Grounding. Proof that one bad decision can ruin your whole day. If your outdoor antenna isn’t grounded, you run the risk of a lightning strike that can destroy all your home electronics and burn down your home. If you’re a frequent reader of The Solid Signal Blog, you’ll know that I’ve written several articles just like this one… practically begging you to ground your antenna.
Here’s the reason: when there’s a lot of static electricity in the air, such as just before a storm, there’s a strong possibility of lightning. Lightning is nothing but electricity, and electricity is lazy. It wants to take the shortest possible path from point A to point B, and it doesn’t have to work very hard either. A nice, big, metal pole is very attractive to the electricity in the air and when there’s enough electricity that it’s going to form a lightning bolt, one end of that bolt is going to be on the closest, highest point that conducts electricity the best. Does that sound like the antenna on top of your roof? It should.
We’ve created an entire guide to grounding that will help you find the parts you need, but usually it comes down to a few simple parts. A ground block goes between your antenna and your home by way of the coax cable, and ground wire runs from that ground blog to a the closest “grounded” location. This can be a metal cold water pipe, your electrical panel, or the actual ground. (That’s right folks, stick a metal rod in the dirt, attach a copper wire to it, and you’ve created a very effective low-tech grounding system.
No matter what you do folks, for the love of all that’s good do something. The parts are as cheap as we can make them and the ground block can be almost anywhere, so you might not even need to get back up on the roof. A properly grounded system will really help you escape damage due to lightning. Your antenna could still get hit, but a lot of the electricity will pass through the grounding wire and into the earth instead of going into your home’s electrical system.