How To Ground A HDTV Antenna
by TK Tsumura
TV Antennas are usually mounted on the side of your house or on the roof. They're usually located fairly high the sky, and in this position, they are at a great risk of being struck by lightning. If a lightning bolt were to strike your antenna, it could easily send hundreds or even thousands of volts of electricity through your antenna and into your home. By grounding your antenna, it can reduce the risk of being struck. This is why grounding your antenna is a great investment. Though nothing you do can help if you were to receive a direct hit from lighting, but grounding your antenna will substantially prevent a direct hit. Here's another reason why you should ground your antenna: research shows that grounding your antenna not only makes it safer, but it also helps to eliminate noise on your shielded RG6 cable. This means you will have improved signal, reduced static build up, and higher quality reception to watch and enjoy HDTV without hassling with expensive bills.
Grounding your antenna is an easy procedure and you will need 3 of the following items:
Good quality copper wire (14 Gauge is best for an antenna, we recommend 14 Gauge copper wire Belden.u. For satellites you can use a 6 Gauge.)
A simple Grounding block
Grounding rod 48 inch (4 feet grounding rod)
How do you ground your new HD Antenna?
First, connect the grounding wire to the mast or pole, if you are using a J pole mount, use one of the screws from the J pole. If you are using a mast, attach one end of the mast U bolt screw to the copper wire. The wire follows the path of the RG6 cable to the grounding block, which is met just before entering the house. Secure the coaxial cable run into your house while avoiding the crossing of other cables or power lines. It's recommended to seal the outdoor leads (where the cable screws onto the antenna) to prevent corrosion, seal it with coax seal or RTV.
Arrange the antenna for the best reception and then tighten the screws and secure the rest of the antenna assembly. Be sure your gear is plugged into quality surge protectors, preferably ones that are guaranteed for at least the amount of your equipment.
Next, take a copper wire and screw it into the grounding block with another piece of copper wire; this wire is then attached to the grounding rod, make sure it is pushed in at least 4 feet into the earth. However, some people may not have earth to push the rod into. For example, if you have concrete or stone at the base level, it may not be possible to ground the grounding rod without causing damage. If this is the case, instead of attaching the copper wire to the grounding rod, attach it to an exterior water pipe (main water pipes go deep into the ground). If there is no water pipe to attach it to, try looking to see if your cable company or phone company may have installed a grounding block for their installation, sometimes it's possible to tap into. If you attach the grounding rod to a pipe though, make sure to remove any paint at the point at which you attach the grounding wire; this is because in some new construction they use PVC pipes instead of metal and that's not reliable to attach the grounding wire.
The entire antenna system should be grounded to prevent the possibility of lightning damage. The coax cable should be grounded as well just before it enters the building with a coax cable ground block. To properly ground the coax cable, the coax should be cut just before it enters the building. Then, two weather boots and coax connectors should be placed over the cables. Both ends of the coax will be connected to the ground block.
The antenna mast should be grounded using a #10 gauge solid copper wire. Both the coax cable and the antenna mast should be attached to the building grounding electrode or grounding rod to meet the National Electric Code (N.E.C.).
However, your antenna itself maybe have special instructions for grounding, if this is the case, be sure to follow those instead. If you're not sure you've grounded your antenna correctly, consult a professional in installing antennas or contact the manufacturer of the antenna.