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Re: [TowerTalk] Grounding base slab and pier tower bases

To: "'Nick Pair'" <>,<>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Grounding base slab and pier tower bases
From: "JC Smith" <>
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2006 22:01:50 -0700
List-post: <>
The mention of buried tower section in slab was to infer that lightning
going down this steel doesn't cause exploding bases either. One more myth
busting to exploding base myth.
The extra ring outside of base would be overkill but does no harm so go for
it. It would still be in the discharge volume of the encased electrodes.
Are your shack rods connected to your house electrical ground system. NEC
requires this. It's one of the most overlooked things hams do. The other one
is running ground wires through metallic tubing or even a hole in metal.
This forms a choke for current flow and will limit ground fault or lightning
current. This can be prevented by grounding each end to conduit or metal
plate on one side. If you want to choke lightning current on outside of coax
just run singly in a horizontal conduit for 20 feet or more.

Happy 4th,

JC Smith <> wrote:

        Jim, Nick, and All,

        Hi Nick,

        Yes, my current 2-rod ground system right outside the shack is 
connected to
my copper water main (100+ yards of 1? type L running to the water meter at
the street), which of course is bonded to the ground system for the house.
I probably don?t need another ground rod now that I think about that 100+
yards of copper pipe.  I seem to recall something about that causing ground
loops (the electrical service is also grounded with two 8? rods at the
service entrance) but I haven?t noticed a problem.  My heavy ground strap
which runs from the bus bar on the back of my desk to the ground rods
outside the shack (about four feet long) does run through a vent for the
crawlspace which is covered with wire mesh to keep the critters out.  Don?t
know if that counts as a choke or not.  It that?s choking the lightning
current I won?t complain.

        73 ? JC, K0HPS

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Nick Pair []
        Sent: Monday, July 03, 2006 11:14 AM
        To: JC Smith;
        Subject: RE: [TowerTalk] Grounding base slab and pier tower bases

        Thanks again for the advice.  Good point, I will flatten and ss bolt all
ground pipe connections... no solder.

        Obviously the tower is grounded to the slab by the bottom section being
encased in it so I will just be creating parallel paths to ground.  How
about installing a Ufer ground down at the bottom of the foundation (in the
9x9 pad) AND installing the "ring" of copper pipe all around the outside of
the pier when we backfill (with bentonite added... it's cheap)?

        It's probably overkill, especially considering that my present tower is 
grounded other than by the base bolts, but it's cheap and easy to do at this
point so why not?  While I'm at it I think I'll add another ground rod for
the shack.  It has two now but one of them is approaching 20 years of age.

        Unfortunately, no more tower progress until after the holiday.  I had to
spend yesterday (and today) working on a house we are selling.

        I hope you all have a great Independence Day holiday!

        73 - JC, K0HPS

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Nick Pair []
        Sent: Sunday, July 02, 2006 11:26 PM
        Subject: RE: [TowerTalk] Grounding base slab and pier tower bases

        Hello JC,

        I would still encase the cu pipe in the concrete for several reasons. 
the concrete enhances the contact area between the conductor and the soil.
Second it isolates the cu from the soil which contains sulpher. The sulpher
will bond to the cu making copper sulfate which will lower the surface
conductivity. Third no soil enhancement needed. Try to keep undisturbed soil
next to concrete pour anyway, for best load bearing ability, which your
foundation size was based on.

        Nix on the solder for underground and ground conductors in general. The 
doesn't allow it. Another consideration is the fact that its introducing
dissimilar metals to a acidic environment. For your use a flattened, bolted,
stainless hardware connection would suffice anywhere you need to splice or
attach. Try to avoid splices if you can.

        All cell site towers are grounded to the rebar and to everything that 
conduct in a 50 foot radius around them. The only cravat is they don't rely
on the rebar soley to carry the current to ground grid. I've never heard of
one falling after a strike or even multiple strikes. After all the base stub
or bolts are in the concrete too as a parallel path and they present no
problems. The radius is the only was to go. As large as you can and in no
case less than 6".

        Concrete is such a good conductor that a large ( hundred square foot or
better ) metal sheet (16 Gage min.) laid directly on clean concrete is used
for grounding at 911 com centers in existing building basements where access
to grid and rebar is limited or too great a distance away.

        I've done quite a few cell sites for different cell companies with
different contractors and different inspecting jurisdictions. The
engineering spec's were pretty much similar and of course NEC always the
same. Feel free to bounce any questions or ideas off me on this subject.
        If you lived in a more lightning prone area I'd recommend a lightning
discharge device for the tower top. They do a good job of keeping the tower
potential below where a leader arc can be created preventing a strike from
occurring to the tower and a radius equal to the height around it.

        Nick WB7PEK


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