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Scanner / Receiver Antennas For discussion of any type of receiving antenna used by a scanner or receiver base, mobile or handheld.

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Old 09-25-2013, 6:08 PM
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Default grounding

What does everyone here use to ground their antennas? I'm looking for ideas I can use with my backyard set uo.
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Old 09-25-2013, 7:28 PM
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Easiest solution will depend on exactly where your antenna is going and what you have available. All buildings have a ground rod. Some use the reinforcing bars in the concrete of the foundation, some use a copper rod driving into the earth, some use metallic water pipes leading back to the street, some even use a combination of all of them.

If your antenna is going near your electric meter panel, there should be a ground connection there. In my home, the steel rebar from the foundation/garage slab poke up through the concrete. This would be a good option, if you antenna was being mounted nearby.

Other option is to drive a new ground rod as close to the base of your antenna as possible. Hardware stores will have 6 or 8 foot ground rods in their electrical department, as well as the clamps used to attach the wire to it. Basically you need to drive that ground rod into the earth. Make sure there is nothing below the ground you are going to hit, though.

National Electric Code says that all your grounds need to be connected together, do this.

What you are doing is giving any energy that isn't supposed to be there an easy and quick way to get to ground. A direct lightning strike, induced energy from a nearby strike, fallen power line, or just static electricity from the wind/weather all need to get to ground rather than going through your radio. If you don't provide a proper ground, static, induced energy or a direct strike can and will find a way to ground, either through the soft bits inside your radio, or worse, you. Giving the energy and easier way to get to ground can protect you, your home and your radio.

Keep in mind, though, that it's nearly impossible to protect all your gear from a direct lightning strike. Due to the high voltages and amperages, not much will stop it. Remember that energy traveled hundreds or thousands of feet through the air. A few pieces of plastic or rubber isn't going to stop it.
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Old 09-25-2013, 7:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tominbelfast View Post
What does everyone here use to ground their antennas? I'm looking for ideas I can use with my backyard set uo.

Before we all go into a long dissertation on what to do, how to do it and what is correct, I am going to say try doing a search.

I myself have grown tired sitting and typing over and over the steps on how and so on to do a proper grounding job. I could have a nice nest egg just charging $1.00 for every time I have answered this same question.

What I will say is that the first place you need to put any energy into is to contact your insurance company and ask them.
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Old 09-26-2013, 10:19 PM
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Default Should have clarified

Sorry should have stated I know how to do a proper ground my only problem is my house ground is on the other side of the house from where the antenna is so I need to come up with something different. We dont have city water just well water but the pump is in the house and I dont want to run that much ground cable. I was thinking is it better to have a metal mast or plastic? how many ground rods should I drive into the ground? When I was in the military our antennas had a plate that sat on the ground and the ground rod was driven a few feet from it.
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:07 PM
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Steel well casings make excellent ground rods, if you can reach it without having to run too much cable.

Plastic masts won't fix the issue as you will still have the coaxial cable coming down from the antenna. That coaxial cable will carry the energy from lightning just as well as a steel mast will.

National Electric Code says all your grounds need to be bonded together, so if you were doing it right, you'd put a ground rod under your antenna mast, and run a ground conductor to your house ground rod.

But, doing something is better than doing nothing.

Driving one ground rod near your antenna mast is better than none. If you can add more, that is better, but for a hobbyist, I'd do one for now. In reality, it really depends on the conductivity of the soil in your area. Wet earth is better than rocky soil. Not sure what you have where you are, but if you have rocky/sandy soil, you might need additional rods.. Run a heavy gauge cable from the mast to the ground rod. If you install more than one rod, bond them all together with a heavy cable. I'd do something like #6 stranded at least. You need to properly protect your coaxial cable also before it enters the house, also. That should consist of a lightning arrestor installed where the coaxial cable enters the house. A ground wire from that needs to be run down to your ground rod. This will help some of the energy get to ground, rather than going through your radio.
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Old 09-26-2013, 11:29 PM
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Unfortunally I cant reach the steel well casing, All I have is the pump pipe that comes out of the wall into the pump but its not big enough for me to connect to due to clearence between the pump and the wall of the house and the insulation. My house grounding system is on the other side of the house and the ground wire goes from the service entrance down inside a pipe to where it connects with a grounding rod. They do this around here due to the snow and ice. I do have my satelitte and phone system grounded to that pipe with a grounding clamp that the companies put on there. could i connect to it for the antenna?

Another idea I had was using a metal mast that is planted into the ground. Then connect the mast with a ground wire to a ground rod thats next to it and have another rod a few feet away. We have mostly dirt going down about 10 feet until you hit bedrock and ledge so a ground rod would work. Just needed some ideas on what the best plan would be and nothign that would turn into a week long project lol.
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