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How I Grounded My Outdoor Antenna

This post is how I grounded my antenna using the “National Electrical Code” in the United States. Rules may differ from state to state, and in other countries. So, always check your local rules and regulations before doing any work on your house.

I am not a professional antenna installer and there are different variables you must account for depending on your situation when it comes to installing an antenna. This article is for informational purposes on how I grounded my antenna, and I recommend using a professional to safely install and ground an antenna. You can locate a local certified professional using Home Advisor, or calling them at 888-605-2759

Recently I posted a review of the Mohu Sky outdoor antenna. An astute reader asked me about grounding the antenna in the comments of the review.

Now, as I was replacing an existing outdoor antenna, I simply hooked the antenna up to the already grounded coaxial cable coming off the roof. . . or so I thought. I inspected the wiring of my antenna with the intention of doing a write up on how it was grounded. This is when I discovered the ground wire was corroded and needed to be replaced.

So not only do I have that reader to thank for prompting me to inspect and correct my current antenna grounding system, but they potentially saved me a world of trouble if lightning were ever to strike near my house.

Now that I’ve installed an antenna grounding system myself, I want to share how I did it with you in case any of you decide to install your own outdoor antenna.

Do I Need to Ground my Outdoor Antenna?

Yes, all outdoor TV antennas should be grounded.  Even if you have a newer plastic antenna, there is metal inside. Furthermore, TV signals are made of electricity. The antenna is essentially designed to capture that electricity. If lightning strikes, your antenna will invite it in faster than Sookie Stackhouse after a knock on the door from Bill Compton.

I know many of you will say the odds are slim of lighting hitting your house. However, that’s not the issue.  There is little you can do to mitigate a direct lightning strike to  your house.

The reason we ground electrical systems is to protect against indirect strikes and other indirect electrical energy. The energy from a lightning strike is so powerful that even a strike somehere in your neighborhood can create a hazard for an electrical system that doesn’t go to ground.

How do I Ground my Outdoor Antenna?

Before I get into how and why you should ground your antenna, I wanted to let you know I am not an electrician.  I’m a DIY weekend warrior that relies on Google search-fu to learn how to do household repairs and installs.

For any engineers or electricians that stop by, I welcome any critiques or corrections in the comments. Accuracy is extremely important to me, and I appreciate any corrections or adjustments you can offer.

That said, years of working in enterprise architecture make me a bit of a stickler for standards and practices. If you are as well, you may want to check out Article 810 of the National Electric Code.  It covers all the codes and standards for installing the cabling for TV and radio transmitters.

However, if you are like most people, you’d rather hit your thumb repeatedly with a hammer than suffer through technical manuals. In that case, I’ll do my best to walk you through what I did after looking over the code.

Below is a picture describing exactly what we are going to do.  It illustrates how to ground your antenna by connecting it to your house’s ground wire. Notice you should not only ground the coaxial cable, but the antenna mast as well.

Grounding an antenna isn’t difficult to accomplish yourself, but it shouldn’t be too expensive to have a professional come out and do this for you.  If you want to attempt this, below are are the steps I took to recreate what is essentially depicted in the diagram.

1. Locate your house service ground wire

In the diagram, the house ground wire is labeled as the “Power System Grounding Electrode.” You will typically find this wire near your electric meter or where power service enters your house.  This is typically near your breaker panel, but on the outside of the house.  It should be a thick gauge copper wire coming out of the ground. Here is a photo of what mine looks like.

The preferred way to ground an antenna is by using your house service ground. Please check out the NEC manual linked above for more information.

2. Connect the ground wire to the house ground

Notice the clamp on the ground wire in the picture above? Here is a close up picture of what it looks like.

Use a solid copper wire and use the ground clamp to connect it to the house service ground. The minimum size wire you should use to connect the antenna to the house service ground is 10 AWG (American Wire Gauge ), which is 1/10th of an inch in diameter.

The type of  clamp connector will depend on the size of your ground wire. The house ground wire is required to be at least 2 AWG. This is about 1/4 inch in diameter.

Use this table to get an idea of the AWG of your ground wire and then you can buy a clamp that will connect the antenna ground wire to your house ground wire.  You can use any size wire for your antenna ground as long as it’s  larger than 10 AWG (and smaller than your house ground.

They sell various clamps and wires online at Amazon. You want to be sure to get a solid copper wire, as stranded wire can become brittle over time. I personally used a 6 AWG solid copper wire and clamped it to my house ground wire as seen in the picture below.

3. Connect the Antenna to Ground

To connect the antenna to ground, simply connect the other end of your ground wire to coaxial grounding block. The block will have two female coaxial connectors and a slot to connect your ground wire. The picture below illustrates what this looks like.

