Can you get an electric shock by touching an antenna?

Oh boy, I better get this right. I don’t want to mislead anyone on something this important. Because electricity is serious business. So, let’s jump in.

An antenna is, by definition, a device that conducts electricity that travels through the air. So, yes, you’re technically getting a small electric shock every time you hold a metal rod up in the air. But it’s SMALL. Think, like, 1/10,000th of a watt, so tiny that you don’t realize it. Walking across a carpet in socks and touching the doorknob is like 1000 times worse and let’s face facts, you get over the doorknob thing pretty easily.

BUT you should know that an antenna has the potential to conduct a lot of electricity. I mean, a LOT. If there’s a potential for a lightning strike, you don’t want to be anywhere near an antenna. Antennas do a very good job of conducting electricity, and that means lightning strikes just as much as it means TV broadcasting. If you’re touching an antenna when lightning strikes, you’re done for. Period. If you’re even near an antenna you could be severely hurt. So while it’s not going to hurt you at all to touch an antenna on a sunny day, let’s be super clear here- don’t get up on the roof if you even suspect lightning. It could ruin your whole day, to say the least.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.