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Need advice for burying radials

Sep 12th 2018, 19:38

ag7ov

Joined: Jul 11th 2018, 12:26
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Hi All,

I'm planning an antenna system for my backyard. The idea is to install a permanent ground mount with buried raidials and coax, which will allow a vertical to be put up and taken down easily. The mount will be small and out of the way, and it should not bother the HOA folks. (It can even be covered by some piece of nice-looking landscaping when not in use, such as a vintage wooden bucket.) The antenna need only be up when I'm operating (and even then it won't be visible from the street).

I'm thinking of a metal pipe buried about 3 feet in the ground, with concrete to hold it firmly in place and keep it vertical. It will stick out maybe 18 inches or so to permit an antenna to be mounted to it.

My idea is to clamp and solder radial wires to the underground section of this pipe, then bury them radiating outward from the mount--maybe 16-20 wires of whatever lengths are practical for where the mount will be in the yard. Then when the antenna is mounted and grounded to the pipe, it will be grounded to the radials automatically.

I was thinking of using 12-gauge solid copper with insulation for the radial wires. The reason I'm considering insulation is to help prevent the wires from "rotting" in the ground and ending up in pieces. I could strip away a few inches of insulation at the far end of each wire (farthest from the mount) to couple it electrically to the ground.

Any opinions on whether insulated wire is a good way to go, or whether solid copper is a good way to go?

Any other thoughts about this plan before I start buying materials?

I was also thinking of putting a ground rod into the ground near the mount and running a wire or even a heavy strap to that, which would help for lightning safety if nothing else.

I've put up the antenna temporarily in the backyard as a proof of concept, and it seems to work fine. Now I need to come up with a more permanent and usable installation. Any advice from those who may have actually done this before would be most welcome.

Thanks, and 73!
Dan
AG7OV
Sep 15th 2018, 09:39

WA0CBW

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Remember the NEC requires ALL ground rods to be connected the main building ground.
Bill



Sep 15th 2018, 17:10

ag7ov

Joined: Jul 11th 2018, 12:26
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Thanks, Bill. I didn't know that.
Sep 26th 2018, 17:30

WA8NVW

Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Re: Ground rod interconnection...ONLY if they are being used as part of the power system ground. Not so if a standalone RF antenna system lightning ground as you propose, though bonding would be a good practice.
Check catalogs of the major amateur radio antenna suppliers and dealers, such as DX Engineering. You'll find several types of in-ground mounts, including some fold-over and/or hinged models. The base of your foundation hole should be below the frost line to keep it from lifting out of the ground in a few years. Leave room to mount a remote auto-tuner near the base.
Sep 26th 2018, 18:55

W1AAF

Joined: Nov 28th 2011, 17:38
Total Topics: 0
Total Posts: 0
Brian
Don't make your installation permanent until you have had a chance to try several different types and settle on the one you want. (cement is rather permanent !). Instead, use a 4 x 4 x 10' pressure treated post for your antenna mount. Use a piece of flattened copper tubing to connect your radials. It does not need to be a "ring". 73, Mark W1AAF

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