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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: Spoom on October 14, 2014, 05:18:24 PM

Title: Outdoor Antenna Grounding: Do I Need an Electrician? (I hope not!)
Post by: Spoom on October 14, 2014, 05:18:24 PM
I just bought the Clearstream 2V UHF / VHF outdoor antenna + coax in the second attempt in my quest to eliminate cable while maintaining the Mrs.' need for sports.  My previous attempt used a somewhat crappy indoor AmazonBasics "Extreme Performance" antenna, which only got me some blocky channels.  I'm about 30 - 33 miles from the Cleveland stations I want to receive.

My Googling around has led to the realization that an outdoor antenna installation requires grounding, but the actual requirements for such grounding vary greatly.  These seem to be the most thorough. (  I could try an attic install to bypass the whole process, but my living room is a fairly long distance from my attic and I'm trying to limit the cable run length.

Most seem to indicate that I need 10 gauge copper wire going from the antenna J-mount to a grounding block attached to a grounding rod driven at least 4 feet into the ground.  Some instructions also indicate that to meet NEC regulations I then need to attach the grounding rod to the house breaker box ground.

I'm not an electrician by any means and this is maybe the most ambitious install I have attempted (I am only a baby Mustachian, please hold your facepunches).  Can someone point me in the right direction?
Title: Re: Outdoor Antenna Grounding: Do I Need an Electrician? (I hope not!)
Post by: m8547 on October 14, 2014, 06:14:03 PM
It sounds like the idea is to provide a safe path if lightning were to strike the antenna.

You might already have a grounding rod in the ground for your home electric service. Usually it's either at the electric meter or at the transformer (in which case it's probably not accessible). If you are planning on installing the antenna near that, you could wire it to that.

If you don't have a grounding rod you could wire it to one without connecting the rod to your breaker box. The risk if you don't connect it is that whatever equipment the antenna is connected to could be damaged if there were to be a lightning strike. But at least it won't explode or catch on fire like it would if the antenna as ungrounded.  If you do tie the grounding rod to your home system, you risk introducing problems if it's not meant to be wired that way. Even with proper grounding, a lightning strike to the antenna will probably damage whatever it's connected to, no matter what. If you are in an area that gets a lot of lightning you could look into additional lightning protection in addition to grounding it.

I would lean towards putting it in the attic if you can, It will be safe from lightning and other weather like wind that could blow it out of alignment or moisture that could cause corrosion over time. As long as you do a continuous run of good quality cable there should not be that much loss.

To get the best signal, you need a clear line of sight to the tower as much as possible. Higher off the ground is better (in the attic is better than near the ground), and correct aim is critical. A more directional antenna has more gain. In general amplified antennas are not worth it.
Title: Re: Outdoor Antenna Grounding: Do I Need an Electrician? (I hope not!)
Post by: JuneBug357 on October 14, 2014, 08:21:45 PM
This should help.

Found more
Title: Re: Outdoor Antenna Grounding: Do I Need an Electrician? (I hope not!)
Post by: Spoom on October 15, 2014, 06:13:02 PM
Thanks.  I'll need to take a look at my electrical installs to see if there is actually a grounding rod somewhere.  Is there any advantage to the antenna having its own grounding rod (which is then connected to the house ground) or should I just run a long copper cable directly to the house ground?