Is Grounding an Off Air Antenna Necessary?

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Grounding your antennas whether they are in use or not is an important step in protecting your property from lightning strikes. Giving the surge from the strike a clearer path to the ground reduces the chances of damage to connected electronics. Grounding also solves interference and reception issues issues due to radio-frequency feedback traveling back up the coaxial cable to the antenna.

Things You'll Need

  • Antenna
  • Mast
  • Coaxial cable
  • Four coaxial cable connectors
  • Wire stripper
  • Grounding block
  • #8 gauge wire
  • 4-foot or longer ground rod
  • Moistened soil

Grounding The Antenna

  • Cut a piece of coaxial cable that is long enough to reach from the antenna to where it will enter the house. Cut an additional piece of coaxial cable that is long enough to reach just outside the house to the location of your television. Attach connectors to both ends of the coaxial cables you have cut as per the instructions included with the connectors using a wire stripper and clamping tool.

  • Attach the mast to the side of your house. Hoist and attach the assembled antenna to the top of the mast. Connect the shorter cable run to the antenna and run it down the mast.

  • Attach the grounding block at the bottom of the mast closest to the location where the coaxial cable will enter the house. Ensure it is securely connected to the mast and connect the coaxial cable running from the antenna to the grounding block.

  • Connect the longer run of coaxial cable to the other connector on the grounding block and feed the cable through the entry point to your house. Connect the other end of this cable to your television.

  • Return to the antenna installation. Drive the ground rod into the ground at least four feet. The best grounding will occur if the rod reaches moist soil, and the rod itself should be in a location that is as close as possible to the grounding block. Prewatering the soil before driving the ground rod in makes this process easier.

  • Cut and strip a section of #8 gauge wire that reaches from the grounding block to the ground rod. Shorter and straighter ground wires are optimal. Loosen the bolt located at the bottom of the grounding block and wrap the ground wire around this bolt. Screw and tighten the bolt onto the grounding block.

  • Run the ground wire to the ground rod and secure the ground wire to the rod by wrapping the wire around the rod.

  • Inspect all connections and tighten or adjust as necessary.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are using an antenna rotator, connect the antenna rotator cable and assembly to your antenna mast before hoisting the antenna per the directions included with your rotator. This eliminates additional work later.
  • Because you will be working on a ladder for a portion of this project, make sure the ladder is sturdy before using it. Incorrect use can result in serious injury.
  • Do not attempt this installation without a basic understanding of wiring and proper methods for attaching cable connectors. Professional installation is recommended if you do not have this experience.
  • Do not attempt an installation in inclement weather. Lightning strikes can occur at any time during bad weather.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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