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

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Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] #2 solid or stranded for tower leg grounds
From: "Roger (K8RI)" <>
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2007 12:49:52 -0400
List-post: <>

>The tower is a crank up and tilts over.  I would prefer a ground connection
>that I can unbolt and not have to redress the ground connections each time 
>want to tilt the tower over.  Once the antennas are up and everything 
>tilting it over may not be much of an issue. That is where I was headed 
>the stranded idea.  I understand not to make any sharp bends from the tower
>to the first ground rods.

>The tower is bolted to the base with 5 ¾" bolts on each leg.  Of course you
>can not buy lugs with that big of a hole.  I was thinking of using flat bar

Yes, you can purchase lugs with that large a hole, but they will be made to 
take the appropriate size cable such as 4 ought, or even 500 MCM.  They are 
quite common in industry.  They are machined from solid Aluminum. (Prices 
are in a whole different world that the stampted ones we normally use. <:-)) 
Check with electrical supply houses but take lots of cash.

I had quite a few that would take that size bolt, or could easily be reamed 
to do so. I don't know if I have any left of not, but I'll look to see if 
any are still here.


Roger (K8I)

>material, say 1.5" wide, drill a ¾" hole in it, and create a "tab" to 
>the ground wires to.  You can buy this stuff on line, in small amounts, in
>stainless, brass, bronze, and aluminum.  I was thinking bronze.

I work for an electric utility.  Although grounding in a switchyard is for a
different purpose, more than lightning protection.  The standard is 2/0
stranded to every structure, tied to a grid.  You hardly ever see solid used
for anything.  Interesting--I have never asked the question of why stranded
is used instead of solid.

John wa5zup


From: Bill MacLane []
Sent: Thursday, September 13, 2007 7:50 PM
To: John Elsik
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] #2 solid or stranded for tower leg grounds

All the broadcast installations I worked on we used solid for everything.
If stranded or braided wire is exposed to teh elements it'll corrode between
the strands.

I like copper strap, but it is hard to find and expensive.

As far as flexible; do you plan on bends?  Lightning does not like bends or
coils.  A bend in a lightning protection conductor is almost assured to
break if the tower takes a hit.  Slight gentle curves from the tower to the
grounding electrode is best.

There are various methods of fastening the conductors also, brazing and
silver soldering are fairly easy to do.  I've seen installations where the
ground plane was attached mechanically to the tower base and then brazed.
Of course broadcast towers sit on a base insulator so the tower itself has
no grounding conductors on it.  A correctly adjusted arc gap takes care of
the strike (hopefully).

John Elsik <> wrote:

I acquired 250' of #2 bare copper and 15 ground rods left over from a job at
work. So that is a start on what I am using for my ground system for a new
LM-354HD crank up tower installation. Base is installed, waiting for the
concrete to cure. Tower is not here yet.
I have to get more wire and rods. I have most of the exothermic one-shots,
but of course, need more of them too. I am pretty much committed to using #2
for everything.
The plan is to just pigtail up the #2, for now, to each tower leg.
I have a choice of either #2 tinned solid copper or #2 stranded for these
pigtails. The one-shots should work with either one by spec. At the moment,
I am not sure how I will attach the fat #2 to the tower legs. I was thinking
of using stranded for that because it would be somewhat more flexible.
Is that a good idea, or should I just stay with the solid?
John wa5zup

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