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[TowerTalk] Grounding, portable generators, field day

To: towertalk <>
Subject: [TowerTalk] Grounding, portable generators, field day
From: Jim Lux <>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2005 11:44:40 -0800
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Gosh... there haven't been any long threads on grounding in the last few hours, so here's another one...

Here's the scenario:

You're at field day, running off a generator. You've got extension cords strung all over the place to get AC power to your operating tents. You've got tower trailers or temporary towers up.

What's the grounding approach?

We're talking here about safety and lightning, since most FD operations probably won't lay out 120 "George Brown" radials. (something to think about if you always go to the same site, though??). However, you might also have grounds of one sort or another for RF purposes, and also, for EMI/EMC reduction. Finally, with increased use of networked computers for logging, you've probably got Cat5 wiring strung across the FD site. (Even though, as hams, we really SHOULD be using wireless networking, no?)

This is equally applicable to the DXpedition or to a emergency field situation.

I was researching some stuff on grounding for another reason, and came across the recent (<10yrs) changes in rules about GFCI protection on construction sites, and, also, implications on the type of transfer switch required in a "standby power" situation (whether you need to transfer the neutral depends on whether the generator has neutral bonded to ground). Some generators have the frame bonded to neutral, and others don't.

Jim Lux, W6RMK


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