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Old 24-Jun-2014, 4:45 PM   #1
DanM
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Antenna Installation Best Practices

Hi All.

There is a ton of good information out there on how to install antennas. What are some best practices that I should do when installing the antenna? Are there unwritten steps that I should follow? Are there any additional items that I should buy and install to improve the signal, extend the lifespan, or protect the equipment?

Thanks!

Dan
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Old 25-Jun-2014, 12:48 AM   #2
GroundUrMast
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This is a great topic... Let's use this thread as an entry portal for a 'best of' series. Whether you feel you are a newb or seasoned pro, feel free toss your ideas in. Some may obvious items to make the list. Other ideas or techniques may spur some discussion (courteous and professional please) that will hone them to their best.

When a moderator sees an item that deserves to make the 'closed' thread, they will append it to that thread, giving credit to those who submitted it, and if appropriate, any who contributed to it.
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If the well is dry and you don't see rain on the horizon, you'll need to dig the hole deeper. (If the antenna can't get the job done, an amp won't fix it.)

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Old 25-Jun-2014, 2:53 AM   #3
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It starts with the Antenna and it's location

Pick the right antenna(s) to begin with. Use TV fool to get an idea of the signals available, their real channel number, strength, azimuth and path profile. This information is far more valuable than the distance alone. (It's common to see advertising that includes the range of an antenna in miles. There is no standard method used, each manufacturer can use any method they want when making estimates. Some are conservative and a few make claims that are beyond belief.) If you don't know how to interpret the information in a TV Fool Reception Report, simply ask for help in the Help With Reception forum.

Don't commit to a specific mounting location too soon. Before drilling holes or committing a lot of time and money to a particular location, consider testing reception by placing the antenna there, using temporary means if possible. Test reception using a relatively short length of coax and a known good receiver. If you get poor results, you can try alternate locations.
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If the well is dry and you don't see rain on the horizon, you'll need to dig the hole deeper. (If the antenna can't get the job done, an amp won't fix it.)

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Old 28-Jun-2014, 2:57 AM   #4
RealmSteel
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I would have to say with anything, use the proper tools.
Think about where and how you will install the antenna and how to should run the cable.
Consider if those screws you are thinking of drilling through your roof will leak some day and cause expensive damage.
Running the coax along the and on top of the roof edge will collect debris. (Had a Dish guy do that on my house. What an idiot)
If you plan to mount to the chimney, check to make sure it is sound enough and is not crumbly. If it is crumbly, you should have it fixed anyway. Major source of leaks. Don't mess with or try to screw into the chimney flashing. It will leak.
Make sure to buy and install quality ends on your coax. Cheap parts degrade very quickly.
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Old 29-Jun-2014, 2:44 AM   #5
DanM
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Okay, lets break this down a bit...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RealmSteel View Post
I would have to say with anything, use the proper tools.
What tools should I have to properly install an antenna?


Quote:
Originally Posted by RealmSteel View Post
Think about where and how you will install the antenna and how to should run the cable.
What factors go into where you install the antenna and run the cable? I have a hip roof and the chimney is not in a convenient location for the antenna. I think that a ridge will would work best.
What factors go into how to run the cable?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RealmSteel View Post
Consider if those screws you are thinking of drilling through your roof will leak some day and cause expensive damage.
How do you prevent leaks, besides caulking the hell out of the screw heads and possibly under the mount?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RealmSteel View Post
Running the coax along the and on top of the roof edge will collect debris. (Had a Dish guy do that on my house. What an idiot)
What is the best way to run the coax along and on top of the roof edge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by RealmSteel View Post
Make sure to buy and install quality ends on your coax. Cheap parts degrade very quickly.
What types of ends should I buy?
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Old 29-Jun-2014, 3:20 AM   #6
RealmSteel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanM View Post
Okay, lets break this down a bit...
What tools should I have to properly install an antenna?
This is what I needed today to install my antenna
At least one good quality extension ladder.
Tape measure, cordless drill with bits and nut drivers, proper stripper, crimper tool for ends. Level, wrenches, pliers, compass, wire ties, Scotch33 electrical tape(my favorite), various fasteners, RG6 coax, etc.

