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Author Topic: Grounding my station  (Read 1978 times)
AF6WI
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« Reply #15 on: March 28, 2004, 01:02:26 AM »

> With that being said, Phil, are you getting out and
> receiving OK? If so, you may not need a ground for your > station.
>
> One other point that nobody has touched on as of yet--is
> there a cold water pipe near your station setup?

I'm receiving fine, but nobody hears me -- that may be because I'm on a 5W FT-817, so I'm still trying.

And I'm on an outside wall -- no plumbing anywhere near.

Phil
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2004, 03:20:24 PM »

This is an old thread now, but if KG6ILU is still reading, now we have the crux of the issue: You can hear, but nobody seems to hear you!

That can be caused by many things, but adequate station grounding is almost always not one of them.

To investigate the specific issue, we'd have to know:

-What band and frequency are you using?
-Describe your antenna system, in its entirety.
-What time of day or night are you operating, versus the operating frequency?
-Would you like to set up a "sked" (scheduled contact) on a band we can commonly access, so I can see if I can hear you?  I see you're in San Mateo.  On 40 meters, stations in the San Mateo area literally pin my meter all afternoon, even the ones running 5 Watts, usually -- so if you're generating any kind of signal at all, I'd hear you, if the time of day is right for us.  (Propagation from the Bay Area to Los Angeles is best on 40 meters, and good in the mid to late afternoon; however, by 6:00pm local time PST, the band starts to go wide open*, and the foreign broadcast stations go on the air and get stronger and stronger, wiping out most domestic communications.  As such, from SM to LA, I'd shoot for maybe 4:30pm-5:00pm PST as a propagation peak that occurs at a reasonable hour.)

[*When the band goes "wide open," I mean ionospheric propagation starts getting very long, so stations within a few hundred miles fade out, and "DX" starts coming in much stronger.  When this occurs, making 400 mile contacts like SM to LA becomes nearly impossible unless both stations run high power.]

73 and let us know!

Steve, WB2WIK/6
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AF6WI
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« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2004, 03:58:30 PM »

> -Would you like to set up a "sked" (scheduled contact)
> on a band we can commonly access, so I can see if I can
> hear you?

Sure, Steve, thanks. Louise and I are going on vacation Saturday, so I'll check back after April 11 and see if we can set something up. My callsign at arrl.net works for email, by the way, so drop me a line and we'll try it.

I have to say, though, that my antenna is on the northside of a rowhouse -- three houses in the row -- so I'm not sure what I'll be able to do toward LA.

I'm on an FT-817 with an MP-1 from Vern as my antenna. As a reminder from posts past, I'm in a condo with CC&Rs which limit owners to one antenna no more than 1 meter in diamater or length, and I've hit that limit with satellite TV. Hence, I clamp the MP-1 on an angle bracket outside the hall window while using the radio on HF. (UHF and VHF verticals are in the attic.)

Phil
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KB3KYO
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« Reply #18 on: April 10, 2004, 09:33:23 PM »

if you need to keep it hidden, can you run it (hide it) behind the roof drain line?  Usually on one side of the house or the other the gutters dump into a vertical drain which runs the whole way down the house.

Just fasten the ground wire to the drain at the top floor, and Presto! you can hide it all the way down.  And you should be able to pound in a ground rod right about where the vertical piece ends and it turns out away from the house.
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AF6WI
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« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2004, 05:19:36 PM »

Hi, Steve,

I've sent you an email at the address shown in this database to set up an on-air contact.

Phil
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NA4FM
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« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2004, 11:16:00 AM »

Grounding the rig can possibly attract lightning as it has done in the past since the ground path from your antenna now follows the path of the rig. None-the-less, a third story station complicates the grounding issues.  

One other purpose of grounding the rig is to improver performance.  It may perform well for you now, but it is possible that a proper ground will improve the performance noticibly.  The best way I know of to test this theory is to use an MFJ or other Ground Tuner.  From what I have read, the ground tuner is similar to an L antenna tuner connected between your rig and the ground.  Tune the ground and listen to signals.  Disconnect and see what happens.  If the signal changes because of your ground, you have an answer.  Use the ground if there is an improvement, remove it if not.

I don't know your operating style. If you are mostly meeting on nets for chit-chat, etc., and you are not chasing the weak-signal awards, you may just want to leave well enough alone.

Good luck,
Buck
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AF6WI
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« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2004, 12:00:02 AM »

Hi, Buck,

Does the wire I attache to the MFJ ground become a "hot" wire when I transmit?

Phil
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2004, 07:12:28 PM »

I just caught up with all this -- very late.

In reading through the later posts, I see "FT-817 and MP-1 antenna clamped to a hall windowsill" or something like that, and that explains a lot!

The FT-817's a fine rig, but QRP of course.  The MP-1 is barely an antenna at all.  Combine low power with a very negative-gain antenna and that's a tough combination.

You would do *waaaaaay* better with an insulated wire loop run around the edge of your roof, tucked under the shingles, fed with almost anything, and a manual antenna tuner.  My estimation, having used the MP-1, is that a wire loop (hidden, stealth) installed as I described, if it's 20' long per side (80' overall perimeter), will work about 40 dB better than the MP-1 and people *will* hear you.

A ground, or no ground, won't make any difference.

WB2WIK/6
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K5UJ
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« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2004, 12:11:02 AM »

Clamping to a cold water pipe was a recommended practice until about 20 years ago and is now discouraged.  For one thing, you can wind up turning all the metal pipe in your house into an unwanted antenna.  You can have situations where the pipe may be a mix of copper and galv. connected with insulated unions, perhaps with one right outside your foundation.  You might have a low ground resistance when the gound is wet but after a couple of months of dry wx have a high resistance.  Because of the variety of and inconsistent piping and local codes, a cold water ground can't be relied on as a solution now.
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AF6WI
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« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2004, 11:44:48 PM »

> You would do *waaaaaay* better with an insulated wire
> loop run around the edge of your roof, tucked under the  
> shingles, fed with almost anything, and a manual antenna
> tuner.

I'll give that a try, although I'll have to figure out how to get onto the roof without anyone wanting to know why. :->

Phil
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