How to connect wires to an outside TV antenna

tv antennas image by JoLin from

Coaxial wire is used to connect wires to your outside TV aerial. It is a simple but very effective wire containing one insulated central core, which the TV signals pass through, surrounded by wire braiding to protect the signal from interference. The wire is encased in plastic. There are two ways to connect wires to your outside TV antenna; using a coaxial plug inserted in a coaxial socket or directly wiring into a protected box using screw fittings. Both methods are moderately easy.

Decide method

Check your antenna to determine which method you need to use to wire your outside TV antenna -- coaxial plug or direct wiring.

Remove the plastic cover from the box located at the base of the antenna. You will either see a panel with two screws or a socket for inserting your coaxial plug.

Strip 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) of the outer protective plastic from the coaxial wire using wire strippers or a small knife. The wire braiding is visible. Follow the steps in Section 2, below, if you're wiring your TV antenna directly in the wiring box or follow the steps in Section 3 if you are wiring your antenna using a coaxial plug and socket.

Direct wiring

Use a knife to cut the braiding lengthwise. Start where the outer plastic begins and cut downwards in a straight line to the end of the wire. Undo the braiding and twist it neatly so it forms a 1.2 cm (1/2 inch) length of wire. The insulated central core is visible.

Strip 6 mm (1/4 inch) off the plastic core with a wire strippers or a knife to reveal the central metal core.

Use your screwdriver to unscrew the two screws on the antenna wiring panel slightly (enough so you can insert the two wires).

Insert the wire braiding under the larger screw (usually marked "ground") then tighten the screw. Insert the metal central core under the smaller screw and tighten. Ensure both screws are tight and the wire is held firmly.

Replace the plastic cover over the wiring box and your TV antenna is wired.

Coaxial plug

Push the metal braiding up the wire with your fingers until it forms a ring around the outer plastic. You will see the insulated central core. Strip 6 mm (1/4 inch) off the plastic core with wire strippers or a knife and the metal core is exposed.

Unscrew the cover from your coaxial plug. You have three components -- the cover, a small clamp and the main coaxial plug. Slide the cover over the coaxial wire. Make certain that the threaded end of the cover faces the direction of the end of the wire. Move the cover up the cable several inches so it doesn't fall off.

Open the metal clamp slightly with your fingers and slide the open end over the wire until it completely covers the wire braiding. Squeeze the clamp together with your fingers so it tightens over the braiding. Use small electrical pliers if you prefer. Remove any strands of braiding not enclosed in the clamp with a knife.

Insert the metal central core in the hollow pin in the coaxial plug. Slide down until the metal clamp sits on the outer area of the plug. Slide the cover down the wire until it reaches the coaxial plug, then screw the cap on finger tight. Check to make sure the wire is secure.

Insert the coaxial plug in the TV antenna socket. Check to make sure the connection is firm, then replace the plastic cover over the wiring box and your TV antenna is wired.

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