Lastly, it's best if you are working up high, to have an assistant to hold the ladder and help if you get yourself in trouble. If I have to work by myself, I always make sure I have my cellphone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanM View Post
What factors go into where you install the antenna and run the cable? I have a hip roof and the chimney is not in a convenient location for the antenna. I think that a ridge will would work best.
What factors go into how to run the cable?
I assume you have at least one gable end.
Try to avoid trees directly in your path if possible.
I just saw a mast mount that attaches to the peak of the gable end and also has a horizontal brace some distance down. Do a Google of "Antenna mount eave" and look at the pictures.
I am going to switch my mount to something like this. I am currently using a piece of pipe that fit inside the J mount from the previous satellite dish. I made a stainless steel plate that lag bolted into the eave right at the peak that the J mount screws t.o While it seems to work fine, I don't like how it does not have a brace some distance down for leverage. If a really good wind comes, I am afraid it could tear off the peak.
Any bolts you screw into your house, use a good quality silicone or rubber based sealant.


Quote:
Originally Posted by DanM View Post
How do you prevent leaks, besides caulking the hell out of the screw heads and possibly under the mount?
Use high quality silicone and make sure everything is very tight and doesn't jiggle around. If you install a bolt and it strips or doesn't engage solid material, either install another bolt near it to take the load or move the mount and seal the open holes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanM View Post
What is the best way to run the coax along and on top of the roof edge?
Use cable clips to run the coax and install them along the eave right under the roofing shingles. Where ever you plan to drop the cable down, run it back along the soffit to the wall and straight down. Little drip loops are good to have so water doesn't run along the cable and back to the house.


What types of ends should I buy?[/QUOTE]
There is another thread going on right now about connectors.
http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=14590
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Old 29-Jun-2014, 3:45 AM   #7
DanM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RealmSteel View Post
This is what I needed today to install my antenna
At least one good quality extension ladder.
Tape measure, cordless drill with bits and nut drivers, proper stripper, crimper tool for ends. Level, wrenches, pliers, compass, wire ties, Scotch33 electrical tape(my favorite), various fasteners, RG6 coax, etc.

Lastly, it's best if you are working up high, to have an assistant to hold the ladder and help if you get yourself in trouble. If I have to work by myself, I always make sure I have my cellphone.


I assume you have at least one gable end.
Try to avoid trees directly in your path if possible.
I just saw a mast mount that attaches to the peak of the gable end and also has a horizontal brace some distance down. Do a Google of "Antenna mount eave" and look at the pictures.
I am going to switch my mount to something like this. I am currently using a piece of pipe that fit inside the J mount from the previous satellite dish. I made a stainless steel plate that lag bolted into the eave right at the peak that the J mount screws t.o While it seems to work fine, I don't like how it does not have a brace some distance down for leverage. If a really good wind comes, I am afraid it could tear off the peak.
Any bolts you screw into your house, use a good quality silicone or rubber based sealant.



Use high quality silicone and make sure everything is very tight and doesn't jiggle around. If you install a bolt and it strips or doesn't engage solid material, either install another bolt near it to take the load or move the mount and seal the open holes.



Use cable clips to run the coax and install them along the eave right under the roofing shingles. Where ever you plan to drop the cable down, run it back along the soffit to the wall and straight down. Little drip loops are good to have so water doesn't run along the cable and back to the house.


What types of ends should I buy?
There is another thread going on right now about connectors.
http://forum.tvfool.com/showthread.php?t=14590[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the details.

Regarding my roof, I have no gable ends and all sides have gutters.
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Old 16-Jul-2014, 8:47 AM   #8
ZippyTheChicken
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Installing Antennas

Installing an antenna should be planned and you should understand a bit about home construction before you get yourself into trouble.

