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Grounding a Tower in TX

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by W9BKR, Aug 2, 2020 at 5:36 PM.

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  1. W9BKR

    W9BKR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Man, I have tried and tried to drive a ground rod into this god forsaken soil and the max you can get them own in this region is like 2-3 feet. Solid rock shelf under everything in this area. Not sure a hammer drill rental would be any good and how to stand on a step ladder and drive 6 feet of one above ground would work, let alone be safe. I have read you should use 3 for a tower, 1 in each leg. No way here....laying them horizontal, can't get more then a foot or so with a tiller to lay them horizontally....

    Any recommendations are to how many rods to use, how to get them in aside of dynamite....
     
    K0UO likes this.
  2. AJ5J

    AJ5J Ham Member QRZ Page

    No experience with your scenario but I wonder if a backhoe could ram them in? Good luck!

    73,

    Jeff
     
  3. W9BKR

    W9BKR Ham Member QRZ Page

    It would just bend them over. Wondering why one can buy a grounding plate, use two perhaps...would think if you cannot get them in the ground vertically, then laying them down horizontally should be acceptable, doubting you can get a rod horizontally moe the 12 inches or so beneath the hard soil here...
     
  4. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    AJ5J likes this.
  5. AJ5J

    AJ5J Ham Member QRZ Page

    I know undisturbed earth is always best but in this case perhaps drilling a hole, "installing" some bentonite and pounding a ground or two into that might just fly, eh?

    Who knew the magic of plain old ordinary cat litter could help hams out so very well?

    73,

    Jeff

    Trivia dept.: I once had a great breakfast at the Mexican place on the main drag through Weatherford in October of 2008. I'd eat there again!
     
    K0UO likes this.
  6. AC0GT

    AC0GT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sounds like you need a "Ufer".
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ufer_ground

    I used to live in Texas and I saw some interesting ways to deal with the inability to dig in the topsoil for a foundation. Growing up in Iowa meant that I expected every building to have a basement, not just as a foundation but as a shelter from tornados. I don't recall ever getting an answer on how people sheltered from tornados while I lived there. Best I heard was people built an above ground "bunker" from reinforced concrete. Getting a proper ground for electrical safety didn't come to mind at the time but seeing mention of the Ufer ground seems to answer my question on that. Grounding a house then seems trivial as the grounding would be put in place with the poured foundation. Grounding a tower would then seem to me to be a similar matter of using any poured concrete as the grounding. If using the tower foundation as the grounding system was not considered when it was poured then I'm guessing adding it on later would be a difficult matter.
     
    AJ5J likes this.
  7. W9BKR

    W9BKR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is Litter the same as Bentonite (not being a chemist no idea).
     
  8. W9BKR

    W9BKR Ham Member QRZ Page

    sounds like horizontal 8 ft rod with bentonite (cat litter) encased should suffice, perhaps two of them
     
    KL7SG likes this.
  9. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    No chemist here either, but as I understand it and have been told, the 'cheap' kitty litter actually is Bentonite clay. It may have some impurities in it I suppose.

    The more expensive and scented litters, and the ones that 'clump', may have other stuff in them as well and I wouldn't consider those. Bentonite probably does 'clump' though.

    The stuff purchased for the purpose of grounding is probably more highly refined in some way.

    I had an abandoned well on my property that the local environmental police said needed to be properly closed. I spoke to a local driller and he suggested the cheap kitty litter to fill the bore and then concrete over top and backfill. Drillers use Bentonite for this purpose all the time. The fact that they suggested it lends some credence. And the environmental police were OK with it too.

    I don't think the Bentonite is terribly expensive so if you can find the 'proper' stuff locally, I would use that. Talk to electrical suppliers.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020 at 7:26 PM
  10. AJ5J

    AJ5J Ham Member QRZ Page

    My sister gave me some of her "World's Best Bentonite" (actual brand name) to put on my first tick bite several years ago. The fine powder sort of draws and absorbs the poison out (at least to a fair degree) like a poultice. The cheapest cat litter at Walmart is likely low-grade Bentonite as Jeff surmised above.

    73,

    Jeff
     

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