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A Radial Plate for Cheapskates

Created by on 2009-04-30

A well-known ham antenna manufacturer sells a stainless steel plate that's designed to mount to a vertical antenna's support mast and provide connections for at least 60 ground radials. It appears to be a well-made product and has gotten good reviews here on eHam.

However it's rather expensive and considerable overkill for my Inverted-L installation, so I set out to look for something that could serve the same purpose at a lower cost. What I ultimately found is remarkably cheap, and should meet the needs of anyone who doesn't have the time, real estate, or inclination to put down more than 30 ground radials.

What is it? It's nothing more than a replacement kitchen sink strainer that you can buy at Home Depot or Lowe's for about $2.00. It's made from stainless steel and is “pre-drilled” for 10-24 size screws. You can readily install ten screws and nuts in the outermost ring of holes, and another five in the next ring. Install two solder or crimp-type terminal lugs under each nut and there's your 30-radial capacity. Furthermore, as shown in the photo, the strainer's center hole is large enough to fit over a copper-clad ground rod. You just have to remove the rubber stopper and pull out the metal center stem.

0x08 graphic

In my installation, each screw is fastened to the strainer with a compression lockwasher and nut. Then the radial lugs are placed over the nut and secured by a second nut. To prevent “galling” or seizing up of the stainless hardware, I placed Noalox grease on the screw threads. I also placed some grease on the flat surfaces of the lugs. Home Depot and Lowe's carry Noalox in the electrical section.

Depending on how many sets of stainless hardware you buy, the total cost for the strainer, the stainless steel screws, nuts and washers, and a small tube of Noalox will be under $10 to maybe as much as $16. For that price there's no excuse for not sprucing up (and adding to) your vertical's radial system.

K3AN

KG6EJT 2009-05-15
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
That is genius!! Great idea.

Best part: You don't have to sink a lot of money into it :)
AC9CR 2009-05-10
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
I took your idea to heart but made a few changes. I found a 6" stainless drain cover at Home Depot, mounted this on a #3 mineralac pipe clamp attached to the mounting stake. I then went to Wal Mart bought a 4' tractor ignition cable with 1/4" bolt on terminals. I cut this in half. This was then bolted with the use of a couple of # 4 lugs to the 'radial plate' then bolted to the antenna base in the 2 holes above the lower U bolt.
This cable is # 6 finely stranded copper wire so several problems are avoided and the cable are extremely flexible.

Thanks for your original idea.

Ron

N9XEQ

(BTW I am a licensed master electrician)
K3YD 2009-05-10
RE: Inspiration and Creativity
Great discussion here. Thanks to Bill, K3AN for his original posting which is certainly a great idea for inexpensive short term installations. Of course, when an antenna works well, it's amazing how long "short term" can be.

Don, K4KYN, thanks for not only explaining WHY my soldered ground connections have corroded, but for providing a good, permanent solution.

My solution, till now, has been to coat the soldered radial connections with a protective coating. (I've tried several, but none has been the magic bullet--yet.) While this technique has prolonged the life of the soldered connections to some degree (6 to 18 months) the solution lacks the permanence of your idea.
73, Blair K3YD
K2WH 2009-05-08
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
The copper rod in the middle is much too short as an HF vertical.

K2WH
WB1HJS 2009-05-08
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Great idea!
ZS6ELI 2009-05-07
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Great idea. I use a Cushcraft R7 with I have mounted about 1m above my tiled roof, this antenna has radial on the structure.
Could I add radials with this "sink" idea to the existing 6 radials? Would more radials make the antenna work that much better?

73,
Evan
Pretoria, South Africa
KD7YVV 2009-05-07
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Sounds like something simple and effective.
Wonder how well it would work in sandy soil as found
near the Pacific Ocean.
I am curious about one thing, do people have to STRAIN
to hear you? :) Sorry (hangs head in shame) couldn't
resist. :)

--KD7YVV, Kirkland, WA

W5WSS 2009-05-04
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
use Stainless steel wire and a stainless steel plate if you want longevity I do.
N3AIU 2009-05-04
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates

Kewl!

