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TV Antenna Installation

PAGE CONTENTS -- No Restrictions | Mounting | Pointing | Grounding | Multiple Antennas
Installation Movie

Federal law prohibits restrictions (by governments, community and homeowners' associations, and other entities) that impair the installation, maintenance or use of (outside) antennas used to receive video programming. Masts higher than 12 feet above the roofline may be subject to local restrictions. See FCC OTA Reception Devices Rule, and Code of Federal Regulations CFR-2010-title47-vol1-part1-subpartS.pdf.

Mounting Hardware 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. The higher the antenna is above ground clutter, the lower the signal loss. Avoid installing near overhead power lines. Power lines can cause interference or signal reduction, and are dangerous (stay away).

Side structure mast mounting (with 2 point or 2 bracket mounting) is the preferred method. Roof mounts must be installed more carefully to prevent water leaks. Mast are typically 18-gauge galvanized steel tubes with a 1.25 inch outer diameter. Most mast come in 5 or 6 foot sections, many are designed to connect for extended length. Limit extensions to two sections.

Angle Bearings

Antenna direction is 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 for your location. Note that local conditions could also effect a magnetic compass reading. If possible use landmarks to confirm or establish true north.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
- Magnetic Declination
- Magnetic Declination Estimated Value calculator

Convert to Decimal Degrees Calculator (Show / Hide...)

Coax Ground Block Attic antennas do not need to be grounded. An outside antenna /mast and cables should be grounded with AWG 10 copper wire (also called number 10 or 10 gauge copper) and a coax ground block (a cable barrel connector with a ground wire attachment). The ground wire can be insulated or bare, installed inside or outside, and should run as straight as practical. The ground block should be located outside as close as possible to the conduit the coax cable enters the home. The National Electrical Code (NEC) connects the antenna mast to the ground block and continues to the power service electrode ground - typically a metal pipe running into the ground near the fuze / breaker panel and/or power meter (usually located outside). The fuze / breaker panel ground bar can also be utilized.

Some installations use an additional (optional) ground rod close to the ground block, when the block is not close to the service ground. The ground rod and service ground should then be connected with AWG 6 copper wire. Local codes on ground rod depth vary from 4 to 8 feet (depends on ground conductivity and water table), the NEC uses 8 feet. Cold water metal pipes makes a good ground (rod). The pipe must be all metal from the ground connection to and in the ground.

Check local codes, if any.
Common Installation
NEC compliant Installation
Optional Ground Rod - NEC compliant
Preamp Installation

The coax Drip Loop allows rain to collect and fall (drip) off the bottom of the loop instead of collecting at the conduit into the home. Additionally, all outside coax connections (antenna, ground block, connectors) should be protected (covered) with a rubber weather boot or electrical tape. Many antennas come with a weather boot for the cable to antenna connection.

  • Coax Ground Block;
    • mounted outside.
    • mounted close to conduit.
  • Ground Wires;
    • can run inside or outside
    • run as straight as practical
    • can be insulated or uninsulated
    • wire gauge: 10 AWG copper (Cu)
      and 6 AWG Cu if ground rod used.
Wire gauges are minimum, heavier gauge is acceptable.
AWG - American Wire Gauge
Copper (Cu) Wire
AWG Diameter Resistance
ohms/1000 ft
inches millimeters
10 0.1019 2.58826 0.9989
9 0.1144 2.90576 0.7921
8 0.1285 3.26390 0.6282
7 0.1443 3.66522 0.4982
6 0.1620 4.11480 0.3951
5 0.1819 4.62026 0.3133

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.

Typical Parts List
Quantity Description Use
Attic and Outdoor Installations
1 Antenna VHF-Lo/Hi, UHF
1 Mast
- 18 gauge galvanized steel,
- 1.25 inch outer diameter.
mount antenna
set(s) Mast Mounting Hardward
(brackets, braces, U-bolts, etc)
mount mast
Hardware for Outside Antennas
1 Coax Ground Block grounding system
in feet AWG 10 Copper (Cu) wire,
and AWG 6 if ground rod used.
ground wire
2 Ground Clamps mast & service ground
3+ rubber weather boots
or electrical tape
outside coax connections
mulitple Insulated cable straps mount cables
multiple Mounting screws ground block / cable straps
1 (Optional) Ground Rod optional
All Installations
in feet RG-6 Coax Cable RF Signals
as Needed Signal Splitters For Multiple TV's / Antennas
as Needed Connectors Connect Cables / Wall Jacks
if Needed Baluns/Adapters (75/300 ohm) Coax to Twin-lead
mulitple tie wraps / zip ties secure cables
1 (Optional) Preamplifer for weak signals
1 (Optional) Booster or Distribution Amp overcome cable loss

Installation Parts
Ground Clamp Connectors Cables
Antenna & Accessories Store


A multiple antenna system requires a signal combiner / splitter to enable signals from all antennas to go down one cable. A signal splitter is (also) a signal combiner. Combining signals has the same loss as splitting signals, signal loss is the same for both directions. Also see Signal Splitters / Combiners loss.


Combiner losses

Multiple Antenna System Multiple Antenna System Multiple Antenna System


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