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Author Topic: Winter Radials (no, not the ones on your car)  (Read 887 times)
KB1LTC
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Posts: 72




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« on: October 07, 2005, 09:47:22 AM »

Hello again!


I’ve been playing around with wire antennas for a while now (for 20, 40 and 80M), and I’m having a blast.

However, I’ve got a bum leg and can’t do as much as I’d like to, so I’m planning on putting up a ground mounted vertical soon (sometime before the snow falls). Which one I’m not sure of yet but the Hustler 5BTV’s price tag is looking rather attractive at present!

Now, I know all about the whole radial system stuff, but my question is:

1. How does 1-2’ of snow on the ground affect the radial system?

2. And how will it affect the antenna itself while the instructions on most verticals say that when ground mounting, mount it no more than 1’ above ground?

Am I just going to have shovel out the antenna while I’m out there shoveling the driveway?

Thanks for any input!

73 de John, KB1LTC and as we say here in New England: Don’t like the weather? Wait a minute.

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K5DVW
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« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2005, 10:14:33 AM »

When I lived in Indiana, we'd get a couple of feet of snow that stuck around for a month. Nasty! The whole base of my antenna was under the snow. I dont recall it affecting my vertical terribly, which was a 6BTV ground mounted with tons of radials. What little effect is has may be to shift the resonance point slightly, but not so much that the antenna couldnt be operated.
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WA6BFH
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« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2005, 10:37:07 AM »


I think that some practical thought models may help answer this for you!

1) Think how things would be if your radials were buried, rather than installed a foot or so above ground (at least the snow would not touch them)!

2) Think about how an “AM” Broadcast Station has to consider this -- they pretty much have to have a buried counterpoise -- and they lose money when their signal gets to less people!

You might want to keep snow clear of the 5BTV itself, by either mounting it higher than typical snow-fall, or sweeping (or digging yuk) snow from around its base. I would not if I were you be greatly concerned though.

You might even want to set up a micro-ammeter (or Galvenometer in terms of old) and measure ground conductivity through the winter {and summer} months, and keep a record and track of this as related with other common stations you work, and note their signal strength S-meter readings {and make sure that they tell you any changes that they make to their stations}!
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WA6BFH
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« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2005, 10:37:23 AM »


I think that some practical thought models may help answer this for you!

1) Think how things would be if your radials were buried, rather than installed a foot or so above ground (at least the snow would not touch them)!

2) Think about how an “AM” Broadcast Station has to consider this -- they pretty much have to have a buried counterpoise -- and they lose money when their signal gets to less people!

You might want to keep snow clear of the 5BTV itself, by either mounting it higher than typical snow-fall, or sweeping (or digging yuk) snow from around its base. I would not if I were you be greatly concerned though.

You might even want to set up a micro-ammeter (or Galvenometer in terms of old) and measure ground conductivity through the winter {and summer} months, and keep a record and track of this as related with other common stations you work, and note their signal strength S-meter readings {and make sure that they tell you any changes that they make to their stations}!
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K8KAS
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« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2005, 10:52:33 AM »

The snow will have no effect on your radial system, the only thing I did was brush the snow away from the base, this will be a low voltage point of the antenna  anyway and a bit of snow will not have much effect. I run 20 to 30--30 ft radials that lay on the ground and are pinned down with turf hooks, after 3 or 4 months they disappear into the grass. I have used this (4BTV)as a backup antenna for over 30 years with great results, in fact the backup has beaten the primary antenna often.
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NI0C
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« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2005, 10:53:05 AM »

Snow on the radials!  That's downright poetic!  It also conjures up memories of good wintertime DX fun on the lowbands.  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Seriously, as long as your antenna connections are clear, I wouldn't worry about the snow at all-- in fact you may enjoy better performance due to increased ground conductivity, especially as the snow begins to melt.  

I also don't think you have to keep the feedpoint of a ground-mounted vertical only an inch from the ground surface.  As I recall, Butternut recommends zero to five inches; mine is actually about 7 inches from the ground.

73,
Chuck  NI0C


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WB2WIK
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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2005, 11:32:42 AM »

Radials!  For years, I used only Michelin but my last set from "Big O" tires (whoever makes those) are actually wearing far better (and lasting longer) than the Michelins specified as factory equipment for my car, so I've made the switch.

Oh, you mean antennas.  Sorry.

As for height above ground, the lower, the better because your mast is electrically in series with your antenna, and even with a pretty good radial system, some current will indeed flow through the mast; as such, you'd want its impedance to be as close to zero as possible.  Or use a great many radials, so the mast current is so low that it doesn't matter.

Snow, unless you salt it, is a crappy conductor and I wouldn't worry.  Your feedpoint Z should be 50 Ohms or less (with a good radial system, it will be less) and the several K Ohms resistance of the snow in parallel with it won't matter.  When I lived in "snow country" and used ground-mounted verticals, I never bothered doing anything about the snow at the base of my antennas and it never mattered.

Don't add salt to the snow.

And as they say, "don't eat any yellow snow."

Boy, I'm aging myself.

Smiley

WB2WIK/6
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KA0GKT
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Posts: 555




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« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2005, 01:23:27 PM »

Back years ago, somebody gave me several hundred feet of 1/2" wide tinned copper braid with a 1/4-20 threaded bolt every 6".  I used it for a counterpoise on a roof mounted vertical, but had to switch to the dipole come Summer.  I found out that Studded Radials were illegal to use April through September! :-o

73 DE KA0GKT/7

--Steve
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X-WB1AUW
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Posts: 559




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« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2005, 02:20:57 PM »

Can't ever remember having snow effect my HyTower when I lived in Western Ma.

Once in a while, we would have 2-4 feet of it on the ground.

Bob
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2005, 04:08:38 PM »

>RE: Winter Radials (no, not the ones on your car)  Reply  
by KA0GKT on October 7, 2005  Mail this to a friend!  
I found out that Studded Radials were illegal to use April through September!<

::Oy vay!  Hey Steve, say "hi" to Jeff Seligman (K2VNT)if you see him, we used to be almost neighbors many years ago...

WB2WIK/6
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KA0GKT
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Posts: 555




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« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2005, 06:33:48 PM »

>::Oy vay! Hey Steve, say "hi" to Jeff Seligman (K2VNT)if you see him, we used to be almost neighbors many years ago...<

That I shall do.  I run into him on campus from time to time, however I can't make the University ARC meetings, they occur on Monday nights and my transmitter shift on the mountain runs from Sunday until Tuesday.

73 DE KAØGKT/7

--Steve

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KB1LTC
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Posts: 72




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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2005, 09:45:50 PM »

Boy! I knew I was asking for it when I posted this question with that title!

But seriously folks…
I didn’t think that the snow was going to have much, if any, measurable affect, but I wasn’t completely sure.

So, thanks for all the responses and smiles!

73!
John, KB1LTC
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KB4QAA
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Posts: 2371




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« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2005, 10:11:35 AM »

Time to rotate this topic.  It's unbalanced.

Arrr.
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KB1LTC
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Posts: 72




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« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2005, 12:00:49 PM »

Hooo boy...
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