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Cowboys’ Locker                           

Gordon Bennet, things must be bad in the aerial trade around Elland if they can`t even afford a hacksaw.... Now I`m a pretty charitable sort, and if this particular installer rings us up we will send him a hacksaw (well OK, just a spare blade.....) free of charge !

Six inches in Settle

Now I accept that the 10ft pole (on the left) has only got a relatively small aerial on it, but even so putting a mast of this size on a bracket of only 6 inches is not recommended.....

Good Lord, even my wife knows that six inches is not always big enough, and she`s never installed an aerial in her life !

Also note the ungalvanised rusty finish.

My first thought when I saw this install was unprintable, the bleedin` aerials pointing back through the chimney !

However on meeting the house owner he revealed that he was in fact the chairman of the RSPCA, that`s the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Aerials.

He had cleverly worked out that by placing the antenna in this position it would be kept sheltered and warmed by the heat from the chimney !

Fair play to him, you can`t argue with logic like that.

In fact I actually began wondering if we could get a higher price for any installs we did for members of his charity if we were to wrap them in blankets, but then I woke up.......

This picture illustrates quite vividly that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, plus the fact that rusty poles and brackets look awful (and it`s screwed to the fascia).....

Obviously the reason that this installation

is tilted over to the East must be due to the chap hearing that Emley Moor had fallen over and had thus become diagonally polarised. However it`s quite plain to me that no one has told him that the transmitter has now been rebuilt and has therefore reverted to horizontal polarisation.

Surely the above explanation is correct, I mean no one would really skew their whole install over just so they could get another screw in the fascia board.

Or would they.......

Have you noticed that the fascia that the bracket`s mounted on is UPVC......


Now I know I am a bit of an environmentalist (nothing too extreme) but these two pictures do prove that sometimes deforestation can be beneficial.  

It`s like the Amazon up there, I don`t know about you but I can`t even tell where one antenna ends and the next one starts ! What`s more the wind loading on that relatively small chimney looks distinctly worrying.

It`s all so unnecessary, may I suggest investment in an amp/splitter and a diplexer ?

Remember, aerials are not like trees, they do not absorb Carbon Dioxide !

When I asked for another director I was thinking more Peckinpah or Kubrick.....

The picture on the right shows a horizontally polarised FM aerial and below it a vertically polarised DAB antenna. The problem is with the DAB in that the pole is situated in line between the dipole and the reflector. The whole tuning of the aerial must have been affected and whilst the thing may still work (if it`s in a strong signal area) the fact is that the multi element design is completely wasted. Just a dipole would have worked as well and possibly even better!

Whenever you install an aerial (including more than one aerial on the same pole) the single most important factor is that nothing* is placed in line between the reflector, the dipole and the elements of the aerial, or indeed the path to the actual transmitter  !

* This include`s the aerials own mounting cradle, as shown in the other picture. We were amazed at the fall off in signal which occurred, on our Belmont aerial, when we mounted the cradle incorrectly (i.e. parallel) with the directors, like this one, see our test of this bodge.

In the case of multiple aerials on same mast, if they are of differing polarities they can usually be mounted within 6 inches of each other, or even less. In fact when we tested a horizontal TV aerial, with a vertical pole actually through its elements, there was no detectable fall off in signal.......  Not that I`m advocating it, unless it`s absolutely necessary !

On the other hand if the aerials are of the same polarity, I`d try and separate them by two or three foot, just to be on the safe side.

Can`t afford a hacksaw in Elland Can`t afford a wall screw either.....

Note the missing wall screw, what`s the point in fitting a H/D 9x9 bracket and then only using 3 (or even 2...) wall screws. On a 4 ft pole a 6x9 wall bracket with 4 screws would be just as strong and look better as well.

Nottingham     (he`s got that wrong hasn`t he.....)      ((ahh, I get it now ! )) Lateral Kinking Telephone will outlast television......... British Telecom comes to the rescue of Bacofoil aerial installation. The question is, is it actually possible to put this aerial together more incorrectly than it is ? Is this a Tree and K ? Send`s a shiver down my spine........

When I stumbled upon this install I was in a quandry as to what I was looking at.

Was it simply a case of “Hacksawitus” * ?

Or was it something far more sinister .........

I couldn`t help but feel an involuntary shiver of unease rise up my spine. Could this actually be a malevolent sign to worshippers of the occult that a kindred spirit lurked within these foreboding walls ? Would the Devil himself (or, failing that, Rupert Murdoch) be welcomed through this portal to a malignant hinterland.......

We will probably never know..........

.........please don`t have nightmares........

* Hacksawitus = A rare and, so far, untreatable condition, literally translated as “fear of the hacksaw”.

The latest medical opinion is that gene therapy provides the best hope of a cure. This is quite appropriate as it involves cutting. The severed lengths of DNA would then manipulated into a different order to effect a cure.

