Long Range Digital TV Antenna

Best Outdoor TV Antennas for Rural Areas

When investigating outdoor TV antenna for rural areas there are some key factors you must consider. In this article we will look at these key factors and review what we think are the best TV antennas for rural areas.

So what are the best outdoor TV antennas for rural areas? To save you time, here are the 3 best outdoor TV antennas for rural areas we tested.

  1. Channel Master CM-5020 Long Range Outdoor HDTV Antenna
  2. Winegard HD8200U Platinum Series Long Range Outdoor TV Antenna
  3. Channel Master CM-3020 Long Range HDTV Antenna

For a more comprehensive review of each, continue reading.

TV Antennas for Rural Areas – Key Factors

Picking up reliable OTA TV signals in rural or “fringe” areas can sometimes be challenging for several reasons.

  • Often times you live at a distance greater than 60 miles for the nearest broadcast tower.
  • You are often surrounded by trees or other obstructions such as hills and valleys.
  • Antenna cable run needs to be long.

All of these factors can have a severe impact on the quality and reliability of the antenna signal you receive. The question is, how can we fix it? To minimize the issues relating to distance, obstructions and cable runs lets look at some strategies to consider when planning your installation.

TV Antennas for Rural Areas – The Right Antenna

When it comes to rural areas and choosing the right antenna bigger really is better. There are a lot of antennas on the market that are small and stylish.

These antennas claim to get distances of 70+ miles but I will tell you that these are theoretical distances under ideal conditions.

If you are in a fringe rural area with some or all of the obstructions listed above, then you’ll want to opt for a larger long-range style antenna.

Without question, my favorite in the list is the Channel Master CM-5020 Long Range Antenna, and this is why it is the antenna I personally use.

Let’s review some of the features of this antenna, as well as the other two long range antennas for rural areas that made the short list.

#1. Channel Master CM-5020 Long Range HDTV Antenna

Channel Master CM-5020 Directional Outdoor TV Antenna 100 Mile Range Masterpiece Series

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Key Features

  • Reception Range: Up to 100 miles
  • Gain (VHF, UHF): 10dB, 16dB
  • Size: 116 x 101.5 x 20 in.
  • Weight: 11.5 lbs
  • Reception Range VHF: Up to 100 miles
  • Reception Range UHF: Up to 60 miles

Our Verdict

The CM-5020 Masterpiece Antenna digital HDTV antenna will receive both digital TV and HDTV programming.

This heavy duty HD television antenna picks up VHF, UHF, and FM (from 54 to 216 MHz and 470 to 700 MHz), and has a TV antenna reception range of up to 100 miles.

This high quality antenna is designed for extreme conditions and is easy to install. 

A top performing antenna for reception markets in deep fringe areas where signal strength is weak.

#2. Winegard HD8200U Platinum Long Range HDTV Antenna

Winegard HD8200U Platinum VHF/UHF HDTV Antenna (65 Miles+, Digital, 4K Ultra High-Def Ready)

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Key Features

  • Reception Range: Up to 100 miles
  • Gain (VHF, UHF): 10dB, 16dB
  • Size: 99.5 x 100 x 20 in.
  • Weight: 8.6 lbs

Our Verdict

Platinum HD antennas deliver powerful VHF performance and offer additional 1 dB to 2 dB higher gain on VHF and UHF, important for weak signal areas.

Outstanding UHF reception achieved by precise director spacing and highly efficient corner reflectors.

A top performing antenna for rural areas at a great price-point.

#3. Channel Master CM-3020 Long Range HDTV Antenna

Channel Master Advantage 100 Directional Outdoor TV Antenna - Long Range FM, VHF, UHF and Digital HDTV Aerial - CM-3020

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Key Features

  • Reception Range: Up to 100 miles
  • Gain (VHF, UHF): 10dB, 16dB
  • Size: 7 x 7.25 x 7.25 in.
  • Weight: 10 lbs

Our Verdict

The smallest antenna on the list, the channel master CM-3020 is a pre-assembled outdoor tv antenna which will receive uhf and hd signals.

This antenna has a signal range of 100 miles and will pick up available local digital and HD signals. With an HD television you will pick up any crystal clear HD signals being broadcast in your area.

Again, I’m a little biased towards the CM-5020, however, I’ve heard people getting good results with the other two in the list.

TV Antennas for Rural Areas – Mounting Height

Okay, now that you’ve selected from one of the top notch TV antennas for rural areas, its time to consider the mounting height of your antenna.

We did a comprehensive article on how high to mount your antenna.

For the purpose of this article and when discussing antennas for rural areas, the general rule of thumb is this, the higher you mount your antenna the better!

If you live in a rural area, you may still have one of those old style antenna towers mounted to the side or back of your house. If you do, then you’re ahead of the game.

These antenna towers will allow you to raise your TV antenna 30, 40 and sometimes 60 feet above your finished grade. This of course is ideal.

If an antenna tower is not an option, then I recommend roof-top mounting your antenna (versus attic mounting).

The downside of mounting your antenna on the roof is you will have to drill the roof, so care must be taken to ensure you probably seal around the roof bolts using an approved tar or sealant for roof’s.

You can check out this roof mount tripod on Amazon.

TV Antennas for Rural Areas – Cable Distance

Another consideration we need to discuss is cable runs. The length and quality of your coaxial cable will have a dramatic impact on the quality and reliability of your signal.

This is an often overlooked part of an antenna installation.

If you are mounting your TV antenna in a rural area, then every detail matters. I did a comprehensive article on the importance of coaxial cable that I encourage you to read after you’re done here.

In general, you can expect the following signal loss for every 100 feet of cable run.

Channel 2 (approx. 60 MHz) …………… 1.5 dB/100’

Channel 13 (approx. 216 MHz)  ………. 3.0 dB/100’

Channel 24 (approx. 536 MHz) ……….. 4.5 dB/100’

Channel 51 (approx. 698 MHz) .…..….  5.6 dB/100’

To minimize these losses ensure you choose a high quality coaxial cable that is readily available on Amazon.

TV Antennas for Rural Areas – Avoid Splitting

The last consideration I’d like to discuss is the splitting of your antenna signal. Splitting your signal in two different directions, to feed two different TVs, will effectively cut your incoming antenna signal in half.

It gets worse from here, if going 1-to-3 it will cut it in thirds, 1-to-4 in fourths etc.

Again, I’ve done a comprehensive article that discusses how to properly split your antenna signal to multiple TVs. Definitely check that article out if you intend to split your antenna signal after you’re done here.

To summarize, if your incoming signal is weak to begin with then consider an antenna preamplifier.

If on the other hand your antenna signal is fairly good up until the point where you are splitting, consider using a distribution amplifier versus a traditional splitter.

A quick note on testing your antenna signal…

Not sure how to go about testing your antenna signal strength? No problem, check out our relatively new article How To Test Your Antenna Signal: TV Signal Strength where I’ll walk you through step-by-step everything you need to know.

How To Find OTA Station In Your Area

Check out our TV Station Locator Tool page if you would like to know what stations are available in your area. Simply click the tool button (see video below) and enter your zip code (don’t worry it’s not stored).

Then you’ll be presented with a list of stations in your area. Follow the instructions in the video to draw the TV towers on the map as well.

It’s a great tool, even if you haven’t decided to cut the cable cord just yet!

Additional Reading

Well I hope I’ve answered the question, what are the best outdoor TV antennas for rural areas?

If you enjoyed this article, we think you might be interested in some of these articles as well: