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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 12:21 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 703
Location: Fort Myers, FL
I've been reading through the discussions about antennas and antique radios...the longer the wire, the better for reception.<P>But what about grounds? What's the best way to ground old radios? Out of the 5 radios that I have up and running, only the Bosch 515 actually has a ground wire attached right to the set.<P>I have pretty long hanks of antenna wire for each radio. Will grounding these radios with a ground wire make a big difference in performance? What's the best way to do it? I have all my radios in one bedroom of the house, either on the night stands or on top of the chest of drawers.<P>Ken Ingram<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 12:39 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 8196
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Ken, a proper ground is the other half of your antenna. Some people use the wall plate mounting screw to connect to the house electrical ground, though that only applies to properly wired circuits.<P>What I use is the cold water pipe. I cleaned an area of the copper pipe and used a hose clamp to attach the wire to the pipe.<P>Others use a copper rod, about 10-12 foot long, driven into the ground. Still others run radials from the ground rod in a fan shape. Not sure if the latter will improve reception but rather is used for transmitters. Others will chime in I'm sure and prove me wrong on the fan part.<P>------------------<BR>Jim <BR>------------------------<BR>Who was the first person to look at a cow and say "I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out."


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 12:59 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2168
Location: Park Hills, MO 63601
Hi,Ken.<P>In most cases a ground will yield a noticeable difference. You could simply start with the nearest/simplest ground and see what happens for each set. Usually the iron water service pipe would be the best, but the shorter the ground wire (and the better its routing) the better the effect. If the outlets don't provide an effective ground, you can simply run a common ground wire aong the baseboard to connect each set. So, if the ground connection for the Bosch is OK, then you could run the common ground from that point.<P>For the sets without grounding terminals, you could ground to the chassis - but not on "hot chassis" sets!<P>------------------<BR>Mike<BR>From the homestead on the banks of the Big River<P>A Canuck walks into a bar with a parrot on his head. The bartender asks, "Say, where did you get that thing?" The parrot replies, "Canada! There's millions of them!"


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 1:03 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2848
Location: Ga
Even though some houses are still have copper plumbing sometimes the line from the main water line to the house is plastic so there is no earth ground. Sometimes you will find where your power lead comes into the house nearby is a stake driven in the ground to get proper grounding so that is a possibility. Mostly driving the a grounding stake deep into the ground increases the surface exposure and driving it past the typical frost layer ~36" down means that the moisture in the soil will improve the grounding effect. The fan approach can be just as effective since the fan is increasing the surface area but you would still want to have it at a depth of 36" or deeper so that you get the added benefit of the normal moisture of the soil to aid the "ground effect". I newer properly wired house should also be able to provide a good ground.<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 1:15 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 8196
Location: Toledo, Ohio
Told ya others would chime in. So the fan idea works for the recieving as well as the transmitting? Guess I never thought of it as increasing surface area but makes sense.<P>------------------<BR>Jim <BR>------------------------<BR>Who was the first person to look at a cow and say "I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here, and drink whatever comes out."


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 1:25 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 52
Location: Arvada, CO, USA
For what it's worth <A HREF="http://www.hard-core-dx.com/nordicdx/antenna/ground/index.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.hard-core-dx.com/nordicdx/antenna/ground/index.html</A> <P>They had some interesting stuff about increasing ground conductivity using ?bentonite?<P>Good topic, thanks for asking and posting. I don't know a lot about grouding, I"ll be sure and keep reading.<P>------------------<BR>I need a 40 hr day, and a 8 day weekend to work on my radios<P>Brad


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 1:28 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1204
Location: Watsonville, CA, US
"They had some interesting stuff about increasing ground conductivity using ?bentonite?"<P>I drove my rod in a ways the pulled it out and poured salt into the hole. Then drove the rod home. It seemed to eliminate having to "water" my ground rod in the dry summer season. <P>The kittly litter (bentonite)idea, linked above, looks pretty good! <P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 3:56 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2848
Location: Ga
The kitty litter makes sense, it is absorbent so it would attract/absorb any moisture in the ground and hold it. So that means the area surrounding the ground rod would be wetter than without the kitty litter, which would supply a better earth ground.<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 3:56 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2606
Location: Olympia WA USA
The quest for the best method of grounding for the old sets can become an obcession!<P> One friend lived in an industrial area and got mass noise. I suggested putting a piece of 3" ABS pipe doen 2-3 feet over the top of his ground rods (he had 4 tied together!), and fill the pipe with copper sulphate crystals, then pour several gallons of water in each pipe. Repeat the treatment several times.<P> His noise dropped to practically nothing, and he was a happy camper.<P>(Note; Some plants love copper sulphate and it will easily kill others. Look out for your S.O. if the plants die.<BR> "No dear- I have no idea of what is killing of your prized thorny green whatchacallit").<P> You can also make a "tuned ground". Quite similar to an antenna tuner, except its in the ground circuit. Its a great experiment!<P>I read about it years ago and one of my buddies built several types and tried all of them. I was amazed at how much better the signal received came up as the "ground tuner" was adjusted. He used a modified PI network for the best effect in his local.<P>I don't have to worry much at my house. 5 ground rods and an old metal water pipe 600+ foot long that used to feed the house that runs through a water filled ditch and a stream.<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 4:59 am 
Silent Key

Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 34328
Location: Sandpoint, IDAHO 83864
Just remember that to get current flowing, a complete circuit must be made. Jdut hit it on the head. A good ground connection is the other half of any antenna. We can capacity couple to a lot of "grounds", but the real McCoy is a rod or counterpoise to complete the "other half" of the equation.<BR>Curt<P>------------------<BR>Curt, N7AH<BR>(Connoisseur of the cold 807)<BR>QCWA# 25085 AMI# 242<BR>CW forever


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 5:32 am 
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Posts: 5417
Location: Upstate NY, USA
<BLOCKQUOTE><font>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Schulz:<BR><B>A Canuck walks into a bar with a parrot on his head. The bartender asks, "Say, where did you get that thing?" The parrot replies, "Canada! There's millions of them!"</B><HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>Great joke mike. My wife and I laughed our butts off. (must be 'cuse we're close to the border).<P>(Sorry, nothing to do with antennas)<BR>------------------<BR>Steve J.<BR>------------------<P>Crosley - Not just a radio, It's also a car and a refrigerator.


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 6:36 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 5
Location: Phoenix, Az, USA
Good evening All. I don't know much about antique radios (I'm here to learn!), but I know a little bit about grounding and bonding. I would advise anyone against grounding a radio with an external antenna to an electrical system in their home for several reasons: A) the nuetral is bonded to the ground where your service enters the house-- the RF harmonics may create feedback on the nuetrals which may affect the performance/longevity of your solid state items. B) your circuit breakers probably aren't as good as you think they are; if a fault occurs on the circuit your radio is grounded to your radio will probably be damaged. C) By grounding your radio to something in your house you have created a significant pathway from your antenna to every single electrical component plugged into your service. This could be a problem in the event a lightning strike to either your antenna OR your house. If it strikes both, hell, you did what you could.<P>In a perfect world your equipment would have a dedicated ground located at the base of your antenna or feedline (such as a 5/8" x 8' ground rod) with an insulated cable (such as a #6 awg) running back to your equipment, and your feedline would have a fuse (or two )in it before it even gets close to your house.<P>Adding salt or gritty kitty to your ground DOES increase its performance, but it is a surprisingly temporary solution. Unless you have very sandy or loamy soil you probably don't need a soil treatment. If you do there are chemical ground rods made for this purpose, but they are expensive. Sometimes a few ground rods in series will work.<P>May sound like work, but how much time did you spend restoring your last radio?<P>The worst repair I made was to an older house that was struck by lightning ( satellite dish). The service had a water bond but no ground rod(s). Virtually everything in the house that was plugged in was fried, and many of the outlets in the house were blown clean out of the wall. The insurance company refused the homeowner's claim because his dish didn't have a dedicated ground per the installation insructions...<P>Didn't mean to get so serious on my first post, but grounding is a serious topic. The first thing a ground protects is your equipment, as a byproduct, chances are it will protect you. As an added bonus, your reception will improve.<P>Anyway, food for thought.<P>Cheers, J<P><P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 7:16 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 1384
Location: Southern Ga.
This is exactly what I said a few months ago with driveing a seperate groung rod not tied to the house with ref. radio equiptment and antennas.<BR>I was told this was wrong by several and all grounds needed to be tied in with the house wireing.<BR>I continue to do it the way you said jay-lamp.<P>------------------<BR>Rodney


