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Re: [TowerTalk] surge protectors

To: "Tower Talk List" <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] surge protectors
From: "Jim Brown" <>
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2010 11:09:46 -0700
List-post: <">>
On Thu, 29 Jul 2010 13:21:27 EDT, wrote:

>I will be building a new home and I want to incorporate a  surge protector 
>into the electrical service entrance. 

That's a REALLY good move. It is equally critical that ALL cables that 
enter the building get bonded to the same point (and, if possible, enter 
the building at the same point). That includes your antennas, control 
cables, telco, CATV, etc. Consider that when the building is still on a 
piece of paper -- it's much cheaper to change. :)  The house I bought here 
in CA has power, CATV, and telco entering underground at the same point; 
the one I owned in Chicago did not, and neither telco nor the CATV company 
was willing to move their entry. 

Likewise, think about location of the shack with respect to that main 
ground point. The closer they are together, the safer it is (and the less 
money you'll spend making it safer). Both in Chicago and here my shack 
was/is not very close to the power entry, and the best I can do is a 
compromise and more costly. 

>If I just specify to  the electrical 
>contractor " a surge protector" what I will probably get is the  cheapest 
>one he can find at an inflated price.  

Yep. I suggest you do your own research. Since my QTH near SF is rather low 
on the lightning incidence scale, I haven't gotten around to doing that 
yet, but it is on my list of things to do. For branch circuits, I strongly 
recommend the SurgeX brick units. Not cheap, but worth it for the few 
circuits that have expensive gear plugged in. For all practical purposes, 
they last forever. I have one in my wife's office, one in mine, one for my 
A/V rig, and one in my shack. I bought them nearly 10 years ago when I was 
in Chicago. 

Another suggestion. run 20A circuits (#12) for anything that may get a lot 
of electronic stuff plugged in, with a dedicated neutral for each circuit. 
For long runs, pull in #10. If you do the math, you quickly realize that 
20A will run a LOT of ham gear, everything but big power amps. That big 
13.8V power supply is only dragging about 700W out of the wall to provide 
40A continuous DC, enough to have two rigs keydown in RTTY at the same 
time. AND you can greatly reduce those peak power requirements by using 
smaller power supplies to float deep dischrage batteries. 

For a serious multi-two setup, I'd do two 20A circuits and two 240V 
circuits.  One 240V circuit is plenty for SO2R, but you want the second 
circuit if two amps will be in TX at the same time. One 120V circuit will 
run all the transceivers and support stuff for multi-two -- the second 
circuit is a spare, or for non-electronic stuff. Years ago, N6RO was wired 
with six 120V circuits and six 240V circuits, and it's plenty for his 5-
transmitter multi-multi setup. His shack is in his barn (attached to the 
house), and he installed a local panel in the shack. This makes the wiring 
to his outlets much shorter, improving voltage regulation. Naturally, you 
also want big feeders to that panel. 

73, Jim K9YC


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