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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

The Easy Way to Ground a Radio

Christian Althoff (DG3YCC) on May 28, 2007
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Most radios only provide a cheap screw to ground the body which makes grounding very uncomfortable. And with some radios like the FT 897 you even can't replace the screw with a wing screw because of the nearby CAT plug. So I replaced all the grounding screws of my radios and tuners with screw jacks like they are mounted on power supplies. I soldered a plug to each grounding wire and now I can connect and disconnect the ground in a second - very comfortable when I want to use my radio outdoor on my garden table. And I can always use the screw of the jack to connect a simple wire to the ground terminal. Best thing: The diameter of my Kenwood's and Yaesu's grounding screws is the same as the diameter of the screw that fixes the jacks. I didn't even have to open the radios to mount the new terminals. Caution: If the original grounding screw is shorter than the jack's one you should take a look into your radio to make sure that the new screw isn't touching anything but ground. 73 de DG3YCC

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The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by LNXAUTHOR on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
- great idea! thanks!

- i'd like to find lower profile versions of these, but they look like a nice solution - especially for mobile or portable ops!
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by W4LGH on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Hey...thats a really neat idea! What I did was run ground lines from my grounding strap to each radio. On the ends of each ground line, I installed an Anderson powerpole connector. Then I made up a bunch of powerpole jumpers about 2" long and installed them on each radio. Connect the powerpoles and you're grounded. MOving the radio or what have you, just unplug the powerpole. It works ok, but your idea is
even simpler and just as effective!!

73 de W4LGH - Alan
http://www.w4lgh.com


 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by KE5BYF on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I use aligator clips, this is a quick also.
 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by CLEBOT on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Brilliant!
I wish I had thought of that. I think this will be my next radio project.

Thanks and 73!

Gerrit
KE5HVM
 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by K0JEG on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great idea. However, I would suggest you use green binding posts, if they can be found. That way there's no mistaking them for anything else.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-phase_electric_power#Color_codes

Of course, someone would really have to be nuts to attempt to connect 3 phase directly to a radio, but still....
 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by W8KQE on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Great idea! I simply use a hefty 'alligator clip' that I clip on to the 'wing nut' screw on the back of my 756 running outside to a 6 foot ground rod. Then I also have the 5 foot mast for my chimney/roof mounted tribander (Mosley TA-32 Junior) grounded with another similar ground rod. I suppose that if I had a huge tower I would have a much better ground system.
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by N2EY on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
An interesting idea - but not a good one, IMHO.

I'm against plug-and-jack ground connections, as shown in this article. Improving the ground connection hardware is good, but *NOT* plug-and-jack, alligator clips, etc.

Here's why:

The main ground connection is the most important safety connection to your rig. It should be the first thing connected and the last thing disconnected. And it should be both mechanically and electrically strong, so that in the case of a problem, a fuse blows or another connection fails, rather than the ground connection failing and putting the whole rig above-ground electrically.

If you can just yank on the ground connection and have it come loose, it's not safe.

If you don't like your rig's ground connector, replace it with a sturdy binding post, and use a ground wire of larger gauge than any other connection.

73 de Jim, N2EY
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by WY3X on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Don't forget to bond ALL your grounds (including house ground) together. Nothing says "ZAP" like a high difference in potentials! (See your state's electrical codes for more information). If you can't bond them all together, you may be better off (from a safety standpoint) to not ground your radios at all, but this is just my personal opinion.

From a lightning standpoint, ANY ground is better than NO ground.

Also, don't forget to test all the outlets in your house with one of the three-prong testers. When we bought a new house recently, I discovered two receptacles that did not have a functioning ground, and one that was polarity-reversed! Testing them is quick, simple, the tester is fairly cheap (about $10) and may possibly save your life!

-KR4WM
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by WY3X on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Oops! My faux-pas. Testing them will let you know if they are in disrepair. FIXING them may possibly save your life!!!

-KR4WM
 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by KF4HR on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Looks like a good way to make a fast temporary ground connection; for example with a rig you swap to/from the shack and car often. Although there's always a chance that type of ground might be accidently slip loose - especially with smaller/lighter equipment.

It's bit more hassle, but for equipment permanently used in my shack I prefer to use solid nut & bolt connections, all fed to a copper buss bar, with a thick/short cable to a nearby ground rod.

My house absorbed an indirect lightning strike a few years ago. The lightning bolt hit the ground about 50 feet from my house, unforunately right where all my underground cabling was located. I saw the lightning strike. Some of the energy wasn't immediately absorbed into the ground which produced a bright white ball of energy which lasted a second or so. Really wild! Energy was induced into the AC lines, TV cable, and/or phone lines that lead to my house. This resulted was thousands of dollars in damage -- ham gear, washer/dryer switch connections were actually melted/fused together, garage door opener dead, house intercom, stereo amp, stereo speakers, phones, VCR's, TV's, alarm clocks, etc, etc - nearly everything electrical in the house was destroyed. Of course the house fuse breakers flipped off, but not before the damage was done. My home insurance replaced everything eventually, but first I had to have all the damaged equipment inspected by a qualified technician, in order to prove the damage was from indeed from lightning. Understandable, but this was a major hassle that lasted months!

