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Grounding a base station antenna


WRWE744

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On 1/22/2024 at 3:26 PM, Doggorunning1 said:

Dont GROUND and WHY>>My power pole will be 10 feet taller than my antenna mast, thats what will get struck.  For one you are creating a ground that makes your antenna more likely to get stuck, basically making a lighting rod, no amount of surge protection or ground will protect your equipment.  Anything under 30 feet is not required to be grounded as per home insurance, if it's over 30 a licensed electrician MUST do the work.  Why would you also wish to tap into your home electric panel, do you wish to destroy your entire homes wiring? Are you an electrician, LICENSED? didn't think so. If you are not the tallest thing around you will not be attractive to mother nature ; unless you GROUND your self and make it so.  my e mail is ndi911108@yahoo.com YouTube BaaSicStuff  

I could be wrong but the whole Kite and Key thing makes sense to me; on a stormy day just disconnect and place your coax in a mason jar 

Almost everything about this post is wrong. 
 

Whether you like it or not your radio is connected to a ground. Lightning travels miles through the air to get to ground and your antenna and tower are just a convenient path for it. Current will follow your coax (either the shield or the center conductor or both) until it finds ground.  That’s why you place surge arresters outside the house and connect them to your house ground system, to give static charge an easier path to ground. You don’t have to open the electrical panel or hire an electrician to do any of this.

 

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This is all covered by the NEC (national electric code). It is worth looking the regulations up and reading them. 

As mentioned your coax shield is grounded to your radio which in turn is grounded to the home ground at the outlet. That is why one should use lightning arrestors on the coax before it enters the structure and also to have everything grounded and also bonded to the service ground. That gives the electric a shorter path to ground. And the lightning arrestor should also keep the electricity overload from entering the structure.

Grounding can be a touchy subject and people will always argue about it. I prefer to be safe than sorry and have ground rods at each antenna mast/tower along with a ground rod right at the wall passthrough where my coax cables enter my house. They are bonded together and to my service ground..

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11 hours ago, Doggorunning1 said:

WHY RIGHT BEFORE? is it that the NEC code says, ok then, I'll do it right before then double back on my 10 gage wire, I just though it would be cleaner looking coming straight down the antenna.  

I guess you missed my post where I posted from the NEC, but yes that is what the NEC says. "as near as practicable to the entrance of the conductors to the building". I don't think the push back of your statement "don't ground and why" has to do with hams attitude but rather the statment is encouraging unsafe practice. You wouldn't say don't lock firearms up when children are in a home on a gun forum (I hope) and I can assure you not following the NEC on grounding and bonding can have grave consequences. To answer the question "are you an electrician?" Yes I am. 35 years IBEW. I have endless stories of electricity doing things people didn't expect.

Discussion is good, though I would start with a question rather than an untrue statment if info is what you are seeking. As for Randy and the Sad Ham debacle... gate keepers are everywhere in life unfortunately.  It's not exclusive to hams. @Sshannon's link is very good info. Be safe. 73's

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46 minutes ago, WRWE744 said:

What is the best way to ground a base station antenna so my equipment or house isn't fried by lightening?

Literally books have been written about this exact subject.  The gold standard is a book that Motorola put together and which is found on the BLM site.  Here it is: https://www.blm.gov/sites/blm.gov/files/Lands_ROW_Motorola_R56_2005_manual.pdf

But for most of us this next article is more easily understandable and do-able: https://reeve.com/Documents/Articles Papers/Reeve_AntennaSystemGroundingRequirements.pdf

Also, if you’re a ham and a member of ARRL there’s an excellent (albeit somewhat technical) article in the latest QST magazine by an engineer whose brother started lightning protection company Polyphasor.  I cannot link to it, but it does a great job of explaining why timing is everything and why everything must be grounded to a single ground at some point to prevent damaging voltage differentials.

 

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21 minutes ago, diddlyv said:

Does it make sense to ground directly to the Electrical system ground near the power box?

Yes. Your home should be all bonded at the main panel so the main ground rod is ideal.  Don’t cut or interrupt the grounding wire from the panel though. For instance if it comes from the panel and continues to say a water bond as that wire should be a continuous run with no splices at the ground rod or two separate runs to the main panel.  You may need a separate clamp for your antenna ground.  As a point of caution I always recommend a licensed electrician. 

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22 minutes ago, WRUU653 said:

Yes. Your home should be all bonded at the main panel so the main ground rod is ideal.  Don’t cut or interrupt the grounding wire from the panel though. For instance if it comes from the panel and continues to say a water bond as that wire should be a continuous run with no splices at the ground rod or two separate runs to the main panel.  You may need a separate clamp for your antenna ground.  As a point of caution I always recommend a licensed electrician. 