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 7:42 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 11100
Location: Vieques, PR, USA
Jay makes some good practical points that many radio folks have learned the hard way.<P>Unfortunately the NEC doesn't address issues to the favor of old radio folk. To wit, independent grounds are no longer permitted. Latest versions of the Code will have you grounding your heating ductwork and anything else within inches to a common ground.<P>This is a double-edge sword for the radio guy. The induction of noisy crap floating on the ground system can be a problem in many installations. Remember that your house ground is essentially dictated by the requirements of 60-cycle ac and lightning...a good rf ground is a different animal. The telco crap flowing on the 'same' ground is another problem. I can hear my neighbor's fax machine ringing on my 'ground'. <P>Thats not to say that you can't have both. I'm not going to stick myself out on a limb and say you should do such and such specifically but, in practice, you could run into 'paperwork' problems should you file an insurance claim based on a scenario where lightning popped from Ground A to Ground B if they were to question it.<P>Logically, it needs to be all tied together AND be an effective RF ground to suit 'our' purposes.<P>Thats a plan for thought that one should have as they scope out their individual options.<P>Like the drunken preacher sez, do as I say, not as I do. My own RF ground is not tied to the 'house' ground and is tied to ONE of the two incoming telco lines. Not a recommended scenario but works for me.<P>-Bill<BR><P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 7:47 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 31
With the transmission cable (such as RG213) sheath grounded at the bulkhead and at the phono plug on the receiver, is the consensus of opinion that another dedicated ground directly to the receiver will provide greater benefit. <P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 9:30 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 5
Location: Phoenix, Az, USA
Hey exray, etal,<P>I guess anybody that wants to wade into a discussion regarding grounding and bonding needs to have an open mind and some dang thick skin... Take my opinions as just that...<P>Article 250 of the NEC covers the majority of grounding and bonding issues, I'm not sure of what section you are refering to that prohibits an independent ground; isolated grounds are very common in commercial/institutional/ industrial construction. In addition to the NEC, the UBC and IBC have very specific language reguarding antenna/ dish installations ( most of this code refers to structural issues, tho). When it comes to code it all depends what jurisdiction you reside in. When I work in Phoenix I'm under the UBC. When I'm in Peoria I'm under the IBC. Peoria has adopted a later edition of the NEC than Phoenix, yet Phoenix has their own "supplement" to the code that is more stringent than the latest greatest code. The common ground ground between the two jurisdictions is that products must be installed per there U.L. listing.<P>Which means we are back to square one reguarding the grounding of antique radios/ homebrew antennas. I can only share with you the way I'd do it based on my personal experience ( how else would any of us do it <IMG SRC="http://antiqueradios.com/forums/smile.gif"> ? ). If you have contemporary gear it needs to be installed in accord with its U.L. listing.<P>Its splitting hairs to most people, but grounding and bonding aren't the same thing. Connecting your water main or ducts to the ground bar in your panel isn't a ground, its a bond. That's because your water pipes and ductwork aren't "intentionally grounded to earth." The reason it is bonded is to place all of the significant metal components in your domicile on the same electrical potential. It , in theory, eliminates the ability of current to flow freely between these items and a low potential (YOU and ME).Additionaly, should these components become accidently energized a fault will occur and (hopefully) open your breaker(s).<P>In trade slang its known as "bird on a wire," ie, thats why a crow can sit on a power line and not get electrocuted. The bird and the power line are at the same potential. <P>I can only tell you what I would do. I would entertain the thought of grounding a radio with an external antenna to my house electrical on a temporary basis, on a circuit not shared by my computer or stereo, and disconnected at the onset of bad weather or when not in use. But I doubt it. Hey, thats me.<P>Like many of you, I take pride in my ingenuity and my ability to solve problems. I resent being told whats right and wrong. Especially if thats the way you've always done and its worked just fine. Don't let this stuff cloud your judgement... All I ask is: Do you really want electrical continuity between your HF radio/antenna, TV, stereo and major appliances?<P>Just one man's opinion. I'm glad to be involved with you folks and look forward to learning all I can.<P>Jay<P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 10:35 am 
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Posts: 11100
Location: Vieques, PR, USA
exray wrote:
<font>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jay_lamp:<BR><B>Hey exray, etal,<P>I guess anybody that wants to wade into a discussion regarding grounding and bonding needs to have an open mind and some dang thick skin... Take my opinions as just that...<P>Article 250 of the NEC covers the majority of grounding and bonding issues, I'm not sure of what section you are refering to that prohibits an independent ground; isolated grounds are very common <BR><HR>
</B><P>I've got a thick skin...maybe from being shocked too much <IMG SRC="http://antiqueradios.com/forums/smile.gif"><P>I work in the cable tv industry, and not to pull rank or anything, over 30+ years I've watched the code drift back and forth. That implies that I might have to buy 8 foot ground rods or simple bonding clamps so I'm obliged to pay attention to the latest. It has gone back and forth a number of times. I'm addressing residential applications, not factory buildings that cover an acre.<P>I hate to quote code...because someone verifying the quote will invariably wind up reading last week's code, or their local code, or Bell Telephone's code, or the code of Sparky who has been doing it for 40 years, but my understanding is now that ANY metal within six inches of a grounded conductor must be bonded to it. The proviso about multiple grounds isn't really addressed in the case of old radios. If it were a battery radio independent of the mains then its own independent ground would be considered okay but only by virtue of it not being addressed....unless its within six inches. If its a plug-in radio then it falls under the umbrella of the other stuff.<P>One thing I've learned is to never quote the code...grounding/bonding in particular...because there's good odds that the rulings have changed since last time I read it and I'm willing to bend over and take my licks from someone more on top of the issue. And again, many local jurisdictions are completely oblivious to the ongoing changes. Applying what appears to be common-sense isn't a good option either. We in the cable industry must have been responsible for burning up millions of TV sets in the 70s when the ruling was to install our own independent grounds. In Eastern Carolina sometimes you could chuck a 4-footer like a spear and then have to dig out the top of it to attach the wire. Surges went straight thru the TV instead of the mandated 'independent ground'.<P>Anyway, circuling back to the point, you, me or anybody else suggesting independent grounds is giving bad/improper advice (today). No particular reason other than it suggests to relieve the onus on the hapless radio guy who sees a screw in the middle of his wall plate as the easy way out. Maybe the advice is legally ok/not okay and may/may not be effective for rf. The purpose of the code is a attempt to eliminate the guesswork.<P>Bzzzt!<P>-Bill<P><BR><P>------------------<BR>