73, Nick N3AIU/DL1NE
K4KYV 2009-05-03
RE: Inspiration and Creativity
N2EY:

I haven't checked the PH in the soil for a while, but as I recall it is slightly on the alkaline side, but even though we get city water here, it is hard enough that calcium collects inside the tea kettle. That same kitchen sink is stainless steel and it has a couple of spots of corrosion, but it hasn't started to leak yet. The bottom side of the loop on the thin metal drain traps here all seem to corrode through and leak after a few years and have to be periodically replaced, unless I replace them with PVC. Copper in the ground doesn't seem to corrode away; I still occasionally find remnants of a ground system, made of copperweld wire, that I installed here in the 70's and removed years later, and although the wire may be covered with a layer of green crud, hardly any metal appears corroded away as far as I can tell, and in any case the steel core is still completely covered with copper. I have found pieces of aluminium wire that had got accidentally buried in the ground, and although a little pitted, it was mostly intact. I have dug up hunks of steel barbed fence wire that must have lain buried for 50 years or more, and although rusty, it was still springy and some of the barbs were still sharp enough to cut. I suspect #12 or larger steel wire radials would last here for at least a decade or two.

Don k4kyv
NI0C 2009-05-03
RE: Inspiration and Creativity
N2EY asked:
"Why bother with ring terminals at all? "

Because they can be easily stacked 2-3 deep, allowing for more radials to be installed. I've used as many as 92 radials with my HF-2V vertical antenna. I also believe the ring terminals make for a more reliable connection, with their flat surface.

73,
Chuck NI0C
N2EY 2009-05-03
RE: Inspiration and Creativity
To K4KYV:

I suspect that your soil pH is pretty far from neutral! And I agree that lead-tin soldering of buried connections is often just asking for trouble.

But permanent and temporary have different meaning to different folks. For example, that 8 foot ground rod can be removed pretty quickly; just put a pipe wrench on it and give it a few turns to break the connection with the dirt, and in most situations it will come right up. And I've never seen a sink strainer/plug corrode badly; in my experience the usual failure mode is for the movable part to fail in some way, resulting in a strainer that still strains but won't plug.

73 de Jim, N2EY
K4KYV 2009-05-03
RE: Inspiration and Creativity
I will concede that the idea could be useful for a temporary set-up like field day or for an antenna you know will likely be taken down when you move away in a few months, but I was thinking more in the same category as those expensive commercial plates I see advertised, which I believe are neither a good buy nor particularly satisfactory. Plus the photo of the homebrew one shows what looks like a standard 8' copper-clad rod driven into the ground, which looked pretty permanent to me.

Another concern about using this in a long-term installation might be, even though those strainers are made of stainless steel, they do eventually corrode because of the thin gauge of the metal, and minerals in the soil would exacerbate the situation. Over the years, I replaced the ones in my kitchen sink at least twice, before finally buying a set of those (expensive) heavy duty cast metal ones.

My lead/tin soldered radial system would never last an entire season; it would stay together only for a few weeks at most. I had to take torch and solder out to the antenna base and resolder the whole thing about once a month.


73,

Don k4kyv
N2EY 2009-05-03
RE: Inspiration and Creativity
To NI0C:

Why bother with ring terminals at all?

Just take the radial wire and form an eye with the end. The eye can then be put on the bolt between washers. Of course the trick is for the eye to be made in the direction the nut tightens.

For relatively-large gauge wire, the eye is simply bent to shape with pliers. For small-gauge wires, the end is wrapped around the standing part.

73 de Jim, N2EY
NI0C 2009-05-03
RE: Inspiration and Creativity
K4KYV:

Thanks for taking the time to answer my question in detail. Rest assured I will keep it on file as an ideal way to install radials on a permanent basis.

As N2EY pointed out, there are other less permanent applications where ring terminals and bolted connections are very convenient. In my case, most of my radials extend over a covered swimming pool in my back yard-- obviously these must be taken up and stowed during the swimming season.

I have noticed significant deterioration of the soldered connections and ring terminals, and find I have to replace these every couple of years. Maybe I'll try using brazed or silver-soldered connections and heavier ring terminals next season. Tnx again for the suggestions.