The left coaxial connector connects to my antenna on the roof, while the right coaxial enters my house and goes to my digital tuner. Your coaxial is now grounded. Be sure to check your channels on your television to ensure they still are being received. If done properly, there should be little noise added to the system. In fact, after grounding the antenna I actually gained 1 channel. However, that could have just been a coincidence.

If the antenna is already installed and there is no coaxial joint that can be unscrewed to connect the block, don’t worry. I explain what to do at the end of the post.

Update: It’s been pointed out that I should use compression fittings to avoid water seepage into the line. Furthermore, make sure the cables are connected horizontally at the block to avoid water traveling down the cable and into the connection.

4. Ground the Antenna Mast

Grounding the coaxial was the hard part.  Grounding the mast is easy. Simply attach an 8 or 10 AWG copper wire to the mast using a mast ground clamp and run the other end of the copper wire to the house ground. It’s recommended to use a separate clamp, and not the one used to ground the coaxial to the house ground.

You can see the black mast ground wire in the  picture at the end of step 2. As you can see,  I need to purchase a second clamp.

Congratulations! Your antenna is fully grounded.

How to Install Coaxial Cable

Installing Coaxial

Cutting the cable and attaching connectors is much easier than one would think. You just need the right tool. Simply pick up a coaxial tool and some  male connectors as seen in the picture below.

Be sure to check the type of cable you are using.  In the U.S. most cable and antenna installations are done with either RG-59 or RG-6.  You should be able to find it printed on the cable.  If you are purchasing cable to do the install, get the RG-6. It’s a less noisy cable, which translates into receiving more TV channels.

To install the coaxial connectors, just follow the following steps.

1. Cut the cable (literally this time).

Figure out where you want to install the connections and cut the cable.  I like to leave about 6 inches of “mistake room” on each side. Your coaxial tool should have a cable cutter to cut the cable.

Below is a photo of the inside of the coaxial cable. It’s hard to see in the photo, but there is a tiny copper wire in the center with a foil shielding around it. Around the foil is the white (can be other colors as well) cable sheath.

2. Remove Outer Cable Sheath

On your coaxial tool there should be an outer cable stripper. Be mindful of the size of the cable you are working with. As you can see, I’m working with RG-6. Tightly clamp the cable stripper around the cable and rotate the tool completely around the cable.

After one or two rotations, pull the piece you just cut from the cable. If you have trouble, you may need to do another rotation. When the outer sheath is removed, you should see the inner foil shielding around the inner copper wire. It should see something like this. . .

3. Remove Foil Shielding

Line up the inner wire stripper with the copper wire in the middle of the foil shielding and slowly clamp the tool around the inner copper wire. Ensure that the copper wire ends up in the wire stripper when you close the tool. Otherwise, you will cut the copper wire along with the shield, forcing you to start over.

Just like when you removed the outer sheath, rotate the tool and remove the foil shielding. You should now have a coaxial cable that looks like this.

4. Install the connector

This part can be a struggle sometimes. Push the connector onto the end of the cable. You goal is to have the inner copper wire come through the connector. When looking into the connector the inner foil shield should be flush with the base of the connector.  Here is a photo of what it should look like.

Once the connection is seated, simply crimp the connection with the crimping tool as shown below.

Crimp the connector onto the cable as tight as you can so it down’t come off.  If you are installing this outside, I recommend using compression fittings.

You’re all done. Now you can buy a spool of coax and impress your friends and family, or possibly throw a crimping party.

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Categories: Guides
Dennis Restauro :Dennis is the founder of Grounded Reason. He also hosts the Grounded Reason Podcast. Follow him on Twitter: Follow Dennis on Twitter

View Comments (80)

  • i have steel siding. how should i attach grounding block to house. maybe some insulator in between house and grounding block? or do i just attach as any other coax grounding block? thank you. ricky.

    • I'd assume that your siding is grounded so grounding the antenna should be the same. However, I would check with an electrician in your local area as code is different from locale to locale.

  • If I'm not mistaken you'd want to expose more of the grounding strap and use one grounding grove/block for each "application". This will help ensure you have a solid connection. I can't remember if there is a torque or not. Hope this helps.

    • Yes that is correct. You want a separate ground path with it's own ground block. Both, however, can be attached to the same house ground wire or grounding rod. I haven't read anything though about exposing more of the grounding strap. Please let me know if you can find any information on that.

  • Thanks for all the great info. I live in house that is basically in a hole. I get 4 channels with flat indoor antenna. Any suggestions?

  • Thanks for posting this! And although it doesn't look TOO complicated, if I needed someone to do it for me...would that be an electrician or an antenna/satellite guy?

    The next question; The main TV connection from my antenna is upstairs. Therefore I don't need a long coax run from antenna to TV. But, it appears the coax grounding block needs to be close to the house ground. This would require a coax run from the antenna (or the pre-amp) all the way to the ground, then back up again to where the cable enters the house. Does that sound right? At least the distance between ground and roof isn't much more than 30-40 feet.

