Radio Station Grounding - Survivalist Forum
Survivalist Forum

Advertise Here

Go Back   Survivalist Forum > > >
Articles Classifieds Donations Gallery Groups Links Store Survival Files


Notices

Advertise Here
Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Grounding Resources RadioSurvivalist Communications 3 10-27-2014 06:45 PM
NY radio station vs retired Colonel Sailorsam Political News and Discussion 2 10-03-2014 07:58 AM
Grounding Jeff F Communications 12 09-09-2013 08:51 PM
Small group radio base station mr.trooper Communications 4 05-13-2013 02:13 PM
Mobile HAM radio station with pedals (CW!) rakentelija Communications 5 02-26-2013 04:40 PM
WMAL, Americas First Shariah Compliant Radio Station in Washington, DC P.Publius Controversial News and Alternative Politics 9 03-11-2011 01:11 AM
survivalist radio station preparedmama Urban Survival 12 07-22-2009 09:07 AM
grounding.................... Brother Bear General Discussion 34 01-10-2009 03:05 PM

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-24-2015, 09:18 AM
Damonte's Avatar
Damonte Damonte is offline
Prepared Comms Specialist
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 281
Thanks: 125
Thanked 378 Times in 164 Posts
Default Radio Station Grounding



Advertise Here

There have a number of separate discussions and questions about proper RF grounding. I thought I would share some information about what a good RF grounding setup in your radio room (or ham shack) would look like. This is primarily a focus on RF grounding, not on electrical grounding.

Summary (TLDR)

All station equipment needs to be RF grounded to an external ground rod, bonded to each other, and bonded to the house ground.

Preamble

Without good RF grounding, you're going to get hum, noise, hash and other unwanted problems in your equipment and in your radio signals. Grounding can be both a problem internally within your equipment and externally. You probably can't address the internal issues with your gear. If you know a piece of equipment has an internal grounding issue, it's really best to replace it if you cannot fix it yourself. This will address the external grounding problem.

Grounding your equipment

RF ground is *not* the same as electrical ground. Do not confuse this with the negative (black) wire on DC electrical wiring. Don't just jam wires into the third (round) prong of the nearest AC outlet. This will take some planning, a little work and a little sweat. It's worth it.

Each piece of radio equipment should have a chassis ground connection. It may be a specific connection labeled "Ground" on the back of your gear. It may be as simple as loosening a screw to slip a ring terminal or wire under it. What is important is that every piece of equipment that is attached to your radio, or attached to something attached to your radio should share a common RF ground.

See Figure 1. This is the back of an Astron RS-35MA linear power supply. See the dedicated chassis ground connection. This is what you should connect to your common RF ground.

See Figure 2. This is the back of an Astron SS-25 switching power supply. There doesn't seem to be a dedicated chassis ground connection. What you can do here is simply loosen or remove this screw and loop a wire or a ring terminal under it. You might even want to sand down some of the coating to get a good metal on metal connection.

See Figure 3. this is the back of a Yaesu FT-950 transceiver. You can see the dedicated chassis ground connection

Bonding and Ground Buss

All your equipment should be bonded together. The simplest way to do this is by using a common ground buss. See Figure 4. In the simplest form, just ground this bar, and then ground each piece of equipment to this buss. It makes adding and removing pieces of equipment from your radio system very easy.

External and House Ground

You should always ground your radio equipment to a dedicated external ground. I have a pass-through panel on the window in my radio room that allows me to pass my antenna connections and grounding connection outside. It's really nothing more than a piece of 1/4" thick plywood with holes drilled to fit UHF and N-Type female-female bulkhead adapters. I also have a silicon-bronze bolt to pass my grounding connection to the ground rod that's a foot away from my window. This makes connecting/disconnecting antennas and also my ground system very easy and low maintenance.

Inside the house, I have a 4ga bare copper wire running up into space above the ceiling and cross to the house ground on my electrical panel. This is crucial to maintaining a consistent, common ground and getting rid of RF noise in your system.

Portable Operation

If you like to run portable, do not ignore this! At the very least, I would carry a two foot steel rod that you can tap into the ground and clamp your grounding connection to that. A steel tent stake would work well.

