Grounding question ...
 

Grounding question for computer attached to HF rig  

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eladner65
(@eladner65)
Eminent Member Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 44
August 12, 2019 9:18 pm  

I'm looking at a situation in my shack where under 55W (typically 10W) on my rig everything is good.  SWR is less than 1:1.5 on 15M and I'm doing FT-8 with my attached computer (CAT-V and dedicated usb audio) without issue.

However, if I ever go above 55W things go wrong on the computer interface, and the CAT and USB audio both drop out (USB detach).  The rest of my computer is fine.  I am have a grounding issue somewhere, I'm sure of it.  I don't have my computer attached to the same ground as my radios, and I'm thinking this is the problem.  My computer power ground is via my UPS to the rest of the house.

I'm having no other apparent "RF in the shack" issues.

Here is the question, should I ground my computer case (metal) to my radio ground?  Should I do something else?

Thanks, 73.

Ed L. (KE0TSD)


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AB0L
 AB0L
(@3d0g)
Trusted Member Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 81
August 12, 2019 10:01 pm  

If the USB circuitry on your computer is shutting down to protect itself, I'd say you're on the right track with grounding. If you're looking for an excuse to get a nifty gadget to confirm, one of these would do the trick.

I have a busbar above my radio bench and ground all gear to it, including my computer (chassis screw). Busbar itself has a ground strap that goes to my cold water pipe and continues on to my lightning rods outside (they are all bonded together). It's funny - if I run a full 100W on a frequency not terribly compatible with my off-center fed dipole, I have no issues with any computer or radio gear but it will cause a couple of my wall-mount power strips in the shop to buzz and occasionally trip their built-in breakers.

I've got a 40KV laser cutter in my shop so grounding was rather important for me when I started adding ham gear. Knock on wood, but it's all been behaving so far...

AB0L (Formerly N0KAI)
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Kenwood TM-V71A, Kenwood TS-590S, Motorola XPR4550, TYT MD-UV380, Kenwood TH-D7A, BTECH UV-5X3, µBITX V5 QRP


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eladner65
(@eladner65)
Eminent Member Member
Joined: 10 months ago
Posts: 44
August 13, 2019 8:39 am  

@3d0g

Oh my that is a spiffy widget, and just the right price too.  I'm trying to standardize on USB3, but this would be a fun informative widget.

I'm going to get on my case grounding, and see perhaps about grounding my monitors too.  I'm thinking the center screw for my wall power might be a good item to add to the entire grounding system.  I'll just keep my eyes open for the possibility of a ground loop getting added.

Thanks, 73

Ed L.


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