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[TowerTalk] grounding

Subject: [TowerTalk] grounding
From: "Rob Atkinson, K5UJ" <>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2004 15:32:20 +0000
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While soldering ground connections is frowned upon by all the the experts, I don't think there's anything wrong with it as long as you also have a strong mechanical connection--i.e. you have a wire clamped to a rod let's say, and you use a torch to solder the wire to the rod to lower the resistance between the two surfaces. The expert opinions are usually concerned with plans to make solder the only force holding the two items together, and yes, that's not a good thing to do. But why not have both--a mechanical force for strike energy and a soldered union for better shack ground conductivity? Of course cadwelding is the best way to go if you can do that.

Jim Lux posted last year data showing there isn't a lot of difference between copper flashing and aluminum in terms of electrical properties for radio--if you can get around the dissimilar metal oxidation problem, then give it a try. However I have found it is just easier to stick with copper. A long section of Cu pipe might be rigid enough--I usually just use short thowaway sections which some stores let me have and clamp braid to them by using the brass pipe ground clamps found in hardware stores. A section about 2' long is enough for all my braids to come together and I have the middle of it clamped to my run to the rods. If I remember old geometry the surface area of a 1" diam. pipe is about = to 3" wide flashing. I guess this doesn't look as professional as a strap buss but that's why it's called *amateur* radio, hi.

Rob Atkinson

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