A very common question I get on DisableMyCable.com is “why did some of my broadcast TV channels disappear?” Usually, people think something is wrong with their antenna, but in fact TV antennas are pretty simple devices, just a piece of metal basically (unless it is amplified).
Here is a rundown of some possible reasons you lost TV channels.
1. The TV Station Frequency Changed – Try Re-Scanning
TV stations do sometimes change frequencies, which could result in you no longer seeing the channel. This is happening on certain stations from now until 2020, by federal law. To see if any stations in your area are changing frequencies, and when, check out tvanswers.org.
After a TV station’s frequency changes, you’ll have to re-scan for channels on your TV. You may or may not get it back depending on how well your antenna picks up that new frequency.
TV stations also tweak their transmitter power from time to time, not always for the better. In either of these cases, try my tips to improve reception.
2. The TV Station Went Away
Sometimes TV stations go away completely. This happened to a few stations here in Los Angeles, where the FCC allowed TV stations to auction off their spectrum to wireless providers. Usually these are higher-numbered not-as popular stations as opposed to the major networks. Google the station’s call letters to see if you can find out what happened. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about this.
3. Your Antenna Moved – Try Re-Orienting It
From my testing, I’ve found that even a small change in antenna position or angle can have a big impact on your reception. Try moving your antenna around to see if that helps.
If your antenna is on your roof, you might have to go up there to make sure it hasn’t fallen or shifted.
4. Your Antenna’s Amplifier is Bad – Try Bypassing It
An antenna is a dead-simple device, it’s pretty much a piece of shaped metal. But, an antenna amplifier a much more complex device, and it’s much more prone to failure.
If you have an amplified antenna (i.e,. your antenna requires power), such as the Mohu Leaf 50, try removing the amplifier from your antenna and plugging your antenna directly into your TV. This worked for reader Faith G!
5. Your Cables are Loose – Reconnect and Tighten Them
Make sure your coax cable connections are tight, both at your TV and at your antenna. I was advising one reader offline, and this turned out to be his problem! He was losing signal at the same time every day. He disconnected all of his cables to his attic amplifiers, then re-connected them. Problem solved!
6. Electronic Interference – Turn off Other Devices
It is possible that a new electronic device in your home or neighborhood is wreaking havoc on your TV signal. I’ve heard all kinds of stories about this from my readers.
First, turn off all electronic appliances in your home and see if your reception gets better. This includes florescent lights, computers, Wi-Fi routers, cable modems, Bluetooth devices, cell phones, and so on. If your reception improves, turn on each device one-by-one until you find the culprit.
If you live in a condo or apartment complex, it’s possible that a neighbor’s device is causing the problem. Not much you can do about that, but you can try my tips to improve your antenna’s reception.
7. Weather / Atmospheric Conditions
The weather and time of day can adversely affect your TV reception. Clouds, fog, rain, etc. can adversely affect your signal. Some people report worse reception at night while others report the opposite.
Try these tips to improve your reception.
8. Your TV’s Tuner is Going Bad
It’s possible that your TV’s tuner circuitry is degrading. This is not one of the more likely scenarios if your tuner was working fine before, but I have heard of this from a couple of my readers. If you have another TV, try tuning the missing stations on that one as an experiment.
9. There Is a New Physical Obstacle
If they just built a high rise between your home and the TV transmitter, it could be blocking the TV signal. This could happen, especially in big cities like New York. Try playing with your antenna position.
These are some of the reasons why your favorite station might have gone away. Let me know if any of these tips has helped or if you found any other causes for loss of TV stations. – Brian
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If you have a question about this article, leave a comment below. If you want advice on TV reception, leave your zip code. I try to reply to all comments. I hope this article was helpful to you. - Brian