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New ham: establishing grounding bus bar

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by W3TKB, Sep 27, 2020.

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  1. N3HGB

    N3HGB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Keep in mind there are many grounds:
    1. AC power ground
    2. RF grounding for antennas that need it.
    3. Lightning grounding
    There are probably 1,000 different threads about all this. One guiding principle I have is there is no way that I can touch two different things where my body would be a better path between them than a nice thick ground wire. This is the essence of the famous #6 wire, you do NOT want a separate ground over in your shack that has no easy path to the service entrance ground except through your stuff and maybe you :eek:
    Also remember that if the coax ground block where your cable(s) come in has a long and/or poor connection to ground,a lightning hit will raise the voltage level on the braid to the value of the voltage drop through your crappy ground system. Thus a fairly standard plan would have a ground rod right where the coax comes in and then the 6 gauge wire around to the main service ground.
    There are actual "ground experts" on here that do this for a living at commercial sites that may show up and tell you all the details, but this is a rough outline to get your plans going.
    I use one of these in my home shack to tie all the ground connections from the equipment to the #6 wire to the nearby ground rod. If I have one hand on the radio and one hand on the tuner, the ground connections to the ground bus are an easier path for electrons than I am ;)
  2. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    "self proclaimed"

    As with ALL so-called internet experts.

    Who does one believe, and why?
  3. N3HGB

    N3HGB Ham Member QRZ Page

    It can get confusing, but you can distill a lot of it into some good ideas IMHO. Do keep in mind that commercial/marine/aircraft/government/etc. radio users do not unplug and quit talking when storms are around, so those guys must know a few things.
    Some of it would cost a lot more than just buying a new radio, but some of it we all can do.
    W1PEP and WR2E like this.
  4. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Oh. That's easy. That would be whoever gets away with calling other "experts" "ignorant" the most.
    N0TZU and WR2E like this.
  5. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Amen, Brother!
  6. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Something I found interesting is that, if you look at ARRL Handbooks from the 1960's and 70's, there is almost no information about grounding or lightning protection. And yet, most of the old-timers from that period survived.

    By the 1990s, there's more substantial information appearing in the ARRL Handbooks. I don't have any 1980's handbooks so I don't know when that "paradigm shift" occurred.

    By 2018, the most recent I have, there's a whole chapter on "Safety" that contains a lot more details.
    N0TZU likes this.
  7. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    It might be interesting to take a look back at the NEC also, and see how the changes there 'beat' against what the ARRL had published.
    N0TZU likes this.
  8. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is from QST almost 100 years ago (June 1922, "Lightning Protection"). The earliest article I could find in the QST Archive that mentions "ground" and "lightning" in the same article:

    N0TZU likes this.
  9. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Also, society was much more accepting of accidents and less aware of dangers back then, especially those that happened more "rarely" (and also had less money and technology to invest in safety).

    Many people smoked! No seatbelts or crush zones in cars, very little industrial PPE, building codes allowed all sorts of things that would be red-tagged today. No worries about lead and many other toxic substances in common use - and on and on.

    House fires were much more common. Today the number of house fires per year has declined to about half of what it was in 1980 per NFPA (despite many more houses) because of safety improvements of all types. I'd guess that 1980 numbers were much less than, say, 1950.

    Grounded and polarized outlets weren't required by the NEC throughout a residence until 1962 In the 1950s they were required near water or outside.

    Most appliances had no polarization on their two prong plugs, and "double insulation" had yet to be widely implemented. I remember from my childhood a toaster oven that would have a slight "buzz" on the chassis, or not, depending on which way the unpolarized plug was inserted.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
  10. W3TKB

    W3TKB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    WOW! Lots of info...thanks (?) everyone. Heck, I feel like I need to go back to school and get a degree in electrical engineering or similar! Looks like the two things I need to purchase are the ARRL book on Grounding and Bonding as mentioned in the replies, and a 100 foot spool of 6 gauge wire so I can reach from one corner of the house to the other when I'm ready. I'm thinking that what might work is to drive a grounding rod outside the house at the end where my shack will be, to ground the antenna coax and shack bus bar (if I even need one) to, and then connect that rod to the main house grounding rod on the other side of the house, hence the long spool of #6 wire. But first I'll download the ARRL book (available on Kindle for less than half the actual printed book price) and start reading up on the subject.

    73, Brando
    W3TKB "The Killer B"

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