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Aerial amplifiers & boosters

Although amplifiers can be beneficial to reception, they can create problems if affected by water ingress or a nearby lightning strike.  A faulty aerial amplifier can cause disruption to neighbours' pictures as well as affecting your own.

If you or neighbours are experiencing such problems, switch your amplifier off at the mains to see if the problem stops.  Ask neighbours to do the same.  Faulty amplifiers should be replaced.

For this reason aerial amplifiers (‘boosters’) should only be used if there is no alternative.  A higher gain aerial system with good double-screened cable will often pull in enough signal to make an amplifier unnecessary.  Amplifiers come in three basic types:

  • Masthead type consisting of a unit which fits underneath the aerial, powered through the downlead cable from a power supply fitted in the home.  Designed for outdoor use.
  • Set-back type, used indoors, which amplifies the signal as it goes into the TV equipment.
  • Distribution amplifier which splits the signal from one aerial to several different TV outlets.


Using a distribution amplifier


Sometimes two amplifiers can be combined in a single unit, such as a masthead amplifier which distributes signals to more than one outlet.  More sophisticated units can even combine signals from FM and TV aerials and distribute them both together—the two signals are then split again at each outlet.

To overcome weak signals, a properly-fitted masthead type is more effective than the ‘set-back’ type.  It should be designed and approved for digital TV, and filtered to only allow TV signals to be amplified. Many aerial amplifiers sold for domestic use are not filtered and can be prone to ’swamping’ from unwanted signals such as radio communications.  This can cause TV pictures and sound to break up or fail completely when the unwanted signal is present.  

 masthead_amp     setbackamp                               distributionamp

Masthead amplifier kit         Distribution amplifier          Set back amplifier 


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