[TowerTalk] ground wire thoughts

Jim Brown jim at audiosystemsgroup.com
Thu Dec 24 14:52:43 EST 2020

On 12/24/2020 1:56 AM, w5jmw at towerfarm.net wrote:
> What I am wanting to do ie to run radials from corner to corner.That is 
> to say from ne to sw and from nw to south east.Initially run these then 
> go from side to side.The radials will be jouned in the middla by a split 
> bolt to a ground rod....I plan on using the radial for all the antennas 
> if possible.My question...First Can I do this ?

The short answer is that this is a very bad idea. The earth is a big 
resistor, and if the antenna sees it, it burns a lot of the transmitter 
power. Radials or a counterpoise provide a low resistance return path 
for the antenna current; radials, in addition, shield the antenna's 
field from the lossy earth.

An antenna's field surrounds it on all sides, and for radials to be 
effective, they must extend out from the base, and be connected to the 
coax shield. An earth connection (ground rod) does NOT make a transmit 
antenna work better unless it's to an expanse of salt water.

Radial systems work best if they are symmetrical and dense, but if 
available real estate and antenna locations prevent that, the best 
layout for on-ground radials is to run as many as you can in as many 
directions as you can. There is no need for on-ground radials to be of 
equal length. There are many practical ideas about this in a tutorial 
talk I've done at ham conventions and club meetings. Slides are here. No 
original work by me, but a collection of great work by others.


73, Jim K9YC

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