Electricity: Antennas, Dishes, Lightning Protection


You can improve or expand television reception, in some areas, by installing an antenna. Antennas will pick up VHF and UHF telecasts and FM radio transmissions as well.

Antennas are rated by mileage range and gain. Mileage range is the distance from which a signal can be pulled. Gain refers to the antenna’s ability to increase the signal’s strength.

The antenna you buy will depend on where you live. Different sizes of antennas are available for city, suburban or rural locations. Remote-controlled antenna directional rotors and signal amplifiers can be installed to improve reception. Install antennas and masts at safe distances from power lines. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Assemble antenna, mast and lead-in wire before mounting. Run lead-in wire through row of standoffs spaced 1 to 2 ft. (30 to 60 cm) apart. Provide a drip loop in the cable. Install a lightning arrester and No. 10 AWG copper wire to the mast in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions.

If needed, connect the lead-in wire to a signal splitter which divides antenna signal into VHF, UHF and FM. Plug unused splitter outlet with terminator to prevent interference.


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No matter how remote your home, a satellite dish antenna and receiver allow you to watch your favorite programs. Dishes that had been the size of a tractor tire or larger are being replaced with dishes the size of a frying pan. In addition to television programming, satellite dishes can be used for Internet subscriptions.

A satellite dish must be positioned with a clear view of the southern sky, free from any obstructions, such as trees or other buildings. Although a home owner can set up a system, most are professionally installed and tuned.

Azimuth (compass direction), elevation (angle up) and skew (dish rotation) angles must be properly set to receive clear signals.

Satellite dishes must be grounded according to local code requirements.


Satellite television systems are available for do-it-yourself or professional installation. Typical systems include the satellite dish, one or more receivers, infrared remote-control units and the necessary cabling, accessories and grounding components.

Lightning Protection

Lightning causes billions of dollars in property dam age each year. It kills more than 100 people each year in North America alone and injures hundreds of others. Unprotected homes can be damaged by resulting fire, gas explosions or damaging electrical surges. Certified professionals can install lightning protection systems in accordance with national standards published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Underwriters Laboratories.

Have your lightning protection systems inspected annually. Check for loose or damaged air terminals and ground rods, and make sure that the conductors are securely clamped and all their connections are tight.

To guard your appliances from lightning strikes, have a surge protector installed at the service panel and use portable surge protectors plugged into your receptacle outlets for protecting sensitive electronic equipment and appliances, such as computers.



Lightning protection system. Air terminals are small metal rods placed about 20 ft. apart along high points on the roof. Braided copper or aluminum conductors connect the terminals to each other. All metal objects on the house are interconnected, such as vent pipes, gutters and aluminum siding. Air conditioners, plumbing, electrical and telephone systems are also connected to the main conductor or to branch conductors. At least two copper ground rods are driven into the ground at opposite corners of the house. These rods direct the massive electrical charge into the earth and away from the home.

Last modified: Friday, 2020-02-28 15:39 PST