[TowerTalk] Solid 160 radial plates?

David Gilbert xdavid at cis-broadband.com
Tue Aug 28 11:45:49 EDT 2018

I'm not sure what the metallurgy of the screw and bar would be like in 
conjunction with solder.  Of course the bar should be fine with copper 
(and I think even with aluminum in alkaline soil environments), so if I 
was hesitant about screwing down on multiple small wires (a valid 
concern, I think) I'd probably solder the smaller wires to one larger 
one to go into the bar.  And of course I'd use lead free solder since 
lead and moisture are bad bedfellows.

I probably wouldn't bury the bar underground because you never know what 
corrosive effects might be there, but you can screw the connections so 
tight that I'm pretty sure the metal to metal interface approaches that 
of a weld.  I don't think having it exposed to the elements above ground 
would be a problem.  I think maybe I'll give it a test.  I'll cut a 
couple of bars into sections with only two screws and make a series 
string of connections with short pieces of wire, then bury the mess in 
the ground.  I might even do two strings, one buried in the local 
alkaline soil and another in more acidic garden soil.  I could do both 
in large flower pots so I could keep the soils moist, and that would 
make it easy to monitor the resistance over time as well.

Dave   AB7E

On 8/28/2018 5:29 AM, jimlux wrote:
> On 8/27/18 11:37 PM, David Gilbert wrote:
>> I totally agree.  I can't think of a single valid reason why a plate 
>> is even a little bit better than simply a tie point at the base. I've 
>> often wondered why folks don't simply use the addon bus bars for 
>> electrical panels that you can buy at any Lowes or Home Depot. They 
>> are relatively inexpensive, have screw connections, and make a fine 
>> non-corroding contact.  They can be daisy chained together for as 
>> many radials as you have the ambition to put down.  And if somebody 
>> wants to be a purist about it, four of them arrayed in a square 
>> around the base makes way more sense than a plate.
> Indeed.  The only hiccup I've encountered with that style of 
> connection is that they're designed to be inside a service panel or 
> equivalent, and protected from the elements. They're also designed for 
> fairly large diameter wire (i.e. 14 AWG or bigger). Most radials I've 
> seen mentioned are smaller diameter, and I'm not sure the screw/anvil 
> combination would make good contact with smaller wire.  You could 
> probably shove a bunch of wires in one hole and crank down on the 
> screw, but I'd feel better with soldering them.
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