• You can now help support WorldwideDX when you shop on Amazon at no additional cost to you! Simply follow this Shop on Amazon link first and a portion of any purchase is sent to WorldwideDX to help with site costs.

Grounding a Base Antenna

At my current location..
I never had my antennas Grounded..
I also Never was hit by lightning..

If i could have... i would have set up an extensive Grounding system
UnFortunately though my location is all deep concrete and i didnt want to break through sidewalks/driveways in order to set a ground rod in the ground..

I suppose i could have set to the cable box that was likely grounded (somewhere....maybe..lol)

So i always un plugged and stuck the coax out the window for any/all storms..

The reason i Most likely never was struck by lightning though was most likely due to a high cel tower 1/8 mile away in one direction..
A much higher building an 1/8 mile in another direction and in a slightly different direction very tall propane tanks..

I have seen the propane tanks struck by lightning a few times.

This Spring...when i get whatever antenna to replace those fallen due to Hurricane Sandy...I will look into proper grounding.

I would add..
To those adding grounding and have more then one antenna.
One should be sure all the antennas grounded have the same length
grounding wire to the common ground point.
 
I agree in part with what Doc says. I know that lightning is an incredibly power force capable of 10's of thousands of amps and millions of volts. No way any home grounding system is going to dictate where that charge is going to go.

Anyone with any common sense is going to disconnect their coax and toss is out the window when a storm approaches. Better yet, disconnect your equipment, including power supplies, completely from a/c. I even go as far as unplugging modems, tv's, DVD players and everything else I don't want fried if there is a close strike.

Antenna grounding and lightning is ALWAYS a hot topic on every radio forum I belong to. Lightning itself is a very interesting subject.


I strongly disagree with the bold text above. it is very simple to create an effective ground at home however there are a few does and don't that must be followed to a TEE. All commercial installations and many hams never disconnect their antennas during a storm. W8JI is a prime example and he has towers in the order of 200 and 300 feet high.

Ground Systems


The basic requirements for making your station safe from lightning are in the way you do stuff not how MUCH work you do. First ground the tower/mast at the bottom. Second, make sure all cables enter and exit thru the same hole. Ground all cables at point of entry. Connect the tower ground to the building electrical power service entrance with a heavy conductor. Have any and all grounds connected together in one and ONLY one point and use this point as your station ground. The whole idea is to make all grounds the same as far as potential voltage is concerned,This way all grounds will rise and fall in electrical potential the same amount. If there is no voltage difference between grounds then no current will flow. This is something most people fail to realize is that ground does not mean zero volts all the time.

You said " No way any home grounding system is going to dictate where that charge is going to go." Check out W8JI's site and check out what I have done here at my home.

http://www.worldwidedx.com/amateur-radio-antennas/118335-i-finally-ordered-new-tower-today-17.html

I have since added the bonding cable from tower to a perimeter ground around the house and connected it to the electrical entrance ground. The perimeter ground simply runs around the house and joins back up with itself where the ground goes to the tower. It is in turn connected to the shack as a station ground. All cables will have the shields grounded to it at the point of entry. this is a second ground point after the ICE products arresters. This is all that is required to divert lightning energy away from vital radio gear. this is a proven technique that has been used in both amateur and commercial sites with great success. It proves that a home system can indeed direct lightning energy just as effectively as a commercial installation because it is the same technique. It does not need to be extensive to do nor expensive to implement however it does have to be done right.
 
Last edited:
At my current location..
I never had my antennas Grounded..
I also Never was hit by lightning..

If i could have... i would have set up an extensive Grounding system
UnFortunately though my location is all deep concrete and i didnt want to break through sidewalks/driveways in order to set a ground rod in the ground..

I suppose i could have set to the cable box that was likely grounded (somewhere....maybe..lol)

So i always un plugged and stuck the coax out the window for any/all storms..

The reason i Most likely never was struck by lightning though was most likely due to a high cel tower 1/8 mile away in one direction..
A much higher building an 1/8 mile in another direction and in a slightly different direction very tall propane tanks..

I have seen the propane tanks struck by lightning a few times.

For sure the reason you were not hit yet is the protection offered to you by the tower nearby and higher.



This Spring...when i get whatever antenna to replace those fallen due to Hurricane Sandy...I will look into proper grounding.

I would add..
To those adding grounding and have more then one antenna.
One should be sure all the antennas grounded have the same length
grounding wire to the common ground point.


