Ground Question

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NJ9M

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I am planning a perimeter ground system and have run into a snag. My coax will enter the house about 100 feet from my electrical service. Was planning to install six ground rods all tied to the service entrance ground. I had an electrician come out and he told me my house (built in the early 60's) has no ground at the service entrance. No gnd rod, no ufer gnd, nothing. So, he said that the electrical service would have to be upgraded to the tune of $2300 in order to tie the perimeter ground system into the service entry ground.

I've e-mailed and asked him why but I haven't got a response yet. I welcome comments, explanation, and advice on how I can overcome this dilemma without spending thousands of dollars.

Thanks,
Steve NJ9M
 

columbas

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GROUND

First of all do not ever use your house ground system as a ground for your antenna on any radio. Here is why; First of all it can pick up other electrical noise from the electrical system of the power company or anything in your house. There are other reason's I can give you but it would take much longer to explain. Always have the ground system for the antenna independent of everything else. Now since your home has no ground system for your radio use another ground rod outside your home independent away from your other ground rod's you use for a frame ground for your radio equipment. This will help your radio system. If you really want to learn about radio system's go to COPPER ELECTRONICS FORUM.COM Join this site. Post your question to TECH 833 He designs and install's and repairs am and fm radio station's in California . He has been doing this all his life and he is also a ham operator. Also you can look at articles on this site about anything related to radio's and antenna's and coax and much more. Hope this will help you.

Forum Moderator's note: The grounding advice in this post seems to run contrary to National Electric Code recommendations. Prior to installing any grounding system, it would be wise to consult the National Electric Code, readily available advice from system installation engineers (such as the Motorola R56 document), and your local power company engineers.
 
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First of all do not ever use your house ground system as a ground for your antenna on any radio. Here is why; First of all it can pick up other electrical noise from the electrical system of the power company or anything in your house. There are other reason's I can give you but it would take much longer to explain. Always have the ground system for the antenna independent of everything else. Now since your home has no ground system for your radio use another ground rod outside your home independent away from your other ground rod's you use for a frame ground for your radio equipment. This will help your radio system. If you really want to learn about radio system's go to COPPER ELECTRONICS FORUM.COM Join this site. Post your question to TECH 833 He designs and install's and repairs am and fm radio station's in California . He has been doing this all his life and he is also a ham operator. Also you can look at articles on this site about anything related to radio's and antenna's and coax and much more. Hope this will help you.
Another suggestion would be to download an read Motorola's R56 manual. It's the standard to which cellular and communications sites get built to. An older copy can be found on the Repeater-Builder website and it is mostly still current. Major changes won't really affect a structure installation but were centered around things like the perimeter fencing.
 

KG5HHS

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Hello,
I am in a similar situation as the OP. I don't mean to hijack a thread, If this is not the correct procedure and I need to create another thread please let me know. I am in the process of planning on how I am going to set up my shack. I will have 3 radio's (VHF, UHF, & 800mhz for monitoring.) My home, built in the 50's also is not grounded and currently has 2 prong plugs. I know I will need to have an electrician come out and upgrade the electrical in the house. I am planning on using a 70amp power supply for the 3 radios. as far as grounding goes, do I need to ground the power supply and antenna to a separate ground rod from the house once it becomes grounded?
 

kbrown1075

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There should be a ground in the ground near your electrical meter, regardless if you have a ground outlet or a 2 pronged outlet. That ground is needed for the commercial electrical grid to function. I added a ground rod outside my shack for my radios, power supplies, and coax arrestors. I have a copper ground buss on the back wall of my shack that is connected to the ground rod behind my shack. The ground rod that I installed is connected to the electrical ground rod by my electrical meter with solid #6 copper on the outside of the house. This helps prevent a different ground potential between the electrical ground and RF ground. In your house, being older, the neutral and the ground are common (you can prove that with your multimeter). Hope that helps some. 73's. de KN1B (over 25 years of commercial radio work. Commercial FCC Licensed).
 
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prcguy

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This is one post to delete as it is completely contrary to the National Electrical Code and the poster references a guy on a CB radio site to get your info from. Yea, right.
prcguy

First of all do not ever use your house ground system as a ground for your antenna on any radio. Here is why; First of all it can pick up other electrical noise from the electrical system of the power company or anything in your house. There are other reason's I can give you but it would take much longer to explain. Always have the ground system for the antenna independent of everything else. Now since your home has no ground system for your radio use another ground rod outside your home independent away from your other ground rod's you use for a frame ground for your radio equipment. This will help your radio system. If you really want to learn about radio system's go to COPPER ELECTRONICS FORUM.COM Join this site. Post your question to TECH 833 He designs and install's and repairs am and fm radio station's in California . He has been doing this all his life and he is also a ham operator. Also you can look at articles on this site about anything related to radio's and antenna's and coax and much more. Hope this will help you.
 