Finale

These steps will go a long, long way to removing RF interference and other issues with your radio gear. You'll read lots of comments about individuals saying you need ferrite beads on all the cables connecting this gear to this other gear. Guess what? That's because their gear isn't properly grounded! They have RF from one item flowing on the outer skin of the cables to the next piece of equipment. Ferrite beads mask the true issue. Proper grounding resolves it.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Figure1.jpg
Views:	158
Size:	94.3 KB
ID:	101990   Click image for larger version

Name:	Figure2.jpg
Views:	127
Size:	20.6 KB
ID:	101991   Click image for larger version

Name:	Figure3.jpg
Views:	133
Size:	36.5 KB
ID:	101992   Click image for larger version

Name:	Figure4.jpg
Views:	131
Size:	96.0 KB
ID:	101993  
Quick reply to this message
The Following 19 Users Say Thank You to Damonte For This Useful Post:
Old 07-24-2015, 09:19 AM
Damonte's Avatar
Damonte Damonte is offline
Prepared Comms Specialist
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 281
Thanks: 125
Thanked 378 Times in 164 Posts
Default

Reserved for updates
Quick reply to this message
Old 07-24-2015, 09:24 AM
Robot's Avatar
Robot Robot is offline
Survivor
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 9,026
Thanks: 28,364
Thanked 14,326 Times in 5,278 Posts
Default

I see no quantized ohmic "definition" of "ground" in this thread.

My buddy used to "ground" power poles. The "earth" varies greatly.

He used a "megger" to obtain a specific value, if one rod didn't do it, they placed 2, if 2 didn't do it, they placed 3. If 3 didn't do it, they considered it in spec anyway.

My point is "ground" is defineable. Perhaps for most Amateur RF needs, good enough is good enough?

"Ground" is poorly understood by most........................
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to Robot For This Useful Post:
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 07-24-2015, 09:25 AM
PLA's Avatar
PLA PLA is offline
Veteran 11BC2/EOD
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Arizona
Posts: 1,999
Thanks: 2,483
Thanked 2,336 Times in 1,021 Posts
Default

Very nice, well done and concise
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to PLA For This Useful Post:
Old 07-24-2015, 09:32 AM
Damonte's Avatar
Damonte Damonte is offline
Prepared Comms Specialist
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 281
Thanks: 125
Thanked 378 Times in 164 Posts
Default

The key with RF grounding isn't the absolute value of the ground, it's about bonding all the equipment to a common ground.

Do not confuse RF ground with electrical ground.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Damonte For This Useful Post:
Old 07-24-2015, 09:41 AM
BrianWorf BrianWorf is offline
Hunter
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Arlington, Texas
Posts: 1,771
Thanks: 7,836
Thanked 2,912 Times in 1,155 Posts
Default

Very nicely written.

I would ad that during really dry weather, I will water my ground rods. As the soils bakes in the Texas sun, even an 8ft ground rod starts to lose a good ground connection.

Each of my ground rods is installed in a small underground access box used for valve connections for sprinkler systems and backfilled with a bit of pea gravel. I will drip a hose in there until the water is overflowing - usually several hours.

I also water the ground rods if we haven't had rain in a while and a big storm is coming. I have actually noticed static reduce on my SWL radio after I water the ground rod.

Either last summer, ot the summer before, there was a pretty big fire in Amarillo caused by a dried-out ground rod on a power pole, I remember hearing about on the news.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to BrianWorf For This Useful Post:
Old 07-26-2015, 01:12 PM
jose's Avatar
jose jose is offline
VIP Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Mad Dog, Texas
Age: 70
Posts: 484
Thanks: 609
Thanked 663 Times in 271 Posts
Default

Excellent post on relevant topic. Thanks!
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to jose For This Useful Post:
Old 07-26-2015, 02:29 PM
Ben's Avatar
Ben Ben is offline
The Hammer & Anvil
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: NE AL
Posts: 3,559
Thanks: 3,645
Thanked 4,127 Times in 1,846 Posts
Awards Showcase
Outstanding Thread 
Total Awards: 1
Default

Outstanding post! I'm so very happy as an amateur radio enthusiast to see others taking RF grounding, Electrical safety and Lighting grounding so seriously.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Ben For This Useful Post:
Old 08-13-2015, 09:35 AM
PSYOP Soldier's Avatar
PSYOP Soldier PSYOP Soldier is offline
Lux in Tenebris
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 6,279
Thanks: 6,833
Thanked 10,173 Times in 3,801 Posts
Default

I have a follow up question about this...

I run a kenwood 281 2m mobile rig, as a base in my home office...Mounted under my desk, connected to PS plugged into surge protected electrical outlet.

My antenna is an arrow open stub dual band j-pole mounted in attic, on a 4' piece of wooden dowel, affixed to roof truss using flag pole mounting kit.

feedline is run straight from antenna thru closet ceiling via bull nose plate, down into radio directly...

pretty basic redneck set up, can hit repeaters up to 75+ miles away and simplex to 20-30 miles depending on location of other person..

In this scenario would i still need to rf ground my power supply and rig to a common ground rod?

Thank you in advance...
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to PSYOP Soldier For This Useful Post:
Old 08-13-2015, 09:44 AM
Damonte's Avatar
Damonte Damonte is offline
Prepared Comms Specialist
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 281
Thanks: 125
Thanked 378 Times in 164 Posts
Default

This is a very good question.

