Satellite Dish Installations
NEC Grounding

The National Electric Code requires that all satellite dish systems be grounded. The mast and coax cables both require a ground.

This does not mean that the installer can drive a ground rod by the dish, attach a ground wire and call it good. The ground wire must be coupled to your existing building electrical ground. Never allow your installer to drive a ground rod to obtain a ground unless they install a #6 copper wire between the new ground rod and your homes existing electrical ground. Installing a new ground by itself can lead to numerous problems. The entire concept of grounding is complex, but here are a few basic items items to consider.

The mast
The installer can use a #10 copper wire, # 8 Aluminum or a #17 copper coated steel wire. The most common method used today is a coax cable with a copper coated steel wire attached to it. The length is not restricted, but it must be connected (the more proper term is bonded) to an approved grounding point.

The coax
The installer may use a #10 copper or a #8 Aluminum wire. The ground wire should be under 20 feet in length or attached to a ground rod and that rod connected to your electrical ground with a #6 copper wire. Since few, if any, installers carry #6 copper wire and 8 foot ground rods, your dish should be located on the same side of your house as your electrical service.

There are five suitable grounding locations.*

1. Electrical service electrode (ground rod), or the conductor that connects the rod to the electrical service panel. (Image 15)

2. The metal electrical service panel. (Image 16)

3. A metal electrical raceway or conduit. On many homes a strap can be attached to the metal conduit running to the the service panel or between sub-panels (Image 17)

4. Water pipe. BUT ONLY with in five feet of the water pipes entrance to the

Water Spicket Ground
structure and only if the water pipe is metal and in direct earth contact for at least 10 feet before entering the property. Attaching a ground wire to a water valve is NOT ACCEPTABLE and should not be accepted. Attaching a ground wire to any water pipe beyond 5 feet from where the pipe emerges from the ground is not allowed. Image 16 shows a ground wire attached to the main water service as the line exists the ground and enters the structure. The point were the water supply pipe emerges from the earth is the pipes point of entry.

5. If the above methods are not available, a ground can be achieved by attaching to the metal frame or steel structure of a building, if the frame or structure is proper grounded by one of the prior methods. This method is often used on mobile homes and RV's. (Image 19) In image 19 the ground block was attached directly to the frame. An alternate method is to attach the ground wire to the frame using a clamp or ground lug screwed to the frame.

* Not all local codes conform too or follow the National Electric Code. Your local codes may vary. If you have any questions about proper grounding methods, contact your local electrical compliance office.

This page was been reviewed and verified as accurate by Mike Holt.

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Satellite Grounding to Ground Electrode Conductor
Image 15
Bonding Ground wire to meter housing with Pan Clamp
Image 16
Ground Strap to Electrical Conduit
Image 17

Bonding to Water Service  Main at POE
Image 18

Bonding to Metal Frame
Image 19

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