    At least it doesn't sound as if the equipment is too expensive. $30-$40 maybe??

    • Hi Ben,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      I wouldn't extend the length of the coaxial to get to the house ground as it would impact reception. I'd use a longer ground wire. You could either tape the copper or get a sheathed copper wire.

      As for doing the work an antenna installer would be able to do it. It's hard to say what the price would be, but I know many times they won't even come out for less than $50. A local handy man may be your cheapest bet, but be sure to go with someone you can trust to do the work properly.

      • Thank you Dennis.

        So reducing the length of the coax would mean increasing the length of the copper wire. I thought I'd read that the grounding block needs to be as close to the "house ground wire" as possible? Perhaps not?

        And in the end, are there not 2 separate runs of copper? One from the mast to the ground, and the other from the grounding block? That could be significant in terms of total feet required.

        • Don't forget, you can pound a new ground rod into the ground straight below the antennae then go from there.

  • Thanks so much for these directions! I've been looking for a resources that spells out how to ground an antennae written in a way I could understand! One quick question: if I plan to install a Mohu Sky under the eaves of my house (my eaves are at least 3' wide) should I still plan on grounding it?

    Thanks again!

    • Yes. The grounding is really to help you with near strikes. After a nearby strike, there is a lot of electromagnetic energy in the air that can be channeled by your antenna. Grounding helps that.

  • I have a metal clad building that prevents cell service and radio signals inside the building. I purchased a YX026-Cell booster with a 12 element Yagi antenna that I mounted on the peak of the roof using an ABS pipe for the mast. I also built my own full wave loop FM antenna using a 1/2" coiled copper tubing for the element which may have been overkill but it handles the strong winds coming down the valley very well. The FM antenna element is supported by 1-1/2" ABS pipe in a T configuration that extends all the way down to 6 feet above ground through an ABS mast consisting of mostly 4" that narrows down to a few feet of 3" ABS and then to 2" for a few more feet at the top of the mast which made it easier to support the 1-1/2" pipe holding the element above that. From ground level I can turn the element for optimal reception from different stations as the main mast is about 7 feet above grade and the 1-1/2" coming through it extends an extra foot past.

    Also, this is a tall building where the peak of the roof is around 24' above grade, the Yagi mast extends another 5' off the gable end eave facia, the FM antenna is mounted to the eave facia of the same gable at the bottom of the gable eave some 17 feet away keeping them far apart from each other to avoid RF interference. The electrical panel for the building is in the corner of the building next to the FM antenna, thus the system ground wire exits the building near the base of the FM antenna.

    As cell booster companies say a Yagi does not need grounding, but the coax cable should have a lightning surge protector, I have read many other articles that say an expensive surge protector is not required, a simple properly installed coax ground block will suffice.

    I'm thinking of rounding up two coax ground blocks for these antennas, mounting the one for the cell booster onto a piece of wood over the metal cladding at the entry point of the building. I have the coax currently routed down the eave edge suspended about 1-1/2" away, it does not contact the metal cladding anywhere except possibly the entry point. The coax for the FM antenna runs down through the 1-1/2" section of the adjustable mast and exits out the bottom. The metal cladding is not grounded, but does go into the top soil in many places, it's a 16 year old building, I get lots of thunder storms and have not had issues thus far with the building.

    The cell booster has had problems during a bad bout of hoarfrost a couple years ago around Christmas where many people in the area lost electrical equipment from the multiple daily power outages causing surges, I also lost my satellite receiver, the coax from the cell booster antenna had so much static I could not touch it, found a way to connect it to the overhead door tracks to discharge it after unplugging the unit, but the power supply for the booster was shot, got another from cell booster dealer, it went down shortly after, then I grafted the male end of one of those shot power supplies to a power adapter with same values from a d-link wireless router, been working since but the LED on the booster goes from red to green often suggesting there is still an issue. Wrapping a wire around the coax connector at the booster end and pinching the other end of the wire into a metal file cabinet drawer sitting on the concrete floor at least got the LED to go green once and a while. I still have great cell service either way. The FM antenna is fairly new and has not experienced lightning yet.

    The FM coax ground block can be mounted on a cat house, (little wood clad house for the cats, not a whore house), that the base of it's mast is attached to, which is only 6 to 8 feet from the system ground wire connected to a buried ground plate. from there the coax will just run along the foundation entering the building under the overhead door in the center of this gable end wall the antennas are installed at, (it is a large shop).

    My question is: does this sound proper?

    • It's hard to say with out actually seeing it. Essentially, you need to make sure any coaxial coming into the building has it's own ground path. Keep in mind I am not an electrician, just a hobbyist that knows a bit about this stuff. If you are unsure, I would check with a licensed electrician.

