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I get a great TV signal by touching the center wire of a coaxial cable to the threads of the wall connection.

If I screw on the cable properly, there is no signal.

What's happening and how do I fix it?

Will reversing the wires on the television antenna fix it? I didn't think that antennas had any polarity, but that seems to be the problem.

P.S. Another problem is that I can't find the antenna, because it's a new house. I think it might be inside a wall or attic of finished garage. If I can fix it with cabling alone, that would be great.

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    I would actually suspect that there is no antenna connected to the other end. In your case, the shielding of the coax cable itself may be acting as an antenna, assuming you are in a strong signal area. Can you ask the seller of the house? You may also be wired for cable but you aren't connected to the service. – DoxyLover Oct 23 '15 at 20:48

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