[TowerTalk] Radial Connection to tower

Kevin Shea fourstar4sale at yahoo.ie
Sat Dec 12 09:35:38 EST 2015

I have been following the thread on radials and I have a question which I have not seen clearly discussed.  My setup (just got the tower up this fall radials will be next spring) is an 80' free standing AN Tower.  It sits on a 12X12 base of concrete.  My plan is to place a copper tubing ring around the outside of the base (slightly buried) to it I will connect radials for 40/80/160.  My intent is to feet the tower to act as a vertical on those bands. (The tower has a large LPDA on its mast.
My question is how best to connect the ring to the tower? Or do I?  The rebar and buried tower section are connected to three copper ground leads which exit the base of the tower foundation just below the top of the foundation.  Those leads will be attached to the ring as well as 4 driven ground rods each (in a star pattern).
If I run copper across the foundation surface should it simply crisscross the surface or should it radiate from and be connected to the tower legs?  Would a copper screen covering the entire foundation be best?
I have read many articles and have looked at many pictures and have not found a definitive solution (or if it was there I missed it).Kevin N9JKP 

    On Friday, 11 December 2015, 11:00:20, "towertalk-request at contesting.com" <towertalk-request at contesting.com> wrote:

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Today's Topics:

  1. Re: [Bulk] Re: [Bulk] Re: Radials how deep is too deep?
      (Jim Brown)


Message: 1
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2015 11:53:08 -0800
From: Jim Brown <jim at audiosystemsgroup.com>
To: towertalk at contesting.com
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] [Bulk] Re: [Bulk] Re: Radials how deep is too
Message-ID: <5669D824.1080506 at audiosystemsgroup.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=windows-1252; format=flowed

On Thu,12/10/2015 6:43 AM, Grant Saviers wrote:
> As you well know, buried bare radials are the standard for BC 
> stations, and as are any ground screens therefore "connected" to 
> earth, but that 's not the point.  The CW is bare or insulated makes 
> no difference for buried wire radials. 

An important difference between AM BC stations and typical ham stations 
is budget and FCC Rules, both of which drive the radial system. Yes, 120 
radials and a ground screen have been the gold standard since the 
earliest days of AM Broadcast, and systems like this tend to cause 
current in the radials to be quite well distributed between radials. 
This is VERY different from most ham radial systems, which, limited both 
by budget and real estate, are much fewer in number and much shorter.

The principal reason for having more radials, and for not connecting a 
few, shorter radials to the earth is that making that connection tends 
to increase the imbalance in radial currents, which in turn increases 
ground loss. N6LF has published excellent work on this topic. google to 
find it if you haven't already. Great stuff.

Here's a light bulb that went off for me after studying Rudy's work. The 
loss in a radial is I squared R where I is the current in the radial and 
R is the loss coupled from the earth. As we add radials, I is divided by 
more radials, so the loss in each radial is reduced by the square of the 
number of radials, and the total loss is divided by the number of 
radials (assuming equal current in each radial). This is a great way of 
understanding why loss is reduced as we increase the number of radials! 
Rudy's contribution to this was to observe that if current is unequally 
distributed between radials, those with greater current will have more 
loss (because of I squared), and that increased loss will be much 
greater than the lower loss in radials with less current (again because 
of I squared).

Another lightbulb from Rudy is that the electrical length of radials 
sets their current distribution; a radial that's a quarter wave 
electrically will have a current peak at the feedpoint, while one that's 
longer will have a peak farther out from the feedpoint, and that peak 
will be greater than the current at the feedpoint. Again, since loss is 
I squared R, loss in a radial that's too long will be greater than one 
that's near resonance or shorter than a quarter wave.

It's also well known, and I'll bet that you know it, that variations in 
the soil under a radial system will cause current imbalances, which is 
another great reason for having more radials.

73, Jim K9YC


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