73,
Chuck NI0C
N2EY 2009-05-03
RE: Inspiration and Creativity
To K4KYV -

Yes, your brazed-connection system is great - for permanent installations with heavy-gauge radials. But it costs more and requires more time and skill to construct.

It seems to me that the sink-strainer radial plate has several applications, though:

- Experimenting, where things may change several times
- Field Day and other portable setups
- Elevated radials
- Light-gauge radials
- Ham who doesn't have a torch, MAPP gas, brazing rod
- Absolute-minimum-cost system (if you can find an old strainer and some bolts and nuts, the cost can be zero)
- Absolute-minimum-work system (no holes to drill, no soldering, can add radials as desired).

IOW, there are applications for both methods. For portable applications, the use of wingnuts can result in a no-tools or almost-no-tools radial system.

Adapting common items to uncommon uses is a big part of amateur radio's proud tradition. There's no reason to make fun of it. Would you make fun of the ham who reused a plastic cereal bowl as a dial drum?

73 de Jim, N2EY
KW4JX 2009-05-03
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
And I thought a sink strainer was not political how naive can I be.
K9MHZ 2009-05-02
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Yeah, but just wait....I'm sure the pound and euro are both going to take off in value compared to our currency. Left wing politics meets economics, and massive inflation results. You'll be buying American, or from America before you know it.
G3OZN 2009-05-02
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
The USA type sink draining devices must be more substantial than the cr*p over here! Purchased one and hell what a flimsy device, certainly could have made one better.
However, having gone to the expense of buying a Steppir BigIR vertical I thought the DX Eng plate was worth the expense to do the job better, and I am more than pleased with it.
I had the plate and hardware shipped directly from DX Eng. in USA, and the total cost was a considerable saving on the price from one of our Ham Radio box shifters!
True, before the pound sterling went pear shaped in relation to the USA dollar.


KG2V 2009-05-02
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Nicely done OM - Nicely Done
N3LCW 2009-05-02
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
LOL! Fantastic! I love it when I see tricks like this that make me say "...why didn't I think of that...".

Now, if I can only find a cheapskate's tilt-over ground mount solution...

Andy N3LCW
K4KYV 2009-05-02
RE: Inspiration and Creativity
I explained it in an earlier message, but here it is once again.

Use a simple metal ring around the base of the vertical radiator, maybe 12" in diameter, made of solid 4 ga. or 6 ga solid copper wire, and braze your radials to the ring using silver alloy brazing rods available at any plumbing supply shop, heating with a Mapp Gas torch (propane or butane will not get the copper hot enough). The copper will soak up the molten silver solder just like a sponge soaks up water, with NO ADDITIONAL FLUX NEEDED. After 20 years of direct contact with the soil, the brazed connections may look tarnished at the surface, but they will be as solid as the day you installed them.

One note of caution when soldering with the Mapp gas torch: be careful not to overheat the copper wire radials to the point that they begin to melt into a blob. You want nothing hotter than a dull red.

No need to clean the copper to a bright finish. Just scrape off any loose, thick scaly stuff with a wire brush. The torch will burn off any thin layer of corrosion.

Never use tin/lead solder to bond radials. Within a few weeks, the minerals in the soil will turn the solder into a white powder and the connections will literally fall apart. I found this out years ago the hard way.

Those silver alloy brazing rods are not dirt cheap, but not terribly expensive, either. Plumbing codes prohibit lead/tin solder for copper pipes, for fear that the lead in regular solder will leach into drinking water. So this is something in high enough demand to bring the price down to a reasonable figure. In any case, this would be much cheaper than those commercial ground radial plates I've seen advertised, as well as much better.

Besides being substantially lower in cost, a silver soldered (brazed), bonded radial system becomes essentially one solid piece of metal and will maintain its integrity for many years. In addition to possible corrosion due to minerals in the soil, mechanical connections with screws or clamps, which is what these "radial plates" use, are subject to loosening up over a period of time, just like ground clamps sometimes loosen up from ground rods and thus need to be checked and re-tightened periodically.
NI0C 2009-05-02
RE: Inspiration and Creativity
K4KYV, I'd like to hear more about your method of attaching radials to "the common point."