K7MH

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Messages
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First thing I would so is have a couple other electricians stop by and take a look at things and get a couple opinions and estimates.
It is hard to believe that your service has no ground. If it doesn't and is a very old service, maybe a fuse box, it would be smart to upgrade it regardless of whether or not you really want to spend the money on it.
Welcome to owning a home!!
New electrical services, roofs, water heaters, furnaces etc. are never as much fun as a new radio or motorcycle in the garage but they have to be done.
 

mmckenna

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I agree, sounds like you owe it to yourself to get at least a few quotes on getting this addressed.

Panel swap outs are easy money for a good electrician. Might be a good investment to upgrade your electrical, though.

Also, a second look might find a ground rod existing. Keep in mind that a ground rod isn't the only way to do this. My home is built on a concrete slab and my ground consists of bonding to the rebar in the foundation/slab.

As for some of the other advice, if it's not done to NEC, then it's wrong. Doesn't matter what some strangers (us included) on the interwebs think.
 

KC4RAF

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Davenport,Fl.- home to me and the gators and the s
"First of all do not ever use your house ground system as a ground for your antenna on any radio. Here is why; First of all it can pick up other electrical noise from the electrical system of the power company or anything in your house."
That post is absolutely incorrect and violates NEC code!
Two different grounds will produce a difference in voltage between the grounds among other problems.
 

DJ11DLN

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I have the same situation here. House built about 1960. 2-prong outlets in the original construction. Ground rod is at the meter pole, across the driveway from the house...only grounds at the house are for the lightning rod system. An addition put on in the mid 1970s was wired with 3-prong outlets, but with the grounds running into the neutrals. The whole thing needs to be ripped out and redone.

It's one of the factors (several dozen) that has me thinking about moving instead of staying here, and they are gradually overcoming my considerable sentimental attachment to this place. OP, whatever you do, get a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc opinion and do it right. Bad/improper/nonexistent grounds are nothing to fool around with.

(/rant off)
 

W3DMV

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Gettysburg, Pa
Prcguy has it correct.
One thing you might consider if you have insurance on your
house/equipment. Every insurance company I have delt with
in my career uses the national electrical code as the reference
to make a determination as to proper coverage. If it's incorrect,
your claim will most likely be rejected.
Link to good article from a good source.
http://www.mikeholt.com/download.php?file=PDF/05_Article_810_Download.pdf

I'm retired "EE"' 48 years. Read the link info.....
 

SCPD

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Virginia
Quote:
"First of all do not ever use your house ground system as a ground for your antenna on any radio."
.
Respectfully, and I don't want to be a bitter pill here,Columbas- but that is a **very bad idea.** As stated, it is not by NEC code, or especially anything found in my Golden Standard doctrine, a portion as summarized here-- by the IEEE ;
.
http://lightningsafety.com/nlsi_lhm/IEEE_Guide.pdf
.
.
It seems like this, Grounds- is a constant, recurring topic. I wish I had the energy to explore it yet again, but I am afraid I'm in Lightning/Grounds Burn-out.
.
NJ9M, you may wish to read from the Amateur Antenna Forum, some of the past Posts- some as recent as this month...ie: First tower/mast. Location and material.
.
But by all means, read the all the literature. You can probably protect yourself- DIY- for but a fraction of what that contractor quoted you. Liability issues (insurance, licensed electricans, building codes and especially -lawyers-) all an aside.
.
If things are still fuzzy, get the professionals involved. And be very chary of the 'Elmer's" advices.....
.
.
Good luck Cowboy...... :)
.
.............................CF , (and for what its worth, a BS/MS in EE as well as a member of the IEEE)
 
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prcguy

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So Cal - Richardson, TX - Tewksbury, MA
What? Only a BS/MS EE??? If your not a regular contributor to the CB site "COPPER ELECTRONICS FORUM.COM" then how can we trust your advice?
prcguy







