How important is wind load on an antenna?

Wind load is a term you don’t often hear applied to antennas. As we explained in this article, wind load is a measurement that describes how much effect wind has on something. It’s important in buildings, in fact in anything that’s outside. It’s an accurate way to predict how much wind something can take before it blows over.

The easy way and the hard way

To completely calculate wind load, you need to know the coefficient of drag of an object as well as the weather conditions it’s in. However, most simple calculations of wind load stop by giving you the area. For simple calculations, a coefficient of drag of .5 works. That’s the Cd of a brick, and most things are more aerodynamic than a brick. Since conditions outside change, manufacturers will stay away from that number.

When you see wind loads published for an antenna, they’re often in square feet, since that’s the number that changes from antenna to antenna. It’s also an easy way to compare wind loads between antennas, if that’s the sort of thing you want to do

How important is wind load?

In fact, most people don’t consider wind load to be an important measurement when it comes to antennas. It’s so unimportant that most major antenna manufacturers don’t list it. Our factory doesn’t have numbers for our Xtreme Signal antennas either, although they would be pretty easy to calculate for a panel antenna because it’s basically a rectangle.

Wind load isn’t considered important because most antennas are made of very lightweight materials and have a lot of air spaces. Air flows freely through them. Realistically with the lightweight nature of most antennas, they would get shredded by the wind long before they would fall down due to wind. And again, realistically, if you’re in a situation when the wind could really damage an antenna, you should probably be worried about wind damaging your house instead.

If you have a tower…

this is honestly the only time when you may need to have some wind load data. You’re going to need to secure that tower and local ordinances sometimes require information on everything you’re putting on that tower and how it may contribute to the tower falling down. But again this is a case where you’re probably smart to use more guy wires than you need. Other than the kind of paperwork you may have to file, there’s no real benefit to having wind load information. If you get to the point where your tower is in danger of blowing over, you have a lot worse problems that losing TV reception.

Should you worry about wind load?

As a regular person with a regular antenna, I would say not. If you have put up a tower or if you are putting up several antennas, I would still say it’s optional. Just make sure everything is strongly secured. If the antenna blows off the roof, it won’t do any more damage than a branch of similar weight. But if you do find that it’s important to you, contact us at Solid Signal. We’ll use our manufacturer relationships to try to get that information for you. Unfortunately in many cases it’s just not available.

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.