When I first saw this installation I thought it was one of the worst I`d ever seen. The aerial`s cradle is fitted in a way I never even thought possible and the cranked pole is fitted upside down and therefore not even fulfilling it`s major justification for existence, i.e. to clear an overhead obstruction (like the one installed on the right of the picture)

But then the penny dropped and I realised that this was just another example of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. Clearly the chap had read somewhere that the closer you are to the transmitter the stronger the signal is. Thus he`d decided to use the cradle in this imaginative fashion in order to move the aerial just that bit nearer to Emley Moor. The result is that the aerial is now situated just 13 miles 1759 yards from the transmitter rather than the full 14 miles.

But seriously folks, I have to say I think there`s a safety issue here because every aerial installer who drives past nearly crashes their vehicle due to the tears of laughter temporarily affecting their vision.........

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I`ve heard that some people are predicting the convergence of Television and Telecoms but surely this is ridiculous. I accept that the telephone cable is actually contributing to the chaps television (by preventing the install tipping over even more....) but does that really count as the merging of the two industries in quite the manner anticipated ?

This install really is an “Argos Special” isn`t it ? Note the mounting hardware. We do actually sell these (though to be fair ours are probably better quality than this one...) but we would only recommend them for a loft mounted antenna, and the above picture vividly illustrates why.

The chap could also have invested in some wall clips for the cable, and if he was feeling really flush maybe even some decent insulation tape to secure the cable to the pole, but the absolute crowning magnificence of this install is the fact the “element bays” haven`t even been folded into their upright positions ! That said, this type of aerial is one of the many ”Bacofoil” type X Beams and maybe the bloke who put it up realised that when he accidentally breathed on an element, and it bent. Thus he thought (quite rightly) that keeping the thing folded up would keep its wind loading to a minimum, though that would only apply before it rotated to diagonal polarity.......

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Ehhhhhhhh......... ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Sometimes, mere words are totally inadequate (and it`s on a vertically polarised TX……).

Also see You`ve Only Got To Look At All The Others.....

I can understand why someone would not want an ugly satellite dish on front of his (or her) house but don`t they realise that putting it on a tree outside - at ground level - just makes it even more conspicuous......

Seriously though, I appreciate that if there are trees around one may have to use ingenuity to find a clear view of the satellite or (to a lesser extent) TV transmitter. But surely the installer could have cut off the bottom of the cranked pole !  Unless of course it`s been deliberately left there to make realigning of the dish easier, who needs a motorised satellite ?  Just crank the handle ?

Whilst we`re at it, do black cable ties go with white cable (remember this is outside the front of some ones house don`t forget) and couldn`t they have used galvanised T & Ks ?

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Into the valley of drapes rode the six.... Clipless to the right of them, clipless to the left of them....

This is the roof of a pub just North of London. I don`t know who installed these cables but they`ve obviously never heard of wind, or friction, or sandpaper, or indeed of the concept of “neatness”.

Shall we start a sweepstake on which cable will wear through first and start leaking rain water into the TV ?

I`m going for the one on the left, but who knows ?

I did wonder if the installer had been drinking an excess of “Cabling Black Label”.

(joke courtesy of Pat, one of his better ones, in fact, now I come to think about it, his only good one......)

The cart before the horse, or the reflector before the dipole......

This install is a disaster area. The directors are incorrectly polarised for the reflector and the dipole. Incredibly the latter is mounted behind the reflector, and it`s also upside down, which will not affect its performance but (on this model of aerial) will enable it to fill with water.

Oh, and it`s not even pointing at the transmitter (Emley Moor), it`s about 30 degrees out.......

What is so infuriating is that, because Emley is only about 6 miles away, straight across the valley,

he`s probably getting a bleedin` perfect picture….

How come these bodgers are so very, very, very,

 flukey ! ! !

Also see You`ve only got to look at all the others……

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It`d have been easier to fit the cradle the correct way for Gawds sake Conway`s medieval walls, the town is well worth a visist.

This is Conwy, one of my favourite towns, which just happens to also be the location of one of my favourite castles.

The question is, what`s wrong with the aerial installation on the right ? It`s aligned onto Cowy transmitter (details below)

Hint, there`s a clue in the close up of the aerial (right).

For the answer see Cowboys` Locker Page 2.

It`s a rusty six incher too..... Six inches in Sheffield

Six inches isn`t enough in Settle and it isn`t enough in Sheffield either, as the picture on the left vividly illustrates.  Note that “Albert the Aerial Installer” (aka Bertie the Bodger) has also used the cheapest pressed bracket, the cheapest steel pole, a cheap RX aerial, and he`s even reused the old “Low Loss” Co-Ax.

What I really love about this picture is “Stuart the Startled Starling” who is looking distinctly worried about the integrity of the install, as it leans precariously towards him....

Stuart the Startled Starling Saves on using a bracket I suppose, or a pole come to that........

Now we`ll ignore the fact that the bracket is not galvanised and is mounted on a fascia, also the 1” pole, the “low loss” coax and the contract aerial. The thing that is really inexcusable about this install is that the aerial is pointing back through the roof. It`d probably work better in the loft !  Perhaps the installer needs a bit of a hint where the antenna should be fitted so we`ve helpfully indicated this on the above picture.

