Spring is here! Time to look at your antenna

While the snow continues to rage in our Michigan offices, we all think jealously of you in the southern half of the country. For many folks, it’s time to start thinking about the spring thaw and what it means to the things we’ve left outdoors all winter.

Time to start looking outdoors

What does your satellite dish or antenna look like now that the snow is melting? How are the connections? Did you sweep snow or ice off it over the winter, meaning it probably needs re-aiming?

It’s very easy for your outdoor equipment to lose its aim even if you haven’t touched it. Harsh winter storms bring rain and snow. Even if your equipment is perfectly tightened down, stuff can still happen.

It’s not just aiming, either. Antennas and satellite equipment is pretty amazingly durable but everything has its limits. Your dish could be starting to rust. Your antenna’s elements could be starting to droop. Cold weather really is tough on this kind of stuff.

It’s not just the big stuff. You should sweat the small stuff too.

This is the time to inspect every outside wire, every drip loop, every connection to make sure that no water leaked in where it shouldn’t. It’s time to check your grounding wire (you do ground everything right?) and make sure it’s still connected to a ground rod, water pipe or breaker box according to your local ordinances. This is the time to check all your connections, even the ones managed by the utility companies, and make sure that everything looks perfect.

Look really closely for signs of corrosion. Corrosion happens when water settles in on connectors and slowly dries. This allows for all sorts of oxidation and rust to form. In some cases, oxidation isn’t a bad thing. For example, that dull dark grey dust that forms on your antenna is oxidation. It doesn’t stop your antenna from doing its job and it actually protects the rest of the antenna from falling apart.

In most cases, though, oxidation is a bad thing. Look at every connection point for greenish oxidation or rust. These are signs that things should be replaced immediately. Trace every wire to make sure it’s still connected and it hasn’t drooped because of snow or rain on it.

If you do have any outdoor power connections, take a really good look at them. The last thing you want is for things to short out when the rains come to your area.

Scan for channels, just in case

In most parts of the country, the “repack” is over. There are just a few channels left to move. If you have been scanning obsessively for the last few years, you can probably stop. Whether or not you have, maybe give it one last scan and then let things be for a while. There shouldn’t be a need for more than that.

Do it right…

And then it’s time for pre-season baseball, but that’s another blog article. I’ll write it when I’m done watching America’s pastime.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.