Using Coaxial Cable for TV Installation - How to Wire up a TV Aerial Cable

Summary: In this easy to follow guide learn all about connecting TV cable, coaxial cable, connecting TV aerials, fixing an aerial, the various types of TV sockets and splitting TV signal from the aerial to several devices.

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Please also see our project on the New Wiring and Cable Colours.

Erecting your own TV aerial is not the most difficult job in the world and running the cable to the television can also be a relatively easy task. Coaxial cable can be run externally, through the loft space, through floor voids and even clipped to the top of skirting boards. Connecting up is not difficult either.

This project deals with the loose TV plugs, connecting coaxial cables and how to wire up a TV aerial cable.

Wall mounted connection boxes can also be installed. These can be placed in surface boxes in the same way as an additional electrical socket.

Wall mount coaxial socket

Wall mount coaxial socket

A kit can also be purchased to add a TV Aerial or simply extend the one you have.

Coaxial cable kit with all fittings

Coaxial cable kit with all fittings

The below image is of a coaxial socket that can be screwed to a window sill. In some cases, the wire from the aerial will run down the roof, down the wall and into the corner of a window. Once the cable is inside the property it is then fixed into the below socket so that a cable can then be run between it and a TV.

Coaxial Socket for window sill

Coaxial Socket for window sill

Full instructions for a plug connection are below. For fixing a TV aerial to a brickwork or block surface, please see our fixing to masonry project. Please be very careful when erecting TV aerials and use proper access equipment as you will, in most cases, be working at height.

What is Coaxial Cable and Why is it Used?

Coaxial cable is used for connecting aerials to TV's and radios. It is used because its make up allows it to transfer high frequency signals while at the same time it is shielded from electromagnetic interference.

The electrical signals run through the centre wire which is separated from the outer mesh-wire, or braid, by an insulator. The outer wire acts as an earth and a shield against electromagnetic interference.

Connecting coaxial wire to a television socket has given some of our users some trouble recently so we have published this project to show you how it is done. The most important thing is that the two wire types are kept separate.

It is likely that during this DIY job, you will be using at least one of the below items, if not all three.

Coaxial plug

Coaxial plug

Coaxial splitter

Coaxial splitter

Aerial kit

Complete aerial kit

Fitting a Plug to Coaxial Cable

Firstly, split your TV plug into its separate parts by unscrewing the top from the main body. Inside there will be a male connector that will slip over the exposed copper section with the cable and a clamp to hold the cable in place and prevent it from being pulled out.

Before you go any further, push the internally threaded top (third image below) onto the cable as you don't want to assemble it all and the realise that you have to take it all apart just to put the cap one!

Internally threaded top and parts of connector

Internally threaded top and parts of the coaxial connector

Next, very carfully, run a hobby knife along a 2 inch length of the outer sleeve of the coaxial cable. Not deep enough to cut through the sleeve or you may cut through the braid underneath.

Using your finger nails and twisting slightly, open up the outer sleeve to reveal the braid. Then cut off the surplus external sleeve.

Splitting coaxial cable

Splitting coaxial cable to identify layers with a hobby knife

Push the braid up to the top of the inner sleeve. It will scrunch up at the end.

Push coaxial braid up

Push coaxial braid up

Slide the leafed cable clamp over the inner sleeve next and push it tight to the outer sleeve, trapping the braid inside.

Leafed coaxial cable clamp

Braid pushed up and leafed coaxial cable clamp pushed on

Push the leaves closed gently around the outer sleeve to trap it in place and hold it firmly in the socket. As commented above, this will help to prevent the cable coming loose and falling out or being pulled out by mistake.

Push coaxial clamp leaves closed

Push coaxial clamp leaves closed

Take the male plug and hold it against the wire clamp. You will see that the plug is slightly dished inside to receive the clamp. Cut the inner sleeve where it reaches the end of the plug, allowing for the plug to slide a tiny bit over the leaf clamp.

Male plug

Male plug ready to be fitted

Strip the insulation from the inner core leaving 2mm of insulation which will slide inside the plug. Take the male plug and now slide it over the end of the cable, ensuring that the inner core copper wire goes down into the thin hollow sleeve at the end of the plug.

Cut inner sleeve of cable

Cut inner sleeve of cable rady for male plug

With the male plug now in position on the end of the cable, take the main body and slide it over the male plug and leaf clamp. The end of the leaf clamp should poke through the end of the main body just slightly.

Screwing aerial plug together

Screwing aerial plug together

With everything now screwed together you're done! The final task is to connect the cable to a TV and ensure that all is working as it should.

Finished cable

Finished cable with connector screwed up

At this point, it's also a good time to mention about the various accessories that are available for TV's and coaxial cables. One such item that we find incredibly useful is the coaxial cable splitter or aerial splitter.

This little device can be used to take the main feed of an aerial cable and “T” into it, allowing you to run another cable off to another TV without having to install a new cable or use an internal powered aerial.

The principles of installing one are exactly the same as described above, only you will be cutting the main cable and applying a plug to each end of the cut.

Once the plugs are in place, each one is fixed into the splitter to create the existing run to its original location and you can then plug a new cable into the spare port.

Aerial splitter

Aerial splitter used to split main signal

For regulations governing heights of sockets etc, please click here.

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