Cord Cutters Survival Stories: The Antenna Project


What’s it like to cut the cord from pay TV? What’s working, what’s missing, and what kind of equipment does the best job of replacing the cable box? In our weekly Survival Story series, we’re asking cord cutters to tell us about their experiences. This week’s featured cord cutter is Daniel Cooper Clark, who recently installed an outdoor antenna at his house. Check out his photos for all the glorious details:

Daniel Cooper Clark is a musician living in Sebastian, Florida. The views expressed in this guest column are entirely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of GigaOM. Also, just a fair warning from us here at NewTeeVee: Daniel’s photos should be seen as an inspiration, not a how-to guide. Installing an outdoor antenna without proper grounding can be dangerous — so if you don’t know what you’re doing, please contact a professional.

Want to ask Daniel a question? Then fire away in the comments! Send us an email to cordcutters (at) if you have a survival story of your own to share, and please also check out the most recent episode of our weekly web series Cord Cutters:

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Your system is improperly grounded! You MUST run a #6 (not #10) bonding wire from the ground rods to your home’s main electrical power ground source. Equipment damage waiting to happen with your current ground system.

Wall wart goes INSIDE, *never* outdoors.


Ryan J is correct that your grounding doesn’t meet NEC. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t adequate just that it doesn’t meet NEC. The easiest method to meet NEC is to run a 10 gage copper wire from the antenna mast to the grounding block and then to the nearest spot on the electrical ground system for your houses electrical ground. If you use a ground stake they officially are to go no less than 8 feet into the ground and be bonded to your house’s electrical ground with a 6 gage copper wire. On the other hand Channel Master recommends the set up you have over NEC grounding, and calls a NEC style ground inadequate. Confusing? Yep, your right!

Daniel Cooper Clark

Choose your expert, I guess. But I’ve now been reading up about bonding, and it does seem the smart thing to do. Back to Home Depot!


Yes, run that coax going to the “wall wart” indoors, otherwise it’ll go poof! Since, I’m going to have to move within the next 8 months, I’ll have to figure out my system again. My current attic mount system works well, but I’m going to have to start over from scratch. Never ends. ;-)

Daniel Cooper Clark

True, the preamp instructions did say to plug it in as close to the TV set as possible – which would indicate indoors at the least. Hmm…that outdoor outlet was so handy! A little more work ahead for me, it looks like.

Ryan J

I notice the grounds are not bonded. Disaster waiting to happen, not to mention not being compliant with the NEC. All grounds need to be bonded together and bonded to your service ground. In the event of a lightning strike you want all of the potentials to rise and fall equally. If they don’t, you have what is called a ground loop and the lightning might find that your equipment is a much better path to ground than the ground wire.


Oh dear. Please tell me thats not a wall wart I see plugged into an outdoor power outlet? Yeah, I don’t really think thats safe even with your plastic baggie.

I’m waiting for my 8 free months of directv to run out before I kill it off. They were desperate to keep me for some damn reason. Luckily I’m only a few miles from the transmitters so I’ll be able to get away with a much smaller antenna.

Daniel Cooper Clark

You’re right about the baggie. As my caption to that photo says, “I’d better improve on that with something more permanent.”

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