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Grounding a Ham Antenna

SparkyCal

Mar 11, 2020
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Hi folks:

I just purchased a Diamond 50X Ham antenna. Shown here:
https://www.radioworld.ca/dia-x50a

It has to be grounded. Is there any way I can ground it inside my home to the copper piping? Rather than outside with a grounding rod? And how exactly would I ground it?

Thank-you
 

Bluejets

Oct 5, 2014
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If you get a lightning strike, it'll liven up all your house electrical.
I would run separate as recommended.
Usually a direct run to ground via maybe 6mm earth and a separate 4Ft ground rod driven a good 3ft into the building exterior ground.
An electrical earth rod (Copper coated steel about 1/2" diameter) will come with a 6mm clamp as well.
Make sure no sharp bends in the conductor as there are minimum radius bends for lightning protection cabling.
 
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SparkyCal

Mar 11, 2020
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Thank you Bluejets. If I left the antenna disconnected from the radio, until I want to use it, will this protect the antenna from lightening?
 

Externet

Aug 24, 2009
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Disconnecting It will protect the transceiver. The antenna remains subject to Murphy's law and unpredictability. And watch where you leave the disconnected coaxial terminal connector indoors.
 

crutschow

May 7, 2021
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If I left the antenna disconnected from the radio, until I want to use it, will this protect the antenna from lightening?
The antenna looks like a nice, tall, ungrounded lightening rod, so no, it will not protect the antenna.
If the lightening can travel several thousand feet from a cloud to your house, then it will have no problem also going a few extra tens of feet from the base of the antenna to ground. :eek:
 

hevans1944

Hop - AC8NS
Jun 21, 2012
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I have NO experience with "small" vertical antennas such as this one, but as @crutschow noted, it "looks like a nice,tall, ungrounded lightning rod." Where I live in southwestern Florida is called the Lightning Capital of the World. I, do love a nice thunderstorm, but I also get somewhat antsy when there are lightning bolts hitting all around me. I would use a gas-tube lightning arrester, inserted in the coax line leading to the antenna, and connected with 10 AWG solid copper wire to a purpose-driven "ground rod" nearby. Use a copper saddle-type clamp to secure the bare end of the wire. The lightning arrester will have a screw terminal to secure the other end of the wire. Try to keep the length of this heavy copper wire as short as possible. The sole function of the ground rod, lightning arrester, and connecting copper wire, is to "bleed off" any charge induced on your antenna by clouds passing overhead. If I do erect an HF antenna it will probably be a "no radial" vertical, mounted on a tilt-over pole. I will lower the antenna prior to any weather likely to produce lightning and connect a heavy wire between my "purpose driven" ground and the metal frame of the antenna. And then hope for the best.

There really is no way to "lightning-proof" anything. "Grounding" conductive surfaces and keeping them close to earth is a big help, but lightning will strike anywhere it wills... almost as if it has a "life of it's own." About the "best" you can do is not tempt lightning strikes... unless you really know wtf you are doing! The Japanese have a lot experience deliberately "bringing down the lightning" by IIRC using high-power lasers to create an initial ionization path. They did this in an effort to build high-volage transmission lines less susceptible to lightning damage.

Finally, there is no reason to do this alone! Find an experienced group of hams or swl listeners and ask for their advice. It's amazing how much you can accomplish with a case or two or three of beer, maybe throw in some hamburgers on the charcoal grill and a few hot dogs and brats with homemade coleslaw and you have the makings of real party. Don't forget to provide PLENTY of buns and bread and condiments like mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, chopped Vidalia onion, and bags of a variety of potato chips and corn chips. And did I mention? Have lots of beer, including a good non-alcoholic brand for those who really want to get some work done.

Driving ground rods can be problematic. The strongest ones are made of steel rods, electroplated with copper, and are up to eleven feet long by 1/4 to 1/2 inch diameter.
 
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Martaine2005

May 12, 2015
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Best way is make an adaptor to loosly slip over the drive end of the rod, and insert adaptor into a medium size jackhammer.
Used this process for many years.
Yeah, SDS drill makes easy work of it even through hardcore substrates.
Obviously not as violent or quick as a jackhammer.

Martin
 
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