I disagree strongly with the bold text. If an antenna is mounted 15 feet higher up a mast why would you make the other ground wire 15 feet longer and what would you do with the excess? Ideally you would run a single bare heavy conductor up the mast and have each antenna connected to it as it went past the antenna mount. You only need one ground cable. Alternatively you can ground the mast itself and make sure the antenna mounts make good contact to the mast eliminating the need for a separate ground wire. As for rotary antennas an effective ground wire cannot be run past a rotator as any turns in it around the rotator will add too much inductance. Better to ground at the top of the tower (as well as at the bottom) and then make sure the mast is well connected to the grounded rotator and antennas.
 
I would need to look it up..

My saying...That is Multable antennas..
One needs to be sure all ground wires are same length is for..
When not going separately to their own ground...

But instead to a common source before then leading to a shared common ground rod..

If i recall... Something regarding a feedback to take out the rest of the antennas and or your gear
 
No one seems to bring up the issue of bonding between ground systems. A typical radio station has at least two ground systems, one at the antenna and other other at the AC entrance. These must be properly bonded to shunt ground current between them instead of through equipment. In my experience, at least 75% of equipment failures are related to improper bonding. Towers can be grounded properly, building AC grounded properly, but unless the two are bonded together the equipment acts as a jumper and will suffer damage.

These four files are very good and explain the how and why of station grounding and bonding. The basic principals remain the same regardless of whether it is ham radio, paging systems, AM / FM broadcasting, chicken band, etc.

Polyphaser - Lightning Protection & Grounding Solutions for Communications Sites. (4467kB) http://members.rennlist.org/warren/LightningProtectionAndGrounding.pdf

Broadcast Electronics - Installation Methods for Protecting Solid State Broadcast Transmitters Against Damage from Lightning and AC Power Surges (204kB) http://members.rennlist.org/warren/ground.pdf

Nautel - Recommendations for Transmitter Site Preparation (5827kB) http://members.rennlist.org/warren/TransmitterSitePreparation.pdf

Nautel - Lightning Protection for Radio Transmitter Stations (1530kB) http://members.rennlist.org/warren/LightningProtection.pdf

(FWIW, a large portion of the remaining failures are due to improper ventilation and cooling.)
 
No one seems to bring up the issue of bonding between ground systems. A typical radio station has at least two ground systems, one at the antenna and other other at the AC entrance. These must be properly bonded to shunt ground current between them instead of through equipment. In my experience, at least 75% of equipment failures are related to improper bonding. Towers can be grounded properly, building AC grounded properly, but unless the two are bonded together the equipment acts as a jumper and will suffer damage.

These four files are very good and explain the how and why of station grounding and bonding. The basic principals remain the same regardless of whether it is ham radio, paging systems, AM / FM broadcasting, chicken band, etc.

Polyphaser - Lightning Protection & Grounding Solutions for Communications Sites. (4467kB) http://members.rennlist.org/warren/LightningProtectionAndGrounding.pdf

Broadcast Electronics - Installation Methods for Protecting Solid State Broadcast Transmitters Against Damage from Lightning and AC Power Surges (204kB) http://members.rennlist.org/warren/ground.pdf

Nautel - Recommendations for Transmitter Site Preparation (5827kB) http://members.rennlist.org/warren/TransmitterSitePreparation.pdf

Nautel - Lightning Protection for Radio Transmitter Stations (1530kB) http://members.rennlist.org/warren/LightningProtection.pdf

(FWIW, a large portion of the remaining failures are due to improper ventilation and cooling.)

You are correct.
And that is pretty much what this thread started out as a question about the proper way to ground an antenna system but the thread got distracted by a non-believers remark.
Thank you for putting this back on track.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 person
While you're at it, remove the grounds from that radio stuff too. That's another way into it for surges. Totally isolate the gear, which in case of a 'near' strike means putting that radio stuff in a metal container. Starting to sound a little far-fetched? A little bit, but not as much as you might think. You can't totally protect anything from lightning. You do the best you can and then see what happens. The basics are still the same though, give it somewhere else to go...
- 'Doc
 
No one seems to bring up the issue of bonding between ground systems. A typical radio station has at least two ground systems, one at the antenna and other other at the AC entrance. These must be properly bonded to shunt ground current between them instead of through equipment. In my experience, at least 75% of equipment failures are related to improper bonding. Towers can be grounded properly, building AC grounded properly, but unless the two are bonded together the equipment acts as a jumper and will suffer damage.

These four files are very good and explain the how and why of station grounding and bonding. The basic principals remain the same regardless of whether it is ham radio, paging systems, AM / FM broadcasting, chicken band, etc.

