Antenna Mounting Overview

There are many options for mounting antennas, based on the location selected as well as the antenna type.  Following is an overview of different antenna mounting options.

Indoor Antennas

These are by far the easiest to install.  Choices of antennas include simple “rabbit ear” antennas either without or with an amplifier (CM4020, CM4030), small directional antennas (CM4040), and flat panel antennas (CM4045).  Any of these can simply be placed next to the TV set and oriented towards the TV station transmitter sites.

 Attic Installations

An attic installation may work in areas where strong signals are present. In most cases, an attic installation is the easiest, fastest, most economical, and most convenient installation, other than using an indoor antenna. There are a few conditions however that can prohibit an attic installation. Shallow attics that are obstructed by rafter supports may not accommodate the size antenna required for the installation. Most attics are not large enough to accommodate multi-antenna arrays and rotors. Also, aluminum foil on insulation, aluminum or steel siding, metal gutters at the attic level, metal lath or older plaster walls, and metal mesh under stucco all can interfere to some degree with reception.

 A roof-type mounting bracket, such as the Channel Master CM3078, is adaptable for use in attic installations. The mounting bracket is used to attach a short mast to a rafter or rafter support.  The antenna is then mounted on the other end of the mast. The antenna however, must not touch the attic floor. Also, remember that the antenna should be attached to the mast right side up, even though the installation appears to be the reverse of an outside installation.

 Instead of using a mast, you may suspend the antenna from the inside of the roof with guy wires or nylon rope. But don’t let the guy wires touch the antenna elements. They will short out the antenna.

 Either a small directional antenna or an omnidirectional antenna can be used in the limited space of an attic.  If a directional antenna is used, it will need to be correctly aligned so it is pointing toward the TV stations you are trying to watch.  An omnidirectional antenna, by design, doesn’t require alignment.  However, they do pick up signals equally well from all directions, which means they may be susceptible to interference coming from directions other than the desired TV stations.  A directional antenna will be better at minimizing this type of interference.

 Chimney Mounts

Chimney mounts are used more frequently than other types of mounts, but they often are not the best option. Although they are relatively easy to install, the smoke and gases from a chimney can shorten the life of the antenna and significantly impair its performance. 

 A chimney installation is practical only if the chimney is sturdy and vertical. Never mount an antenna on a deteriorated chimney. During moderate to high winds, an unguyed mast taller than 10 feet can exert enough leverage to break off an unstable chimney.

 If you choose a chimney mount, use enough mast to place the antenna above most of the smoke and gases. However, to avoid overstressing the chimney, do not mount the antenna more than 10 feet above the top of the chimney. If the height of the antenna must exceed 10 feet to receive satisfactory signals, the mast must be properly guyed.

 Roof Mounts

There are two basic types of roof mounts: a base mount (CM3078) and a tripod (CM3092).  Tripods are stronger and more rigid than base mounts, but they are also more expensive.  When given a choice, use a tripod.  However, if cost savings or limited space requires it, a properly guyed base mount will usually work. Unlike a chimney mount, a base mount holds the mast at only one point, the bottom. Consequently, the mast also must be supported by guy wires, regardless of the mast length.

 Tripods, as noted earlier, are a stronger, more rigid type of roof mount. The Channel Master CM3092 is 3 foot high, which is the most commonly used tripod height.  Even though tripods are very stable, any tripod-mounted mast over 10 feet high should be guyed.

 Wall Mounts

Many types of wall mount brackets are available.  When installing a wall mount, space the brackets as far apart as possible (or practical). Generally, the farther apart you space the brackets, the stronger the installation will be. However, any mast more than 10 feet above the top bracket should be guyed.

 Mounting from the Ground

Many times you will not want (or will not be able) to mount an antenna on the roof. One of the best alternatives to roof mounting is mounting from the ground. With a firm base support and one or more wall mount brackets, a ground mount installation is exceptionally sturdy and long lasting. A good ground mount may also eliminate the need of guy wires.  It is possible to get enough height to clear the roof line using 5 or 10 foot mast sections stacked on top of each other.  If this method is used, it is critical that sufficient wall mounts are used to keep the multiple sections stable.  A better method is to use a telescoping mast.

 Telescoping Masts

A telescoping mast (CM1820, CM1830, CM1840, CM1850) is used in installations for which standard 5 or 10 foot lengths of mast stacked together would not be sufficiently strong or rigid. A length of telescoping mast is stronger and more rigid than the same lengths made up of standard mast pieces stacked together. Because of their additional strength, some telescoping masts used with ground mounts can be extended up to 15 feet above the roof line without requiring guy wires. Another advantage of telescoping masts is that they can be easily adjusted to odd heights without having to cut the tubing.

 Because telescoping masts are heavy and require firm bottom support, they should not be used with chimney or wall mounts. However, because ground and roof mounts do provide bottom support, telescoping masts can be used with these mounts to provide additional height.

 Free standing telescoping masts should be guyed at each 10 foot interval.  Ground mounted telescoping masts at the side of a building should be securely supported near the roof line, and then guyed at each 10 foot interval above the roof line.

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