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Antenna grounding question


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#1 Riktar

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 04:05 PM

 I have a metal pole near (about 4 feet from) the corner of my house. I can't tell how deep this thing goes but I cant see any type of footing where the pole goes into the ground and I have hit this thing a time of 2 with the tractor and it didn't even budge so I am guessing it is buried pretty deep into the gound.

 

 That being said, would the pole itself provide a proper ground for an antenna?

 

 Or is using a copper grouding rod still adviseable?


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#2 JohnE

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 04:36 PM

https://www.blm.gov/...2005_manual.pdf


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#3 SteveC7010

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 06:00 PM

If your pole is set in concrete, it’s not going to be a reliable ground. Better, much better to follow the Motorola spec in the previous post or check NEC or your local building codes for proper grounding.

This is something you really don’t want to skimp on, especially if your hobby grows and you find yourself needing additional earth ground in the future.
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#4 Riktar

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Posted 06 August 2020 - 07:55 PM

I don't know if the pole is set in concrete. I tried digging down a while back but after aalmost 2 feet I just stopped. If it is in concrete it's further down than 2 feet. But yeah. after reading reading through some of the stuff on the guide did note the concrete not being a suitable ground. 

 

I am still digging through the pages and trying to find if the lightning rods on the house that come down on 2 corners of the house would be suitable earth ground. The pole that I am considering using is only 3 feet from one of the rod cable. And by cable I mean thicker than the jumper cables I have.

 

But the more I dig into this, the more I am content with the antennas I have in the attic. Just considering the outside pole to try and sneak above my roof line.....

 

Thank you all for the replies!


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#5 Jones

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 10:14 AM

NO! ...do not use lightning rod cables to ground your antenna. Very bad idea.

 

Where is the electrical service entrance to your home?  Grounding to the electrical system's ground rod would be the much better place to ground your antenna system.


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#6 tweiss3

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 10:36 AM

You need to look at the National Electric Code (NEC) and meet those requirements at a minimum.
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#7 berkinet

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 10:54 AM

Why not get an appropriately long copper rod, drive it into the ground as close to the base of your existing pole as possible. and bond the two together?

 

But first, are there stations, mobiles or repeaters you think you could reach with a higher antenna that you cannot reach from your attic antenna? If the answer is no, you are done.


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#8 Riktar

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 12:31 PM

From what I have gathered so far using the house's electrical service ground is a no-no. 

 

And the idea of pounding a grounding rod into the ground within close proximity of the existing pole sounds like a good idea.

 

Thanks again to everyone who has posted in this thread. It's great having members share knowledge and smart advice to keep me from making a dumb mistake!!! 


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#9 tweiss3

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 01:49 PM

From what I have gathered so far using the house's electrical service ground is a no-no.

And the idea of pounding a grounding rod into the ground within close proximity of the existing pole sounds like a good idea.

Thanks again to everyone who has posted in this thread. It's great having members share knowledge and smart advice to keep me from making a dumb mistake!!!


Actually, NEC requires you to bond all grounding together, antenna, house main, everything.

#10 tweiss3

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 01:49 PM

From what I have gathered so far using the house's electrical service ground is a no-no.

And the idea of pounding a grounding rod into the ground within close proximity of the existing pole sounds like a good idea.

Thanks again to everyone who has posted in this thread. It's great having members share knowledge and smart advice to keep me from making a dumb mistake!!!


Actually, NEC requires you to bond all grounding together, antenna, house main, everything.

#11 Riktar

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 04:36 PM

Actually, NEC requires you to bond all grounding together, antenna, house main, everything.

Yes I see that now. UGH, all the information a person can run across (online and other places) can be very confusing. Some people say this, others say that. Ball canning jars and that sort of thing. 

 

Thanks again to everybody who provided information and insight.

 

The attic antenna is looking better and better.....


