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Re: [TowerTalk] #2 solid or stranded for tower leg grounds

Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] #2 solid or stranded for tower leg grounds
From: K4SAV <>
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2007 11:21:31 -0500
List-post: <>
I posted this message last year and never got any responses on it.  
Since the subject has come up again, I will repeat it and see if anyone 
has any good information.  Am I missing anything here? The message follows:

The way most people do it is to put a stainless steel shim between the 
zinc tower and the copper wire and clamp it.  Polyphaser makes clamps 
that work like that.

That said, doing it this way doesn't make any sense to me. You have 
three goals in avoiding galvanic corrosion.
1) Maximize the contact area of the least noble metal exposed to the 
electrolyte (water),
2) Minimize the potential difference between the metals in contact, and
3) Keep the water out.
1) The least noble metal in this case is the zinc tower, but the contact 
area is the same for both metals because water may collect within the 
junction but the whole tower is not going to emersed in a liquid. So 
item 1 (in the case of what is in contact with the tower) is a moot point.

2) The least nobel metal will corrode.  If you look at the small list 
below, you will see this is the zinc (your tower- not good). In order to 
avoid this you should put something next to your tower as closely 
matched to the tower as possible. If that corrodes you can always 
replace it.

In the galvanic series, in flowing sea water, in order from least noble 
to more noble:
zinc is around -.98 to -1.03
aluminum alloys are -.76 to -1.0
copper is -.3 to -.37
tin is -.3 to -.33 and
stainless steel varies a lot depending upon the alloy and may be -.57 to 

Looking at this table, I can't figure out why people use stainless steel 
next the their towers. I would think an aluminum alloy would be a better 
choice. After going through this exercise, I decided to use one of the 
standard AC entrance panel aluminum alloy ground lugs (Home depot, 
Lowes, or any electrical house). I think some of these may be tin 
plated, others are not.  Don't use the tin plated ones. I used an 
oversized clamp because I liked the robust clamping screw it had. I bent 
the end of my #4 ground wire into a tight J loop, which I placed under 
the screw to gain more surface contact area. When you tighten the 
clamping screw, the copper wire actually squashes into the aluminum a 
little.  These clamps work well under a tower bolt (of a crank-up) after 
you file off the little ridge on the bottom of the clamp, and you will 
probably have to drill the mounting hole larger.

I coated the aluminum alloy to copper junction with an anti-oxidant and 
sealed it against water.  I used duct seal to encapsulate the whole thing.

Jerry, K4SAV

Gene Smar wrote:

>     Most of us here on TT recommend your using solid rather than stranded #2. 
>  This will eliminate corrosion from between strands, maintaining the 
> electrical properties of the grounding wire.
>     As for connecting to the tower, you might consider connecting to the flat 
> steel elements at the base of the tower using these model 213 clamps from 
> Harger: .  I use them 
> to connect my shunt-feed wires and my coax shield ground wires to the flat 
> elements of my Trylon tower.  I also use their model 222T clamps 
> to connect my ground 
> wires to pre-drilled holes in the Trylon's legs.
>    A final word of advice:  You ought to connect your ground wires higher up 
> along the tower than right atop the concrete base.  This right-angle turn in 
> the grounding path represents a greater inductance to lightning energy than a 
> gentle curve you get from connecting up higher along the tower legs.  You can 
> protect this piece of ground wire with a piece of garden hose that extends a 
> few inches into the dirt and above the top of the concrete base.
>73 de
>Gene Smar  AD3F

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