Two lessons learned (at least); 1) you can never have enough good quality ground connections & protection (heavy ground cable, good quality ground rods, and Polyphaser's or equiv). And 2) always use a feed-thru panel(s) so you can totally disconnect everything during electrical storms; RF & cables, and any other control cables). Feed-thru panel introduce a bit more line loss, but being able to disconnect everything to provide a better level of safety and piece of mind, is well worth a bit more loss. And of course unplug everything from the AC source too.

KF4HR
 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by KA4KOE on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
If Charles, KC8VWM, performs the procedure described in the radio, would it be "ground chuck"?

FEELEEP
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by W9OY on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
N2EY writes:

"If you can just yank on the ground connection and have it come loose, it's not safe. "

Yep you can never tell when that nasty 12V on that FT897 might just jump up and kill you!!!!

A little common sense is in order I think

73 W9OY
 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by W0DKM on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
That is a great idea. It has the fast slide in connection. Plus the side hole and nut for a more secure fit.
You made my Day! TNX
 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by WA8MEA on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
And remember! If your house is up to current electrical code, the center screw that holds your AC wall plates in place connects to the grounding system of the house....and eventually to the ground rod installed by your power company.

Maybe not the best ground system on earth. (Ooops! No pun intended!) But it might be a better-than-nothing alternative.

73, Bill - WA8MEA
http://HamRadioFun.com
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by WA2LUF on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Very good article. lot of good ideas, but what do you do for a radio like the FT857D that has no ground connection..thoughts, ideas??
73
Ron WA2LUF
 
Making a new grounding lug  
by N0EW on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
If you have no factory ground lug, just make your own. Crack the case, find a spot behind the case that allows plenty of mounting room (harder to do as rigs grow ever smaller) and drill a hole through the case. Mount your favorite grounding lug. -Erik n0ew
 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by N0AH on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I went to the auto parts store last week and picked up eight one inch wide by 12 inches long ground straps.

I checked the ARRL website and they sugested my 1996 Ford F-150 pickup had an early recall as the fuel pumps were causing interference.

Well, I could have spent $800 to drop down the tanks and put in their new fuel pumps but I wanted to try the suggested cures from K0BG website.

First, I grounded the engine block to the chassee. When this truck was built, the top of the engine block had a fin on it for the hanging chain. So this first move was simple and it cut the noise from S-7 to S-3 on average noise levels when were driving th truck on the highway.

Knowing we were on the right track, we went back to the Tarheel antenna mount and used 2 ground strips.
The mount has 3 bolts on the top and a large screw going to secure the bottom on the mast. But it took adding te heavy duty ground straps to make the antenna's obtain higher Q. This dropped us another S-unit.

The radio is a FT-900. The radio grounding screw coming out of the radio was pushed through the meshing and the ground screw was secured back to the radio.

Then we took three mounting screws on the radio chassee and pushed them through the meshing and ran it down to a ground strap going to the truck frame. We earned another unit and now I can now be on the road and hear.

Ford had 8 separate ground straps on the truck but I don't think they were any good being rusty and loose fitting.

I still need to secure the exhaust system to the truck frame. I have 12 feet of the 1 inch wide by 12 inches long straps now on truck.

On our wiring, we used used torids and ferrite beads. We used 8 AWG stranded wire I picked up at HRO. I also picked up several feet of split wiring covers using 5/8th size. This will cover the wires from and damage for years to come.

The way it was explained to me regarding why our plan worked was that the wider ground straps had a lower impedence allowing RFI to slide out of the truck.

I'm not sure if this is exact information but I do know going bonkers on grounding our truck.

Between the K0BG website and the ARRL website my mobile radio is all FB!
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by DG3YCC on May 28, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
WA2LUF: You can ground your FT 857 by using one of the the srews that normaly hold the mounting bracket. 73, Chris
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by LA4RT on May 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Oh, my!

And my rig isn't grounded at all.
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by K9KJM on May 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
The best place to ground your equipment it at your SINGLE POINT ground buss, Ideally located near where the coax enters the building.
Yes, All grounds need to be bonded together.
The idea to "ground" a radio itself to it's chassis is still mostly a hold over from the 1940's and 50's before the advent of 3rd wire grounded outlets came into widespread use.