      • My dilemma:

        Lightning will take the shortest path to ground.
        For the yagi, will it blow out the side of the coax at the entry point and go down the metal cladding, or will it go all the way down the coax through the metal cladding to the booster inside the building?.
        My guess is, it will blow out the side of the coax at the entry point and take to the cladding, which could cause many more issues apposed to going to the booster on the metal file cabinet inside sitting on the concrete floor. A ground block installed on wood over the cladding, with the ground cable also suspended away from the cladding going straight down to ground may avoid damage to the coax and the equipment, and possibly avoid energizing the cladding.

        Just speculation, opinions welcome.

        • I have a friend that got zapped from lightning reaching for the light switch to turn off the lights in the barn after finishing milking the cows. The lightning leaped from the wiring to him as he was the best ground with the shortest path. It blew him back 30 feet, the only thing that got damaged was his shoes that were still there smoking where he was standing when he was zapped.

        • Grounding isn't really going to much against a direct strike. It's more for near strikes. There is a ton of electromagnetic energy in the air after a nearby strike. That's what the grounding will handle.

          • Here's a scenario.

            Local code suggest you ground your antenna to the system ground, but more often than not your antenna is not directly above the system ground. The system ground rod is a few inches from the foundation under the overhang of the roof on the south side where little precipitation falls, the sun bakes the soil, and the soil is coarse. Through capillary action, the best ground is a few feet below grade down the rod.
            You run a ground cable from the ground block of your antenna horizontally or diagonally to shorten the path to the system ground. In between the antenna and the system ground you have a rain barrel that spills over when full or a leak in the eave troughs that renders the soil more moist than the ground rod's location.
            Your child whom was playing in the yard decided to hide under the overhang of the roof between the saturated soil and the antenna when a small thunderstorm rolled in. Lightning decided to strike your antenna because of this arrangement, it goes down the ground cable, leaps to the child, exits at it's feet to the saturated soil next to him/her because that was the best ground in the shortest path.
            Just like the golfer who ran under the canopy of a large tree in the golf coarse, the tips of the new growth branches at the top of the tree have more moisture per cubic inch than the trunk or the soil at the base of the tree, somewhere in it's path it leaped over to the golfer standing on soil with more moisture, and he is a good conductor.

            If you would have found the shortest path to ground from your antenna and planted a new ground rod, tied your ground cable from the antenna there, then ran another ground cable under ground or along the foundation to the system ground, you would have satisfied the laws of nature and local code, and avoided the tragedy your child endured.

            Is this far fetched?

            My friend in the barn was standing on a dirt floor that never saw direct sunlight since the barn was built. The incandescent bulbs with smaller filaments than the diameter of a coax cable's wires were unharmed.

          • Well, getting struck by lightning is technically far fetched. Otherwise, people wouldn't say "you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning." As for the ground rod, those are totally up to code in my state, but it may vary.

          • Correct, but if you are going to design a grounding system, may as well go all out and try and mitigate direct lightning also, no matter how rare it is. As mentioned, I do see lots of lightning and I'm in the country with nothing else that will attract a direct strike better than my antennas. The building is fed by under ground power 200 feet away from the last power pole on the property. And the antennas are much higher than the top of that pole.

      • It's been hard to find an answer given the two seemingly unique situations, one being a metal clad building, other is having plastic masts. Lightning season is near and the FM loop is up there higher than the yagi. Would have loved to post pics, but that does not appear to be an available option. Guess I'm just gonna have to wing it for now.
        This is in mid-eastern Alberta Canada, put a lot of miles on the car and made many phone calls looking for ground blocks locally, the mention of such an item has everybody tilting their heads looking at me puzzled saying "we don't carry anything like that". Even the satellite installer had no clue and did not bother with grounding the dish saying if there is a problem with surges or lightning that damages anything, the provider will replace the equipment at no cost to me. Yet the satellite TV provider's website does sell a kit with a ground block, very expensive I might add.
        So I obviously have to stop spending money and time finding any info or ground blocks locally and order online from a business out of Alberta that isn't afraid to stock a seemingly inexpensive item not used around here. Most local electronics suppliers locally that have a web site don't even have the time, resources or ability to list all items they can provide, just a list of the wholesalers they get their products from. Even if one of their wholesaler's website proves they have such a thing, the local retailer don't stock it nor will they bring it in. It's as if I'm a rare customer asking for this and they don't want to be sitting on a case of them for years on end.
        No sense asking an electrician, I'm in the trades and I know what caliber of talent we have here.
        We have a lack of population, nice in some ways, frustrating in other ways.

  • Quote: Grounding isn’t really going to much against a direct strike. It’s more for near strikes.
    Quote: Well, getting struck by lightning is technically far fetched. Otherwise, people wouldn’t say “you have a better chance of getting struck by lightning.”

    What's wrong with: Better safe than sorry.
    Or: Should have done it right the first time.