wink wink


Quote:
"First of all do not ever use your house ground system as a ground for your antenna on any radio."
.
Respectfully, and I don't want to be a bitter pill here,Columbas- but that is a **very bad idea.** As stated, it is not by NEC code, or especially anything found in my Golden Standard doctrine, a portion as summarized here-- by the IEEE ;
.
http://lightningsafety.com/nlsi_lhm/IEEE_Guide.pdf
.
.
It seems like this, Grounds- is a constant, recurring topic. I wish I had the energy to explore it yet again, but I am afraid I'm in Lightning/Grounds Burn-out.
.
NJ9M, you may wish to read from the Amateur Antenna Forum, some of the past Posts- some as recent as this month...ie: First tower/mast. Location and material.
.
But by all means, read the all the literature. You can probably protect yourself- DIY- for but a fraction of what that contractor quoted you. Liability issues (insurance, licensed electricans, building codes and especially -lawyers-) all an aside.
.
If things are still fuzzy, get the professionals involved. And be very chary of the 'Elmer's" advices.....
.
.
Good luck Cowboy...... :)
.
.............................CF , (and for what its worth, a BS/MS in EE as well as a member of the IEEE)
 

RFI-EMI-GUY

Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2013
Messages
3,969
I am planning a perimeter ground system and have run into a snag. My coax will enter the house about 100 feet from my electrical service. Was planning to install six ground rods all tied to the service entrance ground. I had an electrician come out and he told me my house (built in the early 60's) has no ground at the service entrance. No gnd rod, no ufer gnd, nothing. So, he said that the electrical service would have to be upgraded to the tune of $2300 in order to tie the perimeter ground system into the service entry ground.

I've e-mailed and asked him why but I haven't got a response yet. I welcome comments, explanation, and advice on how I can overcome this dilemma without spending thousands of dollars.

Thanks,
Steve NJ9M
Normally your service should consist of two insulated hot legs and a bare neutral. The neutral is then grounded at the service entrance, (the meter or breaker panel). This has been code for a very long time. Sometimes the ground is via the water main, in which case you might see a bonding wire across the water meter lines.

If you look inside the first service panel, the one electrically closest to the meter, there should be a neutral conductor and it should be bonded, perhaps by a screw to a ground lug. That ground lug should have a conductor to a ground rod or the water pipe (hopefully metallic). If you don't find it there, the meter box should have a ground conductor leaving it.

Contact your electrical utility and ask them to show you how the neutral is bonded at your home. In some cases, like mobile homes, or may be at the pole which isn't ideal. In no case, should you ever disconnect the neutral or ground conductor (or hots), while the meter is installed and service is live.

When adding your new ground rods, as mentioned above, don't tamper with the existing conductor, simply add a new clamp to the existing rod or water main for your new work. Don't be surprised if you see a spark or measure a voltage potential between the old ground and your 6 new ground rods. They are just doing there thing.

The only reason I could see for such an expense is if you have no grounded receptacles throughout the house and the electrician intends to bring all that to code and install a new breaker panel. But in most localities, if your house already has metal conduit back to the breaker panel, those existing conduits can serve as the protective ground return for new outlets if the wiring is otherwise serviceable. Be sure to buy an outlet tester to make sure the outlets are wired and grounded properly.
 
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jonwienke

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NEC specs and best practice is one or more ground rods at or near the tower to ground the antenna and tower, in addition to the electrical service ground rod(s). All ground rods (antenna and AC service) should be connected together by the shortest practical run of #6 or heavier conductors to prevent voltage differentials between your antenna and electrical service. Failing to do so can result in you getting shocked when you try to connect the antenna to a radio, and can damage your radio. A voltage potential between antenna and AC power will also interfere with reception.

$2300 is a bit much for pounding a new rod into the ground where your AC service enters the building, and running wires between the AC service ground rod, your antenna ground rods, and the neutral bus in your breaker panel. When connecting the ground wire inside the service panel (main breaker box), best practice is to pull the meter so that there is no power anywhere in the service panel. You'll want to coordinate this with the power company--you will have to break a seal to pull the meter, and the power company will want to replace the seal.

Inside the service panel, connect the ground wire to the neutral bus as close as possible to where the neutral line from the power company is attached. The neutral will be either uninsulated heavy wire braid, or else have green insulation, possibly with a yellow or white stripe. The neutral bus will also have a bunch of white wires attached to it. Make sure the ground wire does not come anywhere near the hot wires (the black or red insulated wires that go to the breakers). Any contact when the power is on will result in spectacular arcing, showers of molten metal sparks, and may start a fire.
 

prcguy

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There may be an existing ground wire and rod that's not visible. Around here the ground wire to the rod is often run inside the building wall covered with flex conduit and the top of the ground rod can be below grade. Look for a green wire that exits a hole in the bottom of your breaker box. If you see a single green #10 wire going from a common point of the box down into the wall that could be it. You would then have to dig around to find the ground rod and connection.
prcguy
 

jonwienke

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The service panel ground wire may have green insulation, or it may be bare solid copper.
 
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