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.

It is perhaps a little unfair to include all the installations on this page 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 !

Cowboys' Locker : an educational tool,
and to take the piss, obviously.......


ATV's Cowboys' Locker : The "self righting" aerial

Self righting aerial 501H L5


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 aerialsandtv.com)
“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. [link]

Saddleworth (right) and Holme Moss (left) transmitters 700W L5

ATV Cowboys' Locker : Can't afford a hacksaw

Cannot afford a hacksaw 453W L5

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 !

Note the missing wall screw, what’s the point in fitting a Heavy Duty 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.

ATV Cowboys' Locker : Six inches in Settle & Sheffield

A six inch wall bracket in Settle is not enough 431H L5

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 on the wall bracket.

A six inch bracket isn't enough for Stewart the startled Sheffield starling either 542W L5

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 Sheffield Starling” who is looking distinctly worried about the integrity of the install, as it leans precariously towards him....

ATV Cowboys' Locker : RSPCA aerial

RSPCA aerial installation 341H L5

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. [link]

ATV Cowboys' Locker : Dual function TV aerial

Dual function aerial 534W L5

Is it an anti leaf gutter guard,
or is it an aerial installation ?

ATV Cowboys' Locker : It's a party wall....

It is a party wall 796W L5

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.........

We know that the adjacent wall is the neighbours house but 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 !

ATV Cowboys' Locker : Watch out for woodworm.....

Pack it in 545W L5

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.......

ATV Cowboys' Locker : Can't afford a tea

Cannot afford a tea 390W L5

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 other picture (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......

ATV Cowboys' Locker : Diagonally polarised aerial

Diagonally polarised TV aerial 411H L5

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 transmitter 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......

ATV Cowboys' Locker : Conway conundrum

Conway conundrum TV aerial question 784W L5

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 Contract aerial. [link]

Conway conundrum TV aerial question 361W L5

Conwy transmitter is a vertically polarised repeater off Llanddona and was a B group at the time of these pictures. It helps alleviate reception problems around the head of the Conwy estuary.

For the answer to the Conway conundrum see Cowboys’ Locker Page 2.