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Author Topic: WA4STO - grounding solution  (Read 6147 times)

WA4STO

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WA4STO - grounding solution
« on: April 15, 2013, 03:53:29 PM »
Hi guys.  Thought I'd put up a snap of my station as of April of 2013.



Most of the stuff is fairly 'standard' to most of you but the antenna feed lines and the method of grounding might be of interest, mostly because most amateurs these days would rather use coax cable rather than the open wire feeders shown above.  Coax is ok for one very narrow range of frequencies but with open wire feeders, you can operate on every frequency above the design freq of the antenna.  SWR?  Never a problem, since -- unlike coax -- open wire line has almost zero loss even with insanely high SWR present.

If you look hard, you'll spot the fact that there are not one but two eight foot ground rods.  I had a contractor in to do some other work on the house and I puzzled him into a frenzy by asking him to purchase and ram in those two ground rods.  Glad I did; they work great.  Every piece of equipment in the shack is bonded to one or the other of the rods, by way of the straps that you can see in the photo.

The knife switch at the top of the pic is to shunt the feeders to ground, whenever I learn of any storms in the area.  The "up" position is for normal antenna-to-rig(s) operation, while the 'down' is everything-gets-grounded ops.

If you have any questions about what you see in the picture, ask away.  Some of you might want to know just how the feeders get where they're supposed to go, all the way to the tippety-top of the antenna mast.  Or maybe you want more info on the antenna system tuner.  Just don't ask me how much that sucker costs.  Anytime the XYL asks me about that matter, I claim domestic forgetfulness.

73

Luck, WA4STO
ARRL A1-Operator
NTS(D) Target Station
NTS(D) Digital Relay Station









s2man

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Re: WA4STO - grounding solution
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2013, 02:15:39 AM »
Well, I see a flashlight.  I saw an ad this week for flashlights. It said, "Be prepared when the lights go out".  So, I guess you are all set ;-)

LOL.  I almost did a spit take when I saw the pistol.  This is the radio preppers forum, after all.  Mine is in the cabinet, nearby.  So you are more prepared than I am. 

Seriously, the grounding is impressive.  The ground rod for my house a/c power is right outside of my office.  But I don't think I want to tie my electronics to that...  And the open wire is interesting.  I haven't bumped into that, yet  (And I've read 0.02% of the literature available).  It reminds me of the wiring in a Victorian house I owned. 

cockpitbob

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Re: WA4STO - grounding solution
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2013, 06:43:28 AM »
I live in New England where you either have a sump pump or a wet basement.  Drilling holes in the basement isn't an option for me.  Since my shack is in the basement I drove two 8' rods into the ground outside where the shack is.  I have 2 short lengths of #6 wire coming in to the shack(yes, braid would probably be better).  For grounding my gear I soldered 1/4" brass screws to 1/2" copper pipe attached to the back of the shack(desk).  All the grounds between equipment are really short and fat.  The ground to the 2 rods is probably 5' long.

For my 2 coax antenna feed lines leaving the shack I have lightning arrestors connected to the copper pipe.  When lightning storms are in the area I disconnect the gear from the arrestors.  .

KK0G

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Re: WA4STO - grounding solution
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2013, 10:01:34 AM »
Nice looking shack. You gotta love that balanced feed line, great stuff. For years the main antenna at my shack has been a 140' dipole fed with 300 ohm TV twinlead, it works awesome and as you said, I could care less what crazy insane SWR I have because my feed line loss will be negligible at worst. I just use my MFJ 949E tuner to provide a 50 ohm impedance for the rig to see so that it's happy. Balanced feed line is dirt cheap compared to coax, you can homebrew it for even less cost and it's loss is practically zero.........what's not to love?!

I've never had a ground in my shack other than my power supply being grounded through the wall outlet. I know, it's blasphemous for an amateur not to have all his equipment tied to a shack ground but I've been doing it for many years with no ill effects. My mobile and portable set ups aren't grounded either  8)
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" - Benjamin Franklin

KK0G

madball13

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Re: WA4STO - grounding solution
« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2013, 02:13:06 PM »
Nice shack. If I had to guess the pistol looks like a Ruger SR9.

No grounding at my shack either. I'm set up to be portable when I need to and have my 857 hooked to a tuner and a dipole. I thought about groud ing but my shack is on the second floor and I dont want to create a resonant ground since I use the dipole from 6-80.

The only issue I have is s7-9 noise on 20-40. I thought a ground might fix this but I'm not sure.

WA4STO

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Re: WA4STO - grounding solution
« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2013, 03:43:09 PM »
I live in New England where you either have a sump pump or a wet basement. 

