eHam Forums => Antennas and Towers and more => Topic started by: KB8DFK on August 15, 2008, 12:50:54 AM

Title: Ground radial questions
Post by: KB8DFK on August 15, 2008, 12:50:54 AM
My Butternut HV9 is in its box and just awaits assembly, my questions are regarding ground radials.

1)Does the radials have to be buried or can they lay on top of the ground pinned down?

2)I have a spool of galvanized electric fence wire, can that be used for the radials or should I use copper wire if so what size?


Title: Ground radial questions
Post by: KB9CRY on August 15, 2008, 05:04:17 AM


Copper, I use 18 GA stranded, insulated and just lay them on the ground and staple them in using home-made bobbi pins made of electric fence wire.

Title: Ground radial questions
Post by: N3ZC on August 15, 2008, 07:47:08 AM
You can buy a box of lawn staples at Home Depot for $10 (75 in box I believe). That's what I used to put 60 radials down....Just stretch out the radials on ground & staple down..Mine have disappeared into the grass..

             73'..  Tom  N3ZC

Title: Ground radial questions
Post by: KB8DFK on August 15, 2008, 07:15:05 PM
Thanks, lawn staples should make my job alot easier!

Title: Ground radial questions
Post by: K9KJM on August 16, 2008, 12:54:44 AM
Yep, I learned late in life that a person does not have to dig to install radials.

The mow the grass short, Stretch out the radials, And "Staple" in with wire works great.

However, Do use BARE copper wire, To add to your lightning protection ground system right away. There is NO point to using insulated wire if in or on the ground, As changing soil conditions will detune them anyhow. Just make them as long as you can.

("Elevated" radials (6 or so feet up) are another story. Insulated wire should be used for those for safety) AND elevated radials CAN be tuned, And only a few are needed for equal performance.

Title: Ground radial questions
Post by: KE7MYL on August 16, 2008, 09:45:00 AM

I use your antennas little brother, the HF6V. This antenna works wonderfully and I have worked a LOT of worldwide DX with it. I have a ground radial field of 60, 35 foot, #14 solid insulated wire (got a good deal on a spool). For quite some time, they were just laid out on the sand (I live close to the beach) and worked well. I DID have trouble with the BEARS shuffling along and tangling them up! I finally stretched them out and put landscape cloth over them and graveled the entire area.

You would do well to go to the Bencher butternut web page and read the tech notes section concerning ground radials. There is a wealth of information contained in these articles that I followed to obtain a perfectly operating antenna system.  

The address is:

Good luck, you have a good antenna there. A proper installation will make it a GREAT one.

73 de KE7MYL

Title: Ground radial questions
Post by: K0WA on August 20, 2008, 12:55:30 PM

Well, you have a lot of questions answered but I would tell you that 60 radials is great....but you could get away with less....say 30 or so.  But 60 radials will be the bomb.

I used wire from a garage door installation contractor.  I used the wire they use to hook the switch by the door that opens the garage door.  It is 20 gauge wire and there are two strands.  I just put them together.  I have 32 radials out now on my full size 40 meter vertical and it works quite well.  The wire was free.  They have so much of it...the guy had boxes of it.  He uses about 30 feet off of a 90 foot hank of it that comes in each garage door opener box.  He had tons of wire.  Free

Lee - K0WA

Title: Ground radial questions
Post by: G0HVQ on August 26, 2008, 01:27:04 PM
Not a lot to add, as others have said it all, other than to lay your radials after the last grass cut of the fall, then by spring they will have been pulled down into the grass/soil.

I laid mine too early in Aug and, despite leaving the grass cutting a month, still pulled up some radials next time I cut, as they hadn't quite bedded down.