Polyphaser - Lightning Protection & Grounding Solutions for Communications Sites. (4467kB) http://members.rennlist.org/warren/LightningProtectionAndGrounding.pdf

Broadcast Electronics - Installation Methods for Protecting Solid State Broadcast Transmitters Against Damage from Lightning and AC Power Surges (204kB) http://members.rennlist.org/warren/ground.pdf

Nautel - Recommendations for Transmitter Site Preparation (5827kB) http://members.rennlist.org/warren/TransmitterSitePreparation.pdf

Nautel - Lightning Protection for Radio Transmitter Stations (1530kB) http://members.rennlist.org/warren/LightningProtection.pdf

(FWIW, a large portion of the remaining failures are due to improper ventilation and cooling.)

Actually Warren I did mention that in one of my latter posts, about the perimeter ground being bonded to both the tower ground and the electrical service ground. thanks for posting the links to Nautel's stuff. Good reading there as well as on W8JI's site.

BTW I remember attending a seminar at Nautel and the speaker asked how many of us had sites laid out like in the picture on the screen. Just about all of us raised our hands. He then flipped the slide to show us what was wrong. Half of us laughed while the other half groaned. It was the typical site with power and phone in one end and antennas out the other with the TX in the middle and dubious grounds. :eek: A lot of sites got revamped after that. :D
 
Grounding Base Antenna...

You know, you should really learn something about proper grounding techniques and stop thinking that just because you have never been hit that your way of doing it is better. You have been lucky. No more and no less. You and a couple others here seem to think that grounding an antenna makes it a lightning rod and more susceptible to lightning strikes and that not having a ground is better. If that was truly the case commercial installations would not spend thousands of dollars on grounding. That fact that they do and take several strikes a year and yet somehow manage to remain on the air proves they are doing it right. If this sounds like I am pissed a bit it is because I am. Having been in radio for 35 years and commercial broadcasting for 22 years I cannot stand by while someone tells someone else not to install a ground wire because it makes their antenna a lightning rod and will cause it to be hit more often. Like it or not but I am fed up with it. The proof is out there. All you have to do is get educated. :censored: :bdh:




Pay no attention to Wire Weasel. He has his own way of thinking and although sometimes he can be right, this time he is dead wrong.

Minimum code for a ground wire is 6 gauge. Heavier is better. Minimum for a ground rod is an 8 foot rod driven as deep as you can as close as you can to the antenna. All ground cables should be as short and as direct as possible with no sharp bends and absolutely no loops. The best place to connect the ground wire is right where the antenna mounts to the mast. This ensures a good connection to the antenna itself. Alternately you can just ground the bottom of the mast IF and ONLY IF the antenna mount has a good clean and solid connection to the mast at the top.Ideally you should bond the ground rod wire to the house electrical entrance panel as well but for simplicity you can disconnect the coax cable from the radio gear whenever a storm is coming. This leaves the ground wire as the preferred path for lightning to follow. If the cable was still connected to the radio the lightning can still follow it to the gear even with the ground rod in place. Proper lightning grounding is part science and part an art form but it is not complicated nor is it something that can simply be overlooked. As for not making your antenna system a lightning rod that will attract lightning as Wire Weasel would have you think, tell tht to a guy outside town here. Several years ago a CB'er had his Antron 99 mounted on the eve of his house. No ground rod or wire. the cable came in through the attic and ran behind his cabinets in the kitchen where his radio was located. Lightning hit the antenna blowing it to splinters. it followed the cables down to the kitchen blowing the cabinets off the wall and setting the house on fire. It cause over $30,000 damage to the house. Oh yeah, he had disconnected the coax from the radio thinking that since it was not touching anything metallic it would be safe. Common sense says that if lightning can jump a couple miles of air then a mere fraction of an inch of vinyl insulation on a piece of coax cable means nothing.
Thank You Captain Kilowatt! I've been off the radio since the early 70's and used one on several trips up and down I95 moving to N. C. from Pa. after my retirement and I guess I just caught the bug again... Anyway thanks for the help; hopefully I will get it grounded properly and not smoke the house or the equipment!
 

dxChat
Help Users
  • No one is chatting at the moment.
  • @ 555 Central Missouri:
    Hello everyone, I have a old courier centurion pll 40 channel SSB, it has the extra channels and it has another switch that just moves the frequency down one channel on the dial, what is the purpose for this?
  • @ BJ radionut:
    LIVE 10:00 AM EDST
    +1
  • @ BJ radionut:
    LIVE 10:00 AM EDST