As a tenant, you may encounter several restrictions on your lease contract pertaining to installation of outdoor structures like an antenna. Cable TV isn't a viable alternative for a tenant on a budget. So an oudoor antenna for the home TV may be your only choice for inexpensive entertainment in the apartment.

A rooftop antenna is the probably the best and cheapest way to get good TV reception. Some landlords though may not cherish the idea of having structures on the apartment's roof that utlizes antenna poles, guy wires and antenna cables. Check your lease contract and with your landlord for alternatives.

When the Apartment's Roof is not an Option

Sometimes the landlord would agree to a TV antenna being installed at the following;

  • Perimeter fence of the apartment
  • Posts near the apartment's front gate
  • Railing in tall apartment buildings
  • Freestanding outside structures like the apartment's water tank

As much as possible, the antenna pole's bottom needs to be elevated from the ground. One reason is to achieve a good height for the antenna. Another, is to keep water from filling inside the antenna pole (when using a steel pipe). A steel pipe stuck to the soil, in particular, will collect rainwater inside it. You'd need a specially fitted cap at the top of the pole to cover the hole and prevent rain water from filling it.

How to Bind the Antenna Pole to Existing Structures

In the example below, an antenna pole is attached to the steel ladder of a concrete water tank. To get the maximum height, the pole will need to rest on a horizontal steel pipe at the bottom of the ladder.

There is no welding required here. The antenna pole can be repositioned or brought down as needed. The pole's bottom needs to be secured well though on the steel pipe. There is a risk that with the antenna pole's height and weight, it could inadvertantly slide out of its position.

The procedures below discuss how to create a mounting base for the antenna pole and how to secure the pole to the ladder's vertical steel rod.

  • Insulated Solid Copper Wire
  • 20 foot 3/4" Steel Pipe
  • PVC Pipe Tee regular straight tee A common type of pipe tee is the STRAIGHT tee, which has a straight-through portion and a 90-degree takeoff on one side. All three openings of the straight tee are of the same size.
  • Hack Saw
  • Flat File
  • Pliers with Wire Cutting Tool


Steps to Prepare the Mounting Base for the Antenna

  1. Measure the outside diameter of the horizontal steel pipe.
  2. Mark the measurement for the entire length of the bottom of PVC Pipe Tee's straight-through portion.
  3. With a hack saw, make shallow scratches on the PVC Pipe Tee on both ends of the Tee fitting's straight-through portion. These will serve as pilot cuts so it will be easy to saw a straight line.
  4. Proceed to saw off the bottom slot as shown below.

    You may need something to hold the the PVC Pipe Tee fitting in place while sawing it. I used an an inverted rubber tile to grip the PVC. The idea is that when this bottom part is cut off, a a bottom slot is created. The horizontal steel pipe will then slide into this slot.

  5. Cut away the entire "arm" of one side of the PVC Tee fitting, so the "T" fitting now becomes an "L".
  6. File all rough edges of the cut parts using the flat file. This final product will be the antenna's mounting base.
  7. Position the mounting base so the horizontal steel pipe slides through the bottom slot.
  8. Push the mounting base so it is flush against the vertical steel rod.
  9. With the wire cutting tool of the pliers, cut an 8-inch insulated copper wire.
  10. Tie the mounting base against the vertical steel rod with the pliers as shown below.

Steps to Secure the Antenna Pole to the Vertical Rod

  1. Connect the antenna to the antenna pole.
  2. With an assistant, raise the antenna pole and position the bottom part into mounting base. The antenna pole's bottom should now be secured in the mounting base.
  3. Cut 10-inch long insulated copper wires for each rung of the ladder.
  4. Turn the antenna pole and stop when you find the best TV reception.
  5. Tie the antenna pole to the vertical steel rod with the insulated copper wires. Shown below is the bottom part of the antenna pole secured in the mounting base.

    Also shown is the insulated copper wire securing the antenna pole to the vertical steel rod at the first rung of the ladder.

After installing the antenna pole, the next step is to secure the antenna cable. Check your lease agreement or talk to your landlord with regards to installing outdoor TV antennas and their cables. TV-watching may still be the cheapest form of entertainment for apartment living.