Should I connect ground rod to outdoor water faucet?

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by AF5FH, Feb 5, 2012.

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  1. AF5FH

    AF5FH Ham Member QRZ Page

    My end fed antenna connects to a Wireman CQ 878 (spark plug lightning arrestor) at top of ground rod (and then goes through brick exterior wall to knife switch and manual antenna tuner). The ground rod is clamped to the pipe feeding my house breaker panel through about 25 feet of #6 solid copper. (Right below where the cable TV and telephone folks attached their clamp.)

    The brass outdoor water faucet for that side of the house is about 2 feet through air to the top of the ground rod.

    Should I connect the ground rod to the outdoor water faucet? If I did this, I would use brass clamps and solid copper wire.

    By the way, this ground rod is also my RF ground for my tuner. The 84 foot long end fed wire loads on all bands from 80 to 10 meters.
  2. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    How old is your house? Is the pipe to the faucet metal "all the way" or is it partway PVC.

    Actually, even if the pipe is metal, the joint compound used in the pipe couplings is a very good electrical insulator and there may not be much of an actual ground presented by the water pipe.

    Years ago, a cold water pipe was considered to be an excellent ground. Today, not so much!

    Glen, K9STH
  3. AF5FH

    AF5FH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Glen, my DMM says the ground rod and the outside water faucet are already connected (<0.5 ohms) even though I have not connected them. So I am guessing the pipe is metal all the way under the slab.

  4. K4SAV

    K4SAV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Building code calls for the plumbing inside the house to be grounded. You can probably find a wire somewhere going from the plumbing to the ground at the electrical entrance. The pipes under the slab and in the gravel are probably encased in a PVC sleeve to keep the concrete and other stuff off them, so they won't have much coupling to the slab (except at high frequencies). The pipe from the house to the street could be iron or PVC. I think most newer houses have PVC. So the water pipe is not likely to be a better ground than the wire you now have. The wire grounding the plumbing is probably longer than your wire. Also you don't want lightning current directed inside your house and a connection of your radio ground to the faucet would create that. That might also create a hazard for someone using the faucet during a lightning strike.

    Jerry, K4SAV
  5. AC0FP

    AC0FP Ham Member QRZ Page

    My telephone company (SBC) company connected their ground wire to my outside facet.
  6. AF5FH

    AF5FH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks, Jerry.

    I don't want to increase the danger if there is nearby lightning, so I will not add a wire between the ground rod and the outdoor faucet.

    Jim KF5MMY
  7. VK4KGW

    VK4KGW Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's a very dodgy short cut imho
  8. N0SYA

    N0SYA Ham Member QRZ Page

    A sparkplug lightning arrestor might be ok for all tube gear but not solid state. It would arc over after the solid state devices went tango uniform.
  9. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't quite understand. You have an outdoor ground rod? For safety, that SHOULD be electrically (and very well mechanically) tied to that "water faucet" and the electrical entry point ground used by the contractor for electrical service. Anything less is dangerous, and increases the probability of damage due to an electromagnetic discharge, even if it's not a direct hit. It also can pose a hazard even without a lightning strike in the vicinity.
  10. K8MHZ

    K8MHZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    It may also be the law. If you are under the jurisdiction of the National Electrical Code, then all ground systems at your house need to be effectively bonded together in order to be legal.

    The phrase effectively bonded addresses conductor size and type and connector type. If you are bonding a single grounding electrode you need no more than a #6 copper, although I prefer #4. Other electrodes will be sized according to the size of your electrical service.

    If you KNOW that the water pipe is continuous and effectively bonded to your AC mains neutral/ground connection, it's fine to use that as a conductor connecting the two systems together, using approved methods.
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