For good information about how to properly protect your station from lightning see:
http://members.cox.net/pc-usa/station/ground0.htm
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by KG4RUL on May 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Green Powerpoles: http://www.andersonpower.com/products/singlepole-connectors.html

Dennis KG4RUL
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by KC8QFP on May 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
<<< The idea to "ground" a radio itself to it's chassis is still mostly a hold over from the 1940's and 50's before the advent of 3rd wire grounded outlets came into widespread use. >>>

======================================================

In a way this is so, BUT not a good idea to use only the third prong for an earth connection. Yes, most rigs are low voltage and are merely a circuit board inside that is after the power supply (common foil on the CB). And many are using the switching type of PS. The third prong usually has less than 16ga wire on its cord. I actually prefer to cut off the ground prong on the AC power cord, and use a chassis ground instead. There are two reasons to ground your station, RF and direct for the power supply.

I feel it is a good idea to use braided ground straps on the power supply and rig, as well as everything else connected to the antenna. Use a very good lightening arrestor near the antenna as the first line of defesne, it will drain off the static buildup that can attract lightening. Use no less than 6ga copper from your ground buss to the actual ground rod or water pipe. You want your ground to be the least path of resistance. Do not connect your rigs etc. in a series ground loop (from one to the next in a chain). Instead, have each device connected directly to a common ground bus, than have only one ground cable from it to earth, and try to keep it all short in length as possible. This helps to avoid ground loops and stray RF floating about your station.

My point here is grounding the rig itself is NOT good enough! And grounding its power source with only its power cord thrid prong is also inadequite. Improper RF gounding can cause RFI, ground loop problems, and stray RF floating around your station, but more importantly makes for a much higher lightening risk. I feel this article was very shallow on the subject, and many hams I have known are clueless about the subject, so let's take this subject a lot farther than the author did. Come on all you brainiacs and EE's, take it away and teach the other dudes - show your expertise here, let it shine! I scratched the surface, and this is a very important topic. Many hams are misinformed about proper grounding technics. I feel the above article is a case in point! It really gets critical with linears. NEXT!

73! Don
 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by KE4WLE on May 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
If nothing else I give kudos for creativity. This is especially handy for those who are portable a lot and don't want to mess with wingnuts, posts, etc.

May not be for everyone, but it's great for those it is good for.

KE4WLE
R-
 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by K4WY on May 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
This is all to normal. As long as you are talking about grounding an FT-897 then I suggest digging a hole and throwing the radio in the hole, then cover it back up. The radio will then be grounded.
 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by WA0DTH on May 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I normally call these connectors banana jacks because for the most part I use banana plugs in conjunction with them.
At the home ham shack I use them, plugs and jacks for connecting balanced like 460 ohm to my mfj tuner also for grounding. For some testing the plugs fit in the center conductor of a SO239 UHF connector socket.
So they are pretty handy. Just don't forget to make sure you reconnect them when ready to operate.

73s
 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by WB2EWB on May 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I dont like modifying the radio: just put the ground wire ontop of the antenna connector (PL259 or?) and put a pipe clamp around the pair and tighten.. nice tight connection: secure and no marks on the radio! (pipe clamp: those metal bands made to secure plastic pipe to a fitting..)
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by KC8VWM on May 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
KA4KOE,

If Charles, KC8VWM, performs the procedure described in the radio, would it be "ground chuck"?

FEELEEP

-------------

Yes that is correct and I should mention the ARRL radio cookbook outlines many beefy grounding recipes to ponder over while enjoying your favorite de-calf-inated refreshment.

When designing my own equipment ground system as the author describes, I typically cow-culate the probable resistance of all the materials I milk from the builders supplier store to ensure their impedance resistance is in the order of less than 5 ohms to prevent any ground potential rise (GPR) from turning Chuck's beefy radio equipment into charbroiled ham.

Hope that helps. :)

73 de Chuck - KC8VWM / 5
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by KL7IPV on May 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
WB2EWB's solution is almost too simple.

Almost all the radios I know of have a ground side terminal or a PL-259 antenna connector to clip an alligator lead to. All one has to do is remember to clip the lead on the ground first and take it off last. Maybe someone with a sense of poetry can come up with a ryhme to remember that task.
Frank
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by KC8VWM on May 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
Yeah something bugging me about the whole alligator clip thing.

It probably doesn't conform as a means of providing adequate mechanical bonding in the lightning protection scheme of things. :)

73 de Ground Chuck Ham KC8VWM /5
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by KX8N on May 29, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
If the author is outside at his garden table (which is what he says in his article), I would think his radio would be the last thing he's worry about if there were lightening nearby.
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by KC8QFP on May 30, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
<<< K4WY: "This is all to normal. As long as you are talking about grounding an FT-897 then I suggest digging a hole and throwing the radio in the hole, then cover it back up. The radio will then be grounded." >>>

====================================================

PS: I feel the same way about the ""Asian"" rigs. That's what made many US companys go under. We fall for the propaganda and buy that crap instead of good ol' MADE IN THE USA!
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by K1CJS on May 30, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
""If you can just yank on the ground connection and have it come loose, it's not safe.""

