How to replace a twin lead with coaxial cables for television antennas

Written by phil altshuler
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How to replace a twin lead with coaxial cables for television antennas
Converting your twin-lead antenna wire to coaxial cable will improve your reception. (coaxial cable image by Albert Lozano from

Twin lead antenna wire has not been used for many years. It gets brittle and often breaks when exposed to the elements. Most televisions built in the last 20 years have a coaxial cable input. If you have a television that has twin lead input screws, you should convert it to a coaxial cable input and run new cable from your antenna to the television. It should dramatically improve your reception. Matching transformers (called baluns) are necessary to allow you to connect the cable. They are readily available wherever you can buy coaxial cable.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • RG-6 coaxial cable
  • Matching transformers
  • Wire brush
  • Tie-wraps
  • Penetrating oil

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  1. 1

    Remove the existing twin-lead wire from the antenna. Measure the length of the twin-lead and buy the next largest length RG-6 coaxial cable. It typically comes in lengths of 25 feet, 50 feet and 100 feet.

  2. 2

    Clean the antenna terminals with a wire brush. Continue cleaning until they are bright and shiny. Do the same with the wing nuts that were holding the wire in place. Carefully clean the nut where it was contacting the twin-lead.

  3. 3

    Attach one of the matching transformers to the terminals. Make sure the connections are tight. Screw one end of the coaxial cable to the other end of the matching transformer. If the antenna is outdoors, cover the transformer with a weatherproof rubber boot. A boot is usually packaged with the transformers.

  4. 4

    Secure the cable to the antenna mast with tie-wraps. Feed the cable to the location of the television, following the path of the twin-lead that it is replacing.

  5. 5

    Remove the twin-lead from the television and attach another matching transformer to the television where the twin-lead was attached.

  6. 6

    Screw the coaxial cable to the matching transformer. If the television has a coaxial cable input jack, connect the cable to the jack instead of the transformer.

Tips and warnings

  • If the terminals on the antenna are corroded, put a little penetrating oil on the screws and allow it to soak in for about an hour. This will allow you to remove the twin-lead without damaging the connector.
  • If the antenna is on the roof, be very careful. Serious injury can result if you fall from a roof.

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