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Author Topic: Ground for Condo  (Read 2638 times)
KB1RBF
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Posts: 40




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« on: October 21, 2008, 09:33:01 PM »

  I'm sure that this topic has been addressed before but I can't find it in all the threads on the site.  I am a brand new ham (got my Tech in Aug of 2008 and just passed my General this evening.).  
  I am setting up a ham shack in a condo that I'll be renting for the next few years.  Antennas and rigs are no problem as are antenna tuners. (2 HF rigs, 3 2m/70cm rigs).  I am setting up my antennas in the crawl space (stealth style!  LOL!) as the committee here has a rule about external antennas and any other thing.
  The set up is this:  The spare room (probably a bedroom at some point) is rated for the wattage/amperage I need.  Problem is that it is on the 3rd floor.  1st floor is an unfinished basement with copper piping.  2nd floor is living room, dining area, bathroom and kitchen.  
  3rd floor is 2 'bedrooms' and a bathroom.
Ideally I'd like to have a house that I can set a shack up by my own standards.  BUT  How do I ground a 3rd floor shack to a ground floor basement?  Can I use the copper piping in the 3rd floor bathroom or will that produce a problem?
  Any suggestions?
  Again, if this has been addressed before then just direct me to the proper area.  If not, then please help.
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KB3RHV
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Posts: 47




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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2008, 10:18:47 PM »

The craw space would not be the best place for your antennas if it ground level.

Is your roof an A type with an attic?

If so, that would be the best place to put your antennas.

Also, what radios do you have for VHF and HF?
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KB1RBF
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Posts: 40




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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2008, 11:00:02 PM »

Yes, the attic is an "A" frame style.  That was where I was planning on putting the antennas.  The peak height is a bit over 8 feet.
For VHF I have an old Radio Shack HTX-252  and an Icom IC-228H.  For HF I have a Kenwwod TS 530s and an Icom 718.  The only frequency I'm missing is 6m and 70 cm. But for that, I have hand helds and mobiles.  LOL!
In a pinch, I have an Icom T 90a hand held that I can adapt to an antenna, but it is only 5 watts.
-Gene KB1RBF
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KB3RHV
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Posts: 47




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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2008, 08:35:32 AM »

Since you are putting your antennas up in the attic, the only grounding that you will need, is one for ESD.

Just tie the ground screws for your 718 and 530 to there power supplies ground screws with 12GA or 10GA wire with crimp eyelets at the ends.

You can get what you need from Lowe's or Home depot.

What antennas are you going to put up and are going to use a tuner with you HF Rig?
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WA7NCL
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Posts: 625




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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2008, 08:42:51 AM »

If your antennas are balanced types (like dipoles) or the coax is well decoupled (like ground plane with good radials) you do not need a ground for functional RF purposes.  The safety ground comes from the third prong on your line cords.  The only other reason is for lightning protection.  If your antennas are mounted indoors you don't need lightning protection.

The ground mythology comes from the dawn of Ham radio when sparkgaps and very low frequencies were used with grounded vertical radiators.  Also many guys see grounding as a way to "cure" their poorly balanced antennas and feed lines.

I have run stations in second story houses and high rise buildings and have never needed a "ground".

Spend you time figuring out how to get an antenna in your attic or a stealth antenna outside.  Forget spending a fortune on copper and elaborate grounding schemes.
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K7UNZ
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Posts: 691




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« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2008, 06:49:25 AM »

Hello Gene and welcome abord!

To try to answer your actual question, Yes....you can use the cold water line in the bathroom IF it's continuous copper pipe all the way to the water line.

Another option available to you is simply to add a counterpoise.  A quarter wave length of wire, connected to the ground lug on your tuner, and simply laid along the baseboard in your room.  You will need a counterpoise for each band you are operating.

For VHF/UHF you most likely will NOT need to do this.

The 3-wire electrical outlet you have your gear plugged into will give you an adequate electrical ground.

The counterpoise suggestion is really for RF ground, should you need it, on HF.

73 and have fun!

Jim/k7unz

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KB1RBF
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Posts: 40




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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2008, 04:11:48 PM »

Excellent!  I appreciate the info.  I'm totally new to Ham radio and despite having my General license know nothing about the pragamatics of things.
I'm assembling things this weekend and will take your advice!
-Gene KB1RBF
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KB1RBF
Member

Posts: 40




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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2008, 04:18:24 PM »

Thanks Jim,
  I will be finalizing my shack this weekend.
I'll do some research on the counterpoise as it's not something I've run across in studying for my exams but you laid it out pretty plainly.  
Thanks for your advice and I will let you know how it goes!
-Gene KB1RBF
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KB1RBF
Member

Posts: 40




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« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2008, 07:37:41 PM »

Hi Jim,
  By the way,
  Thanks for the welcome!  I have been a Ham for 3 months now, just got my General License (although I'm waiting for it to show up on the ULS system) and am studying for my extra.
  So, far, I've been taking part in the local NTS network with the hopes of getting my ORS plus, making a bunch of on the air friends along the way.  
  This has been a good and really cool 3 months.  I suppose that the only thing that bothers me is that I have my 2nd of 3 licenses and really have no practical experience or knowledge about radios aside from our local 2m '88' repeater.  I suppose it's just a matter of time, patience and getting on the air.  But, basically I know nothing about practical Ham Radio.  LOL!
  In any case, thanks for the welcome and I AM enjoying it thoroughly!!!!!
-Gene
KB1RBF
PS  This is a really good website!!!!
I want to thank everyone for their help and advice!!!
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