Topband: Alternate Ground?

wa5pok at wa5pok at
Thu Aug 13 08:37:28 PDT 2009

In the Edwards Plateau area of Texas a non-ham (caving buddy) 
tells me this is what they do out there for grounds. Maybe this might 
help someone, I sure would like to know if this would be viable 
alternative since can retire in a couple of years and desire to move 
to that semi-arid country. I am not sure about the rock salt feature 
though. The following is a cut and paste from my buddies e-mail.

"... For a long time, the conventional ground for electric service at 
power poles used an 8 foot long copper ground rod connected with 
.02 copper wire. Fine, as long as it's feasible to drill an 8 foot deep 
hole to set it into, however, not so easy when the shallow subgrade 
is hard bedrock.
	The new design that replaces this, and is actually much 
better, is to first excavate a 3 foot by 3 foot square hole place at 
least 4 feet out from the base of the pole. The recommended depth 
is at least 34 inches deep. Then place 4 to 6 inches of sand in the 
bottom and level. Next, place a spool role of .02 copper wire wound 
up like a clock spring and laid flat into the hole on the sand, leaving 
about 10 feet or so coming out for the box tie in afterwards. Next, 
add about 2 boxes of rock salt( like you use to make ice cream), 
and sprinkle in a layer with the wire on the sand. The rock salt 
serves to enhance the dispersement of ions during an electric 
charge, and adding it allows it to get even more effective with time. 
Then add another 4 to 6 inch layer of sand. Then cover completely 
with a 4 to 6 inch layer of concrete and let cure out before backfilling 
to the surface.
	This type of ground is particularly good for helping to protect 
computers,etc. although it is still recommended to use additional 
surge protectors as well."

I would not use this in the place of good old fashion radials.

73, Mike WA5POK (where it finally rained in Houston!)

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