Best, no, easiest way to drive in a ground rod?

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by N4FFL, Dec 28, 2018.

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  1. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    In the first foot, or two, the soil does come in good contact within a relatively short period of time. However, not so for the remainder of the length.

    Rain, etc., really doesn't reach into the soil for more than a foot, or so, under normal conditions.

    Glen, K9STH
  2. VA3VF

    VA3VF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is it correct to assume that in a typical residential subdivision, one that is less than 10 years old, installing a ground rod is a waste of time? The soil was disturbed for sure.

    Also, wouldn't this same condition apply to the electricity company's ground?
  3. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Most subdivisions have soil that was removed, not added.

    The topsoil, maybe down to a foot, or so, might have been disturbed. However, the subsoil is not disturbed and that is where most of the grounding takes place. Slabs, pier and beam, etc., foundations are applied to undisturbed soil, not "fill". Otherwise, the foundation is going to sink and that definitely is not a good thing!

    Glen, K9STH
  4. KN4DQE

    KN4DQE Ham Member QRZ Page

    AA5CT and N4FFL like this.
  5. VA3VF

    VA3VF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I thought you meant disturbed, as in excavated, and then returned to its place.

    Not in my area, houses here need foundations down 8 to 9 feet.
    KC8VWM likes this.
  6. K6LPM

    K6LPM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sheesh! ya got it easy! Dont even need that demo hammer there, in that kinda soil.... I could whack that with my single jack in about double the time. I swing a big single jack.
    Come over to my house and better bring that demo hammer! It will take about 10x maybe even 15x longer to get it into my ground! That is if the top of the rod doesnt mushroom so bad that you have to cut the rod to remove the tool. If it mushrooms so bad that you have to remove the tool more than once it can take as long as 45 minutes to cut, grind, pound and repeat. Ask me how I know this?
    Yes that is the tool of my trade that I find so useful! I unfortunately just lost a nice one about a month ago,,, along with the former friend whom walked off with it. I still have my own personal main machine, at least the other one was company property...DOH!!!! Ok,but seriously The Demo hammer is an indispensable tool and in my opinion is really the way to go both for driving the gnd rods but also for digging your tower excavations. especially if you must go deep. Many folks will rent or hire a backhoe or a mini excavator but that is not the way to make a nice square deep hole with straight walls on all four sides. You hand dig the hole with a demo hammer and use a "spoon" styled "clay bit". Jackhammer at the soil with the clay bit nd muck it out of the hole with 5 gal pails. It works great. Your hole stays square and your pocketbook doesnt get too thin when it comes time to add concrete.
    AA5CT likes this.
  7. N4FFL

    N4FFL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I think I’m going to return the ground rod adapter I bought for mine and just rent the demo hammer and buy the adapter if I can’t rent that too. The adapter I bought is an SDS+ and the demo hammer is an SDS Max. :-/
  8. W5BT

    W5BT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've enjoyed this thread immensely. I've driven over a 1000 T-post with a T-post driver. I can say that my worst injury growing up and working on the farm and ranch was from a T-post driver. I lifted the T-post driver a little too high one time and catching the lip of the driver on the top edge of the T-post on the way down causing the driver to come right down on my head; of course it didn't hurt until I woke up. The 23 stitches weren't much fun either. Funny thing was that my father ended up buying a hydraulic system right after I went to college.
    I would rent the hammer-drill and be done with it.
    N4FFL likes this.
  9. W9KEY

    W9KEY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sorry I'm late to reply. I just put in nine 8' copper clad steel rods for my perimeter ground system.

    What you want is an SDS Hammer Drill. It will drive a rod in just a minute, or so. Assuming you belong to an amateur radio club - someone will probably have one you can use. If not, they are easily rented from most hardware rental stores. But it's unlikely any of the rental stores will have the driver bit that fits over the ground rod end. They can be ordered from Home Depot, but expensive (over $40).

    So what I did was purchase a cheap "SDS to 1/2" Socket Adapter", then used a 1/2 impact socket large enough to fit over the rod. Best to use a spare socket size you don't care much about, as it can get a little beat up. Something like this:

    Or if you're in a hurry, get from a US source (quicker delivery, but more expensive):
    AA5CT and N4FFL like this.
  10. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    The MOST powerful tool for driving ground rods is a demolition hammer (sometimes called a breaker hammer or jack hammer). A small unit has a 45# hammer -- I've seen electric versions up to 90#. The drill function of the smaller roto-hammers and itty-bitty hammer-drills is wasted on a ground rod.

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