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Author Topic: constructing a grounding system  (Read 2617 times)
KF6AGM
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Posts: 23




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« on: September 03, 2007, 06:29:13 PM »

I would like some help in locating articles or resources in building a common grounding system for my new station. I had checked out the links on this site, but what I really want is a fairly inexpensive  common grounding system. I did a search on Yahoo! and found one web page with a picture of a few homebrewed grounding system strips. Is there an article or reference I can look up to learn how to make the grounding strip? How are the cables coupled to the strip? Are they coupled with couplers mounted to the strip with nuts? I had done some reading on setting up the ground system, but I would like to confirm if I should connect the common ground strip and the station ground to a few 8 foot copper ground rods and then connect that ground system to the electrical panel ground. Is it okay to have the 2 inch copper braid go through a PVC pipe under the concrete to go to the ground rods or is it asking for trouble? One last thing - where would I be able to find a 2 inch copper braid to connect the common ground strip to the ground rods?
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K9KJM
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Posts: 2415




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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2007, 10:49:47 PM »

The basics of a good ground system:   Just inside your hamshack near where the coax enters the building you have your "Single Point Ground" A nice way to do that is a flat sheet of copper mounted to some 3/4" or so plywood. That sheet grounded to the system outdoors by flat copper strap, As wide as possible. 2" wide minimum, Commercial tower sites now use multiple runs of 6" wide copper strap. (The copper strap is about .026" thick, A good source is upscale roofers, Or roof flashing from home supply stores)
It can be bonded together and to the ground system wires with true "Silver Solder" Trade names like "Silfoss" etc. (This is actually a welding, or brazing rod, Stiff hard rod, NOT to be confused with the soft plumbing silver solder!)  Any good welding supply store will have it, As will air conditioning repair shops. MAPP gas in a small hand held torch will flow it.  CADWELD is another good way to bond, But can be expensive. Whatever you do, Do NOT use plain lead/tin solder outdoors/underground! It will turn to white powder in short time!

The ground rods should be spaced about twice the distance apart as the depth. (8 foot deep rods would be spaced about 16 or so feet apart in normal soil)

"Braid" is something girls do with hair. "Braid" is NOT used in communications sites (Unless needed for applications like grounding a steel door to a steel door frame, Where lots of movement is needed, and then tinned braid is used)  Flat copper strap is the material to get.
And bare copper wire for the ground rod interconnections.   (Note that old used wire stripped of its insulation will work every bit as good as brand new shiny new copper) Look for old houses or commercial buildings being torn down, Strip off the insulation.
Old copper tubing is also a great conductor, But you need to get rid of the lead soldered connectors.

http://members.cox.net/pc-usa/station/ground0.htm

A long read by the time you have gone through all the provided links, But well worth your time.
And:
http://www.comm-omni.com/polyprod2.htm

Scroll down to the installation instructions.

IF you are pouring any concrete in the area, DO bond to the rebar in the concrete. Called a "UFer" ground. One of the best. Check out UFer ground in the Polyphaser instruction list.


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KB9CRY
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Posts: 4283


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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2007, 07:31:53 AM »

I had checked out the links on this site, but what I really want is a fairly inexpensive common grounding system.

What links did you check out on this site?  Do a search for Grounding in the main forums page search box.

If you did find all that discussion then do you think that all we've talked about is too expensive?

If so, then there is no cheaper alternative, trust us.

As fas as a common grounding system for your shack ground, what I have is that I've mounted a 1/2 inch copper pipe along the backside of my shack desk.  To this I've hose clamped wires that run to the gounding lugs of all my equipment.  On one end is a mechanical grounding clamp and from this I run large welding cable out to my ground rod just outside the shack.

DO NO USE BRAID.  Wide copper strips are the best to use.  Do not use stranded wire also.
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W3LK
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Posts: 5639




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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2007, 05:15:24 PM »

FYI:

I was just reeading your profile and noticed the following statement:

<< My favorite thing to do is operating my HT on a train. It's a great way to make QRP contacts towards a WAS award and enjoy traveling at the same time. >>

You need to check the rules for WAS. I think you have some misunderstanding of them.

Paragraph 3: "Contacts must be made from the same location, or from locations no two of which are more than 50 miles apart which is affirmed by signature of the applicant on the application."

Paragraph 6: "Contacts made through "repeater" devices or any other power relay method cannot be used for WAS confirmation."

Even working simplex from a fixed location, it is highly doubtful that you coud make WAS with a 5w FM-only HT, even on an big outside antenna.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news ...

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.
W9ADY
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Posts: 18




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« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2007, 11:52:00 AM »

How would I run a 2" wide copper strap from my single point ground to the outside grounding rod through a brick wall?
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W3LK
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Posts: 5639




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« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2007, 12:50:28 PM »

A hole in the wall. Smiley

A dryer vent, a 2" diameter piece of PVC ...

How do your feedlines get outside?

I'm getting ready to do an install in my new house and there will be a 4" PVC conduit through the wall from the inside of the shack to the outside for all cables.

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.
W9ADY
Member

Posts: 18




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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2007, 02:21:03 PM »

Right now I run a coax 20 feet to a window that I can open and snag the outside feed line.  When I'm done I disconnect the feedline and close the window.  Obviously this is only a short term solution, I'm too far north to do this year around.

Is it o.k. to run the feedline next to the ground strap?    I want to run it all out right by the station if possible but I'm not sure how to get through the brick.
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W0FM
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Posts: 2080




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« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2007, 02:53:19 PM »

Yes, you are fine if you run coax along side your ground strap to the outdoors.  Avoid running twin lead or ladder line parallel to your ground strap or any other metal, but coax is fine.

Have fun!

Terry, WØFM
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W3LK
Member

Posts: 5639




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« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2007, 04:56:27 PM »

Terry beat me to the answer. Smiley

73,

Lon - W3LK
Naugatuck, Connecticut
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A smoking section in a restaurant makes as much sense as a peeing section in a swimming pool.
K9KJM
Member

Posts: 2415




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« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2007, 06:33:19 PM »

A 4 inch dryer vent is one of the best ideas I have seen for running coax and ground lines into a building. A dryer vent looks right at home on the side of a house and does not really detract. When you go to move or sell, Just install a new outer cover and it looks like.......  a dryer vent!

Otherwise to run 2 inch wide copper strap through a brick wall is easy. Just drill two little holes with a masonry drill (1/4" or so) 2 inches apart (Horizontal)(Through the mason joint, NOT the brick!) and then chip the mortar out in between the holes with a hammer and small chisel.
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