[TowerTalk] Ground Radial Attachment Bus ?

Ian White GM3SEK gm3sek at ifwtech.co.uk
Mon Aug 21 04:39:37 EDT 2006

>On 20 Aug 2006 at 18:45, DOUGLAS SNOWDEN wrote:
>> I am putting up a vertical for 40m. Yes, I know, but this is all I can put up at the moment.  I was thinking that I could use a few of those bus
>>connections like a circuit breaker panel has. You slide the wire in ans tighten the screw.  Seems like it would be a whole lot quicker than other
>>methods. Are there other methods like that you guys have used?

>I use a copper or aluminum plate with stainless steel 2-3 inch #8 or 10 
>hardware.  I then use some of the larger solder/crimp lugs.  I try to 
>insert as many radial wires in each lug as possible.  Seems to work 
>real well and is not expensive or difficult to use.

I am doing something very similar. The method comes from having much 
more time to think about the job (while traveling) than time to actually 
do it. It also rains a lot here, so it's important to do as much prep 
work as possible indoors, and to make all connections permanent and 
waterproof. All that led to the idea of grouping several wires into one 

8 is a handy number for radial work, and with the insulated stranded 
wire that I'm using, 8 stripped ends will twist together and just fit 
into a "code blue" crimp lug. These are crimped with a proper ratchet 
tool, and the end of the hole nearest the lug is filled with solder 
(mainly for waterproofing).

All 8 wires obviously won't fit inside the rear of the lug, so some bare 
stranded wire is showing. This is flooded with hot-melt glue (squirted 
first into the middle of the cone of wires, and then more added around 
the outside) and immediately followed by heat-shrink tubing over the 
top. When it has all set, the 8 wires are solidly bonded together and 
the only bare metal is the ring of the lug itself.

At the other ends of the radials, the cut ends are sealed with hot-melt 
glue to prevent water getting in.

The 8-radial assemblies can be made in the workshop, and with a bit of 
practice I could get a good rate going. The only weak point is the 
solder lug (if I could have found thicker lugs, I'd have used them) so 
don't pull on the lug when straightening the radial wires - anchor the 
whole thing with a peg in the ground.

It's still "work in progress" but the idea is working out well.

73 from Ian GM3SEK

More information about the TowerTalk mailing list