How should I ground my antenna?

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KC9UZU, Jan 23, 2012.

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  1. KC9UZU

    KC9UZU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hello,
    I recently put up a Diamond F22A vertical antenna on top of my house and I believe it is higher than the trees around so I will definitely need to ground it somehow. The antenna base is actually not that far from the ground rod on the side of the house, I am not sure if I need to get a lightning arrestor and run wire from that to the ground rod or just ground the coax inside the house. If anyone could give me some advice on what to do that would be great, thanks.


    73
    'KC9UZU
     
  2. K9KJM

    K9KJM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Run a ground conductor from the mast to the ground in the straightest, Most direct route possible, With no sharp bends in the conductor. Drive in a new ground at that point (Only about 10 bucks for the heavy copperclad 1/2" or 5/8" X 8 foot at most discount home supply type stores- Do not use the little 4 foot copper plated cheapies)
    A good ground conductor can be soft type copper tubing that comes in rolls. Sometimes you can find it used cheap from someone taking out an old fashioned fuel oil type furnace. Get that new in the plumbing department at the discount home supply store. Flat copper strap also makes a good ground conductor, The Roofing deparment of the same type store. About the lowest cost new conductor would be some #6 gauge aluminum wire, Was popular years ago for grounding TV masts. (But don't run aluminum underground!) The most important part of lightning protection is bonding all your grounds together. That means running a good size conductor from your mast ground rod to your electric power, Telco, Catv etc grounds.
    As pointed out in the article, A "lightning arrestor" is about the very least important part of a lightning protection system.
    And should be the very last item you spend money on.

    For some tips on how to do it on a low budget:
    http://www.scribd.com/anon-849269/d/14868226-lightning-protectiontaming-thors-thunderon-a-budget

    (Give that site plenty of time to load)
     
  3. KC9UZU

    KC9UZU Ham Member QRZ Page




    Is there any way I could somehow put a copper strap around the mast and run something directly to where the ground pole is on the side of my house? If I can do that it would be a very easy job because they are somewhat close together.
     
  4. K1DNR

    K1DNR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Go to the electric section of your hardware store and buy a pipe clamp. This will clamp around the pipe and give you a terminal to attach the ground wire to.

    The coax shield should be grounded before it enters the house. You can use a bulkhead connector, barrel connector, etc.
     
  5. KC9RGF

    KC9RGF Ham Member QRZ Page


    And when you're done with that you should give thought to joining your local radio club http://frrl.org/ They meet at ST. Rita's Church in Aurora on the second Tuesday of every month; 7:15PM would be a good time to show up.
     
  6. KC9UZU

    KC9UZU Ham Member QRZ Page


    Yes, I am interested in joining the club I just didn't know how to join. Do I need to sign up somehow or can I just show up tonight? Also I do not understand what I actually need to ground the coax cable outside of the house.
     
  7. KC9RGF

    KC9RGF Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is no meeting tonight. The next club meeting is Tuesday Feb. 14. Meetings are open to the public and you can join the club at any time http://frrl.org/membership/[TABLE="width: 800, align: center"]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: ContentTitles, colspan: 2"]FRRL Membership[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: ContentText, colspan: 2"]The Fox River Radio League, Inc., is a general interest amateur radio club serving the central Fox River Valley area. Records indicate the club has been in existence since at least 1924 and has functioned continuously ever since. We are an American Radio Relay League Special Service Club, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation, and a 501©(3) tax exempt organization as specified in IRS Statutes.[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: ContentText, colspan: 2"]We sponsor training classes for new hams, license examination sessions, an annual hamfest (swap meet), and participate in numerous public service events in our communities. Our members have a wide variety of specialized amateur radio interests.[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: ContentText, colspan: 2"]The Fox River Radio League meets on the 2nd Tuesday of every month at St. Rita of Cascia Church, 750 West Old Indian Trail, Aurora, IL. The meeting begins at 19:30. After conducting business, coffee and snacks are served while we socialize. Following the break, a program of interest is presented. All persons interested in amateur radio are invited to attend, and families are always welcome.[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: ContentText, colspan: 2"]Annual dues are payable no later than the January Club Meeting each year. Persons joining during the year will have their first year's dues prorated to the nearest yearly quarter.[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: ContentText, colspan: 2"]Regular dues are $20.00 a year, Senior Citizen dues are $12.00. Family dues are $30.00. You can also help support the FRRL Repeaters by making a $10.00 annual contribution.[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: ContentText, colspan: 2"]Check with the Club Treasurer for details and additional dues rates.[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: ContentText, colspan: 2"]Download the membership application (PDF format). PDF files require the Adobe Reader.



    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
    [TABLE="width: 800, align: center"]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: ContentTitles, colspan: 3"]FRRL Repeaters[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="class: ContentText, colspan: 3"]The club operates two FM Repeaters and two D-Star Repeaters.
    The callsign for the machines is W9CEQ.
    FM Repeaters: VHF is 147.210 +600, 103.5 tone and the UHF is 444.300 +5, 114.8 tone.
    D-Star Repeaters: VHF is 147.225 (W9CEQ__C) and UHF is 442.10625 (W9CEQ__B)




    There will be a 2 meter net tomorrow evening starting at 7:30pm. They conduct this net every Tuesday evening at the same time, except for club meeting nights. I suggest you check into the net and ask for help. There are probably 30 hams that live +- 10 miles from your house, it shouldn't be too hard to get someone to come over to your house to help you.




