Station RF Grounding

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W2WAS, Apr 8, 2020.

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  1. W2WAS

    W2WAS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Every time I connect my transceiver and antenna tuner to ground, everything stops working right.

    Ground is an 8 foot brass rod in the ground right outside the shack window. I’m running an Icom-7300 and an MFJ auto antenna tuner. Added a grounding bus and connected antenna and tuner. Tuner wouldn’t work. Disconnected grounding braids. Everything back to working and normal.

    Same thing happened with an older manual tuner and my FT-101B and my Kenwood TS-830s. SWR through the roof and untunable. No matter what the radio or tuner, when I ground it nothing works. Disconnect it and everything works fine.

    What’s the downside of operating ungrounded? Any advice appreciated.

    From the ungrounded W2WAS.

    Thanks.
     
  2. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    That sounds like a problem with your antenna system where grounding your tuner or rig dramatically changes the impedance match. That implies there's some serious common mode RF current on your feed line which is acting as the RF Return for your antenna system.

    What kind of antenna are you running and how is it set up in terms of length of coax, radials (if the antenna would normally have radials), etc.?

    I'd try to identify and resolve any antenna system problems before thinking about removing your coax entry ground which is required per the NEC.
     
  3. KA2RRK

    KA2RRK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is a strange April! Everything is in that Un. For instance, everything needs to be un-some thing.
    You see it all around us and the world. Everyone is un-social, un-revealing(wearing a mask) , un-easy, ect.
    Were even being forced to use un-toilet paper, who would have figured?
    We should have known that in the 40's switching to unbalanced coax was going to have a cause and effect but gee wiz. It even produced un-cola, called 7up.

    I mean we even see it in the Swapmeet here on QRZ, seems everyone is Unloading something...

    And now it's lead to you being ungrounded. Have you tried hugging a tree?

    All kidding aside, I think we'll call this the season of Un.

    We even now have Un-jobs. An Unusual economy.

    RRK
     
    WR2E and K2XT like this.
  4. W2AI

    W2AI QRZ Lifetime Member #240 Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Is this the SAME ground rod used to ground the AC main entry point???
     
  5. W4HWD

    W4HWD Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    WB2WIK wrote a great piece over on Eham about station grounding. In it, he says he has never used a station ground.

    Station grounds were necessary back when equipment used two-prong plugs, and a component failure could put lethal voltages on equipment chassis.

    I have never used a station ground either. There is such a thing as grounding overkill, and if done wrong all you're doing is adding more points at different potentials for lightning to bounce around and destroy more stuff.

    Ideally, all cables coming in to your house should be bonded at the electrical entrance point, and that's all the ground you need.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
    K4AGO and W4IOA like this.
  6. KR4YON

    KR4YON Ham Member QRZ Page

  7. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page


    Put an RF choke (aka choke balun) at the anternna.
     
    K4AGO likes this.
  8. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not a bad article, explains quite a bit... but it's really only half the story when you begin to consider the AC safety ground which is generally tied to the chassis of every piece of gear and forms a whole 'nother set of ground loops. (oh no, I'm starting to sound like you know who... sans spelling errors!)
     
    K7TRF likes this.
  9. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Agreed, but it sounds like the OP is doing exactly that and his SWR is going sky high as a result. That's an antenna system problem where the antenna is using the coax shield as a substantial part of its RF return such that grounding or not grounding dramatically changes the antenna match and SWR. Whether that ground is just outside the shack and bonded back to the AC service ground as it should be or is inside the shack the real problem seems to lie with the antenna system itself.
     
    KR4YON and WR2E like this.
  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Very merry Unbirthday to you.

     
    KA2RRK and W2AI like this.

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