"Yep you can never tell when that nasty 12V on that FT897 might just jump up and kill you!!!! A little common sense is in order I think."

Yes, it is. A SAFETY ground should be mechanically strong so it will NOT come apart easily. Also, that 'nasty 12 volts' may--just may--jump up to 120 volts if an accident happens at the power supply. True, it isn't very likely, but that why it is called a SAFETY GROUND--so the operator will stay safe even if the unlikely happens.
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by KC8QFP on May 30, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
<<< "Also, that 'nasty 12 volts' may--just may--jump up to 120 volts if an accident happens at the power supply" >>>

==================================================

With those switching supplies used in most everything now-days, it is likely to happen more than you think.
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by N6AJR on May 30, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
well 12 volts can kill.. accidently get across the 2 terminals of a 12 v. battery with something and see first the thing get red and burns up if is small like a wire... or blows up the battery if it is big like a wrench, and that can kill.. seen the aftermath
 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by KD8DUG on June 2, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
I have the YEASU 857D I am useing it as my base station and sometimes portable. I was told by the dealer that I did not have to wory about a ground,because when I pluged the radio into the wall socket it was already grounded.Please note,I am very new to ham radio.
 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by KC0RBX on June 4, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
As a Master Electrician, I will relate an old saying, "when in doubt, ground."

I have read a few threads on here which are a little disturbing. Such as plugging an 857 into the wall grounds it, and that it isn't necessarily a safety issue. BULL!

First, an 857 can't be "plugged into the wall." It needs a power supply. Second, one of the main reasons we ground ANYTHING is for safety. The ground is there to provide means to complete a circuit for stray currents, such as ground faults, so a breaker will trip in a dead short situation. This keeps things from burning up (wires) and to prevent metallic objects from staying "hot" or energized so personell don't inadvertantly become the pathway to ground for those stray currents.

Also, grounding equipment equallizes or nulls potentials (voltage) which may ocurr between said equipment. Anytime you have two pieces separated by an insulator, i.e. wood desk, you can create a potential or it can create a crude capacitor which may really cause some screwy things to happen.

When we consider R.F. voltage and current, we can get into even more weird and dangerous situations. These two properties can cause considerable damage to sophisticated electronics and can cause death. So, if we have not implemented proper means for limiting R.F. currents in the shack, such as from a poorly designed antenna or coax system we can get R.F. voltages and currents around our equipment. Grounding our equipment and supplies to the same potential as earth provides the safety net for those currents.

So, if we are to ground properly a radio station, we should run a ground strap from each piece of equipment to a copper buss bar. Use nuts and bolts. Use strapping not wire because this is better for conducting r.f. currents. Clean any paint, coatings, or corrosion so you have bright metal on both the connectors and the cases and the buss bar. Drive a 5/8" diameter ground rod outside and run a good heavy strap from the rod to the buss bar. Two ground rods at least six feet apart may be necessary in poor soil conditions.

While the idea for the topic is neat and quick and would work, it could also inadvertantly become a weak link.

I think that if we do the things I mentioned above we could have safer stations which would also operate cleaner and better.

Kevin J. Thompson
Fort Collins, CO
kc0rbx
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by KC8VWM on June 5, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
we should run a ground strap from each piece of equipment to a copper buss bar. Use nuts and bolts. Use strapping not wire because this is better for conducting r.f. currents. Clean any paint, coatings, or corrosion so you have bright metal on both the connectors and the cases and the buss bar. Drive a 5/8" diameter ground rod outside and run a good heavy strap from the rod to the buss bar.

---------

You bet.

Do everything possible! No weak links or compromises are allowed. Well at least that's how things work at my station.

Most people who have done similar things in a similar manner have reported taking direct lighting strikes to their antenna systems. While they have reported their antenna and feedline suffered damage in some cases, the radio equipment usually survives.

I have no doubt in my mind this was directly attributed to the effectiveness of their station grounding system.

73 de Charles - KC8VWM
 
The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by K4FX on June 6, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
MAN what a group, I am almost afraid to comment,

I have a 857D in the mobile, and to the USA only guy, when the USA guys build one this nice for 670 bucks shipped, put me down for one.

As far as the grounding idea, it's not too bad, although I used a screw on one of the SO-239's and got a pretty tight ground connection on the 857 without and extra work. Seems to be working.

73

K4FX
 
RE: The Easy Way to Ground a Radio  
by W6TH on June 9, 2007 Mail this to a friend!
.
How do you ground our children, by installing one of these gadgets? If so, where do you put it?
.:
 
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