I use a commercial radial plate (the current article proposes a very cheap alternative) as my common point. If one is to attach a large number (say 30 -90) radials, then the common point really needs to be spread out over a finite space to achieve this. If one wants to experiment, and maybe add/subtract radials on a seasonal basis (as I must), then stainless steel screws, lockwashers and nuts make this very convenient to do.

I'm not sure exactly what it is that seems so laughable to you.

73,
Chuck NI0C
COOWALLSKY 2009-05-01
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
If using this "drain" contraption with my rotor....won't that amount to a job for "Roto-Rooter"???
N4JTE 2009-05-01
RE: Inspiration and Creativity
Thank you for great article, being in the carpentry buisness I use my old 8in carbide circular saw blades for the same concept, lots of holes to wrap the occasionial radials to.
Regards,
Bob
K4KYV 2009-05-01
RE: Inspiration and Creativity
What is really laughable is all the hammy-hambone ideas about attaching radials, when the simplest and most reliable method is to bond them to the common point using the same materials that plumbers use to bond copper pipes together. And this does NOT mean using lead/tin solder.
WA2JJH 2009-05-01
RE: Inspiration and Creativity
Sell the idea to MFJ. We can all laugh when the MFJ version is expensive and breaks in a few days. :)
N2EY 2009-05-01
Inspiration and Creativity
I am truly inspired by this article.

Not because I need a radial plate, or because I'm thrifty.

But because the author looked at something we've all seen many, many times, and saw how it could be used in a new way. If he could see a new use for an old broken sink strainer, what other new uses for old things are out there?

73 de Jim, N2EY
N6CTW 2009-05-01
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
I like that!

Now, the next thing would be to open the center of that strainer to be big enough to fit around the base of my Butternut HF-6VX......


Cliff,
N6CTW
W2LJ 2009-05-01
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Thanks! What a great and inexpensive idea! I wish I could think of things like this.

Larry W2LJ
W7WAF 2009-05-01
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
I LOVE IT
Ham radio doesn’t see enough of this kind of creative thinking any more.
TIMEWILLTELL 2009-05-01
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
great idea, thank for sharing
N9MSH 2009-05-01
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Hey thanks for sharing the XYL has been wanting a new stopper as hers slowly drains (rubber is shot) now i have a reason to go out and get one, and look at some more fishing lures. You are also showing your "green" side by recycling a product.
KI6JUU 2009-05-01
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Doesn't this place a "strain" on your system:)
QRZDXR2 2009-05-01
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Outstanding. this is real ham radio at its best.
Down the drain... no shows the writer has the ability to improvise, adapt, and over come the expense of getting one of them over priced vertical heavy stainless steel plates.

Good for him. This is what ham radio is all about. Most are appliance operators with check books that whine.


I made my radial plate out of 1/4 6061 alu plate and some scrap angle alu we had. Lighter than the commercial built one, better made and won't send me to the poor house.

Something to be said about making your own stuff. Starts with personal gratification and ends with showing others what can be done with a little good old american engineering and fortitude.

Congrats. Looking good. Keep the ideas coming
K5END 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates


"All the sink stoppers I have known have denied democratic or republican affiliation (I use lower case). English ones have been independent. "


One uses the stopper to fill the sink and wash and rinse ones Whigs.

:-)~
WA2JJH 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Seems like homebrewing is enjoying a well deserved revival.

I started to price some of then new fancy all HF band trapped verticals.
Geesh, $300-$400 seems to be the average price. One still has to put in a few radials to each band used.

In another post, a ham designed a multi-band verical. He used an old trick. Use flat ribbon cable. 5-6 conductor flat 16 guage ribbon has been used for rotor control for years.

He simply placed capacitance hats every 8-16 feet of a 64 foot cable.
On conductor one, solder in a 2 foot piece of 14 guage copper wire.
Remove the remaining length of conductor one.

