[TowerTalk] Saltwater Ground Connection

Mike Ryan mryan001 at tampabay.rr.com
Tue Jan 28 08:44:18 EST 2014

Joe, A couple of years ago the local club here asked got some of the guys to 
participate in some kind of a Lighthouse Contest over a weekend...a few 
summers back. The reason I recall it was summer I will tell you later. 
There were 3 groups of us, two went into the woods off the beach of an 
island we went to, myself and one other guy simply set up on the 
beach....the lure of bikinis and tarpon jumping in front of us was too great 
to pass up. I was just going to stay on that beach.  I put a Butternut HF2V 
out at the edge of the surf. I first hammered a 4ft piece of angle iron into 
the sand and clamped the antenna to it.  I had a plastic bag with 8 radials 
of various lengths pre-made up. I don't even think I used them all frankly 
but I know I took eight with me.  The other guys were hanging G5Rvs and 
assembling Budi-poles back in the trees, and dying from the heat. I put up a 
quickie tent, started up my little Hondo generator, and began calling cq 
with my back up rig, an Ft-1000D.  My buddy and I made about 80 contacts. 
The other two groups made a total of 4. We would have worked more but the 
other guys were spent due to the heat and from working themselves silly 
trying to get antennas up in it.  We were supposed to stay half the day out 
there but only stayed(lasted) about 3 hrs. I was often asked how much power, 
what beam we were using, etc.  I had 200 watts and the Butternut in the 
surf.  I stayed exclusively on 40m.   I would not worry about resonant 
lengths of radials...just make them about as long as your antenna is at 
least with some longer. Put the antenna right out over the water if you can, 
find some shade, and open your beer.  '73, Mike

-----Original Message----- 
From: Joe Giacobello, K2XX
Sent: Monday, January 27, 2014 3:40 PM
To: TowerTalk
Subject: [TowerTalk] Saltwater Ground Connection

I'll be vacationing on a saltwater beach and will have a chance to to
set up a portable vertical antenna.  Operation will probably be on 40,
30 and 20M.  I have a vague recollection of reading of others'
experiences on saltwater and believe that they typically used a single
wire ground connection to the saltwater.  I believe the wire had a flat
metal plate or similar attached to the saltwater end to increase both
conductive surface area and stability in the water.  Does that seem
about right?  I've also thought about using a galvanized bucket at the
end.  Even if it only lasts for the duration of my stay, it's cheap enough.

I'd appreciate hearing of any relevant experiences or opinions.

Thanks and 73,


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