In short, yes, you should still RF ground your radio and your power supply to a common bond with a ground rod. I cannot think of a situation where one should not create a common RF ground with all their gear and a local ground rod. RF ground is crucial to removing hum, noise and other interference issues between connected pieces of equipment.

You probably don't need anything fancy. The ground buss I showed above is ideal, but something as simple as wires from the chassis ground on your equipment joining a wire going to a grounding rod would work. I use the ground buss because I have a lot of gear and am often adding/removing equipment. The ground buss makes things easier for me.

Since your antenna is inside, I think you have little to worry about lightning strikes.

So in summary: RF Ground != Lighting Protection != Electrical Ground. All three are different and need to be addressed separately.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to Damonte For This Useful Post:
Old 08-13-2015, 09:55 AM
PSYOP Soldier's Avatar
PSYOP Soldier PSYOP Soldier is offline
Lux in Tenebris
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 6,279
Thanks: 6,833
Thanked 10,173 Times in 3,801 Posts
Default

ok....thank you for the prompt response...

I'm gonna get a ground rod from lowes, hammer it as far into the ground i can outside my office, then drill hole into wall, run heavy gauge copper wire from rod into ground buss, connected under desk, and then connect 2m and hf rig to it, along with power supplies...

if i can get but 4' or so of ground rod sunk, dues to very ****ty/rocky dirt, will that still be better than nothing or should i run a longer piece of ground wire from office around the house to the main electrical main's ground rod? 25-30 ft of wire run?
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to PSYOP Soldier For This Useful Post:
Old 08-13-2015, 09:59 AM
Damonte's Avatar
Damonte Damonte is offline
Prepared Comms Specialist
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 281
Thanks: 125
Thanked 378 Times in 164 Posts
Default

Okay... so while I quietly curse you under my breath for distracting me from what I was doing (because I really get into this stuff), here is something you might want to consider.

At your pieces of gear... namely your power supply and radio, I'd consider attaching a short (inch or two) piece of wire with a spade terminal to your chassis ground. Then, attach the a wire with the other spade gender to the equipment that connects it to your common 'buss'.

I attached a couple of pictures showing the spade connectors. I also found a nifty connector block that could work as a home-brew RF ground buss.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	spade-terminal.jpg
Views:	53
Size:	67.0 KB
ID:	102661   Click image for larger version

Name:	TB300-XX.jpg
Views:	66
Size:	61.5 KB
ID:	102662  
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to Damonte For This Useful Post:
Old 08-13-2015, 10:02 AM
PSYOP Soldier's Avatar
PSYOP Soldier PSYOP Soldier is offline
Lux in Tenebris
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 6,279
Thanks: 6,833
Thanked 10,173 Times in 3,801 Posts
Default

^^^ "they," say we learn better by teaching..glad to be of service...

seriously though, thank you....
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to PSYOP Soldier For This Useful Post:
Old 08-13-2015, 10:02 AM
Damonte's Avatar
Damonte Damonte is offline
Prepared Comms Specialist
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 281
Thanks: 125
Thanked 378 Times in 164 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by PSYOP Soldier View Post
if i can get but 4' or so of ground rod sunk, dues to very ****ty/rocky dirt, will that still be better than nothing or should i run a longer piece of ground wire from office around the house to the main electrical main's ground rod? 25-30 ft of wire run?
4' is better than nothing. As much as you can get down in the ground. How much of the top you leave exposed is entirely up to you (mine is completely under the grade).

In a perfect world, you would also bond that ground rod to the house main electrical ground rod as well. Ideally, that bonding wire would be buried.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to Damonte For This Useful Post:
Old 08-13-2015, 01:44 PM
RadioSurvivalist's Avatar
RadioSurvivalist RadioSurvivalist is offline
Prepared
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Echo Lima 88
Posts: 254
Thanks: 172
Thanked 251 Times in 119 Posts
Default

I came from the old school of "ground everything" you own. Fellow who lives near my new house (supposedly an electrical engineer) says not to ground anything as long as you are plugged into a grounded wall outlet. By then the term uttered by Colonel Potter came to mind: Horse Hockey.

I told him I have always grounded everything, antenna, station, everything. I even use a system to put rock salt down in the ground to keep the area conductive when times are dry (BrianWorf mentioned this a bit). He said there was no need to ground an antenna as long as the shield of the coax was soldered properly.

