begin. 

  • Screwdrivers
  • Drill
  • Cable cutter
  • Scissors
  • Level
  • Electrical tape
  • Fitting adapter
  • Digital TV signal finder
  • Over-the-air antenna

You can easily find these items in your local hardware store, and some tools are probably just lying around your house. So make sure to gather these tools first before starting. 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Turning an Old Satellite Dish into a TV Antenna

Transforming an old satellite dish into a TV antenna is more common than most people think. We all know how big satellite TV and the internet can be in the United States. From prominent satellite internet providers like Viasat and HughesNet Internet to satellite TV providers like DISH Network and DirecTV. That said, many households would likely have an unused satellite dish from these service providers. 

Follow this step-by-step guide on how to transform an old satellite dish from your previous home internet into a TV antenna. Let’s begin!

  • Check for nearby local television towers. 

The first thing you need to do is check for any nearby local television towers. There are several websites you can use that will show you all the available channels in your area and the corresponding compass direction of the broadcasting towers. This is important because it will dictate the maximum number of channels you can receive and the quality of the reception.

  • Make sure that you don’t have an ongoing contract with your cable provider.

The last thing you’ll want to face is a hefty early termination fee. So, before you cut your contract and opt for antenna, you’re not bonded with a long-term contract that will incur costly fees. If your cable is bundled with other services, like a high-speed internet plan or cellular service, you should consider that as well.

  • Gather your tools.

Most tools required for this task are usually found at home. Once you gather all these items, you’ll know which one you need to replace or purchase. It can save you a trip from your local hardware store. Moreover, it can also save you money since you know what to buy.

  • Buy an over-the-air (OTA) antenna.

Purchasing an OTA antenna can be quite tricky, especially if you don’t know what it is and how it works. An over-the-air antenna is used to receive broadcast TV channels from nearby television stations. 

That’s why checking the directivity of your antenna before purchasing is essential. When you shop for it, you will encounter different antennas, such as indoor, outdoor, amplified, UHF and VHF, antenna web, and more, but you’ll need to look into outdoor antennas. 

Outdoor antennas are classified into three: unidirectional, multidirectional, and omnidirectional.  Unidirectional antennas are the most powerful type, and they pick up signals from a single direction. Multidirectional antennas can pick up signals from multiple directions, while omnidirectional antennas can pick up signals coming from all directions.

The right type of OTA antenna will depend on your home’s location and the features of the antenna. But, we recommend you consider the interference you may experience from trees, buildings, and other obstacles, as these are some of the most significant factors that weaken or completely block your signal.

  • Remove the dish. 

To do this, you don’t simply rip the dish out of your roof. The proper way is to, first, remove the cover located on the dish arm’s tip, called a low-noise block (LMB.) Then, look inside the dish arm for the coax cable head and remove it. Use a screwdriver to remove this cable from the dish arm. Don’t throw away the cable because you’ll use it later. 

Next, you’ll need to remove the primary dish material from the mast by unscrewing the bolts and holding it in place. The dish can be used both inside and outside the home, so don’t throw it away as well. 

  • Set up your OTA antenna.

Antennas have different setup procedures, so it’s best to refer to the user’s manual instead. Also, some OTA antenna comes assembled already, while some are not. So, if that’s a factor you’d want to consider in purchasing, we recommend you ask the store you’ll buy from if you want an OTA antenna that comes assembled. 

  • Mount your new antenna.

Once you’ve successfully set up your OTA antenna, all you have to do is mount the new TV antenna to the post that was formerly connected to your satellite dish. The ability to place many units on poles or masts with varying diameters is provided by the mounting bracket and U clamps that most units have.

It’s possible that the new digital antenna won’t always fit onto the dish post. You may purchase a fitting from the hardware store that will allow you to modify the pole and make it larger or smaller, so don’t worry.

  • Set up a new cable link.

Now, use the coaxial cable you removed from your satellite dish and connect its head to your OTA antenna. Go to the other side of it (usually attached to the satellite receiver hardware), plug it out, and connect the receiver end straight to your TV at this point. Then, you can now enjoy your TV!

Final Thoughts

If your cable bill is getting a bit too high, or you’re simply tired of only being able to watch the handful of channels that are available through basic cable, we recommend you convert your old satellite dish into a TV antenna. Believe it or not, this is a simple process that can be completed in just a few minutes. You simply need to follow this guide, and you’re good to go. So what are you waiting for? Go gather the necessary tools and begin your new project!

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