Personally I grew up with a tv antenna in our attic. It was fine because we had older construction with rafters instead of new construction with trusses. Trusses use smaller sized lumber but they pre build them in a layout that increases their stability. Rafters are single pieces of wood that run from the ridge or peak of the roof down to the top plates of your walls to form a triangle. They allow much more room in the attic for attic antennas that might even need a rotator.

If you are roof mounting the main concerns I would have are first is the antenna grounded correctly. You do not want a fire or to blow out your television tuners. Even if lightning strikes close to the home and not the antenna directly you can still blow out your electronics because the antenna will pick up free electricity through the air.. that happens during every rain storm when electric lines on telephone poles have near strikes and large amounts of electricity is induced into the lines causing surges.

I would suggest that you use appropriate grounding wire... Standoffs that are insulated so the wire does not touch the building.. and once the antenna cable is inside your home you might want to pickup a surge protector used for networking that has a Network Cable connector. I can not speak about any dB loss but I do know they exist.

For mounting on a chimney you want to use a chimney mounting kit that will be a few steel straps that wrap around the chimney and create a stable mounting point. You do not want to drill into the chimney to mount the antenna or a pole directly.

If you are mounting directly to your roof using a stand you want to protect the roof from friction so you will want to install a piece of rubberized membrane over your shingles that has a layer of tar on it that will melt into the shingles and seal off your bolt holes.

You will want to make sure that you install your lag bolts directly into your rafters and not just into the plywood. If you must install a screw in a place where a rafter is not below it then you will need to build bracing inside the attic with 2x4 lumber below the area where you will mount the antenna. Plywood roofing will not take the stress of an antenna on its own.

I would suggest that you use either a outdoor rated acrylic silicon or straight silicon for caulking and you can pick up a calk tube of roofing cement for working on shingles, applying under flashing and other reasons.


When you are on the roof it is important to be careful.
Have someone there to call for help if you fall.
Bring your own cellphone and have it on.
Extend the ladder about 4 feet above the roof edge so you can step off it onto the roof.
Place the ladder in the corner of two roof lines where the gutter will support it on the side.
Consider bungy cording the ladder to the gutter if you are alone so it will not fall leaving you on the roof with no way down.
One hand on the ladder at all times.
Bring items up one at a time and do not overload yourself.
Do not go closer than 2 feet to the edge.
Step slowly on any roof you have not been on because roof sheathing rot can cause you to go through the roof even if the shingle look good.

IF YOU FALL OR SLIP you want to flatten yourself out with your stomach to the roof and arms and legs spread out like you are making a snow angel face down. Friction will keep you from sliding.

NEVER EVER EVER try to save something that is about to fall off the roof.. LET IT GO .. it is not worth slipping or being dragged down with it. let it go even if its your brand new phone.. well if its your wife give it a shot but other than that let it go.



Professionals wear rubber sole shoes specifically for working on roofs. At bare minimum you must wear soft sneakers that have very good stick and traction.

Professionals also use safety lines just like tree and mountain climbers.. you most likely won't have this but if your situation warrants it you can rent these items at a good local supply center. Ask for a Safety Harness and Roof Mount Kit.. they do require screwing into your roof and will require repair when you are done.

I hope that helps you understand what you are in for when you get up on your roof. I worked in construction for many years and roofing was the only task that I had an agreement not to do. I would install the foundation to the trusses and help with the plywood roof decking but never the shingles we hired that out for safety and for insurance reasons. A small leak can ruin your drywall ceilings in less than an hour. I would do the work on my own home but not for hire.

Last edited by ZippyTheChicken; 16-Jul-2014 at 9:05 AM.
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Old 21-Jul-2014, 4:41 PM   #9
Stereocraig
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Long sleeves and long pants, to avoid burns, scuffs and scrapes.

Baggy shorts legs may also sneak over a ladder rail, when descending.
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