Guy knows nothing about the hobby or grounding in general while claiming to be a ham for 14 years. Says he has nothing grounded and has never been hit. All that says is he has been lucky. Especially here in FLorida.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to RadioSurvivalist For This Useful Post:
Old 08-13-2015, 01:57 PM
Damonte's Avatar
Damonte Damonte is offline
Prepared Comms Specialist
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 281
Thanks: 125
Thanked 378 Times in 164 Posts
Default

Again, I think that fellow didn't understand the difference between electrical ground and RF ground. To be honest, it was a few years before I could wrap my brain around it too.
Quick reply to this message
Old 08-14-2015, 01:21 AM
Ben's Avatar
Ben Ben is offline
The Hammer & Anvil
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: NE AL
Posts: 3,559
Thanks: 3,645
Thanked 4,127 Times in 1,846 Posts
Awards Showcase
Outstanding Thread 
Total Awards: 1
Default

Make sure to bond all grounds to a common point. Normally for ham radio the entrance panel becomes that point. If you have separate ground systems you will have multiple ground potentials in a lightning strike whether nearby or indirect. You want to present 1 ground rising and falling in potential together. Separate means something is going to get fried. This is generally why modems cable/dsl/dial up bite the dust first. Because they are at a different ground potential than the rest of your desk. Remember this esp these days since we use our computers for digital modes which connects the computer via a usb ground to say a signa link to your very expensive radio.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Ben For This Useful Post:
Old 08-14-2015, 05:36 PM
BrianWorf BrianWorf is offline
Hunter
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Arlington, Texas
Posts: 1,771
Thanks: 7,836
Thanked 2,912 Times in 1,155 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RadioSurvivalist View Post
I came from the old school of "ground everything" you own. Fellow who lives near my new house (supposedly an electrical engineer) says not to ground anything as long as you are plugged into a grounded wall outlet. By then the term uttered by Colonel Potter came to mind: Horse Hockey.

I told him I have always grounded everything, antenna, station, everything. I even use a system to put rock salt down in the ground to keep the area conductive when times are dry (BrianWorf mentioned this a bit). He said there was no need to ground an antenna as long as the shield of the coax was soldered properly.

Guy knows nothing about the hobby or grounding in general while claiming to be a ham for 14 years. Says he has nothing grounded and has never been hit. All that says is he has been lucky. Especially here in FLorida.
Agreed!! Say, I am interested more in the rock salt method you are using. Could you elaborate a little more on that?? I am watering my ground rods right now, as we have some storms in the distance and the Texas heat and no rain have really dried up the ground.
Quick reply to this message
The Following User Says Thank You to BrianWorf For This Useful Post:
Old 08-16-2015, 03:10 PM
RadioSurvivalist's Avatar
RadioSurvivalist RadioSurvivalist is offline
Prepared
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Echo Lima 88
Posts: 254
Thanks: 172
Thanked 251 Times in 119 Posts
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianWorf View Post
Agreed!! Say, I am interested more in the rock salt method you are using. Could you elaborate a little more on that?? I am watering my ground rods right now, as we have some storms in the distance and the Texas heat and no rain have really dried up the ground.
Hope I'm not hijacking Damonte's post, but here goes.

I purchased a remote antenna switch and some other things from a company called Industrial Communications Engineers. It is sort of out of business since the main person in the company is now SK. Array Solutions is selling the antenna related items but some of the documents which this fellow put together are still available even though the products aren't.

The item I referred to was called "Ground treatment fixture kits" which is nothing more than 30 to 36 inches of 4" PVC. I took the bottom foot of the pipe and drilled staggered holes (1/2" dia.). After that I took the post hole digger and punched a hole in the sand near the ground rod for my vertical. Filled the pipe up with rock salt like is used for water purification systems. Instead of capping it like the picture shows I used a plastic shower drain that fit the inside of the 4" pipe. I was able to find the pipe at Ace Hardware, they have a place where they sell the cut off pieces from out back.





I don't want to copy paste the web content so you can look at it here:

http://www.iceradioproducts.com/chemtreat.html#1

The six years I had the antenna up (we moved a few months ago) I used 2 bags of the salt.


If you're thinking of the far end you can do something similar. Just use 1 or 1-12" PVC and make it the same length as the ground rods you're using for the far end of the radials. (You are grounding the far end aren't you?)
Quick reply to this message
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to RadioSurvivalist For This Useful Post:
Old 08-16-2015, 03:16 PM
RadioSurvivalist's Avatar
RadioSurvivalist RadioSurvivalist is offline
Prepared
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Echo Lima 88
Posts: 254
Thanks: 172
Thanked 251 Times in 119 Posts
Default

More on grounding:

Here's what many consider as THE manual to have for grounding communications equipment:

http://www.repeater-builder.com/ante...x-man-2005.pdf

Found it in the Sept 2015 issue of QST. It's a PDF file, big at 518 pages but very thorough.
Quick reply to this message
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to RadioSurvivalist For This Useful Post:
Reply

Bookmarks



Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Survivalist Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:
Gender
Insurance
Please select your insurance company (Optional)

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:08 PM.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright © Kevin Felts 2006 - 2015,
Green theme by http://www.themesbydesign.net