Antenna Wall Mounts: Ensuring Safety with Grounding

In the diverse world of cell phone boosters and distributed antenna systems (DAS), an often-missed yet pivotal element is the correct grounding of the antenna system. This crucial step not only safeguards your investment but also prolongs the functionality of your equipment.

Effective grounding of the antenna is key in protecting your signal booster or DAS from potential lightning-induced damage. Lightning strikes, either directly hitting the antenna or occurring nearby, can transmit destructive electrical surges through the coaxial cable, risking damage to your equipment, creating fire hazards, and posing a risk of electrical shocks nearby.

For comprehensive lightning protection, two strategies are recommended: installing an inline lightning surge arrestor and grounding the antenna mast.

Coaxial Surge Protector Installation

Positioning a coaxial surge protector between the outdoor antenna and the signal booster diverts any large electrical surges to a ground connection, thus safeguarding both your booster and your home. It’s essential for the surge protector to be properly grounded. The National Electric Code (NEC) suggests installing it close to where the cable enters the building, preferably outside, away from flammable materials.

Choosing a suitable surge protector is critical. The wrong choice can diminish signal quality and reduce booster or DAS performance. Ensure that the impedance rating of the surge protector matches that of your booster. Our range of lightning surge protectors is available for different types of connections.

Grounding the Antenna Mast

For tall antenna masts, especially vulnerable to lightning and static build-up, grounding is not just beneficial but required by NEC. The grounding process involves using a grounding cable, ensuring it makes direct contact with the mast, which may require paint removal.

Selecting and Fitting Grounding Cable

The NEC advises using a 10 AWG or thicker grounding cable. Stranded cables are preferable for their flexibility. Installation should avoid sharp bends in the cable.

Potential grounding points include:

  • A ground rod, usually a metal rod buried outside the building.
  • The electrical service panel of the building.
  • An electrical conduit or raceway, if already grounded.
  • A water pipe, under specific conditions regarding its material and placement.
  • The building’s metal frame or structure, if other options are not viable.

For those not familiar with grounding techniques, it’s advisable to consult an electrical contractor to ensure the safety and efficacy of your antenna system.

In Summary

Ensuring the safety of an outdoor antenna system entails grounding the antenna mast and fitting a grounded lightning surge protector. The grounding cable should be 10 AWG or thicker and connected to an appropriate grounding point. This approach not only protects your equipment but also safeguards against potential hazards during lightning events.

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