Coaxial (or “coax”) cable is essential for transmitting cable TV programs into your home. Many people elect to pay a technician to install this equipment properly, but with a little tutoring it’s certainly possible for homeowners to do the job themselves. Taking on the responsibility of installing coaxial cable can be an educational experience and, furthermore, it allows you to save money that would otherwise be spent on technician fees. If you’ve prepared correctly, the process should take only an hour or two.
Gather Your Equipment
You will need a few standard installation tools installation: drill, screwdriver, and wrench. You may also wish to acquire fish tape, which will make it relatively easy to run the cable through your walls. When selecting your coaxial cable, stick with the RG-6 variety, the type generally used these days for residential cable installation; the older RG-59 models have lower bandwidth capacity and, therefore, are no longer considered ideal for this purpose. You should also buy a high-quality splitter.
Find the Point of Origin
This is the area where the incoming coaxial cable is located—it’s generally in the basement or a utility area. Attach your splitter here. Connect your incoming cable to the input side and your new RG-6 cable to the output side.
Run the Cable to Your TV Area
You may need to drill through your walls to get the other end of your coaxial cable into the right room. This is where your fish tape can come in quite handy. Once you’ve pulled the end of the cable into the television area, cut the cable at an appropriate point, preferably with a coax stripper. Be careful—a sloppy cut can compromise the quality of the signal. Attach your connector to the end of the cable, and then, in turn, connect it to your cable outlet. From here it’s a simple matter to connect a coaxial cable to the input of the cable TV unit.
Handle the Coaxial Cable with Care
One important consideration is to keep the coaxial cable away from electrical wires—failing to heed this rule can result in signal interference. For this reason, it’s a major no-no to run the cable and your electrical wires through the same holes. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that the cable is at least six inches away from your electrical wires at any point. In addition, you should be careful when stapling the coaxial cable to your wall, as signal degradation may result when staples press too hard into the cable. Similarly, don’t bend the cable sharply to get it around a corner or another obstacle—this can also interfere with the transmission of the signal.
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