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#12 Riktar

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 05:45 PM

As a follow up to this:

 

I went back and looked at my earlier notes from other posts and couldn't figure out where I was getting the "Not allowed to use the homes electrical ground" until I did a search online and came across the original post (From here coincidently) from 2013 which does say it's a not legal to tie into the ground for the electric service. After reading it again (This time with a full measure of coffee in me) I realized the reference ("power company grounding system") was to the Utility company's electric service. IE: the pedestals they maintain on the property and not the electric service for the house.

 

As freaking foolish as I feel right now, I am also REALLY grateful for getting the correct information from tweiss3 and having Jones warn me off using the lightning rod grounds at my home.

 

Finally, thank you berkinet for asking the question about whether there are any stations I can't reach with my existing setup. The way I was setup in the attic was having a 6db omni antenna for hitting the local repeaters and a yagi that was aimed directly at my brothers house 15 miles away since the onmi directional didn't have enough "oomf" to have clear communications and the repeaters were pretty scratchy and noisy when I used the Yagi since it was not aimed in their direction. I had 2 separate runs of LMR400 that went into a coax switch that allowed me to flip between the 2 antennas. This worked as long as I had the switch in the correct position depending on who I was trying to reach. After pondering all the stuff I was going to go through getting an outdoor setup to allow using just one antenna I played around with the Yagi in the attic (And man was it hot up there this weekend!!!) and after several trips up and down the ladder I found a compass position that was between what the heading would be for the repeater I frequently use and my brothers house. The end result is having useable communications with the repeater and my brother!!! 

 

 Granted I do a have slightly higher background noise. But is is REALLY slight and from everyone I talked to they can tell a difference but it's nothing objectionable.

 

 Maybe I can sell off the extra LMR400 cable and the omni directional antenna and put the proceeds towards a rotator for the Yagi. 

 

 For now I will enjoy not having to check which antenna the switch is on to make contact with whoever. 

 

 And I will wait for the temps to cool down a little. 

 

Thanks again to everybody who responded to this post!!! 


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#13 O-B-1

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 04:21 AM

Finally, thank you berkinet for asking the question about whether there are any stations I can't reach with my existing setup. The way I was setup in the attic was having a 6db omni antenna for hitting the local repeaters and a yagi that was aimed directly at my brothers house 15 miles away since the onmi directional didn't have enough "oomf" to have clear communications and the repeaters were pretty scratchy and noisy when I used the Yagi since it was not aimed in their direction. I had 2 separate runs of LMR400 that went into a coax switch that allowed me to flip between the 2 antennas. This worked as long as I had the switch in the correct position depending on who I was trying to reach. After pondering all the stuff I was going to go through getting an outdoor setup to allow using just one antenna I played around with the Yagi in the attic (And man was it hot up there this weekend!!!) and after several trips up and down the ladder I found a compass position that was between what the heading would be for the repeater I frequently use and my brothers house. The end result is having useable communications with the repeater and my brother!!! 

 

Are you using a Yagi at your brother's place also? Not sure if the FCC Rules would consider those as "FIXED" stations or not. Fixed stations are limited to 15W rather than 50W, though.


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#14 berkinet

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Posted 15 August 2020 - 04:27 AM

...Are you using a Yagi at your brother's place also? Not sure if the FCC Rules would consider those as "FIXED" stations or not. Fixed stations are limited to 15W rather than 50W, though.

 

That would not qualify as a fixed station. A "fixed" station is one that communicates solely with one or more other stations, usually for control or linking purposes. The fact that @Riktar's station could, and probably will, contact stations other than his brother makes it a base station and not a "fixed" station.

 

The FCC defines a Fixed Station as:  A station at a fixed location that directly communicates with other fixed stations only.


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#15 Jaybee

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Posted 30 August 2020 - 04:27 PM

Ah grounding and bonding. There is a topic that can generate some heat often without much fire.

 

I'd go to youtube and search for "grounding ham radio" and watch a few. Ward Silver  (N0AX) has done a number of talks on this, and has a bunch of vids out there - here is one.

https://www.youtube....h?v=ZpU3Sme7lH4

 

Lots of good info there, and references if you want more.

 

Hope it helps.

 

Jim






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