    It's no secret that antennas are the ultimate lightning magnet. As for the first quote at the top of this comment, pretty much any radio operator with expensive equipment will dispute that comment from experience. No need to take my word for it, since you have access to internet, you can figure this out on your own. Do you not feel obligated to give your readers seeking advice, proper advice?.

    • Dano, I think you are misunderstanding what I'm saying. I'm saying that grounding an antenna should always be done. Hence, why I am explaining how to ground one. Why I said that grounding helps with near strikes I was merely iterating that little can be done to mitigate damage from a direct strike. Which is why any engineer will tell you that if you are at risk of a direct strike, that you should do what you can to avoid the strike through lightening rods and surge arresters. That is outside the scope of this article. I don't understand why your sudden shift in tone. I haven't disagreed with anything you have said. I think you misunderstood the humor in lightning strikes being far fetched. You know, since there is a cliche about exactly that.

      And I don't understand your dispute. The article advocates for using a system ground, as that's what I describe. A ground rod is acceptable in certain situations, but as I said always check with an electrician. That was my original advice to you.

  • I placed my antenna in the wood shed on my balcony. The only thing that is exposed is the coax that runs from the antenna to my unit. Direct TV had installed a coax inlet with a connector on the inside of my wall. Do I have to ground my antenna? I live in a condo on the second floor. I removed the dish to save money. Now I have antenna TV.

    • I always recommend grounding an antenna. If the antenna picks up even a near strike it can travel down the coaxial cable and into the house.

  • My 30 foot antenna mast was placed about 35 - 40 feet away from the main house (next to trailer in the back, which is hardwired to main house breaker) because that is where the best reception is at. (The location has less trees in its immediate direction)

    The coax is weaved under the trailer porch (wooden built add-on structure), thru my back porch area, around the side of house, where it finally enters the attic. (so many twists and turns is part the point here)

    Wouldn't it make more sense in my situation, to get a new grounding rod installed at the base of that mast?

    The mast itself, is 3 section retractable. It's all metal, can the grounding clamp on the mast be near the base? Or does it have to be at the top, with a long wire to the ground? Would like to be able to retract it without a 2nd dangling wire. Also, can the coax grounding block be installed toward the bottom before the twists in its path? Or must it be at the top?

    In, preparing for this I bought solid 14 gauge wire. Judging from your tutorial, 14 is smaller and not sufficient. Am I reading this right?

    Last bit, in the scenario of using my home grounding rod, I noticed Brighthouse networks grounded their service by tapping in the electric meter pole. Is that a legit ground? Could I do that? (if I HAVE to ground by the house)

    Very interested in your reply. This is overdue and frankly not much info is out there on this subject and there should be. Many people becoming cord cutters will need this info. Thank you for the info thus far!

    • Hi Vincent,

      I'm not a professional antenna installer and I'm not familiar with your local rules and regulations so my advice is to check with a local professional. That said, in a hypothetical situation where I had this setup, I would ground with a rod closer the antenna. I'd also make sure there were not any sharp bends in the ground wire, and definitely no angles. Also the Rod needs to be connected to the service ground based on my understanding. Check with a professional to be certain.

  • To Dennis:

    Thanks for this post and lightning information, found it correct and very useful.
    To all the other comments (Yagi ,FM or TV antennas doesn't matter) I can only ask: Who has inspected a house/building hit by a small lightning? It seems by the comments not many of you!
    1) Keep by all means lightning out of yr. house, once it's inside it will probably kill you and burn anything in its path.
    2) Lightning are "lasy" they allays take the shortest path to ground, so yr. one only chance is to do as per Dennis drawing, conduct lightnings or even static electricity by a shortest way to ground, this is; the biggest copper wire that you can buy/install and a big/long grounding rod. Good luck, stay away from lightnings or ask Mr. Faraday ;-)
    (Telecom Engineer)

  • When installing the lighting rod into ground, how far down into ground does it need to be?

    • NEC recommends a vertical ground rod be buried where no less then 8 feet is in soil. That said, I would recommend checking with a local professional to ensure compliance with local codes.

  • Excellent read Dennis - I thank you for your efforts. Of course this has lead to my own proper grounding questions.

    My situation - 10' mast on a roof top tripod. From the base of the tripod there is about 12' to our one TV. We receive 22 channels regularly and often as many as 50 on clear nights.

    Did a fast install last fall and wasn't too worried about winter lightning strikes in Maine. Times up though and so I intend to properly ground everything this week. I've got the grounding of the mast thing figured out. Grounding the coax has me scratching though.

    As I understand it I will need to cut the coax in order ground it to a block. Is that right? This will require making up two new ends. As it is now I just have a direct line from the antenna to the TV.

    If that's the case where do I install the grounding block - OK to attach to the tripod? Then the coax block gets its own copper grounding wire to ground - right (separate from the mast ground wire though both going to the same grounding point)?

    Is a splitter the same thing as a grounding block? Different function different quality?

