Your quarterly reminder: ground everything!

Yes, I know. You’ve been reading this blog for years and it’s a pain listening to me beat this same drum every few months. In fact I’ve been writing articles like this for years. But I wouldn’t be doing it if it weren’t so important. Grounding is absolutely the most important part of your antenna installation and I guarantee it’s the last thing you think about when you’re installing.

Why people don’t ground their stuff

Why? Because a poorly grounded (or ungrounded) antenna will work just as well as a well-grounded one. Look, I’m not pointing fingers here but I know that “some of you” out there have climbed up on the roof, put up an antenna and once you’ve got a good picture, you think you’re done. It’s ok, you don’t have to admit it, but your Uncle Stuart knows. Yes, I’m looking at you.

The most basic possible guide to grounding

Grounding really isn’t terribly hard. Often times it means running one wire from the antenna to a post in the ground or to a water pipe. Sometimes local regulations are a little more complex than that but usually not. The best part here is that you don’t have to live with your past mistakes; you can go back and ground your stuff this weekend if you want. I’ll even give you permission to lie and say it was properly grounded all along. It’s just that important.

When your system is properly grounded, you have a much better chance of surviving a lightning strike. No thin copper wire is going to handle the full weight of a lightning strike, but a properly grounded system will handle the load much better than an ungrounded one. If your ungrounded antenna is hit by lightning, one of two things (or both) is going to happen. First of all a power surge is going through all of your stuff, frying it and possibly taking your electrical system with it. Second of all, excess power will travel through the mast into the construction of your home. It will light your roof on fire and destroy your masonry. It’s the end of the road for your home theater, and probably your home.

Grounding can save your home

Ask anyone who’s lost a home to fire if they wouldn’t have rather spent a relatively small amount of money than watch everything they own burn down. Or better, don’t even bother asking, because I’m guessing that you know the answer without asking. Of course you do.

There’s even a possibility that things will work better once grounded. I’ve heard stories of people who stopped having as many problems with their systems after they were grounded. I used to think it was just an urban legend but I’ve heard enough of them to think there may be something there.

So take that information, go shopping for grounding supplies at Solid Signal, get the stuff you need, and just get it done. So, the next time I write this story, you’ll be able to make a comment telling me to shut up already, because you took my advice. Go ahead, I dare you. I double dare you.

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.