Yes, Jim, we used one of those "ditch witches" here at
my QTH last year to lay drain pipe and my gas line. As
you say a "very cool machine", but unfortunately, they are
much too big for laying radials. It looks like the Edge Hog
might work well in regular soil, but at my location the
"mean free path" to a rock is about 2 inches even when
you are close to the surface where we were burying the
One technique which sort of worked utilized my friends
hydraulic ground rod driller. It is essentially a long piece
of galvanized water pipe (~3/4" OD) with a garden hose
attachment on a short elbow segment of galvanized pipe
which does double duty as a handle for pushing against.
When installing the radials, we found that if you turned the
ground rod driller on edge so that it made a shallow angle
relative to the ground, you could sort of plow a little
mini-trench for the radial with the water jet. We still hit a
lot of rocks, however (they are right at the surface at my
QTH) and the mini-trench was a little on the shallow side
and usually required a follow-up with a garden pick. I did
notice that in the hot sun, the ground rod driller seemed like
less work to operate than a pick, which may have been
its main attraction (less sweat per hour). Anyway, between
the pick and the ground rod driller, it took my crew of two
about 40 man-hours to bury 1500' of radials 3" to 4" inches
below the surface our rocky soil. Still not much of a ground
system by ON4UN standards, but my lot is very small
(50 x 100'), so I now have wire almost everywhere where
I don't have house.
73 de Mike, W4EF..............................................
> ...it is overkill but trenchers, the digger looks like a giant chain saw
> blade, are now common rental items here in FL, these puppies are like
> totally kewl. You will want to be sure nothin is in the gorund in their
> path that you want left untouched!