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Mast and antenna grounding

FLA727

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Been around CB's several years but all mobile, never a "base" setup at the house and I am a novice all the way. The setup will not be using any amps and the base will be a Galaxy DX 2547 (stock as far as I know).

So it seems the more I read the more I get confused. I have read over several threads on this topic and just when I think I got it I will read something else that makes me question my plan. Here is what I have. I am doing a home made mast from EMT conduit, 3 10ft sections: 1 1/2", 1 1/4" and 1". The (bottom section) 1 1/2" pipe will be placed into one of those heavy duty mast base plates which will in turn be cemented into the ground. An upper section of this mast will be attached to the house at the roof line using a wall mount bracket.

I will be mounting an IMax 2000 to this and will be running about 70 ft of LMR 400.

I have an 8ft ground rod that I will be placing in the proximity of the mast (Seen comments about the NEC Code but due to the layout of my property and how the electrical service enters the house I am not able to connect to the house ground for any of this because it will be on opposite sides of the house.)

Here are my questions.
1. Grounding the mast. Do you ground the mast towards the bottom of the mast, up higher or doesn't matter?
2. Antenna ground: I was planning on a lightening arrestor from the base of the antenna and running that ground wire to my ground rod. Yes/No or am I way off?

I'm providing what I believe is necessary information but have probably left out something that would prove to be helpful. Am I heading in the right direction or have I completely missed it all?

Thanks for any advice.
 

W8UU

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I have a similar setup with the electric and phone lines coming in underground on the opposite side of the house from where my tower is located. Bury the ground rod as far as possible and connect your tower and lighting arrestor to the ground rod. I have surge protection on my radio equipment for the AC power line and disconnect all of it if I know a bad storm is on the way. That's about the best you can do.
 

WA0CBW

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NEC requires ALL ground rods must be bonded (connected) to the house main electrical panel ground rod.
ALL under ground connections must be welded (no mechanical clamps).
The base of the mast can be bonded to the ground rod. Each section of the pipe/conduit mast should be bonded together.
 

WB9YBM

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The best things I can suggest is: since electrical codes vary (at least slightly) from one municipality to the next, a check to see what your town/city requires, and: maybe for nothing more than the cost of a few beers at a local tavern a sympathetic electrician might prove some useful insights, too. Of course there's the old proverb "Better twice safe than once sorry" (especially true when it comes to high voltages like lightning).
 

prcguy

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You don't want to use a separate ground rod on the mast that is not bonded to your main house ground properly. That will increase any damage in a lightning strike and will usually put the mast at a different ground potential than the rest of your house. I did this when I was young and my mast and antenna had 90 volts AC on it compared to my grounded AC plugs in the house. I would get a nice jolt whenever I disconnected that antenna from the radio.
 

FLA727

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You don't want to use a separate ground rod on the mast that is not bonded to your main house ground properly. That will increase any damage in a lightning strike and will usually put the mast at a different ground potential than the rest of your house. I did this when I was young and my mast and antenna had 90 volts AC on it compared to my grounded AC plugs in the house. I would get a nice jolt whenever I disconnected that antenna from the radio.
This is where I begin to not know how to proceed. There is no way that I am going to be able to get to the house ground. Does this mean to not try to ground it then?

Can I do as @WA0CBW indicates and bond each section of pipe and then the mast to the base which will be cemented in the ground?

Florida is known for lightening strikes so I do want to play it safe.
 

prcguy

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The fact you live in a lightning rich area would be a good reason to ground the antenna to code and do it right. There is no real reason to mix up cement for the base of a simple mast. You can rest the conduit on a concrete stepping stone buried 6" or a foot down or something similar to keep it from sinking. The leverage needed to move the base around would be huge and with a high mounted house bracket and not that much mast sticking above it the leverage at the base of your setup sounds very small.

Any electrical grounding from a small amount of concrete at the base of a mast would be little to nothing. Find a way to run a substantial, minimum 6 ga copper wire from your mast area to your main AC entry point ground. Add another ground rod at the mast if you wish, but make sure that is bonded to the main house ground.

In the end it will be impossible for your setup to survive a direct lightning hit even with a second ground rod bonded to the house ground, so move forward knowing that and disconnect your antenna lead and toss it outside when not using the radio or when lightning is approaching. If your coax enters the house and connects to a radio that is plugged in the wall you risk destroying every appliance in the house from a direct hit.

This is where I begin to not know how to proceed. There is no way that I am going to be able to get to the house ground. Does this mean to not try to ground it then?

Can I do as @WA0CBW indicates and bond each section of pipe and then the mast to the base which will be cemented in the ground?

Florida is known for lightening strikes so I do want to play it safe.
 