    Finally, as regards the coax. I am using the old satellite dish wire for the antenna wire. Works fine. I can't read anything on the wire that tells me that it is RG-U6 or RG-59 but I'm guessing that if it works I'm OK. The question though concerns the length. Now about 50' long but as I wrote with the new set up I only need about 20'. If I need to cut and add new connectors anyway should I just make up the shortest length I need and toss the rest?

    Thanks for your time to answer. Sorry if some of this was answered above. I just couldn't be sure from what I read.

    • Thanks for the info. Especially good to know that I should leave the coax longer than the ground wire. Makes sense but I hadn't thought of it.

      Again though - just to be clear - I need 2 grounding wires right? One to from the mast and one from the coax grounding block? They will run side by side to the ground and connect to the ground rod.

      I think I'm good to go - with your good help!

      • Yes, according to the NEC you need a ground path for the mast and the cable.

    • I'm not sure of any specific regulation on the grounding block. Mine is attached to my house siding. It's difficult to give accurate advice without seeing your exact setup. That said, it's definitely preferable to have a shorter coaxial run for reception purposes. However, you want your path to ground to be shorter then the coaxial run.

      And yes many splitters have a grounding block built in, and those work well for grounding.

  • You mentioned using a separate grounding rod. I believe this is allowed by code, but you are missing the NEC code requirement of bonding this new rod to the house system (I am not a professional electrician, but merely pointing out something that you should consider).

  • I built a workshop 50 feet from my house. The city electrical inspector told me that a 48" ground rod would be sufficient to protect the workshop wiring from lightning, because in a direct strike the surge would go through the buried service line, and eventually would to to the house ground. Now I will install an antenna tower attached to the workshop. The inspector directed me to be extra cautious and install TWO 48" grounding rods 24 inches apart and bonded with #6 copper to each other AND to the building ground. The mast will ground to one of the rods, also via #6. And the coax will be also be grounded to the dedicated rods, and then will be grounded again where the coax enters the house and bonded to the incoming main water line. The inspector is a master electrician in this state, so I trust his advice.

    • That makes complete sense to me. I didn't use a ground rod, just the service ground as I really don't get a lot of lightning in my area. However, the method you describe adds a bit more protection.

  • I'm sure this will be deemed a stupid question, but why are two separate grounds required? By definition, the antenna, mast and coax are one unit electrically, unless the antenna is insulated from the mast. So two grounds is confusing me - if one ground takes the entire charge from a strike to a mast/antenna/coax assembly, then the second is either superfluous or completely pointless. What am I missing here?

    • The ground for the cable is there strictly to ensure that the antenna wiring is grounded to the same ground as the rest of the electronics in your house. This prevent noise loops and other stray voltages caused by multiple grounds at different potentials. This is also why they also tell you to terminate everything at the same rod in the ground. Putting a new rod in on the other side of the house may have a slightly different potential (unless you also connect it to the house ground rod). The mast rod is an extra path for lightning protection only. Running two conductors all the way to the rod essentially splits the current of a direct lighting strike in half for the entire distance it travels to ground.

      Good article.

    • The Mast ground is intended to protect against direct strikes while the cable ground is for voltage surges from nearby strikes. At least, that's my understanding. Hopefully an engineer can weigh in with a better answer.

  • I basically just have two copper rabbit ear type wires at the top of a 10 foot wooden 2 x 2 mounted to the side of the house for a diy antenna that sticks maybe six or seven feet above the roof line of a mobile home and works amazingly well. I can ground the coax with a grounding bar, but do I need to ground the antenna mast since it is wood and not metal? --Thanks

  • Don't know if this has been covered already, but my experience is mainly with residential electrical. First, a #10 or even #8 wire is going to do nothing against a direct strike. Better safe than sorry of course, but if you're in a high lightning area such as Florida, you may want to invest in a proper lightning rod system. Second, the requirement is actually only for 1 grounding rod, but you need to be able to prove resistance amounts. Instead of getting the expensive equipment to do that, it's cheaper to install a second rod, at least 6 feet away from the first one. Finally, this is a good time to ensure the rest of your grounding system is done properly. I would also recommend a whole-home surge protector; don't forget the internet and telephone line surge protectors also.

    • If you add a 2nd ground rod, it must be connected to the initial first one to avoid a potential difference. All grounded items must connect back to this initial grounding rod or wire.

      In general, all wires (coax, phone,, etc) coming in and out of your house should be grounded.

      A whoe house surge protector installed outside your house is one of the best things you can do and is often called a surge arrestor. Although I installed one myself, in general this is for an electrician. A good example is the Siemens FS140.

  • Some added info:

    Grounding:
    1. Grounding is very important. Although the likelihood of getting stuck by lighting is very low and you might think it will never happen to you, and can and does happen as it did to me. About $250,000 and 6 months later I was back in my house per damage from a lighting strike. I’m not trying to scare you, just emphasizing the importance.

