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TV Antenna Installation

OTA DTv
  1. Antenna Placement
  2. Mast
  3. Pointing Angle
  4. Coax Cables
  5. Ground Wire
  6. Grounding
  7. Parts List

There are some basic Standard Practices for installing an antenna and cables to get the best signal and have a safe (as possible) and durable installation. Outside antennas must be grounded for safety and reception. Sometimes attic antennas are grounded when the cable run is greater than 30 feet. Indoor antennas do not need a ground.

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1 - Antenna Placement

Antennas should be mounted as high as possible and clear of obstructions. Also see the Reception Section;
Antenna Placement (How to Get It)
Antenna Height Loss (Signal Factors)
Indoor Antenna Loss (Signal Factors)

Warning
Warning
Do not install an outside antenna near overhead utility lines, especially power lines. The power line electromagnetic fields can cause interference or signal reduction, and the lines are dangerous to work around.


2 - Mast
Side Mount Roof and Side Mounts

Side structure mast mounts using two sets of brackets is stronger (more wind resistant) than a single bracket or a roof mount. Roof mounts tend to have water leakage problems if not properly installed.

MAST
• Circular tubing.
• 18 gauge galvanized steel.
• 1.25 inch outer diameter.
• 5 - 6 feet long.

Some mast are designed to connect for extended length. Never connect more the two sections.



3 - Antenna Pointing Angle
Angle Bearings

A smartphone compass app can be used to locate True North to determine antenna pointing angle. When using a magnetic compass account for the difference between True and Magnetic north. See NOAA's Magnetic Declination Website. Note that local conditions could effect magnetic readings. If possible use landmarks to confirm or establish true north.

NOAA -- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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4 - Coax Cables
Install Coax

Quad shield cable should be used for outside runs. See TV Coax Cables for options (RG-6, RG-11, RG-59).

A rubber weather boot or hermetic connector should be used on all outside connections;
-- cable to antenna,
-- cable-to-cable (if any),
-- cable to and from ground block.

CABLE INSTALLATION
  • Loop the antenna cable around the mast.
    • Secures the cable and reduces wind movement loosening antenna connection.
    • Allows for a little extra cable near the antenna for repairs, new antenna, etc.
  • Tie-wrap cable to mast.
  • Secure cable to siding with insulated cable straps.
  • Ground block mounted near the home conduit.
  • Antenna cable connects to ground block.
  • Home cable connects to ground block.
  • Drip Loop just before the cable enters the home.
    • Prevents water from collecting at the home conduit.
Drip Loop Coax Ground Block



5 - Ground Wire

The ground wire should be number 10, or heavier, solid copper wire.

ANTENNA / CABLE GROUND WIRE
  • AWG 10 (#10) solid copper wire.
  • Continuous, no splice connections.
  • Run as straight as possible.
  • Bare or insulated.
  • Connects to earth ground.
Ground Wire
AWG Diameter
inches millimeters
10
9
8
7
0.101890
0.114400
0.128496
0.144300
2.58801
2.90576
3.26380
3.66522
Ground Clamp

A copper (Cu) or bronze Ground Clamp connects the ground wire to the antenna mast. The ground wire can be connected to the earth ground with a ground clamp or a bonding termination.

AWG -- American Wire Gauge

2 - Grounding

There are 2 methods for grounding antennas and outside cable systems;

Single POINT Ground is specified for all outside antennas in some local electrical codes, and sometimes preferred for active antennas (preamp and/or rotor). Single WIRE Ground is a littler cleaner installation and common in passive antennas (no preamp and/or rotor).

Single POINT Ground
  • Active or Passive Antenna.
  • 2 ground wires:
    • Antenna mast to earth ground.
    • Ground block to earth ground.
  • Some local electrical codes require.
Single WIRE Ground
  • Passive Antenna (no preamp or rotor).
  • 1 ground wire:
    • Antenna mast to / through
      ground block to earth ground.
  • Cleaner installation.

image
image


Earth Ground

EARTH GROUND
The National Electrical Code (NEC) specifies the electrical service earth ground be used as the antenna and cable earth ground. The service ground is the electrode conductor ground rod or ground pipe running directly from the power meter into the ground. Some codes allow the power service earth ground be picked-up inside the home from the Breaker / Fuze Panel ground bus bar. The ground block can also be inside but close to the home conduit.

An antenna mast or cable within 5 feet of a swimming pool must be bonded to the pool bounding grid (ground).



SUMMARY
  • Antenna
    • Mounted as high as possible.
    • Pointed toward broadcast towers.
    • Clear path to towers.
  • Coax Cable
    • Outside Cables Quad Shield.
    • Looped around and secured to mast.
    • Drip Loop just before entering home.
    • Weather boot on all outside connections.
  • Coax Ground Block
    • Mounted near the home conduit.
  • Ground Wire
    • AWG 10 (#10) solid copper wire.
    • Run as straight as possible.
    • Continuous, no splice connections.
    • Bare or Insulated.
  • Grounding Method
    • Active antenna -- Single POINT Ground.
    • Passive antenna -- Single POINT or WIRE Ground.
  • Earth Ground
    • Electrical Service Ground


7 - Tools & Parts List

Basic tools needed include a ladder and assorted screwdrivers, wrenches, sockets, and maybe a hammer etc. You will also need a wood and/or concrete drill, and appropriate drill bits and screws.

Typical Parts List
Quantity Description Function
Components
1 Antenna VHF / UHF (RF 02-69)
VHF-Hi / UHF (RF 07-69)
UHF (RF 14-69)
1 Mast & Mounting Hardware mount antenna
1 Coax Ground Block grounds coax cable
2 - 3 Ground Clamps
copper (Cu) or bronze
mast & earth ground rod
Cables
in feet Coax Cable (RG-6, RG-11, RG-59) Television RF Signals
in feet AWG 10 Copper wire ground wire
Hardware
3 or more rubber weather boots Cover coax connections
mulitple insulated cable straps mount cables
multiple mounting screws ground block / cable straps
mulitple tie wraps / zip ties secure cables

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OTA DTv
TV Antenna Installation