A Hughesnet satellite internet system has similar grounding requirements of any antenna system. The primary difference is the use of a radio transmitter for broadcasting up to a satellite. Unlike satellite TV systems, Satellite Internet uses a minimum of two coax cables to operate. The receive coax connects to a LNB and receives signals sent by HughesNet to the user. The transmit coax sends signals to a radio transmitter on the dish, which sends signals to the satellite. Those signals are re-transmitted the Hughesnet network operation center. This transmit and receive capability form the complete data transfer cycle. When a Hughesnet Satellite Receiver (box inside the house), sends signals through the coax to the radio transmitter, static charges can collect on the transmitter. It is possible for these charges to cause performance issues.
By grounding the coax and the transmitter, those charges are drained away. Hughesnet has strict installation standards for their equipment.
A 14 Awg ground wire connected to the Transmit Radio. That ground wire runs to the mast/mount, then routed to a coax ground block near point of entry to the building, and then grounded to approved NEC ground point.
HughesNet has two grounding schemes for residential installation. Which option available to the installer depends on the type of coax cable installed between the dish and ground block at point of entry
Dual Shield Coax
A 14 Awg ground wire must be routed from the transmitter, to the mount/mast, to the grounded ground block. The coax cables are grounded at the ground block using at least a 14 Awg copper ground wire.
Quad Shield Coax
If using quad shield coax, Hughesnet has determined that the lower DC resistance of the quad coax can serve as the ground conductor for the transmitter and mast./mount ground.
Dual shield coax has an approximate DC resistance of 9 Ohms per 1000 feet. Quad shield coax is around 5 Ohms per 1000 feet.
Considering the NEC allows a 17 Awg copper coated steel wire, at 12 to 55 Ohms DC resistance per 1000 feet, to serve as mast ground, the much lower resistance of the quad shield coax can provide proper mast grounding. The NEC does not address the transmitter grounding, so any grounding of that device is at the total description of Hughesnet.
Note: Commercial Hughesnet systems often use a more powerful transmitter and Hughesnet does not allow quad shield coax to serve as ground conductor.
Ground Pole Mounts
Hughesnet has a ground pole mount policy that says;
When using RG-6 with a pole mount you must install a ground rod next to the pole. Connect a 14 Awg copper wire from the pole to the ground rod. Then connect a 6 Awg copper wire from the ground rod to the house ground. shall be installed at the ground pole, and that ground rod.
The NEC does not require the ground rod for a ground post. The NEC does require that IF a ground rod is used, it be bonded to the house ground. I am not sure why Hughesnet requires that ground rod, but that is their right. There is a very large problem with this requirement. Installers are more then willing to install a ground rod, but I have NEVER seen that ground rod connected to the house ground with any conductor. That can create major problems. Part 7 of this series address those problems.
When using quad shield coax, Hughesnet says:
When grounding a pole mount using RG-6 quad shield cable you will need to attach one end of an 8 Awg ground wire to the radio transmitter and the other end of the ground wire to the ground pole clamp. The ground pole clamp will need to be NEC approved.
By bonding the mast to the transmitter, Hughesnet is considering the lower resistance of the quad coax to serve as mast grounded. I am not sure why they require the 8 Awg bonding jumper. A 14 Awg copper jumper should be just fine.
Hughesnet has made it very clear to all installation technicians that grounding is important and has offered detailed instructions as to what is, and is not allowed.
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