    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
     
  8. K3DNF

    K3DNF Ham Member QRZ Page

    The DX-Engineering web site has links to excellent grounding safety articles.
    They dispelled some very common misconceptions about grounding safety.

    No matter what system you devise and use, there is no better safeguard than physically disconnecting your gear from outside lines.
     
  9. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    WNA:

    Disconnecting the antenna is definitely NOT a good way to protect equipment! Proper grounding including grounding the shield of the coaxial cable at the appropriate places is just one of the things that has to be done to protect from lightning strikes. Just disconnecting the antenna doesn't usually help much, if at all.

    Remember, commercial two-way installations do NOT disconnect the antenna, power line, etc., during thunderstorms and yet survive those storms without any problems.

    Glen, K9STH
     
  10. WD9IVE

    WD9IVE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    when I have questions as basic as as yours I go to the Radio Handbook written by Bill Orr W6SAI you can find his books online. good luck
     
  11. KK4HP

    KK4HP Ham Member QRZ Page

  12. K9KJM

    K9KJM Ham Member QRZ Page

    K9STH is correct. Simply "disconnecting" without properly grounding the disconnected coax lines is in fact very DANGEROUS!
    The link provided by KK4HP does provide lots of good information. I have not read it all word for word yet, But plan to do sometime in the future. (The photos of W9JI's single point ground panel with the braid grounding WAS state of the art way to do it many years ago....... Now it has been found that "braid" is far from the best conductor choice to use unless you need constant movement, (Like bonding a steel door to a steel door frame, etc) Flat copper strap is a much better conductor than the braid)

    That link also is a little bit lengthy for someone just wanting to know how to ground his mast........
     
  13. KC9UZU

    KC9UZU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Okay I will take a look at the link. Thank you all for the info. I was talking to another ham and he heard something about some kind of oil that you buy and when there is a thunderstorm you can put the coax in this oil then if there was a lightning strike then this oil would somehow disperse the electricity. Does anyone know if this is true? I'm just wondering.

    'Daniel
     
  14. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Pure hyperbole.
     
  15. KC9UZU

    KC9UZU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yeah it sounded weird to me. So what I am hearing from people and from different websites is I basically have to put copper straps around the mast, or the mount? and then from there solder copper braid I believe to it and then get a pipe strap so I can put it on the side of the house on the ground pole that is going into the ground. Is it correct? I still do not understand how to ground the coax cable.
     
  16. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here is a way to attach a ground to a coaxial cable. Use "cheap" black plastic tape to seal the connection from the weather. Believe it or not, the "cheap" tape works much better than the more expensive kinds because it congeals into a waterproof mass in a week, or so, of being exposed to the sun.

    Attach the braid to the mast, tower, etc., with a stainless steel hose clamp, to the ground rod with a clamp, etc.

    Andrew, the maker of Heliax, uses a similar type of grounding except that it is MUCH more expensive!

    Glen, K9STH

    coax-grounding-1.jpg
     
  17. KC9UZU

    KC9UZU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wow thanks for the detailed picture. What size does the braid have to be? Also, would I put the clamp on the mount for the mast or the actual mast? My antenna is up right on the side of my chimney. 20ft above the peak above my house which is about 30ft.
     
  18. K9KJM

    K9KJM Ham Member QRZ Page

    The photos provided by STH is a good low cost way to do it. Just remember to not overtighten that stainless steel hose clamp on the coax, Do NOT use "braid" as the ground conductor, As moisture will wick inside the coax with braid....
    Some #6 solid copper wire will work, Or a copper strap about 3/4" wide would work well.
    Never use plain lead/tin solder in a lightning protection system. Use good mechanical clamps, OR you can use some true "silver solder" which is actually a high silver/nickel/copper content braze rod, Can be flowed with a small hand held torch with MAPP gas.
    I also agree with STH that the cheapo plastic tape that is really thin works better than thicker more expensive tape.
    Some "Coax seal" over the joint, Then overwrapped with the cheapo tape would be ideal.
    If you use the soft rolled copper tubing for a ground conductor, You can just hammer the ends flat and clamp to the mast and ground rod, Or if you use some copper strap, A simple stainless steel hose clamp around the mast will work well.
    (The rolls of copper strap sold in the discount home supply stores are usually 6 inch wide by 10 feet long. You can cut the strap into 3 strips 2 inches wide, Making 30 lineal feet of strap from one roll.)
     
  19. KC9UZU

    KC9UZU Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the info I just have a few more questions. Can I buy #6 copper wire (I'm not sure if its bare wire or insulated) and then solder it to the strap of the mast ground or do I run one separate strap and a separate wire? Also do I just lay it across the roof and leave it be or do I need to paint it with something so it does not rust?
     
  20. K9KJM

    K9KJM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Bare copper wire (And strap and tubing) can be purchased at most all discount home supply type stores.
    Again, Do NOT use plain lead/tin solder for lightning protection system grounds!
    The lifespan of copper is measured in hundreds, If not thousands of years exposed to the outdoors. So no type of coating is needed. A good mechanical connection will work, Only one downconductor is used. If you use flat strap for a downconductor, You could simply drill a 1/4" hole in it and use a bolt with washers to bond the wire to the strap. Most well equipped hardware stores sell brass bolts that will work well. Use a pliers to bend the wire into a small tight circle and run the bolt through it.
     
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