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Ham-friendly tips for whole-house rewiring?

Sep 2nd 2016, 22:42


Joined: Aug 23rd 2016, 22:57
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I'm looking to buy an older house that is a fixer-upper. After the inspection walk-through yesterday, it's apparent that we need to rewire the whole damn thing. Current service is single-phase, 100A. I already called the utility to see if 3-phase was available, but it's too far away and thus too costly. So I'll upgrade to 200A. I plan to use 10ga inside conduit exclusively.
Other components of the plan (feel free to tell me if I should reconsider any):
--lightning arrestors
--surge protection
--power conditioning
--UPS & generator backup
--PV panels

What are some things I should incorporate into my plan so that the house is as ham-friendly as possible?

I'm not an electrician or an electrical expert by any means, but I'm doing a lot of learning lately.

*********UPDATE 4SEP16**************
My bid got rejected on the house, and while I'm looking at others for sale in the area, my plans are now leaning heavily towards building from scratch.

Please share with me your wish lists and design criteria that you would want to put in the engineering specs for a new house, WRT radio-friendly infrastructure.

Note: I know that Faraday cages will be first on the list, but let's stay more in the realm of commonly accepted best practices.
Sep 6th 2016, 15:05


Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I'm not aware of a need for 3 phase power for ham radio, but a dedicated 240V line to the ham shack is typically needed to run a legal limit HF amplifier.
For many homes, the most important consideration is protecting the house against lighting strikes that hit either the antenna or the power grid.

A ham station works much better if it has good "ears." Reception is often degraded by electrical and electronic devices--rather than quiet each and every device it may be more practical to have receiving antennas located away from household electrical systems. An antenna located right next to the house may work well on transmit due to the low feedline loss but suffer from noise radiated by nearby electronic devices.

Zack Lau W1VT
ARRL Senior Lab Engineer
Sep 7th 2016, 21:46


Joined: Aug 23rd 2016, 22:57
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I want 3-phase for other reasons, primarily for high-efficiency compressor motors and enterprise-grade blade servers. I'm curious if the nature of 3-phase has any beneficial effect on nearby radios; I imagine 3-phase motors probably put out much less noise.

What about running separate DC bus from on-site power generation to the electronics that use DC anyway? Seems like eliminating AC inversion/conversion steps would theoretically be beneficial.

If dedicated DC isn't the way to go, how about an AC bus on a different voltage? 50Hz vs. 60Hz? I'd have to check the NEC, but I don't see why I couldn't have some branch circuits with international outlet formats to prevent misconnecting US-spec plugs. Auto-switching power supplies on electronics make this a simpler task than it used to be. I even own a bunch of EU- and Japanese-market electronics (A/V gear, not radios), so I have a legit reason to install such circuits.

The house will have a really deep, really large copper ground rod for single-point grounding of electrics and lightning arrestors. Chassis grounds will also go to it. I've already gotten the ground loop lecture from enough people that I understand the importance. I downloaded the Navy manual on station design, and it really gives a lot of attention to the grounding system.
Oct 5th 2016, 01:08


Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Whatever you do, don't use Eaton Arc Fault Circuit Interrupts unless you want to trip them when you get on HF. Googel AFCIs and Ham radio to see what happens.

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