DIY TV aerial installation

Written by kurt schanaman
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DIY TV aerial installation
A correctly installed TV aerial will provide years of no-cost programming. (zefart/iStock/Getty Images)

Digital terrestrial television can provide excellent programming for no monthly fee, but to receive the signals correctly requires a correctly installed and aimed rooftop aerial. The most common type of television aerial used today is the roof or wall-mounted aerial fitted with a short 1.2 to 1.8 metre (4 to 6 feet) mast. Installation requires a safety mindset and a minimum set of tools.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Ladder
  • Work belt
  • Cordless drill
  • Screwdriver set
  • Open-end wrench set
  • Mast
  • Grounding strap
  • Wire cutters
  • Copper grounding rod
  • Sledgehammer
  • Grounding strap mounting block
  • Carpenter's staple gun and heavy-gauge staples

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  1. 1

    Erect an aluminium extension ladder to reach the aerial installation site. Follow any recommended safety procedures provided by the ladder manufacturer including weight limits.

  2. 2

    Put on a work belt and stow screwdrivers, wrenches and drill bits into the slots provided on your belt. If possible, connect the cordless drill to the belt as well to minimise the number of trips up and down the ladder. If not, carefully carry the drill up to the roof tucked under an arm. Always hold on to the ladder with both hands when ascending or descending.

  3. 3

    Tie one end of the grounding strap to the lineman's belt and have a partner on the ground hold the spool, feeding the grounding strap as you climb.

  4. 4

    Climb the ladder and, once at the top, ask your partner to tie the other end of the grounding strap to the mast mount, tying it onto the mount with double knots for safety. Once completed, lift the mount to the roof.

  5. 5

    Place the mount on the roof or wall in the location it will be installed. Drill the holes for the mount in the chimney or wall using a drill bit size that matches the screws that came with the mast mount. Use a screwdriver (or the drill if you have a screwdriver bit) to secure the mount in place.

  6. 6

    Insert the mast into the mounting rings and tighten the mounting ring screws so the mast pipe cannot be moved vertically. These should be tightened as tight as possible; otherwise wind may work the mast loose in the mounts.

  7. 7

    Snip off the knot from the grounding strap with wire cutters and then lower one end of the strap back down to your partner and have her tie the strap securely to the aerial, as well as one end of the coaxial cable. Once secured, have your partner stand clear and slowly lift the aerial up to your location on the roof. Mount it to the mast with the hardware and instructions that came with the aerial system.

  8. 8

    Connect the coaxial cable that came with your aerial system, and the grounding strap, to the aerial and lower the free end to the ground. Use heavy gauge carpenter's staples or clamps to secure the cable and the grounding strap to the roof leading to the edge where the ladder is located.

  9. 9

    Climb down the ladder and pound the grounding rod into the ground with a sledgehammer until only 30 cm (1 foot) remains above ground. Slide the grounding strap block over the rod and tighten to the rod securely. Insert the grounding strap into the strap slot on the block and tighten it securely also.

  10. 10

    Run the coaxial cable into the premises as desired and connect it to the television. Return to the roof to make aiming adjustments of the aerial until the signal reception is at its best.

Tips and warnings

  • To aim the aerial, check the direction of aerials on nearby houses. Use a signal meter to fine-tune the aerial's position to get the strongest possible TV reception.
  • Installing an aerial should never be performed as a "one man job" and a partner should always be available to assist. Carrying an aerial and mount up a ladder in one hand can lead to falls and serious injury.
  • Never work with aerials on a roof when a thunderstorm is nearby. If you can hear thunder, there my be a chance of electrocution by lightning.
  • Stay away from power lines and always locate your aerial a safe distance from them to prevent electrocution or damage to TV equipment should the aerial come into contact with one.

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