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Tower and Base Station Antenna Grounding



Greetings everyone!

I have a two fold question that has been haunting me for quite some time now.

I made the mistake of searching the web for answers and have come to the conclusion that there are many self proclaimed experts out there that just like to ramble on with no concerns of blowing someone’s base station up or burning down their building.

If you put an antenna on a tower, are they each separately grounded, or does the tower ground take care of everything that’s attached to it?

If everything is properly grounded, is it still best to disconnect your coax, (If able to) during an electrical storm, or is your equipment safe?

Isn’t there a National Electrical Code that must be followed for the grounding of towers and antennas? If there is, what is it, and why is everyone re-inventing the wheel?

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The Mike Holt videos are excellent on YouTube.  He understands and clearly explains the actual requirements of the National Electrical Code as seen by a Professional Engineer .  Here’s one of his more recent videos discussing antenna grounding:



Ward Silver does a very good job of explaining it from the perspective of an amateur radio installation.  In fact, he wrote the book for ARRL on Grounding and Bonding.  Here’s one of his videos:


The short answer is that yes, your tower, antenna, and coax may share a ground. In fact, their grounds are required to be bonded (connected) to each other and to your electrical system ground.

Here’s how I understand it:  A four legged tower would have a ground electrode for each leg.  Then, all four ground electrodes would be bonded to each other with a ground conductor ring and a sufficiently sized solid ground conductor would then run from that ring to the electrical system ground which is connected to your electrical panel.  The bonding is as important to the grounding because it prevents differences in ground potential (between ground electrodes) from creating currents that flow through your radio equipment.  You really want those currents to flow through the ground conductors or bonding conductors rather than through your radio or your body.

Then, where your coax enters the house, it passes through a lightning protector.  The lightning protector is connected to a ground or ground plate, which is bonded to the electrical system ground.

Inside your house, all of your devices (radios, power supplies, amplifiers, etc.) are connected to a single ground point (frequently a copper bar), which is also bonded to the electrical system ground with a decent sized conductor.


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36 minutes ago, tweiss3 said:

Motorola's R56 is often referred to the tower bible on how to set things up to reduce failure and meet/exceed the NEC. It will be way more than 99.9% of users will meet, but it's a great goal to move toward.


38 minutes ago, gortex2 said:

I should have included that. It’s usually the first reference I cite. It can be overwhelming, but it is an authoritative source. 

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