Fix-It Chick: Install an outdoor antenna to reach over-the-air digital channels
Installing an outdoor antenna is an easy way to stretch your entertainment dollars. Most homeowners can legally install an outdoor antenna, as long as it does not reach more than 12 feet above the roof line, does not create any safety risks and does not impede upon existing neighborhood covenants.
Step 1: Use an internet search to locate TV broadcast towers near the home. The Over the Air Digital TV website otadtv.com has a wealth of information as well as detailed maps and coordinates for tower locations. For those who want to dabble in geometry, mathematics and geography, technical data for optimal antenna location is available. Otherwise, pointing an antenna in the direction of the closest TV tower will usually suffice.
Step 2: Antennas can be mounted on the side of a home, on the roof or on a free-standing antenna tower. Antennas can also be installed in a home’s attic. Attic installations will reduce the signal strength and possibly limit the number of channels that can be received, but the ease of installation and the aesthetics of not having an antenna mounted on the outside of a home may outweigh the negative signal impact.
Step 3: Choose an antenna and mounting hardware that best suits the needs and budget of the homeowner. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and assemble the antenna and accessories.
Step 4: Use the existing television cable connections or run new RG-6 four-wire coaxial cable to the rooms where televisions will be used.
Step 5: Install a coax ground block where the cable enters the home. Run a 10 gauge or heavier grounding wire from the coax ground block to a grounding rod or earth grounded pipe.
Step 6: Determine the ideal location for the antenna based on the proximity of broadcast towers. Antennas work best when mounted thirty feet above the ground in an unobstructed space away from metal, wire and other signal blocking materials.
Step 7: Before mounting the antenna, attach the antenna cable to a working television and with the help of a friend, use the picture quality and channel reception to determine the optimal antenna mounting position.
Step 8: Mount the antenna in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Coat any screw holes with an elastomeric sealant.
Step 9: Run a grounding wire from the antenna to an earth grounded rod.
Step 10: Attach the antenna wire to the television cable and enjoy.
— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at firstname.lastname@example.org.