When switching from cable TV to free TV using an antenna, outdoor installations offer the best performance and they provide the most reliable experience. Preparation is crucial before starting any outdoor antenna installation for your TV. Here are some easy steps to follow to prepare:
- Find the location of your local broadcast towers. You can find this information for free online at various websites including Channel Master’s Antenna Selection page.
- Once you know the direction of where the local broadcast towers are from your home, the next step is to go outside and identify all possible obstructions impeding the line-of-sight between the broadcast towers and your home.
- Also, look out for locations or surfaces on the roof or around the home that are not ideal for mounting an antenna.
For this outdoor antenna installation in the video tutorial, the local broadcast towers are located to the west of the home at compass heading 275 degrees. We’ve identified the neighbor’s house as a possible obstruction. Therefore, we want to try our best to avoid placing the antenna on the side of the house where the neighbor’s roof will be in the way.
Our first preference is to install the antenna along the eave of the roof. However, a gutter is in the way. Therefore, in order to ensure we install the antenna with line-of-sight and on an acceptable surface, we decide to mount the antenna on the side of the block wall in the back corner of the backyard.
For this particular installation, we’ll be using the following equipment and tools.
- Omni+ Outdoor TV Antenna (CM-3011HD)
- Amplify Pre-Amplifier (CM-7777HD)
- Universal Antenna Mount (CM-3090)
- LTE Filter (CM-3201)
- Lightning Surge Suppressor (CM-3205)
- Power Passing 2-Way Splitter (CM-3212HD)
- Coaxial Cable RG6 White (CM6STD300PBW)
- Coaxial Connector Installation Kit (CM-7170BDL)
- Grounding Block
- Power Drill
- ¼" Carbide Hammer Drill Bit
- ¼"x1" Heavy-Duty Nail Drive Anchors
- 3/8" Socket Wrench
- Cable/Wire Cutter
- Cable Clamps
- Heavy-Duty Zip Ties
Steps to Install Your Antenna Outdoor
1. Set Up the Base Plate
When installing the Universal Antenna Mount on a block wall, you’ll want to make sure the base plate is centered between multiple blocks to help distribute the weight of the load. Use a level to make sure the base plate is straight before drilling holes. It’s important to use a masonry drill bit specifically designed to go through brick, block, concrete, etc.
2. Attach the Base Plate and Level the Pole
After drilling holes in the blocks, insert a heavy-duty nail drive anchor into each hole. If they don’t fit, use the drill again to carefully drill out more space. Once the base plate is attached to the wall, make sure the pole is completely straight. You can do this by placing a level at the top of the pole and then loosening and tightening the adjustment screws on the mounting brace and at the base of the pole.
3. Make Sure to Not Disturb the Neighbors
For this outdoor antenna installation, the antenna is being mounted to a block wall that’s shared with a neighbor. To prevent the antenna from hanging over the wall and into the neighbor’s backyard, we’ll use the convenient rotation adjustment feature on the bottom side of the Omni+ antenna.
By slightly rotating the antenna, we’re able to keep the entire system above the homeowner’s property. Thanks to the omni-directional reception capabilities of the Omni+, using the rotation adjustment feature will not have a negative impact on its ability to receive signals.
4. Secure the Mast
We now attach the included u-bolt nest assembly to the mounting bracket of the Omni+ antenna. Then, we slide the mast through the center of the u-bolt. Tighten the nuts to secure the connection using a wrench.
5. Mount the Preamplifier
The next step is to mount the preamplifier. It’s important to mount the preamplifier as close to the antenna as possible to avoid loss of signal before it has a chance to be amplified. For this installation, we’re attaching the preamplifier to the antenna’s mounting bracket using heavy-duty zip ties.
Then, we’ll feed coaxial cable through the inside of the mast and connect it to the output port of the preamplifier. Next, using a very short length of coax cable, we connect the antenna to the input port of the preamplifier. It’s important to create a drip loop on both cables to allow moisture to drain off safely and to prevent water from causing damage to any of the connections.
6. Hook it Up Inside Your Home
Next, we’ll run coaxial cable from the antenna into the home. If you are switching to free TV from cable, there should be a conduit typically located in a box at the side of the house where the cable company’s signal comes up from the ground to enter the home. Running coax from the antenna to this location allows you to use the existing hard-wired cable in the home.
Cleaning Things Up
For this specific installation, we drilled holes every 18"-24" down the block wall using our carbide hammer drill bit to secure the cable clamps. We then ran cable underground along the base of the wall towards the conduit. For installations like this particular one that will no longer be receiving TV or internet from a cable provider, the next task is to disconnect the coax from the cable company that’s coming up from the ground.
For this specific install, we disconnected the cable from what’s called a Grounding Block. These are used for grounding the system and are compatible with both cable and over-the-air signals. Per National Electric code, grounding the antenna is highly recommended to reduce risks associated with lightning strikes. For more information about properly grounding your antenna we recommend you refer to the National Electric Code at http://NFPA.org. We connect the coax from the antenna into the grounding block input. Then, we connect a Channel Master Lightning Surge Suppressor to the grounding block output.
We now disconnect the pre-existing splitter and replace it with a Channel Master power passing splitter. Power passing splitters are necessary in order to get power up to the preamplifier. The preamplifier’s power supply plugs into a wall outlet inside the home and is designed to back feed power to the preamplifier along the same coaxial cable running to the antenna. Regular splitters do not allow power to pass through.
We then connect all cables running into the home to the output ports on the splitter. Next, we connect a Channel Master LTE Filter to the splitter input. LTE Filters help prevent interference caused by the growing presence of cellular communications. Even in areas with strong OTA signals, cellular interference can make channels unwatchable or cause them to drop out completely. The Amplify preamplifier has a built-in LTE Filter, but we installed a stand alone LTE Filter to further eliminate LTE interferences that could be introduced over the cable run or at the connection points. (This is not necessary but just an added layer of protection for our signal.)
Using a short line of coax, we connect one end to the Lightning Surge Suppressor and the other end to the LTE Filter on the splitter. Next, we use the included screw to mount the splitter nice and neatly within the box. The antenna signal should now be hard wired throughout the home. You will want to make sure that there are no additional splitters or equipment in the line. These can cause issues and even completely block signals. As best as possible, make sure that the coaxial cables entering the home are direct lines to each television.
Once inside the home, connect power to the preamplifier power inserter. Then, we run a short line of coax from the wall jack to the power inserter input. Then, we run another line of coax from the output into the back of the television.
It’s now time to scan for channels on the television. To do so, click the menu or settings button on your TV and scroll down to Broadcasting (on other televisions, it might be called, "Channel Setup" or "Channels".) Make sure it’s set to "Air" or "Antenna" (NOT cable). Then, select, "Auto Scan" or "Auto Program". The TV will begin to search for available channels. This process typically takes just a few minutes. When completed, all of the free HD channels should be available to watch.