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Re: [TowerTalk] Grounding of Amateur Radio installations

To: Pete Smith <>,
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Grounding of Amateur Radio installations
From: (Phil Camera)
Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2006 14:55:29 +0000
List-post: <>
Even though a second floor shack is not optimum, installing a well designed 
grounding system is not out of the realm of possibilities.  Polyphaser has a 
good technical article discussing exactly this problem.

In summary a well designed grounding system consists of the following elements:

1.  Tower or mast ground
2.  SPG
3. Lightning arrestors
4. Shack ground
5.  Service entrance ground

All five must be tied together, outside, for it all to work.  Leave out any 
part, and Mother Nature has an entry route.  Yes, being upstairs from your SPG 
is a problem but what you'd need to do is install the lowest 
resistance/impedance ground from your shack to the rod.  The best would be 
copper strip a number of inches wide.  With everything listed connected 
together, when your system gets that energy surge from a strike or nearby 
strike (up to a mile away can induce enough current to fry electronics) then 
everything rises in voltage together and there is no potential difference 
between grounds which is what zaps your electronics.

Simple disconnetion outside can work, as far as eliminating the lightning 
arrestor part of the above list but you'd then still need to take care of all 
the other listed items.  A surge via your power lines can also zap your 
electronics even if the coax is disconnected.  The best would be to totally 
disconnect your rig and put it in the closet but I'd doubt you'd do it every 
time and it only takes one time to get bummed out.   Worst case you might have 
lightning getting into the house and that can be bad also.

Phil  KB9CRY

-------------- Original message -------------- 
From: Pete Smith <> 

> At 09:18 AM 12/8/2006, Phil Camera wrote: 
> >"Something to bear in mind is that, in general, most jurisdictions don't 
> >bother 
> enforcing the NEC for amateur radio antennas" 
> > 
> > 
> >Which actually is too bad because these guidelines are exactly the measures 
> >one 
> should do for a properly installed safety & lightning prevention grounding 
> system. And every single measure must be in place or else you're leaving an 
> entry route for Mother Nature to bite you. 
> > 
> >Phil KB9CRY 
> Which is fine if your shack is in an optimal location so that you can do 
> everything by the book, but what if it's on the second floor of an old house? 
> I 
> attempt a single-point ground in the shack, but it is a long way from earth 
> ground. I am not so naive as to believe I'm going to be able to survive a hit 
> if the cables from my tower are connected. Is simple disconnection at the 
> shack 
> entrance up to code? I don't know, but it's all I have. 
> 73, Pete N4ZR 

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