Station Grounding Question

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KB5CC, Mar 3, 2019.

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  1. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am a definite proponent of having a good ground system. WIK lives in an area where lightning is, for all practical purposes, non-existent.

    I have been, for over 30-years, a telecommunications consultant and one of my specialties is lightning protection and grounding. You definitely want the shortest connection possible to the first ground rod be this the AC mains ground or a ground rod that you have installed. Yes, all ground rods are, per NFPA NEC (National Electrical Code) to be bonded together.

    For r.f. grounding, having a conductor wider than a wire will allow longer distances to the first ground rod. Using aluminum flashing is a good way to accomplish this. Such flashing is inexpensive at home improvement centers and comes in all sorts of widths up to around 30-inches wide. I use such on my main operating console. Here are diagrams of how I ground equipment:

    And here are diagrams showing when the ground rod is at a distance from the equipment:

    Glen, K9STH
  2. AJ6O

    AJ6O Ham Member QRZ Page

  3. WA7ARK

    WA7ARK Ham Member QRZ Page

  4. KB5CC

    KB5CC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nope, I definitely will not be on the air during storms. I'll be honest... I am not completely sure what it is I'm am trying to do other than get on the air. But I also want to do it correctly/safely and it seems the more I read about grounding and bonding the more confused I get.

    The bleed off path you mentioned... would that be the same ground wire running from the back of the radio to a copper rod right outside the house or are you talking about something different than that?
  5. KB5CC

    KB5CC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you... that one sentence helped a lot!

    The wire I use to bond the two rods... is it ok to just lay it on the ground or is it best to bury it?
  6. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    Bury it if not just for protection to the wire. It won't likely make any difference in it's function one way or the other. I suspect that electrical codes say to bury it but I've not looked for that in particular.
  7. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Bury it a few inches deep. If the run is long enough you should use additional ground rods, IIRC spaced 2x their length; in other words, if you are using eight-foot ground rods, they should be spaced every 16 feet.
  8. KB5CC

    KB5CC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've read in a few articles that you should drive the rod most of the way into the ground. So I'm assuming an 8ft rod should be driven roughly 7 ft deep? Living in Central Texas I cannot imagine hammering a 5/8" copper rod 7ft into this rocky soil. If I do run into that problem (and I'm sure I will) would you say there's a minimum depth I can consider "good enough"?
  9. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is impossible to drive a ground rod deep enough into the soil to be effective in many parts of the country. This is one of the imperfections of the NEC; it was largely written (as are almost all Federal laws, regulations, and codes in the United States) by and for people who live in the Northeast and lower Midwest, where topsoils are generally deep and rain is common. It's what we get for being provincials.

    There are many parts of the west where a ground rod cannot be driven adequately into the soil, or soil conditions have such low conductivity as to render a ground rod ineffective no matter how deep it is. In your case, you can try driving it in at an angle; other than that, you will have to get advice from people who have installed ground rods in these conditions. There may be no good answer.

    I personally would try a rock bar, but then I am physically fit. In addition, the rock bar might make a hole larger in diameter than the ground rod, which would render the rod ineffective.

    In addition, some people used to dig holes and fill them with an electrolyte solution. I think this is frowned on today for environmental reasons, but I'm not sure.

    I happen to live in the blackland prairie, just east of Austin, maybe fifteen or twenty miles from you. Although conditions are generally dry here, we do have topsoil deep enough to allow the quick and easy driving of ground rods with T-post drivers. But in the summer the soil contracts and pulls away from the ground rod. Very few houses in this area have adequate electrical grounds in the summer, even if they do comply with NEC. (And, if they have a slab foundation, they generally have foundation damage.)
  10. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    It doesn't have to be driven very deep in my yard. My yard is a clay pot filled with water and organic matter for growing roses. Last year there was enough water to grow the roses without supplemental watering the entire season.

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