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Re: [TowerTalk] grounding quesitons: Ufer, strap, exothermic welds

Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] grounding quesitons: Ufer, strap, exothermic welds
From: K8RI on TT <>
Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2011 17:11:42 -0400
List-post: <">>
On 4/17/2011 2:06 PM, David Gilbert wrote:
> Again??  Seriously?  That myth has been debunked so many times, both
> here and elsewhere, that I can't believe people are still perpetuating
> it.  I've issued this challenge several times before and nobody has ever
> responded ... please quote one single URL or technical document that
> describes a verified instance where lighting passing through a proper
> Ufer ground , or any conductive element inside a buried concrete
> structure whatsoever, cracked the concrete.  You'll find instances where
> a direct lightning hit to the OUTSIDE of a block of concrete caused
> damage (buildings, bridge abutments, etc), but not via a Ufer system of
> sufficient size and construction.

A while back I watched a training film from either NWS or NOAH that 
showed a lightning strike that had not just cracked, but blown part of a 
system apart BUT and and emphasize the but, stranded wire (either  0 or 
00) had been used and it was in a wet location IIRC. Just what happened 
they weren't sure, but it was an extremely rare event and I think we 
need to keep in mind there is no 100 % guarantee against lightning, no 
matter what we do. That means we *always* end up playing the odds and 
approaching diminishing returns as we make our systems more robust and 

OTOH every proper step taken increases the odds in our favor.

Considering the odds I'd not worry a moment about tying the rebar in the 
concrete to the grounding system.
I think it's a positive in our favor rather than a negative.

I would make sure the rebar did not come within 3 to 6 inches of any 
surface of the concrete (code requirement I believe) and I would prefer 
solid copper instead of stranded, but even stranded can be sealed.

> Check out the I.C.E. technical note on the subject if you don't believe
> me.  It's not difficult to find on their website ... it even uses the
> word "myth" in the subject title.

I think they are wrong to call it a myth, but it's such a rare event AND 
the procedure actually increases the odds in our favor so, it would not 
be a concern for me.

> Besides ... just think about it for a second.  There are thousands of
> tower installations with a tower base buried in the concrete.  What
> would be the difference, other than beneficial spreading of the current,
> if the tower was also properly connected to the rebar cage?

Mine has taken at least 17 direct hits and there's not even a chip in 
the concrete.  It was getting to be a regular thing, but nary a strike 
(that any one has seen) in the last 3 years.  This will be the 4th 
summer. Who knows what it will bring.

> Lastly, connecting the tower to the rebar cage is REQUIRED by most
> zoning regulations.
> I'm honestly curious why certain urban legends, like this one, seem to
> have such staying power in ham radio.

Probably because those who have seen it were so impressed they let the 
rarity of the event outweigh the effectiveness of the procedure.


Roger (K8RI)


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