Do the same at 12, 16 feet for 15- 20M. 34-35 feet for 40M, ect.
At 66 feet, one conductor for 80M is left. Put in an egg insultor, then tie with rope. You may not get it 100% vertical.
For the radials.......SIMPLE. Construct 6-10 of these multiband radials. Egg insulator and tie off.
This guy had limited space. So, a 6 conductor counterpoise was all he could install,

1)Yes, I know my dimensions are off.
2) I am lazy. I know my rigs ATU (or roof mount remote ATU) will tune designs like this up

The real point of the artical is that the days of just purchasing a new rig, tuner, and trapped vertical are over.

I see more Radio Shacks stocking parts these days. No it will never be as good as a Radio Shack or Lafayette in the 1960's. It is refeshing to see Monoband rig kits being sold. They perform very well with todays new analog RF chips.

I remember when Lafayette sold ham gear. A 5 band vertical sold for well under $100.

Time to making our old "JUNK BOXES" AGN!
K4KYV 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
It looks to me like the bottom cover removed from an antique ceiling fan motor.

Why waste your time with bogus crap like that? Use a simple ring around the base of the vertical, made of solid 4 ga. or larger solid copper, and braze your radials to the ring using silver alloy brazing rods available at any plumbing supply shop, heating with a Mapp Gas torch (propane or butane will not get the copper hot enough). The copper will soak up the molten silver solder just like a sponge soaks up water, with NO ADDITIONAL FLUX NEEDED. 20 years later in direct contact with the soil, the brazed connections will be as solid as the day you soldered them.

Never use tin/lead solder to bond radials. Within a few weeks, the minerals in the soil will turn the solder into a white powder and the connections will literally fall apart.
KC8VWM 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates

by N2DY on April 30, 2009

Brilliant simplicity. Thanks for the great idea. Can you design a 20 Meter beam using dishwasher racks too?

-------

Dishwasher racks make a nice EME array. :)

WB4LFC 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
I use an electric pasture fence as a counterpoise for my 5 band Hustler vertical.Works great.
I don't mind using what's handy.
K7LA 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Wonderful.
K7LA 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Wonderful.
KW4JX 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Surely a sink stopper can not infuriate anybody on political or religious 'grounds' (pun).
All the sink stoppers I have known have denied democratic or republican affiliation (I use lower case). English ones have been independent.
W2/G3LBS
N0VLJ 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Waiting for N0AH snark to check in. Whatcha waitin' for Mistra "NO"-it-all????!!!
AB7E 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates

Not a bad idea, but I think it would be simpler and more reliable to buy one of those 8 inch long ground bus bar extenders for circuit breaker panels. They have about two dozen holes with clamping screws already in place and they only cost about $10 at Home Depot, Lowe's. etc. You can put more than one wire in the same hole, and since these bus extenders are designed to be used with copper the connections would probably corrode less than using a zinc-plated bolt and washer to connect copper wire to a chrome-plated brass sink drain.

There is no requirement that the radial tie point be circular as long as leads to the vertical are kept reasonably short.

73,
Dave AB7E

W9OY 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
If you drove a truck over the DX engineering plate you would be in the market for a new tire.

You can still get squares of pure copper at the ACE. I've made radial plates out of those using stainless nuts and screws and they work great.

73 W9OY
N2DY 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Brilliant simplicity. Thanks for the great idea. Can you design a 20 Meter beam using dishwasher racks too?
G0OTT 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Nice article and ingenious use of available hardware.
I built a less home-brew one.
You can view it here
http://cid-5b7889eaa5613690.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/radio/DSC00210.JPG

73 Darren
W0FM 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Nice article.

When visitors come into my workshop and see the vast variety of hardware I have sorted out, they alwasy ask what I use to build my own antennas.

I used to say...."everything but the kitchen sink"!

I may have to rethink that response.

73,

Terry, WØFM
PULLRAFTT 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Somebody took out a stop sign at the end of my road a few years back. It was damaged and they were going to chuck it so I got it. Hammered the dents out a bit and used it last year as a radial plate. I wouldn't suggest helping yourself to one though....
KI8DJ 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
I just put a stainless hose clamp around the base of the vertical with the radials twisted around the clamp,no plate needed.
K8QV 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Radials on the ground have no stress on them or movement at all. Why not just gather the ends under a compression clamp on the ground rod or mast?