If it was installed on the apex it would be higher (with a better view of the transmitter) and a 3ft pole could be utilised which would look better and be stronger as well.........

Couldn`t afford a "T"....

If this satellite dish works the owner is very lucky indeed as this is one of the worst satellite installs I have ever seen....

I`ve called this “Can`t afford a T” because the installer has only used the “K” component of a “T & K” bracket ! The latter should come in a pair and be used as in the picture on the right (except they shouldn`t because in that particular install the aerial is pointing back through the roof....), so if there is any wind at all I`d be amazed if the dish continues to work. Also note the ungalvanised finish on the bracket, the spiders web cabling and the crowning glory of the install, the packing piece wedged into the bottom of the “K” in a futile attempt to make the thing sufficiently solid......

Helpful hint The only pole that has a higher wind loading than the actual aerial !

Is it a “leaf grille” or is it an aerial installation ?

Who knows ?   Who cares ?   We do !

Could have painted all of the bracket....or used a galvanised one in the first place..... Pointless (literally...) Hampstead Heath high gain install Could have trimmed off the packing piece.... Could have trimmed off the `bleedin packing piece....

I love this, it`s so unusual to see an install which is probably more susceptible to wood worm, than the more usual danger of rust. As it is recycling we should perhaps not judge it too harshly, but surely they could of trimmed the excess off the packing piece, now that is a bodge.......

How to wear an arc in your brickwork


Ever since the dawn of time (well OK, the invention of RF transmission) aerial men have been striving to perfect an installation which can overcome gravity and the wind`s natural tendency to pull it down.

This picture proves that a defining moment in aerial installation development has at last been reached.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I give you the first picture

(exclusive to


“The Self Righting Aerial”

No matter how great the pull of Mother Earth (in the form of gravity), or how hard the wind blows, this aerial pole will always return to the vertical.

Truly An Historic Moment....

The more prosaic (and cynical) explanation is that someone has used an Argos aerial installation kit * (bodge one), then mounted it on a fascia (bodge two).

Which do you think is the correct explanation ?  Text your answer to :

* Technically known as a Loft Kit

Two things about the above install intrigue me :

1 This is a B group aerial (albeit an “el cheapo” Contract) and generally speaking Joe Public doesn`t easily have access to them. Thus it could be that a “professional” installer (and I use the term advisedly.....) put up this abomination.

2 Careful examination of the picture will reveal the “arc” worn into the brickwork as the installation is blown to and fro.

How long would you put up with a scraping noise emanating from the side of your house whenever the wind blew ?

A  Five seconds         B   Five minutes          C   Five hours            D   Five years.........

The final fascinating fact about this install is that the chap`s probably still getting a perfect picture....  Why ?  Because bodgers are notoriously flukey, that`s why. The “Self Righting Aerial” is, apparently, “Self Aligning” as well, because it`s still pointing more or less straight at the transmitter !

The picture below was taken from just up the hill and it will be noted that Saddleworth TX can actually be seen, it`s on the hill, middle distance right of centre. The other TX, on the left in the background, is Holme Moss. The site of the latter really is the highest in the country. It`s sited in Yorkshire (just), yet can be seen from both sides of the Pennines.

Saddleworth TV transmitter (right) and Holme Moss radio transmitter (left)

We know that the adjacent wall is the neighbours house, but the houses are all rented. We have a similar estate near us and everyone has their aerials installed where we`re recommending, i.e. on their neighbours wall. I`d suggest buying your neighbour a drink or two (if you have to ! ) it`s far preferable to the abomination that is the above install.

But one more thing, that`s actually a party wall anyway !

Keep up, keep up, they`ve actually rebuilt Emley my Old Boy.......

D Yarman has informed me that technically speaking it should be Hacksawphobia not Hacksawitus. Apparently the latter`s suffix actually means "inflammation of".

However, Hacksawitus sounds funnier, and that, without a doubt, is what`s most important.

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Conway Conundrum Conway Transmitter

Conwy transmitter (right) is a 400W, it was a B group at the time of this picture), vertically polarised repeater off Llanddona. It helps alleviate reception problems around the head of the Conwy estuary.

Also see Cowboys` Locker page 2


You`ve Only Got To Look At All The Others.....

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If you`ve found this site informative and, hopefully, interesting as well,

please help us increase the number of people reading it.

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"Speedbird" Bacofoil aerial, mounted on a loft kit........

A decent quality aerial installation should last 20 to 30 years or more*.On the other hand, one of Bertie Bodgers aerial installations may only last till a high wind comes calling.

* With the possible exception of the cable, particularly if running over a roof.

It is perhaps a little unfair to include all these pictures in this section because some of them were probably done on a DIY basis and therefore they maybe “bodges” but they are not (technically speaking) “Cowboy Installs”. Whilst some are hilarious (to those in the trade particularly) it is more positive to regard them as a chance to learn, this is how not to do it !

An educational tool then, that and to take the piss, obviously.......

Cranky install RSPCA Aerial Installation