Heh, yah when I worked as a radiotelegrapher (ship to shore) on the Cape, I discovered that very same thing.  Sand does not a decent RF ground make.

One thing I did learn, though, was how to handle ten KW effectively, sand or not.  My employer used no coax whatsoever.  Only open wire feeders.  Massive ones. 

73 de Luck, WA4STO

WA4STO

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Re: WA4STO - grounding solution
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2013, 03:51:50 PM »
Nice shack. If I had to guess the pistol looks like a Ruger SR9.



DURN close!  It's a Ruger SR40.  Too heavy for my liking.  Maybe I'm just getting too old.

You guys opened my eyes.  I never even noticed the Ruger when I started posting that pic.  Maybe it all shows to go ya, " you can pry my radios from my cold dead fingers, if you can get past the hollow points". Or whatever that saying used to be...

When I recently moved to the new shack, I discovered that the previous owner had gone to some trouble to build in what can charitably be called a bomb shelter.  Nifty place for all my preps, but a lot smaller than my previous bug-in location. 

73 de Luck, WA4STO
http://www.qrz.com/db/wa4sto

White Tiger

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WA4STO - grounding solution
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2013, 01:54:03 AM »
Nice shack. If I had to guess the pistol looks like a Ruger SR9.



DURN close!  It's a Ruger SR40.  Too heavy for my liking.  Maybe I'm just getting too old.

You guys opened my eyes.  I never even noticed the Ruger when I started posting that pic.  Maybe it all shows to go ya, " you can pry my radios from my cold dead fingers, if you can get past the hollow points". Or whatever that saying used to be...

When I recently moved to the new shack, I discovered that the previous owner had gone to some trouble to build in what can charitably be called a bomb shelter.  Nifty place for all my preps, but a lot smaller than my previous bug-in location. 

73 de Luck, WA4STO
http://www.qrz.com/db/wa4sto

That shack picture looks awesome Luck!

Gotta tell ya' - I was so focused on the radios & other equipment - I actually MISSED the SR40 (until it was pointed out-at which time I had a V8 type moment)!?

...and is that an IC-765 situated just above your tuner? If so, when/where did you pick that little hunney up? I don't think you had it last time we chatted?
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

WA4STO

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Re: WA4STO - grounding solution
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2013, 11:04:43 AM »
...and is that an IC-765 situated just above your tuner? If so, when/where did you pick that little hunney up? I don't think you had it last time we chatted?

Hey you!  How ya been? Where ya been?  WHO ya been?  WHAT ya been? 

Yah, that's an old IC765.  I traded it with a neighbor for my old trusty Ten-Tec Pegasus about a year and a half ago, I guess.  Back when you and I last talked, it was out on loan to ham about 15 miles from here.

Now that I'm back into traffic handling, I use 80 and 40 meters a lot and I find that the manual "notch" and "IF shift" filters on the IC-765 are easier and better during the summertime QRN.  Or ... maybe it's more like the multitude of filters on the IC-7000 are just too difficult to figure out any more at my, uh, advanced age...

So I end up using the IC-7000 for Pactor and Winmor work, and the IC-7000 for the CW and SSB work.   Seems to work.

73,

Luck, WA4STO
ARRL A1-operator, BPL Medallion holder
VUCC Satellite (all CW)
NTS(D) Digital Relay Station, Central Area
NTS(D) Target Station, CAN, TEN & NE
TCC Station ?Fox?

gil

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Re: WA4STO - grounding solution
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2013, 11:46:09 AM »
Quote
at my, uh, advanced age...

So I end up using the IC-7000 for Pactor and Winmor work, and the IC-7000 for the CW and SSB work.

Right.......  ;)

Gil.

White Tiger

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WA4STO - grounding solution
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2013, 12:15:24 PM »
Hey you!  How ya been? Where ya been?  WHO ya been?  WHAT ya been?
Well, I hate to sound like a broken record...but drama, in ANY form, in any role, simply distracts, disgusts, irritates, confuses, and ultimately wears me out...
Most of it lately has occurred at work...and (hopefully) it appears the problem has eliminated himself (did I say that out loud?). Weird when your boss goes nutz and slowly unravels, just as weird when you find out he's been hiding little Easter eggs in your personnel file...even weirder when the oberfuhrer's find out it wasn't true...