WA0CBW

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A little clarification FLA727........
All the mast sections should be bonded together. At the base on the bottom section would be a ground rod connected to the bottom section with a short bonding jumper to the ground rod. Doesn't matter what supports the mast base. You still need a ground rod. And that ground rod must be bonded to your main ground rod. As prcguy said the potential difference between your two ground rods can be significant. One of the main goals of bonding and grounding is to eliminate potential differences especially in a lightning event. You want everything to rise to a bazillion volts together so that the voltage doesn't find something that is at a different potential. And believe me it will!!!!!.
Bill
 
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ur20v

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LMR400 is overkill for CB. Get some quality RG8X instead and spend the difference on solid-core copper wire to skirt around from your mast to the grounding rod on the other side of the house.
 

prcguy

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You generally don't rely on the mast or tower as the ground conductor, you run a dedicated ground wire from the antenna to the ground rod or you can use the coax shield and use a coax grounding block or coax lightning arrestor at the ground connection at the base of the mast or tower.

A little clarification FLA727........
All the mast sections should be bonded together. At the base on the bottom section would be a ground rod connected to the bottom section with a short bonding jumper to the ground rod. Doesn't matter what supports the mast base. You still need a ground rod. And that ground rod must be bonded to your main ground rod. As prcguy said the potential difference between your two ground rods can be significant. One of the main goals of bonding and grounding is to eliminate potential differences especially in a lightning event. You want everything to rise to a bazillion volts together so that the voltage doesn't find something that is at a different potential. And believe me it will!!!!!.
Bill
 

ur20v

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About a 0.5 dB difference per 100ft. Yes, on paper it's not nothing, but in reality you'll never notice the difference in a 75 foot run below 30MHz like this one.
 

FLA727

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A little clarification FLA727........
All the mast sections should be bonded together. At the base on the bottom section would be a ground rod connected to the bottom section with a short bonding jumper to the ground rod. Doesn't matter what supports the mast base. You still need a ground rod. And that ground rod must be bonded to your main ground rod. As prcguy said the potential difference between your two ground rods can be significant. One of the main goals of bonding and grounding is to eliminate potential differences especially in a lightning event. You want everything to rise to a bazillion volts together so that the voltage doesn't find something that is at a different potential. And believe me it will!!!!!.
Bill
Back to the drawing board... Although I am not excited about my new challenges I do appreciate the advice. To better help show my challenge I'll share a picture of the area. My main power line comes from the rear side of my property and runs diagonally to the opposite rear side of my house. On the side where power enters and the main grounding is at I have trees. See the red arrows which will show the power line, meter placement and ground rods. So attempting to put the antenna on this side really is not an option and why I was planning on the other side. As you will see, there is a large concrete pad and shed that is in the center between these two points. I don't believe running a ground wire horizontally across the back of the house is a good idea at all. Do I bury the ground wire from point A to point B?

Perhaps my thought process is not seeing a reasonable and viable way to get a ground wire from one side to the other so I am open to ideas.

BackView.gif
 

WA0CBW

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You definitely have a difficult situation. The preferred method from "point A to point B" would be underground. It can be run above ground but must be protected from damage and contact with individuals. There are some additional requirements when running the ground wire in conduit and with the distance you will probably need to use larger wire.
Bill
 

FLA727

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You definitely have a difficult situation. The preferred method from "point A to point B" would be underground. It can be run above ground but must be protected from damage and contact with individuals. There are some additional requirements when running the ground wire in conduit and with the distance you will probably need to use larger wire.
Bill
I have been reading the PDF that @fxdscon shared and well :eek:, so....

Thought... Getting the ground wire down to the ground "quickly" is the idea. So even if I was running a ground wire in PVC conduit I would not want a horizonal run from Pint A to Point B close to the house but rather out and away from the house correct? (Just thinking of how much digging I may be getting myself into)
 

ur20v

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I have been reading the PDF that @fxdscon shared and well :eek:, so....

Thought... Getting the ground wire down to the ground "quickly" is the idea. So even if I was running a ground wire in PVC conduit I would not want a horizonal run from Pint A to Point B close to the house but rather out and away from the house correct? (Just thinking of how much digging I may be getting myself into)
Straight down from the mast and around the foundation of the house all the way around to your grounding rod. It doesn't have to be far from the house at all - even an inch is fine.
 

FLA727

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I'm going to reach out to the electrician who replaced my service panel a couple of years ago. He knows the layout and what I should be able to safely do. Once I get his input I will post it.
 

mmckenna

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I'm going to reach out to the electrician who replaced my service panel a couple of years ago. He knows the layout and what I should be able to safely do. Once I get his input I will post it.
Excellent idea.

While none of this is likely to be outside of an experienced do-it-yourself'er, having a competent electrician help you out is a good idea. They can make sure what ever you do meets NEC. Even if you do the hard work, getting input from someone that knows/lives NEC is a good plan.

Looking at the photo...
If I was living there, I'd probably mount the antenna at the roof peak on your house. Ground wire straight down to a rod and then bonded via horizontal run in PVC electrical conduit over to your entrance ground rod. If your house is on a concrete slab, getting the ground rod sunk in may be difficult. If there is concrete patio all the way around, a hammer drill with a long bit may be required. The electrician should have the tools to do that.

And, of course, the obligatory "make sure the antenna cannot contact the power lines in any way, even if it gets blown over in a storm".
 
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