    2. When grounding anything outside your house that is attached to it, it must be eventually connected to the main grounding wire/rod on the house. You cannot ground to something totally separate as you can create an electrical potential difference that is a charge in itself.

    3. When grounding coax cable, use an outdoor 3GHz, 75Ohm rated grounding block.

    4. The Mohu Sky outdoor antenna has a 1” diameter mounting pole. I suggest a copper grounding pipe clamp grounded to this pole rather than the above mentioned grounding strap.

    To attach the other end of the ground wire to a house grounding rod, use a similar connector with the proper diameter. If connecting to a house grounding wire, use a copper split bolt connector sized for the wires you have.

    5. I’m am not a licensed electrician; this info is provided at your own risk.

    Installing coaxial cable:
    1. Use RG-6 quad shield 75Ohm coaxial cable such as Shield Vision.

    2. Use F-Type compression fittings on the end. I suggest PPC EX6XLPLUS for indoor and PPC EX6WSPLUS for outdoor.

    3. Use the correct tools. Use a coax cable cutter/stripper tool. Use an adjustable crimping/compression tool such as BAMF Complete Adjustable Universal Compression Tool. These are not hard to use, but take a couple of tries to get the hang of it. Purchase a few extra Type-F connectors to practice.

    4. I’m am not a licensed electrician; this info is provided at your own risk.

  • Great article, found it very helpful. Never knew there were so many regulations for grounding an antenna.

    I have a question, my chimney is in the middle of the house, not on the side, so I don't see how I can run a ground wire without bends. I'm sure I can avoid a hard 90 degree bend, but it's got to curve over the gutter and then get down the side of the house.

    Thanks for any suggestions.

  • For those who think theaddage , "You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning" justifies doing nothing, I'd love to have you talk to my cousin Mark. He got struck twice, almost exactly a year apart running for cover when caught out in the rain in the same field on the Western Illinois University campus. It can happen, and he sure thought odds were in his favor the second year. The first year was a direct stike and hospitalized him for 3 days with no long term effects. The second was indirect from the tree above and also hospialized him with no long-term effects. For the last 40 years he avoids being out when lighting. Even sheet lightning, is around and makes sure everything he owns is well grounded.

    • I am an electrical engineer and a TV technician. I've been to many homes that incurred lightning damage... If the "rabbit-ears" antenna is inside the house next to the TV, you do not need to ground. If lightning hits a house, it could go anywhere, but the key is that it always tries to find a path to the earth. So the brunt of the strike should go directly down the side of the building. But it can also take tributary paths, induce electrical currents along nearby wires. These currents can follow the wires into the house and cause damage to the equipment to which they are connected.

  • What a great site for those of us who are electrically challenged.

    We just added a mast on our metal barn that has a Weboost cell booster antenna. It's right at the edge of the roof. Our electric service comes into the building on the opposite side which is just over 100' away. I had the guys drive a 6' grounding rod into the ground directly below the mast which is 30' off the ground. That ground is connected to the coax lightening arrestor. The metal mast is bolted to the metal roof.

    The metal building is grounded to a rod in the ground where the electrical service enters the barn.

    Not sure how we would get grounds where they need to be...

    Suggestions?

    Thanks!

    • The NEC requires that a seperate ground rod MUST be connected to the main ground rod that is connected to either the meter or first means of disconnect (main breaker panel) using a contiguous 6ga copper wire (can be solid or stranded and can be jacketed which the stranded will be.)

    • It's difficult to give specific advice to a given situation, especially not being on site. I'd consult an installer.

  • If the coaxial grounding block is mounted to the antenna mast, would that not serve as a proper ground for the mast

    • As far as I'm aware (I'm not an electrician) you need to have it connected to ground.

  • As far as the risk of a lightning strike to a dwelling, is there an advantage to mounting a 30ft antena mast 20 or 30 ft away from the house, free-standing, as opposed to mounting up against the side of the house? The house is a low to the ground one-story Ranch.

    • I'm not a professional so I really can't provide advice on safety. However, if the antenna isn't properly grounded, the strike will carry through the antenna into the house.

  • I don't know if I did this right I cut the cables from directv they already had the ground wire going to a ground block. I shortened the ground wire by going under my house to the front where my antenna is the ground block has two places for a ground wire I connected a separate ground wire from one of those ports to the antenna pole which is metal both ground wires or going to the same ground block but the one coming from the antenna is not directly connected to my house ground only the other one is .my RF cables are also going to the same ground block one in from the antenna then out to my TV's . the part that I read that you had online was that you used a ground strap I connected my ground wire to the metal pole by using a clamp like you use for water pipes maybe that part is not correct could you please let me know what to do if any of this is incorrect thank you so much

    • While I can give an account of what I did, I recommend talking with a professional in your area. They will have a better understanding of your local codes.

