ARRL

Forum Home - Rules - Help - Login - Forgot Password
Members can access, post and reply to the forums below. Before you do, please first read the RULES.

How do I ground my station in a rental home?

Jul 14th 2011, 17:53

kq7k

Joined: May 25th 2011, 01:37
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Ihave recently moved into a rental home and I want to be as least invasive as possible. I am sure I ahve seen in the past articles about grounding my station components using copper tubing and a single wire to the outside ground rod. Can anyone point me to an article or publication that can remind me how this is done. Thanks and 73s. kq7k@arrl.net
Jul 18th 2011, 12:27

w1rfi

Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Grounding is probably one of the most complex questions in Amateur Radio, and the one that is probably the most misunderstood. :-)

In the Technology area on the ARRL web site, in the Radio Technology Topics accessed through the left menu, you will find a number of pages and downloadable articles on grounding.

The URL for the main grounding section is:

http://www.arrl.org/grounding

73,
Ed Hare, W1RFI
ARRL Lab
Jul 22nd 2011, 19:38

AA6E

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I agree with Ed that grounding is not a simple thing, and it's worth following his links to get more detailed information.

Let me quickly say here that "grounding" is at least 3 different things that are all important in their own way:

1. AC protective ground. This is usually the 3rd pin or "green wire" ground on most AC plugs and sockets. It is there to protect you and your equipment in case of an AC fault (such as a short circuit) that could put a dangerous voltage on an equipment cabinet. Your local electrical codes focus on this kind of safety. Every ham should study the codes and learn basic AC safety.

2. Lightning protection. We like to put antennas up high where lightning can be an issue. A strike can cause a current of 1,000 Amps and upward. Not something you want in your shack! Proper grounding (outside the house is best) with high quality arrestors is a very good idea. Absolute protection against lightning is possible, but quite expensive and hard to accomplish for most amateurs. (Check out how cell tower electronics are installed.) Most of us have to compromise and cross our fingers. Personal safety and fire prevention should be the first concerns!

3. RF ground. This is usually the hardest to achieve but often the least important of the 3. If you have a nicely balanced antenna system (no RF on the outside your coax), RF ground is rarely a problem. If RF in the shack is an issue, "grounding" as such may not cure it. (A true ground has to be shorter than about 1/10 of a wavelength of RF.) It is still good practice to bond all shack equipment to a common "ground" bus or "single point ground" (for RF and AC), but don't assume that that ground really has the same RF potential (voltage) as the earth outside your window!

Martin Ewing, AA6E
ARRL Technical Advisor
Jul 27th 2011, 02:57

W0BTU

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Quote by w1rfi
Grounding is probably one of the most complex questions in Amateur Radio, and the one that is probably the most misunderstood. :-) ...


You got that right! :-)

So help me, "Grounding" needs to have its own forum! On the other popular forum sites, I see the same grounding questions get asked over and over and over again. It's good that the ARRL has a page dedicated to it.

One thing that I notice is that many people do not seem to be able to wrap their brain around the idea that all grounds should be properly bonded together for lightning protection. Tom, W8JI has some great advice --along with pictures and schematic diagrams-- on his web site about grounding:

http://www.w8ji.com/house_ground_layouts.htm
http://www.w8ji.com/station_ground.htm

Another misconception we very often see is that end-fed antennas can be designed so that they do not require an RF ground (either an elevated counterpoise or a system of radials stapled to the earth). Nothing could be further from the truth! See:
http://www.w0btu.com/Optimum_number_of_ground_radials_vs_radial_length.html
Most verticals or other end-fed antennas will exhibit undesirable feedline radiation and reduced efficiency without such an RF ground.

73, Mike
www.w0btu.com
Jul 29th 2011, 06:18

KE8DO

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
No ground is perfect, there will always be some resistance.
Like radials for a vertical, more ground rods are better, but there is a practical limit.
Any ground is better than no ground.
73, Don KE8DO
Jul 29th 2011, 11:38

w1rfi

Super Moderator

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Any ground may be better than no ground for antennas that require grounding for proper function, but when it comes to safety grounds -- electrical or lighting, a bad ground can be worse. An improperly done lightning protectiong ground can actually increase the likelihood of damage, especially from nearby lightning strikes.

The W8JI grounding links posted earlier are excellent treatments of the subject. Tom is a competent engineer who has done some great wrok in a lot of areas of Amateur Radio and I recommend his material across the board.

73.
Ed Hare, W1RFI
ARRL Lab
Technical forums moderator
Jul 30th 2011, 05:23

KE8DO

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
I agree with all of the above posts. I should have put more detail into my post. I did not mean not to follow basic grounding rules, like connecting all of the grounds together. I was thinking of the number of ground rods.
For a good ground you should put down 10 ground rods or more, but it may not be always practicial to use that many, as in a rental home.
$300 for a good ground system is cheap insurance if it saves your equipment from damage.
73, Don - First Class FCC Radio-telephone license 38 years

Back to Top