That's just one cheap piece of hardware (the clamp) and just one screw to tighten. If you want to add more radials later, just buy one more clamp and repeat.

That "system" lasted for 6 years that I know of on a ground mounted vertical I had in Ohio. The antenna is long gone, but I bet those radials are still intact.
NI0C 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
KF4LVC wrote:
"I will be using them for experimenting, more than a permanent install. I know that in the process, I am likely to damage at least one or two. With your great idea of using the strainer, I can damage more than two and I won't feel my wallet cry! "

Maybe I shouldn't ask, but what kind of experimentation will you be doing that you anticipate damaging radial plates? I think I could drive a truck over my DX Engineering radial plate and not hurt it at all.

73,
Chuck NI0C



W5PJW 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
That's using the ol' knoggin! Simple but effective. A good example of thinking out side the box, or plate (LOL).

73, Mark
NI0C 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
This is a nice idea, especially for the intended application (inverted L). For use with commercial vertical antennas, people might want to consider using three or four of these close in around the perimeter of the antenna (to allow plenty of room for the number of radials required.)

73,
Chuck NI0C
KF4LVC 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Not Cheap, just inexpensive! Great home-brew idea, and it exemplifies what Amateur Radio Operators should be...INNOVATIVE.

I, too, will be heading out to the local Home Depot or WalMart to get a couple of these stainless ground radial "kits". I have been looking at some of the commercial kits for ground radials, but I have not been able to justify the cost, since I will be using them for experimenting, more than a permanent install. I know that in the process, I am likely to damage at least one or two. With your great idea of using the strainer, I can damage more than two and I won't feel my wallet cry!

Great idea, great article!

73's
KF4LVC, Vince
WA2JJH 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
How about a large coffee can lid. Get out your portable drill and drill away.
Radio shack used to sell large pre- perferated blank copper cladded boards for home brewing circuits. Thick copper clad and a nice array of up to hundreds of predrilled holes.

I once had a stupid idea of making loading coils for radiator. I would trace the acid resist pen in a large spiral. I would keep spacings large.
On one large PC board, I should have seen if I could get enough inductance for a 20 or 40M trap. Future project perhaps?
COOWALLSKY 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
We did the same thing about 18 years back with a strainer from a basement floor drain. It was one of the old cast type and not the thin stainless steel ones used more today. Worked well.
K5UJ 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
I'd get rid of the braid and put in copper strap if I were you. I tried tinned braid outside once. It slowly oxidizes and its RF conductivity tanks. Mine was grounding a matching network. It slowly became harder to tune. Took out the braid and put in 3 inch wide copper strap. Tuning suddenly became a lot smoother.
W8AAZ 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
I only see 4 radials! When do you put in the other 60?
W4VR 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
What I do is make a 1-foot diameter ring with a piece of #2 gauge stranded copper wire...than tie my radials around that ring.
AF6AU 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
This is great, simple, compact, so functional, it's elegant. Even made of stainless, could be set up in a shallow hole that you let the grass overgrow to hide it. I would expect soon to see some high zoot Antenna Manufacturer begin selling them for $60.

Obviously, the idea light hit this OM.... while shopping at a hardware store. You buy a new one for the kitchen, and use the old one for the ground connections. You can make the XYL smile (and have fun perplexing her as to what you are really up to), and gain signal strength at the same time. It's rare you get a win-win for your hobby and the XYL.

JML
AF6AU
K4FX 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
This is a nice idea, I have a 160m inverted L and about 10 radials, this will be a lot better than the knot of wires I currently have,

Thanks for a really nice tip

K4FX
W4KVW 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for the financially cognizant.
WON'T DRAIN your budget either.Also just in case your having a problem with hearing or sending out dirty language over the airways I heard you can use ANTI-BACTERIAL SOAP on your feedlines to CLEAN it up! hahaha }:>) "CAUTION" SOME SHOULD AVOID THIS TYPE OF SOAP BECAUSE THEY MAY COMPLETLY "DISAPPEAR" WHEN USED! }:>)

Clayton
W4KVW
N3JBH 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for the financially cognizant.
What a perfect idea !!! And perfect timing to as i going to do another vertical. Many thanks Jeff
N1BNC 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for the financially cognizant.
I think this is great.

