What’s the right size pole for a TV antenna?

It seems like everyone’s cutting the cord. Maybe you’re tired of paying the cable company over $100 a month for TV channels you don’t watch. You might look at that bill and decide something needs to be done. If you’re looking at cutting the cord, you should be looking at an antenna.

Many cord-cutters get rid of cable TV and replace it with streaming. That’s great but it’s turning out to be very expensive. Streaming started as a great way to cut costs but that’s really changed. With so many services today it’s pretty easy to spend close to $100 a month that way too! That’s why you need a TV antenna.

Most markets have over 50 different live programs all available for free with an antenna. Put up that antenna and you won’t pay another dime. You’ll find all the top-rated programs plus sports and news customized for your area.

However, after choosing an antenna, the biggest problem people have is choosing the right mast. The mast is the pole that you put the antenna on. Don’t worry, though, it’s very easy to choose the right one.

How to choose the right mast

This recent tutorial goes into huge detail about masts. You’ll learn everything you could ever hope for. However, let’s make this easy for cord-cutters.

Most antennas will work with masts from 1.25″ OD to 1.5″ OD. Some will work with thicker or thinner masts but if you stay within those ranges you’ll generally be fine.

What is “OD?”

OD means outer diameter. Because masts are often made by the same people who make water pipes, they’re measured two different ways. Most commonly they are measured by outer diameter. That’s the absolute thickness of the mast. When you’re putting pipes in place you need ones that fit together and if the outer diameters don’t match then you have a problem.

Larger pipes and very small pipes are sometimes measured by inner diameter, which is the size of the hole in the center. This is important for getting a steady flow rate. It’s important in massive water pipes and tiny needles for injections. In those cases the outer size isn’t as important.

Can you choose something that isn’t an “official” mast?

I get this question all the time. There’s no reason to use an “official” mast if you have a pipe that will work as well. I’ve seen antennas mounted on fences, chimneys, and just about anything vertical. It absolutely doesn’t matter, as long as the thing you’re mounting to won’t be damaged by having an antenna hanging off it. Antennas are pretty forgiving in the wind, too, which is why you can even mount them on trees if you really have to. (Don’t try that with satellite dishes.)

Where can you get antenna masts?

You’ll find the best selection of antenna mounting supplies at Solid Signal. You can also check a local home store or fencing supply company if you would rather shop locally. The antenna won’t care what it’s mounted to, as long as it’s stable and it’s pointed in the right direction.

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.