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Thu 21, 2005 12:06 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 2168
Location: Park Hills, MO 63601
I think I can muddy this up some more. Local ordinances and local interpretation can vary as to what is considered covered and what is not. Furthermore, in many jurisdictions, a homeowner can get away with things that a contractor cannot. I know the arguments on both sides, I've "been there". So, we aren't going to come to a consensus on the code. Also, we seem to be speaking at cross purposes. The "ground" addressed by the code is not necessarily the same as the "ground" as radiophiles use the word. In radios, the ground actually completes the antenna circuit, as well completing the power circuit. That is why many radios have two separate "grounds". Having said that, Jay's general point is valid. You need to decide if you want your valuable radio grounded to the electric mains, which in turn are connected to the neutral. I have an idea of what happens in a lightning strike, and I know what I want to do. In my case, I'll use a separate ground, because experience tells me that the radios will operate better and with less noise. Your considerations may be different. I will also use a lightning arrester with a separate ground, very close to the arrester.<P>As for some of the other topics, I am leary of adding salts to the area of the ground rod - especially sodium chloride. Effective concentrations will kill plants, wildlife and eventually the ground rod. Any ground rod that transfers energy well, corrodes well. Keeping the area wet may also accelerate corrosion, but not as quickly.<P>As for lyle's question, it depends on how the radio was designed. If it is designed to ground through the cable, and the bulkhead is properly grounded, them presumeably the device will function to spec. Many radios, especially older ones, will ground better with a separate ground. Since circuits vary, and antennas vary, some experimentation may be in order to get best performance. As far as the electrical protection, you have to understand how the device was designed and ground accordingly. For most modern devices the polarized plug will be sufficient for general hazards. A lightning strike will fry your unit, though.<P>------------------<BR>Mike<BR>From the homestead on the banks of the Big River<P>A Canuck walks into a bar with a parrot on his head. The bartender asks, "Say, where did you get that thing?" The parrot replies, "Canada! There's millions of them!"


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Fri 22, 2005 7:57 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 220
Location: Belmont,CA. USA
Copper sulphate was mentioned to be used around a ground rod and moistened with water. Copper sulphate is sold as a chemical to be applied to tree roots to kill them, it will also kill many other plants. I would not reccomend using it near any of your valuable plants or trees, or your neighbors.<P>------------------<BR>Wes.


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 Post subject: Antennas And Grounds
PostPosted: Jul Fri 22, 2005 5:28 pm 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 368
Location: Dearborn Hts, Mi.
If you have more than one boatanchor in your listening post would it help reception to tye all the speakers and recievers into a common ground, sorry,what I mean is their cabinets?<P>------------------<BR>I'm an analog guy in a digital world.


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