Well for a few more feet of coax I can mount the antenna generally over the ground stake vs pounding another 15 or so feet away.

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5 minutes ago, diddlyv said:

Well for a few more feet of coax I can mount the antenna generally over the ground stake vs pounding another 15 or so feet away

I'm not sure what you mean exactly by "over the ground" and maybe I'm misunderstanding what you are saying but I wouldn't obstruct the ground rod or it's connections.   Run a wire to it. 

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2 hours ago, diddlyv said:

Well for a few more feet of coax I can mount the antenna generally over the ground stake vs pounding another 15 or so feet away.

You shouldn’t drive another ground rod in either case. Your antenna shield and lightning protection should be bonded to the electrical system ground. Just run more solid bare copper wire, #8 or larger diameter.

Save the coax and run the wire to bond to the ground. 

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1 hour ago, Sshannon said:

You shouldn’t drive another grind rod in either case. Your antenna shield and lightning protection should be bonded to the electrical system ground. Just run more solid bare copper wire, #8 or larger diameter.

Save the coax and run the wire to bond to the ground. 

well was trying to get shortest straightest ground and not have ground wire drop 20 feet and move 15 foot horizontally and bend over top of block wall 

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5 minutes ago, diddlyv said:

well was trying to get shortest straightest ground and not have ground wire drop 20 feet and move 15 foot horizontally and bend over top of block wall 

I would drill a hole through the block wall. If you have two grounds you can end up with a current between them that can do anything from causing an annoying hum to destroying equipment in between them. 

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Just now, Sshannon said:

I would drill a hole through the block wall. If you have two grounds you can end up with a current between them that can do anything from causing an annoying hum to destroying equipment in between them. 

Sometimes trying to satisfy everything can be frustrating ground shortest most direct route no 90 degree bends heavy wire bonded with other grounds vs antenna cable shortest run no loops lightning arrestor cable it self grounded lowest possible impedance ad astra. 

the drilling a hole in the block wall is a great idea. now to counter the lateral load on the antenna from ground wire or strap straps being better for carrying load. Good news don't have to get all figured out today and installed tomorrow 

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@diddlyv You could have multiple ground rods but they would absolutely need to be bonded together and the wire running from one to the next needs to be uninterrupted (no splice).  First because you need to be bonded at the main service and two because of what @Sshannon described. So either way you are running wire back to the main ground rod. 

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4 hours ago, WRWR489 said:

Ground it to house electrical ground rod by the meter. If use use a ground rod at the antenna, bond it to the house ground also.

Presuming one has a ground rod at the meter. My subdivision (built circa 1970) actually runs the meter box ground wire through the basement wall where it clamps to the cold water piping (and relies upon a shorting bar to bridge the water meter itself which is about 60ft of copper pipe away from the ground clamp).

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6 hours ago, WRUU653 said:

@diddlyv You could have multiple ground rods but they would absolutely need to be bonded together and the wire running from one to the next needs to be uninterrupted (no splice).  First because you need to be bonded at the main service and two because of what @Sshannon described. So either way you are running wire back to the main ground rod. 

Thanks!  Much better than how mine read.  I agree, having an additional ground rod isn’t by itself bad as long as it’s not a separate ground rod.  It must be bonded to the system ground, regardless of how that system ground is provided, whether it’s a length of copper pipe, an ufer ground (rebar in concrete), or an eight foot ground rod in the ground.  If multiple ground rods are bonded together, it’s ideal to space them about two times their depth apart. 

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7 hours ago, Sshannon said:

Thanks!  Much better than how mine read.  I agree, having an additional ground rod isn’t by itself bad as long as it’s not a separate ground rod.  It must be bonded to the system ground, regardless of how that system ground is provided, whether it’s a length of copper pipe, an ufer ground (rebar in concrete), or an eight foot ground rod in the ground.  If multiple ground rods are bonded together, it’s ideal to space them about two times their depth apart. 

I knew what you were referring to. I can tell you understand this stuff. I was just trying to clarify it a bit. 

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Owe this is good stuff guys, So one grounds the pole itself heavy copper braid and the other lead comes from a lighting arrestor before entering the structure, 10 gage wire. have these two go to a single 8 foot grounding rod. Now...  I don't think its a good idea to use your existing grounding rod that your electric panel uses or is connected too houses electrical system, thats nuts. check out my picture I did  

IMG_3732.heic

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