But that's all a story for another time...
Yah, that's an old IC765.  I traded it with a neighbor for my old trusty Ten-Tec Pegasus about a year and a half ago, I guess.  Back when you and I last talked, it was out on loan to ham about 15 miles from here.
I've been contemplating adding one to my shack...maybe selling the IC-271a and upgrading it to the IC-765...
Now that I'm back into traffic handling, I use 80 and 40 meters a lot and I find that the manual "notch" and "IF shift" filters on the IC-765 are easier and better during the summertime QRN.  Or ... maybe it's more like the multitude of filters on the IC-7000 are just too difficult to figure out anymore...
Another reason for me to stick with the "boat anchors" not only can I do some work inside the cabinets myself...I don't feel so stoopid when I can't figure out the myriad of button combinations needed just to make a contact! Im not smart enough to use one of those new fangled ICOM's!
at my, uh, advanced age...
Uh, yeah, right...like Gil said...haven't met a more knowledgeable person on any sight! If you don't know where the "body" is hidden...you know the person who hid the body!
Luck, WA4STO
ARRL A1-operator, BPL Medallion holder
VUCC Satellite (all CW)
NTS(D) Digital Relay Station, Central Area
NTS(D) Target Station, CAN, TEN & NE
TCC Station ?Fox?
There's a few more letters of the alphabet added to your alphabet soup of credentials since last we chatted, too!

...someone around here has figured out that retirement is NOT a euphemism for "done"!
« Last Edit: May 27, 2013, 12:18:17 PM by White Tiger »
If you're looking for me, you're probably looking in the wrong place.

WA4STO

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Re: WA4STO - grounding solution
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2013, 12:41:14 PM »
Tigger -

There is one itty bitty problem with the IC-765.  Speshly for prepper types:

It doesn't run off of batteries.  It's 115v AC all the way.

So for SHTF planning purposes, it sucks.  Big time.  And speaking of 'big', well, it is that. 

My new digs are problematic in that the BIL is smaller, much smaller.  Previously, I had the whole basement.

I was reading in the paper today about the obvious need for 'shelters' (call 'em bomb shelters if ya want) in Oklahoma, as well as the fact that FEMA (I think) has made a ton of money available for the building of 8' x  8' shelters.  And I noticed a year or so back that my county here in Nebraska also made that money available.  Which is leading me to think that the previous owner took 'em up on their offer.  In my case, the shelter is built of cement block; looks just like what I'd expect of a FEMA funded shelter.

I've had a contractor in to do a ton of stuff on the new place in recent months, including the installation of a new wood stove.  Yay!  I SO love to 'work' firewood.  Honestly.  Anyway, I need to get him back to do a number of other things, to include an ingress point for the electric wire output from the outside generator, down into "the hole".

I've got the big-butt Optima batteries in place, along with an ancient inverter, and since I heat the hole with propane, those batteries are going to last a good long time.

And that ingress point could also be used for coax down there.  Pity my main antenna doesn't USE coax!  Ha.  Gotta rethink that for SHTF purposes.

But I'll tell ya; this 270' horizontal loop is working far better than I could have imagined.  The old 9 band vertical is certainly up for sale at this point.

73,

Luck, WA4STO



gil

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Re: WA4STO - grounding solution
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2013, 01:45:51 PM »
In Florida, the only shelters I have seen are bomb shelters from the Cold War era. Probably because you can't dig here without water filling the hole.. Blocks are great if you fill them with rebar and concrete, but then, you need to make sure your roof will stay on.. Very different construction in this country, compared to Europe where everything is made of bricks or blocks. Almost no wooden houses over there.. The best shelter would probably be to burrow a shipping container..

Gil.

Frosty

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Re: WA4STO - grounding solution
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2013, 04:42:07 PM »
Blocks are great if you fill them with rebar and concrete, but then, you need to make sure your roof will stay on.. Very different construction in this country, compared to Europe where everything is made of bricks or blocks. Almost no wooden houses over there.. The best shelter would probably be to burrow a shipping container..

I'm surprised ICF homes aren't more common, especially for the preparedness minded.  They have a long list of advantages, including a proven record of staying intact through tornadoes that destroy wood homes right next door down to the slab.

gil

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Re: WA4STO - grounding solution
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2013, 05:27:18 PM »
Quote
I'm surprised ICF homes aren't more common, especially for the preparedness minded.  They have a long list of advantages, including a proven record of staying intact through tornadoes that destroy wood homes right next door down to the slab.

Indeed.. Or domes..

If I was to buy a house, a wooden one wouldn't be my first choice, because of weather and vulnerability to bullets! Even if building a cabin, and I hope to do so some day, I would choose stones over wood. Though logs would probably work too. It's easy to build a stone cabin with a plywood mold, raising the walls sixteen inches at a time.. Of course you need stones nearby..

Gil.