Outdoor Antenna Ground

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Old 01-21-15, 08:14 PM
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Question Outdoor Antenna Ground

I am planning on installing an outdoor antenna mounted to my chimney on a 5 foot mast. I'm a little nervous about grounding because this isn't something I've ever done before. I've looked various places online for advice, but I'm hoping to work with what I've got from the previous homeowner rather than starting from scratch and I'm not sure what is correct.

There are already coax cables with a ground wire connected, run to near where I am putting the antenna. 1) I plan to use a coax coupler to reach the antenna with coax, but how should I couple the ground wire, which will likely be outside exposed to elements? 2) What screw do I attach the ground wire to, on the mount that attaches to the mast, on the mast that attaches to the antenna, or on the antenna itself?

The coax and the ground wire go through the vent in the garage, through walls and floor down into the basement where they are currently attached to a quad coax grounding block attached to a wood joist. My best estimate is that this is about a 35-40 foot run. 3) Is it safe to go inside the house, through the walls and floor, which may be ignitable materials and attach to the wood joist?

The grounding block then has a wire running about 4 feet to the copper water pipe about 5 feet from where it comes into the house, near the water meters. 4) Is this appropriate, and is it OK that it is near the meters?

I'm sorry that I am probably stuck on something that is really simple, and I may be overthinking the whole thing. Thanks in advance for any assistance.
 
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Old 01-22-15, 07:45 AM
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I wouldn't run it through the wall. I would make a separate connection, on the antenna & run the cable outside. Buy one of those rods made for grounding lightning rods & connect it to that. Then drive the rod into the ground.
 
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Old 01-22-15, 12:15 PM
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Thanks for the reply.

That's what I was seeing online most often. I'd also seen it recommended to attach to the water pipes, so I was hoping I could get away with that because that's kind of what is already there.

If I do use a grounding rod, does the coax need to go down to the ground and attach to the grounding rod as well? I'll then either have to drill a hole in the wall or go right back up to the garage vent.

How long should the grounding rod be? I've seen 8' recommended, but Menards looks like it only has a 4'. I am guessing if they make 4' that might be sufficient?

So, the existing cables, currently used by a satellite dish, are not safely grounded through the old method, even though that was likely installed by a DirecTV technician?
 
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Old 01-22-15, 07:07 PM
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The cable grounding block should be on the outside of the house. On a direct strike, nothing much will guarantee your equipment is protected. After traveling thousands of feet, a 1/4" air gap means nothing to the lightening. It will, however, help protect you against a nearby strike.
Most hams and CBer's disconnect all antenna related equipment when there is a storm in the area.
 
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Old 01-22-15, 08:43 PM
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No, the coaxial doesn't go to the grounding rod. I would imagine the 4' rod is sufficient. You never said the reason for the new antenna or did I miss it?
 
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Old 01-23-15, 05:02 AM
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The cable ground on the block is already grounded to the water pipe. That is the correct way to do it -- close to the point at which it enters the house.
 
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Old 01-23-15, 07:48 PM
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Thanks for all the information. I am getting ready to cut the cord (well, satellite) and planning to use the antenna with a DVR Tuner Card and existing TVs, plus some subscription services and a Roku. I already have a small antenna in the attic but never get a good signal so I am just putting one on the roof instead of fooling with it.

So, I will attach some 8 gauge wire to the antenna, run it to the edge of the roof and staple it to the wood, then down to the wall and down to the ground. Then attach it to the 4' rod pounded into the ground. Do I need to keep anything in mind with the placement of the rod? Should it be certain distance from the house, can it go in a garden area or does it need to be regular grass and soil? This might be a dumb question, but do I need to worry about hitting anything (electric, pipes, etc) underground when I pound it in?

I'm also not sure I am understanding the coax - as it is now with the satellite, it enters the house (garage) through a vent near the roof. It then goes through walls and down to the basement, my best guess is about 25 feet traveled inside the house. Then it attaches to a grounding block attached to a joist which is wired to the water pipe. I wouldn't say it is near where it enters the house, but there isn't anything to ground to inside the garage crawlspace where it does enter the house. So, will this work or do I need to do something else?

Thanks again for all the advice. I really appreciate it.
 
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Old 01-25-15, 06:23 AM
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Everything I've read, including quotes of the code, says "where it enters the house," and most of the installations I've seen have the grounding block (or an antenna discharge unit) outside just before the cable enters the house. The cable travels outside to get to the block.

The antenna ground must be tied to an exterior ground rod, and the cable ground must be tied directly to the ground rod or to a water pipe. If a water pipe, it must be within five feet of where the pipe enters the house, and the pipe must be metal (not PVC).
 
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Old 01-26-15, 11:52 AM
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OK, you are probably all going to hate me for completely changing up the question, but, do I still need to do any grounding if I were to mount the antenna in the unfinished portion (crawlspace/attic) of the second floor of my cape cod?

I wanted to try and test it so I hooked it up in my bedroom on the 2nd floor and it worked great. I obviously expected it to be better than the smaller indoor one which never got any channels reliably, but it ended up working perfectly. If that works, and I can avoid worrying about the grounding, obviously, that's going to be my fastest easiest route....
 
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Old 01-26-15, 02:13 PM
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You don't have to do another thing if you leave it inside the house.
 
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Old 01-26-15, 02:32 PM
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The only downfall to having an antenna in the attic is reduced receiving range when the roof is snow covered and to some extent when it rains.
 
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