FlightAware Discussions

External Antenna Installation Guides?

Hello everyone!

I installed and fired up Piaware (coincidentally) exactly 2 months ago today running on a Pi 4b with the FlightAware Pro Stick, 26" FlightAware Antenna, and the FlightAware Dual 978 and 1090 MHz filter. Currently the antenna is sitting in an upstairs window with plans to move it outside and up to the roof. I have never mounted an antenna or run such cabling from outside to inside before, so I am wondering if there are any guides on how to do it properly.

Things that I am apprehensive about are:

  • where to mount the lightning arrestor (I figure I should have one to protect my gear), I know it should be outside, but do I need to place it inside another box for weather protection, and can I safely mount it under the soffit? (Safely, as in, if lightning strikes, could it cause a fire?)
  • For grounding, the electrical meter isn’t too far away from where I want to do this, so I can run the ground wire to the grounding point on it’s box. I assume this is bare braided copper, can it also, safely, be run along the shingles of the lower roof (garage) over to the electrical meter? The total distance is probably no more than 30 feet (guessing).
  • should I use cable with N connectors outside, from antenna to arrestor, and then take it down to SMA to make passing it through the inside easier? What would the maximum recommended distance be?
  • lastly, what is the best way to run the cable into the house? Simply drill a hole, pass it through, and seal it up?

If there are no guides, advice will be kindly accepted!

Thanks,
Roy.

There might be more experts here for your questions, but this question i can answer. Drilling a hole if possible and then pass the single cable without additional connectors would be best.
I’ve tried three different feed-through cables passing my window, all of them reduced reception. But i cannot answer if it was based on the two additional connectors or the short cable in between.

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Thanks! @foxhunter I appreciate all input and advice.

I’m also seeking the same advice (for the lack of “guides”) on your 4 points.

7 Facts About Grounding a TV Antenna

The USA National Electric Code (NEC) instructs installing surge protectors near to a point where the cable from outside antenna enters the house, but not near combustible materials.

Better to install it outside the building, near the point where the cable from the antenna enters the building from outside.

The housing of the surge protector must also be connected to building grounding system or an independent grounding rod.

 

 
 

 
 

grounding_diagram

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Lightning Protection Guide

 
 

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To be honest i would not worry to much about fitting a lighnting arrestor to the antenna cable. If you get a strike that close to your house you’re likely screwed in so many other ways anyway.

See point 2 in the lightning protection post.

## 2. Lightning and Surge Protectors for Electronic Equipment

Lightning protectors, Surge protectors and UPS units provide good degree of protection of Electronic equipment from voltage spikes from everyday power surges, static build up, and distant lightning strikes .

However when lightning strikes a building directly or very close to it, lightning/surge protector simply cannot have any effect on the tremendous amount of currents and voltages involved. Lightning current in a direct hit is simply too big to protect with a lightning discharge device, or a little electronic device inside a power strip, or a UPS unit. The lightning will just flash over or through the device.

Even a disconnect switch or physical disconnection will not guarantee protection against a direct or close strike. A small air gap of few inches or even few feet, will not stop a lightning bolt that has already jumped across miles of air between cloud and ground.

IF you have a lot of thunder storms in your area it might be worth it for the potential static build up, far more likely to damage something than actually getting a direct strike.

Otherwise follow david’s advice and use surge protecting AC Strips and maybe throw an Ethernet surge protector in the mix as well.

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