…when I get a good picture and good sound they are real good, much better than I got with cable. But some times, too much of the time, the picture will break up into squares or pause and I will loose the sound. To me these times are totally unpredictable. I may watch 45 minutes of a show and the picture and sound will be prefect then suddenly it will start to break up. Or one day channel 2 will come in perfectly but channel 12 will not. The next day 2 will be fine but 12 will be trash.
I have not tied the problem to weather or time of day or channel. I did have a signal amplifier on one of the sets. Things improved a lot when I removed the amplifier. I also have a TIVO on one of the sets and have looked at the signal strength. The strength will sit around 80% to 90% then momentarily drop down to about 40%. During this drop the picture falls apart.
Will an outside antenna help? Or is there something else I can do?”
Yes, an outdoor antenna will likely help a lot. Very strong signal areas can be as bad or worse for reception as weak signal areas. The biggest issue you are likely experiencing is called multi-path interference. This happens when the signal from the same source (TV tower) bounces off a nearby object and returns to the antenna a few micro seconds later than the main signal. When this happens the TV tuner sees two signals from the same source and the tuner is confused as to which signal to lock onto. This is why your reception is good sometimes and other times it is bad and doesn’t seem to be related to weather conditions. Multi-path interference is very common in strong signal locations.
The solution is to use a highly directive antenna that receives the signals off of the front of the antenna and rejects those signals from the sides and rear of the antenna. A very good antenna choice is the EZ HD antenna. This antenna has what we call a high (good) front to back ratio. In other words, it receives signals much better on the front of the antenna than it does from the back or sides.
Install the EZ HD antenna aiming NNW at about 230 degrees on the compass. See photo above.
Because of the very strong signals I do not recommend a preamplifier. A signal amplifier will likely overdrive the signal causing problems with reception. To supply both TV location use a 2 way signal splitter to divide the signal to each TV.
Thank you for your questions and please let us know if we can do anything else to help!