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Grounding and Bonding for a 2nd floor radio setup -- need advice/recommendations


Jonathan Barrott
(@jonbarrott)
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I am fairly new to the Ham radio hobby, even though I received my license four years ago (delayed due to moving and work). My office is on the second floor where I want to have my radio (IC-9700), which will be connected to a tri-band Diamond x6000a antenna. 

My dilemma:  I want to install the antenna on the highest point on my roof, but the distance to the ground will be over 20 feet, over two different levels of roof on the way down. The coax will have a surge/lightning in-line protector where the coax enters the attic and I was planning on using a copper plate to tie into under the eaves. I plan to run the 6 AWG copper wire from the protector, through the mast grounding clamp, through the copper plate, to the ground rod. The spot where I want to put the ground rod (directly under the drop point for the 8 AWG copper wire (solid)) is around the corner from the service panel; however, a copper water pipe that feeds into the sprinkler box, which is grounded in the basement with the main house grounding, is right next to the drop point. 

1st Question: Can I bond the new copper grounding rod to the copper water pipe without running a solid 6 AWG buried copper wire to the service panel?

2nd question: Do I need to have a separate ground wire for the radio or can I ground the radio to a UPS (APC 1300XS) or to the normal house ground in the outlet?

I really have limited locations in my home for my setup. My office is the optimum location right now.

-Jon 

AA0AF


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Scott AK6Q
(@ak6q)
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Greetings Jon!    First welcome and thanks for posting.........   I just built a new house and took great precautions with my grounding.  I would suggest looking over the ARRLs book on grounding/bonding it was a huge help to me.   I followed their recommendations geared more towards a mountain top repeater installation, I did a perimeter ground ring as well I have a 45' tower that has more ground rods.  I grounded my antennas at the base of the tower with a simple ground plate and chassis mount ground bar. The coax goes to my service panel where it has Morgan Lightning Arrestors for each coax line as well as my rotator control cable bonded to the homes perimeter ground ring.  I am on a high ridge in north Parker and we are very prone to lightning. 

 

I would suggest a similar installation for you in that I would provide lighting/static as direct a path to ground that you can, my best guess is that your #6 copper is a bit undersized, as I used #4.   

 

I think you are on the right path by keeping all connections out side the house with a direct path to ground.  Now comes some confusing info...  By most building electrical codes, you should only have one ground point that the house AC system is tied to, and this can include bonding to the water pipe with a ground rod and or UFFER ground system.   However.... you may want to look at another school of thought and that is RF grounding.  Here you may want to separate the homes grounding from antenna/coax and radio equipment grounding to minimize ground loops of RF energy. 

 

I have the ARRL book if you would like to borrow it.   Keep us posted on your progress.  I am part of the Elmering Committee and this group is a wealth of information and we do make site visits. 

 

73 Scott AK6Q   

Elecraft KX2 KX3 K3, Icom IC-705 Yaesu FTD3, VX8


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Jonathan Barrott
(@jonbarrott)
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Topic starter  

@ak6q - Scott,

Thank you for the reply and suggestions. I do have the ARRL Grounding book that I am reading.

Question: Won't I incur a grounding potential if I separate the ground rod I installed from the house ground system?

-Jon

AA0AF

This post was modified 3 months ago by Jonathan Barrott

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Scott AK6Q
(@ak6q)
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Jon, there is always that possibility.  I would try and put all together and give it a try.  If you experience ground loops then you can separate them out.  

Elecraft KX2 KX3 K3, Icom IC-705 Yaesu FTD3, VX8


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AB0L
 AB0L
(@3d0g)
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Posted by: @jonbarrott

@ak6q - Scott,

Thank you for the reply and suggestions. I do have the ARRL Grounding book that I am reading.

Question: Won't I incur a grounding potential if I separate the ground rod I installed from the house ground system?

-Jon

AA0AF

No, because your house AC ground ends at your 12V power supply. There is no ground passed to your radio, which is why radios normally have a ground lug on the back. By connecting this lug to a separate "RF" grounding rod, you create a separate RF ground. This can be advantageous from a noise / reception perspective, but it is not NEC compliant. NEC insists that ALL ground rods be bonded together, regardless of their purpose. NEC writers are also not hams. 🤣 

AB0L (Formerly N0KAI)
-----
Kenwood TM-V71A, Kenwood TS-590S, Icom ID-4100A, Yaseu FT-891, TYT MD-UV380, TYT MD-380, Kenwood TH-D7A, BTECH UV-5X3, µBITX V5, µBITX V4, QRPGuys 40/30/20m DSB Digital Transceiver


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Scott AK6Q
(@ak6q)
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Well said Jeff!

Elecraft KX2 KX3 K3, Icom IC-705 Yaesu FTD3, VX8


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Jonathan Barrott
(@jonbarrott)
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Topic starter  

Thank you again for the feedback; however, I still have a grounding issue for my radio itself. Since I am on the second floor and I do not intend to bring the additional grounding into the house, my only other choice is to ground the radio somewhere within the house. Right now I am not experiencing any significant noise issues that are preventing me from hearing signals or sending the same. My antenna is DC grounded, but I am sure that will not help my radio.

-Jon


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AB0L
 AB0L
(@3d0g)
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Posted by: @jonbarrott

Thank you again for the feedback; however, I still have a grounding issue for my radio itself. Since I am on the second floor and I do not intend to bring the additional grounding into the house, my only other choice is to ground the radio somewhere within the house. Right now I am not experiencing any significant noise issues that are preventing me from hearing signals or sending the same. My antenna is DC grounded, but I am sure that will not help my radio.

-Jon

How is your antenna grounded? If it is, your radio is grounded too since the coax shield is at the same potential as the radio chassis.

AB0L (Formerly N0KAI)
-----
Kenwood TM-V71A, Kenwood TS-590S, Icom ID-4100A, Yaseu FT-891, TYT MD-UV380, TYT MD-380, Kenwood TH-D7A, BTECH UV-5X3, µBITX V5, µBITX V4, QRPGuys 40/30/20m DSB Digital Transceiver


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Jonathan Barrott
(@jonbarrott)
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Topic starter  

My antenna is grounded with an in-line coax lightning surge protector (Diamond SP3000P), that is grounded to a separate grounding rod. The ground wire (8AWG) goes from the in-line lighting protector, through a grounding clamp on the mast, to a busbar (less than 20 feet). I then have a 6 AWG wire going from the busbar to the ground rod I installed, which has an extra 6 AWG wire going to the water pipe which is right next to the ground rod--the water pipe is grounded to the house ground just inside the wall (approx. 5 feet or less).

What I am understanding, and please tell me if I am wrong, is that I should remove the ground wire coming from the ground rod I installed that is going to the water pipe. 

As I mentioned before, the radio is not causing problems (like RF burns or noise) and transmits and receive very nicely. I was on the digital net last night. I was told previously that my gain was too high and I was talking too close to the microphone (ICOM SM-50). I am still in learning mode but I am motivated.

Thank you guys again for sharing your knowledge.

-Jon

AA0AF

P.S. My call sign is likely going to change by this Friday (The assumption is NX0K)


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AB0L
 AB0L
(@3d0g)
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I'd say you're golden. Your radio is still grounded via the coax shield to that ground rod and you're also meeting NEC rules with that tie to the water pipe.

My setup is actually similar as I've got a cold water pipe (AC safety ground) through my shack and I can connect / disconnect  my RF ground system to it as my whims desire. Like you, I've found little difference with the safety ground tied to RF ground.

AB0L (Formerly N0KAI)
-----
Kenwood TM-V71A, Kenwood TS-590S, Icom ID-4100A, