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Author Topic: Water pipe grounding ?  (Read 4317 times)

Posts: 3

« on: June 12, 2016, 09:53:30 AM »

I know this has probably been discussed on here before but, I have only been
on air for about a month now and have not seen it nor can I seem to find it.

Up until now, the only radios I have are the baofengs uv5XXX's. I have just
purchased the Yaesu FT857D and will use this as my base. Instead of putting
up a tower, I am at the top of a hill and will instead run the EFHW-8010 long wire
for HF and use my existing Diamond D-130 for UHF-VHF.

My problem is with trying to establish a ground for the radio and the EFHW-8010
but, in my area of Arizona, I am "blessed" to have what is known as caliche
all around my house. I cannot even plant a pic axe deeper than a few inches
let alone trying to drive an 8 foot ground rod into the rock. When this house was
built, they apparently used machinery to sink the rods for the electrical service and
even those are at what looks to be about a 30º - 40º angle.

The question I have is, since I have have all copper plumbing throughout the house to the city supply,
no PVC, I was wondering is if this could be used as the ground for both?  I am not concerned about lighting
protection as I will have both disconnected when not in use.

Thanks for any input you may provide.


« Last Edit: June 13, 2016, 03:15:23 AM by KI7EKB » Logged

Posts: 808

« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2016, 10:12:37 AM »

On the principle that it's better than nothing a ground to a water pipe should be OK. Another alternative to consider is an earth mat using either wire fence material or steel rebar, bury it as low as you can (even if it's a few inches) in the topsoil.

Peter DL8OV

Posts: 14491

« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2016, 10:17:09 AM »

I've used copper water supply pipe for an RF ground numerous times. While it usually doesn't provide a real good Earth connection, it gives you a mass of metal to act as a counterpoise for your end-fed antenna. It's better than the chassis of a car used with most mobile HF antennas.

Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA

Posts: 3

« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2016, 10:25:21 AM »

Thanks for both the info and the rapid replies.
Your input is greatly appreciated.   Grin


Posts: 165

« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2016, 05:19:51 PM »

80 and 90 years ago, it was the usual approach. Sometimes counterpoises were added as well.

Posts: 346

« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2016, 05:57:28 PM »


If you are not concerned about lightening protection then there is not need for a ground (some may disagree but this is my opinion based on all that I have read). Your outlets are probably grounded so you concern should be an RF ground. I have had two end fed antennas and the coax acts as the counterpoise. I have no external ground and no issues. With that said, if you wish to ground then you should connect to your mains ground. That's standard operating procedure. All grounds should be connected to the mains ground.

Here's a good article:
« Last Edit: June 25, 2016, 06:28:34 PM by K1PJR » Logged

Posts: 14491

« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2016, 07:02:28 PM »

The metal water pipes should already be connected to the mains ground by the electrician that wired the house.


Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA

Posts: 2085

« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2016, 07:55:54 PM »

not all pipes that are metal here... are metal all the way through. somebody may have done some plumbing repairs with plastic.  galvanized iron may have plenty of putty and rust that make them less than grounded.

you can't be sure unless you test them.  plug in an extention cord to an outlet that a 3-wire tester says is really grounded.  use the ground receiver on the socket, a voltmeter, and the other lead to the pipe running to the street to be sure you're not going to melt the leads with power.  then switch to low ohms and see if it's really grounded.  now switch the meter lead from the street side of the meter to the house side.  if it's still a reasonably low ohmic value, it's grounded for sure.  if there's a bunch of green around the ground clamps, you should redo them in parallel, then remove the failing ground.  that's what our electrician said we needed when we bought our house.

do that also at the operation location.  if it's grounded by the test, hey, it's a lower resistance to earth than the #14 snaking through the walls.  but it could be a ground loop that melts something in case of trouble.  that's why the code says everything comes together at the panel, and only the panel.

code for a couple decades has required the entrance panel be grounded to good ground on spots 180 degrees apart on the house.  many houses don't meet that, used to be you just clamped on the cold water pipe, bypassed the meter with #6, and called it good.

whatever... you need a good electrical safety ground on the equipment for personal protection. it is highly recommended you have a good safety ground on any antenna system as well.  if it will cost more than the radio system to put one in, you do whatever.  that's the real world.  a few folks get hit hard, most don't.

I have read the code sections, but I am not a licensed practicing electrician in any jurisdiction.  if one posts here, with their license number, and calls me goofy... well, then, I'm goofy.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2016, 08:04:44 PM by KD0REQ » Logged
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