Rick, any ground stake made of narrow rod is a poor RF ground. Look at
"Antennas" by Kraus W8JK. Even in the earliest days of radio, they used
ground screens or counterpoises to "complete" the antenna.
The use of the ground rod by hams just reflects the great influence of
the National Electrical Code, and UL Labs. It will primarily function
as a safety ground, unless you put the rod down into metallic soil like
I did many experiments in the desert with elaborate ground rods and even
metal 3D configurations and never could get a good result until I went
to a full dipole, (two element) radiator.
Same for the jungle environment I lived in for two years and played
radio. The dipole outperformed the single wire and ground rod every time.
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