Television Antenna Installation
When installing an outside television antenna buy a combination type that will pick up both UHF and VHF telecast. Learn why and how!
When installing an outside television antenna the first thing to remember is to buy a combination type that will pick up both UHF and VHF telecast. Otherwise, you will need separate antennas to pick up both. Some of the newer combination antennas will even pick up FM radio broadcast. Since antennas are categorized by gain or mile range, it is good to remember that gain is the ability of an antenna to increase the strength of an incoming signal, while mileage range will tell you how distant a signal your antenna can pull in. You should also remember that either of these will only be accurate for one television set. When you have more than one set you will need a stronger antenna.
Another factor that reflects on the performance of your antenna is direction. If you live in an urban area where signals are strong and plentiful you will need a highly directional, moderate gain antenna. This will save your antenna from being bombarded by unwanted signals. If you live in the country or where signals are weaker and fewer in number you will want a moderately directional, high gain antenna. In areas where channels are weak or if the placement of your antenna means that the wire will need to be more than 100 feet long, you will need to boost the signal with an amplifier. In most cases, the dealer who you are purchasing your antenna from will help you to select the best one for your area.
It is best to install your antenna on a chimney, roof, or the eaves of your house. This will keep it well away from trees, power lines, and other obstructions. Any time you install an antenna near power lines, use the utmost caution since any connection of the antenna or ladder with the lines can cause instant death. The best way to insure you are a good distance from such lines is to make the distance no less than twice the length of the full antenna and mast away. You will need a mast to support your antenna, and in most cases a 10 foot, 16 gauge one works well. If you are in an area that is far away from the transmitting signal or is hilly you will need to make your mast taller. If you discover it will need to be more than 20 feet long, have a professional install the mast.
The antenna should be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions that will be part of your purchase. When it is mounted on the mast you will need to turn the antenna to get the best signal. If you discover that the signals are coming from different directions you should consider installing a rotor motor that will rotate the antenna to different positions. When the antenna is more than 10 feet above its top mounting bracket it will need additional support. You can add three guide wires made of steel cable and secure them to the antenna. Then secure them to the roof of your house using screw eyes or bolts and washers. After you have done this you will need to check all the strips of metal that seal the seams around your chimney, vent pipes, dormers, and low points between roof sections and seal them with roof cement.
When the unit is mounted, run your coaxial cable for 300 ohm wire between the antenna and television set. You will need to take the shortest route possible avoiding any electrical wires, which could create a hazard or interference. Allow the antenna wire to hang down the side of your house and use 4 inch stand offs, which are large screw eyes, to attach the wire into the siding every 2 feet along the path of the wire. Where it is necessary for the wire to go around any metal gutter, be careful not to allow the wire to touch the gutter. In this case the wire should be looped over the gutter and secured with a stand off. Next you should calculate the location of your television set in relation to the outside wall. Then drill through the wall with a 3\8 inch drill bit for 300 ohm wire or a 1\4 inch drill bit for coaxial cable. You can use a wire coat hanger that has been straightened to work the wire through the wall, but leave about 4 to 6 inches outside for a drip loop to keep water from following the wire into the wall. Connect the wires to the screws on your television, or if you are using a combination antenna, to the splitter. Then connect the wires of the splitter to your television. You are now ready to caulk the hole in the wall. It is wise to protect against lightening when you have an antenna by installing a static discharger.