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Re: [TowerTalk] A different question (I think) on SPG

To: "Tower Talk List" <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] A different question (I think) on SPG
From: "Jim Brown" <>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2010 12:21:57 -0700
List-post: <">>
On Wed, 4 Aug 2010 10:48:59 -0700, Dick Dievendorff wrote:

>I (will) have a main panel on the garage wall.  The power company ground rod
>is right there.  It's not much of a ground rod.

That's a good reason to improve on it by adding more, separated by the 
distance equal to the length of the rod. 
>There's a sub panel up in the radio room over the garage. That sub panel is
>connected to the main panel with four wires, 2 black and one white neutral
>for 220, and a separate green ground wire. Neutral is attached to the green
>ground wire only at the main panel.

Very good. 

>The radio equipment will be connected to one heavy conductor (a copper or
>aluminum bar) within the shack.

>The tower is a bit more than 100 feet away.  It has several ground rods.  If
>lightning hits, the tower and its antennas are the most likely first

>I'm planning to put some PolyPhaser lightning arrestors inline to the
>antenna coax, and through that effort the coax shield will be bonded to the
>tower's ground system.

As K1TTT noted a few weeks ago, those arrestors should be very close to the 
protected equipment. Good practice is to a beefy conductive ground panel 
(copper or other good conductor) where they enter the building next to the 
gear, with that panel well bonded to ground. 

>Are you advocating a separate wire 100+' heavy copper wire to connect the
>tower's ground system to the power company ground rod outside the garage?

No. I would treat the tower as a separate location. Bonding as noted 
previously. At the AT&T site, the tower was right next to the building, and 
their budget was infinite. That proximity demanded that the tower be bonded to 
the building, and the budget allowed them to do it VERY well. :)  In addition, 
they designed the building, the layout of the building and the tower, and the 
grounding arrangement before they started digging holes in the ground. When 
you do it that way, it's a LOT easier to do it very well, and with fewer 

>Is this "single point ground"?  Looks like multiple paths to ground to me.

Again, you are getting hung up on the words single point ground, which are 
confusing and lead to fuzzy thinking. 

>Is there a reason to run a separate wire from the shack ground plate to the
>power company ground rod, or would it suffice to connect it to the green
>wire inside the sub panel, which has a green wire to the main panel and then
>to the power company ground rod.  Isn't that more "single point" than a
>separate parallel ground line? 

Please take the words "single point ground" out of your vocabulary. It is 
confusing things.  Go back and read what I've written a half dozen times 
before. :) All ground electrodes associated with your house/shack MUST be tied 
together by the shortest practical path. That's power, shack, telco, CATV, 
building steel if there is any, metallic plumbing if there is any. All the 
gear in your shack should be bonded together by short fat copper. One big 
conductor, or more big conductors in parallel to lower the impedance, should 
take a junction of those shack bonds to the nearest junction of the earth 
electode bonds. All of the gear in your shack must also be bonded to the green 
wire at the local power outlet(s). 

Don't lose sight of the fundamental reason for all of this, which is to 
minimize the DIFFERENCE IN POTENTIAL between equipment that is interconnected, 
to prevent current from flowing THROUGH equipment, and to direct it away from 

Another point. The more things are spread out, the more difficult it is to 
minimize the potential difference between them. That's because connecting 
wires have inductance, and the current from a strike will induce voltage and 
current on them. To maximize lightning safety we want to minimize that 
distance. The safest layout from a lightning protection point of view would 
have power entry, telco, CATV, and the ham shack all right next to each other. 
Few of us have the luxury of that kind of layout, so we must make the best of 
what we have, or what we can do at reasonable cost (including the cost of 
keeping the XYL happy).  

73, Jim K9YC


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