YAGQ (yet another grounding question)

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by N5ZMR, May 17, 2017.

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  1. N5ZMR

    N5ZMR Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm in the process of putting up an antenna. I plan to have a ground rod where it is installed, and, per electrical code, run a #6 cable over to the house electrical service ground rod. I have a Storm Copper bus bar where I plan to connect the grounds outside my shack. I already have 100 feet or so of copper #6 solid cable. I've been reading that crimping a connector on a solid cable isn't secure (after I bought a $60 large crimper - well, I'll use it on something else someday...). I also plan to use the solid copper as the down run ground from the antenna. I'm looking for recommendations as to the best way to terminate the bus bar ends of these ground cables and attach them to the bus bar....or open up the wallet and buy #6 stranded....
     
  2. WB4SPT

    WB4SPT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Solid is just fine and better long term than stranded when in dirt. Cadweld is best way. Poor mans way is hard brazing, but that ground rod will suck heat fast. Last way is acorn clamps. They are rated for use in dirt. And don't cut the wire, just run it thru the clamp to the next rod.
     
  3. N5ZMR

    N5ZMR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ah, thanks for the info. What do you recommend for attaching the other end to the bus bar? I need some sort of connector with a hole in it, but am concerned about crimping to solid cable.
     
  4. K5URU

    K5URU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use these grounding lugs from Home Depot. I just drilled a hole, then used a nut, bolt, and washer to attach the lug to the bus bar. The lugs I found can accept at least #4 copper wire, if not larger. It's probably a good idea to get lugs that are made of copper to avoid corrosion over the long term.

    I agree that a crimp connector is not a good idea for this application.

    73,
    -Blake
    GroundingLug.jpg
     
  5. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member Staff Member QRZ Page

    Remember not to reverse the direction of the ground wire and avoid "right angles" in the wire.

    When there is even the slightest chance that the ground wire will be "stepped upon", I definitely prefer stranded wire because the wire will not take a permanent bend.

    Also, insulated stranded wire is available and that does protect the wire from corrosion, dirt, etc.

    Glen, K9STH
     
  6. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Perhaps a bit over the top, but with such connectors, I'd use a crimp, and then a solder connection
     
  7. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Cadweld™ is a trademarked name, owned by Erico (link). The generic term for the process is "exothermic welding" (link). For buried connections, it is the ONLY way you want to go. Forget about soldered or brazed connections -- in the event of a direct lightning strike, they won't hold up.
     
  8. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member Staff Member QRZ Page

    However, do NOT even think of using "cadweld" on a tower, mast, etc. The heat will weaken the support as well as causing the galvanization to come off on the inside of the tubing. Then, the tubing will rust from the inside out and the structural strength will be gone before one even knows there is rust present!

    Glen, K9STH
     
    WA7PRC likes this.
  9. AC0TX

    AC0TX Subscriber QRZ Page

    Go to McMaster Carr, there you will find a ground clamp that has TWO bolts to clamp onto the ground rodI used # 4 solid copper. I found a stranded wire going to my electrical ground rod, original electrical installation in 1982 and it was corroded completely off!
     
  10. N0TZU

    N0TZU Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've used these outdoors on radio projects, but the zinc coated steel screw will corrode eventually. It's best to shield them somehow from direct precipitation. Now I take the screw out and smear a corrosion preventing thick silicone "dielectric" grease all over the screw and the copper threads before installation.

    No, the grease will not increase contact resistance. When the screw is torqued down tightly on the wire, the pressure against the wire and screw threads forces the grease away for a gas-tight metal to metal contact.
     
    K5URU likes this.

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