Outdoor antennas must be grounded for best reception and protection against lightning strikes. Indoor and attic antennas do not need to be grounded. However, when an indoor antenna cable is longer than 30 feet, some people ground the antenna/mast because it might help reduce static electricity build up which reduces reception.
Antenna Restrictions Prohibited
Federal law prohibits restrictions (by governments, community and homeowners' associations, and other entities) that impair the installation, maintenance or use of antennas used to receive video programming. Masts higher than 12 feet above the rooflinemay be subject to local restrictions. The FCC's webpage OTA Reception Devices Rule has more details, also see the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations webpage Title 47, Subchapter A, Part 1, Subpart S.
ANTENNA & MAST INSTALLATION
The antenna should be mounted as high as possible and have a clear line-of-sight (no hills, structures, trees, etc.) to the broadcast towers.
The higher the antenna is;
above the ground, the greater the signal density.
above ground clutter, the lower the signal loss.
Mast are typically 18-gauge galvanized steel tubes that are 5 or 6 feet long with a 1.25 inch outer diameter. Some mast are designed to connect for extended length. A single section is strongest, two sections (10 or 12 feet) is acceptable in many locations.
Roof mounts must be installed more carefully to prevent water leaks.
Side structure mounts (with 2 point or 2 bracket mounting) is the preferred method.
Avoid installing 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.
Antenna Pointing Angle
Attach, aim and secure the antenna.
If you are unsure of the angle, secure it just enough to easily adjust after everything is hooked up.
Point the antenna in the towers direction, commonly measured in degrees off of True North, several degrees different from Magnetic North for most locations. Magnetic north varies with location, and slowly changes over time. When using a compass to point an antenna, account for the difference between True and Magnetic north. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website has detailed information and a calculator for Magnetic Declination. Note that local conditions could effect a magnetic compass reading. If possible use landmarks to confirm or establish true north.
Connect RG-6 quad shielded coax cable to the antenna,
use a rubber weather boot or electrical tape to protect the connection
Allow for some cable slack by looping the cable around the mast. This is just in case a little extra cable length is needed in the future, or the cable end needs repair.
Tie-wrap the rest of the cable to the mast.
Secure the coax cable with insulated cable straps.
The antenna cable connects directly to a coax ground block. Another cable connects to the ground block for inside cabling. Loop the cable (drip loop) before it enters the home conduit so water drips off the bottom of the loop instead of collecting at the conduit. See Figure 1 below.
Mast Ground Wire
Attach a ground clamp to the mast.
To insure a long lasting connection the ground clamp should be marked Copper or Cu, indicating made for copper wire connections. This clamp can be fastened to a galvanized steel mast or pipe. Clamps marked with Cu/Al can be used for copper or aluminum wire. Do not use an aluminum (Al) only clamp.
Connect AWG 10 or heavier copper wire to the clamp.
The ground wire should be continuous, no splices or connections, and run directly to the electrical earth ground. It should also be AWG 10, commonly called #10, solid copper wire, and can be insulated or bare, and run inside or outside the home - depending on the earth ground location.
Coax Ground Block
The ground block should be mounted close to the conduit the coax cable enters the home, and can be mounted inside or outside depending on the earth ground location.
The earth ground can be a ground rod (Figure 1 below), or the electrical service electrode ground system (Figure 2 below).
The National Electrical Code (NEC Section 810) connects to the service ground. The service ground can be accessed by clamping the ground wire to the metal pipe running straight into the ground from the power meter or fuze / breaker panel. The ground wire can also be connected to the fuze / breaker panel ground bar instead of the pipe.
Check local codes, if any.
Figure 1 - Common Installation
Figure 2 - NEC compliant Installation
Figure 3 - Optional Ground Rod System
Some installations (Figure 3 above) use an additional (optional but not required) ground rod close to the ground block, when the block is not close to the service ground. The NEC calls for a ground rod depth of 8 feet. A cold water metal pipe running into the ground makes a good ground (rod). Make sure the underground pipe is not plastic (PVC). The NEC specifies the ground connection be within 5 feet of the point the pipe enters the ground. The ground rod and service ground should then be connected with AWG 6 copper wire.
Must ground all outdoor antennas.
Should ground indoor antennas with > 30 ft of cable.
Coax Ground Block;
mounted close to conduit.
mounted inside or outside.
can run inside or outside
run as straight as practical
can be insulated or uninsulated
#10 solid copper (Cu),
and #6 solid Cu if ground rod used.
An antenna mast or cable within 5 feet of a swimming
pool must be bonded to the pool bounding grid (ground).
Wire gauges are minimum, heavier gauge is acceptable.
AWG - American Wire Gauge
Copper (Cu) Wire
Resistance ohms/1000 ft
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, for mast mounting.