I have to wonder if the inspiration for this article was caused by a ham goaded into doing the dishes and was consequently looking down in the sink and had the epiphany for the lowly drain plug??
KO4XJ 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Great idea and I made one from bus bars out of panel boxes. I purchased them from the big box stores and used 4 of them to go around a 80m Cushcraft vertical and I believe there is 80+ screws. You can see it at http://w4nja.org/ko4xj.htm

For a Hustler vertical I usedd 2 bus bars. The bus bars are about $5 a piece. Yours is good ideal

Thanks

John KO4XJ
W7ETA 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Two thumbs up OM!

Plus, it cleans your signal up.
And, if you put the plunger back in, it will prevent your signal draining into the ground. :-)
73
Bob
K0BG 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Most of these drain cups are brass, so they work very well. You can also use the flat ones like those used in shower drains. The one I used was about 7 inches in diameter, and has been in use for nearly 7 years. Nada problems.

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
N9AVY 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
This would probably go well with the antenna featured in a magazine many years ago - it was a vertical with a copper toilet float on top !
K8SOR 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Great idea, why limit the number of radiale to one per screw? You could easily put two or more connectors under each one. Now do like the guy with the sling shot and fishing reel---make some kind of minor change and patent it.
N5PVL 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Great idea! Thank you for sharing it here.

73 DE Charles, N5PVL
KD5SFK 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Wow, so far no negative comments...must be a record.

An interesting experiment would be to compare your signal reports while varying your description of the radial plate from "stainless steel radial plate," to "homebrew stainless steel sink strainer radial plate." My hypothesis is your reports will go from 59 for the former to 53 with "lots of QSB OM!" ;)

73, and thanks for helping save ham radio from the rich boys with all the toys!

KD5SFK
K4IQT 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Very nice! This is what we did "way back when" in the days when those expensive commercial products were not on the market.

Great idea! I am just starting a yard project to replace my old radials, and this will help out tremendously.
KB2DHG 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
A fine idea and again it goes to show that a little thought and will, anything can be done for less money!
I LOVE IT. Great job and idea BRAVO A+
WA3SKN 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
I have seen the commercial object, and although a work of art, yes... it is overkill.
This appears to be a cheap and simple alternative!
Great idea Bill!
73s.

-Mike.
K9ZF 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Nice homebrew article.

Although I believe the commercial one you referred to would be much better for a permanent installation, I can see where yours would be great for a temporary, or portable setup.

Thanks for sharing,


73
Dan
--
Amateur Radio Emergency Service, Clark County Indiana. EM78el
K9ZF /R no budget Rover ***QRP-l #1269 Check out the Rover Resource Page at:
<http://www.qsl.net/n9rla> List Administrator for: InHam+grid-loc+ham-books
Ask me how to join the Indiana Ham Mailing list!

WA2JJH 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Nice simple homebrew. I saw the commercial one as well. They are asking $70 for it. It does have a nice large shelf area to place your feed current Balun.

A kitchen sink drain......Why not.

I do not use that many radials for my elevated roof installation.
I just cascade a bunch of L brackets together. Hose clamps come in handy too.

We are NOT cheapskates because we refuse to spend $70 for something that can be made of commen hardware.

I am sure the commercial one is better in some aspect. It does invite one to add 100+ radials with ease.
WA2JJH 2009-04-30
RE: A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Nice simple homebrew. I saw the commercial one as well. They are asking $70 for it. It does have a nice large shelf area to place your feed current Balun.

A kitchen sink drain......Why not.

I do not use that many radials for my elevated roof installation.
I just cascade a bunch of L brackets together. Hose clamps come in handy too.

We are NOT cheapskates because we refuse to spend $70 for something that can be made of commen hardware.

I am sure the commercial one is better in some aspect. It does invite one to add 100+ radials with ease.
GM0VIT 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
This could well do the trick for me. I'll be off to the plumbers' merchant this afternoon.

Thanks

Bill
KC8VWM 2009-04-30
A Radial Plate for Cheapskates
Looks like an item I could throw into the QRP toolbox for field day.

72 de Charles - KC8VWM