  • Thanks so much for this! Did you use a coax surge protector along with the grounding block or just the grounding block. I've seen both on Amazon and was going to go the extra expense of getting the surge protector/lightning arrestor (http://amzn.to/2l38QkS) as it can also be grounded. It's rated up to 1500Mhz. Do you think this is appropriate for an OTA HD signal?

    • You might want to look if the arrestor passes DC if they are used for example for a satelite dish that sends power to the LNB. Not sure if you need it in your setup.

      • Thanks. Got a Clearstream 2Max and once the weather gets above 40 again I'm going to put it up.

  • The coaxial grounding block in the photo appears to have two MALE connectors rather than female as described in the article.

    • The cables have female ends. The block should have 2 male connectors.

  • Thank you for your article. I've obsessed about my antenna situation for quite some time and purchased all the necessary equipment to do the grounding but have not done the work yet. Diagrams generally present a picture perfect scenario of how to do something but reality changes that i.e. they want you to make as few bends and turns in a ground wire as possible. In my case I have to come from the mast, travel across a roof (20 feet), go down over the side of an eave, down another 20 feet to the soil and perhaps 30 more feet to the current ground rod. And even that is a challenge with a door and a concrete pad being an obstacle to a straight line. I can see at least 5 to 6 ninety degree turns my installation will make. Even if I simply dropped the ground wire over the side of the gutter and down there would be at least 4 ninety degree turns to make the installation look halfway presentable. At that rate the ground wire would be stretched across the rooftop for 30 feet. I kept my antenna back as far as possible from the front of the house for aesthetic reasons. Toward the back wall in the antenna area is my patio with an 8 foot sliding door onto a concrete pad. Again not really a chance to make these direct straight lines to ground. I was tossing the idea around of putting a ground rod in the bank south of my antenna and stretching the wire from the second story mast to the bank. The problem is this would create a scenario like guide wires for staking a tent and I'd probably be getting hung up in the ground wire whenever I gardened, not to mention it would probably look pretty bad. Any pictures and talk of an actual roof to ground running of the wire would be helpful describing what you did to avoid 90 degree turns.

  • Thanks for your article. We have had now two different Sat providers and both didn't bother to ground the dishes. Guess main issue for them is that out meter is at the other side of the house.
    But now I run myself into a challenge. I'm installing an antenna for HAM radio and want to prevent damage to my equipment by grounding the antenna. I already have a lightning arrester but might want to look for another one.
    I was thinking of adding a ground rod on the side of the house where the antenna will be mounted. (next to the dish. Because of the difference in masts the Dish antenna couldn't be mounted on the mast of DirecTV (lucky me).
    But somehow I have the feeling, that although for lightning protection this might be the best and easiest solution, the two grounds should be connected to each other to avoid ground loops.

    • I already saw further down in the comments that my feeling was right and that the two have to be connected..

  • Can you “bundle” the coaxial cable and mast ground wire in the same cable clips or should they be separated? If the mast ground is right next to the coax cable does it interfere with reception?

    • I would separate them, but keep in mind I am not an electrician. I would check with someone local to make sure you are following any local codes.

  • I am doing the following, which I believe is more correct and more general than described in this article.

    1) Each antenna will have it's own nearby 8 foot grounding rod. Both the mast and the coax from each antenna can be grounded to the same rod, though it's even better to have a distant mast with it's own separate ground there. The only valid way to use the house grounding rod as the author is doing is if the antenna is no more than 8 feet horizontally from the main ground rod--in that case the main ground rod serves as a "nearby" ground rod.

    2) All the grounding rods are "bonded" together by a 4 gauge bonding wire that goes back to the main house grounding rod, buried 18 inches from surface and generally 18 inches from buildings. 6 gauge is the minimum requirement for ground bonding.

    3) I am using a lightning arrestor, not a grounding block. The grounding block only grounds the shield of the coax. The arrestor does that, and also filters static, noise, and excess voltage or current from the signal conductor. Most equipment damage is caused by induced voltages from nearby strikes, or static electricity, and an arrestor should block that completely. Probably nothing will protect you from a direct strike, but a grounded antenna will not develop a static charge that might attract lightning.

    4) The coax should go down to ground level before going back up into the house. If you use burial grade coax, it can be buried for a foot or two in the ground before going into the house. In my case, my grounding rods will have ground level clamps which directly clamp the arrestors. The output of the arrestors will feed another coax to go up into the house.

  • Various lightening surge protectors are sold on Amazon, which seem to be appropriate. A major difference is that some are 50ohm, and some are 75 ohm. Which is better for a simple, old fashion, antenna to TV coax line?

    • 75 ohm is the way to go. However, you want to make sure the coaxial is 75 as well. Basically, match the coaxial.

  • Any recommendations on how to ground an outdoor tv antenna on the balcony of an apt. ?

    • I would call a professional. It's difficult to give that sort of advice without seeing the situation.