There are a number of people that are cutting the cord and moving to Antenna only or a combination of Antenna and Streaming as a lower cost solution for their home entertainment.
With this requires the use of an antenna to pick up local or even not so local broadcasts. The farther the broadcast tower is from you and the more obstructions between you and your broadcaster’s tower will force you to choose a roof antenna over an indoor set top antenna.
If you are one of these people that needs a Roof Mount Antenna to pick up television broadcasts you should make sure that you follow proper precautions and directions when you are installing it.
Grounding Your Outdoor Antenna
The National Electrical Code requires that All Outdoor Antennas be Grounded. When in doubt you should consult your electrician or a professional antenna installer for help. Follow Manufacturer’s instructions for all parts of your install and any modifications you make should be reviewed. Normally you do not need a permit to perform this work because the system is low voltage but your area may have some restrictions on Tower Height and the methods you can use to mount your antenna to your home. Always defer to these source over any recommendation provided here.
There are two areas of your antenna that should be grounded externally to your home. The mast or tower that the antenna sits on and then the transmission or coax cable attached to the antenna must be fed through a grounding block.
When installing ground wires use the thickness specified by your manufacture. General sizes for ground wires are 8agw or 10agw copper wire with no splices. That means you will need two wires for your antenna. Ground wire should not take sharp turns of more than 90 degrees.
A ground pole will need to be inserted in the ground so you can attach these wires to it. Ground poles or Ground Rods can be purchased at an electrical supply center or home store. Never shorten the ground rod because it is difficult to hammer into the ground. The ground rod must be deep enough to discharge any voltage.
To Ground the mast of the antenna follow the manufacturer’s instructions on where to attach the ground wire. Insulated offsets should be screwed into your wall to make sure the ground wire sits away from your home as it travels to the ground. Using a Wire Mounting Bracket fasten the ground wire to your ground rod tightly.
Grounding your antenna transmission line. Using an Antenna Discharge Unit you will feed a short piece of coax cable to this unit from your antenna and then mount it to your wall as instructed. A rubber block might not be a bad idea to place between the discharge unit and your home. Run your coax wire that is entering your home to the other side of the discharge unit. As you did with your mast you will need to run a single wire to your ground rod using insulated standoffs. Do not simply attach or splice it to your mast wire.
Using a Surge Protector in your home to protect against transmission line spikes is also important. Normally people that install roof mount or tower antennas will require an amplifier and that amplifier will require a DC Power Supply that sends low voltage up the transmission wire to the preamplifier at the antenna. The easiest way to accomplish installing surge protection is to attach your transmission line to a surge protector that has a coax mount. Follow Manufacturer’s directions on how you should attach the transmission line to the surge protector. You may need to place your DC Power Inserter on the Antenna Side of the connection to your surge protector as it might not allow power to be sent through it.
As you were reading you probably saw that I was referring to Manufacturer’s Instructions and Electrical Codes. These instructions are important for the safety of your home and equipment. The information that is provided in this how to is simply a starting point for your tasks and should not be considered a reference for actual install.
These three areas of lighting and surge protection are very important for antennas that are external to your home.
Once you do the job there is little or no maintenance involved so do it right the first time and you can forget about it except when you are doing normal review of your system for function and safety.