Topband: Epsom salts & Rx Antennas

Gary Smith Gary at
Sat Dec 3 13:08:24 EST 2016

Lee & all,

My soil is very poor for ground, Where I 
needed to set the HI-Z 8 element pro up is 
right on top of a glacial Moraine and the 
rocks are a barrier to pounding any ground 
rod in more than a foot or more. I was 
able to get them in enough to support the 
antennas but every attempt was met with a 
boulder under the thin earth that stopped 
me from going deeper. I had asked here 
about Epsom Salts as an adjunct to getting 
a better ground for these Rx antennas. Lee 
had some suggestions regarding my adding 
radials (see his suggestions below) Here 
are my results:

I cut 4 22' wires from WD-1A wire for each 
of the 8 elements, I was able to get two 
pairs of those wires into one ring 
terminal, using two terminals for 4 wires. 
I placed them N-S-E-W and I used these in 
the contest last night. Since I don't have 
a way to A>B them with/without the radials 
I can't speak with certainty how they 
helped as conditions always change.

That said; the effect of these radials 
appeared to be significant in the way the 
antennas worked. I found I could often 
find a null where I could completely wipe 
out a signal from a specific geographic 
region and I was able to focus on a 
desired signal with far less background 

I'm running QRP so my hearing somebody 
doesn't mean they can hear me but last 
night I was able to hear far more DX than 
I was able to work. Using the 8 Element 
Pro I was able to isolate many of those 
stations and even though they couldn't 
hear me, I could often isolate their 
signals from those calling them 
(frustrating as I have an amp sitting 
cold, next to me). Very nice Rx on this 

This is different than what I usually 
find; I have always found the S/N improved 
with the array but I have experienced 
nowhere near as much isolation and 
rejection. The radials surely were worth 
the effort to put them on. I might 
consider adding four more to make 8 as Lee 
suggested below but at this moment, I am 
very impressed with how much of a 
difference four radials per antenna made.

Good luck in the contest and thanks to 
those who have struggled to hear me.



> Hello Gary and Top-Banders,
>   Gary, I would be more inclined to think in your case you would be
>   better off with some radials laid out on each vertical the same way.
>   Short verticals no longer than the element height should help more
>   than trying to influence the ground conditions. Each vertical must
>   have the radials laid out very closely to the same way. Maybe 8 to
>   10 radials should make a decent ground for the high impedance
>   elements.
> Lee K7TJR  OR
> The earlier discussion about Epsom Salts and Beverage grounds got me
> to thinking about my active antennas and if it might be helpful for my
> situation.
> I have 8 antennas (the Hi-Z Pro 8
> element), the base of these acts as the ground rod. The soil
> conditions I had to put the bases in are markedly different from one
> another. Some of the bases are definitely in good soil but several of
> them are in such impossibly rocky ground that it took dozens of tries
> to get the rod 2' deep & with that, they were surrounded by stones
> from the top, down and there's very little soil around them.
> I'm wondering if anyone has had a poor
> location for active antennas like these and used something like Epsom
> salts to help get a better ground.
> If so, did it help you & how did you find it helped?
> How did you apply it?
> Thanks & 73,
> Gary
> KA1J

More information about the Topband mailing list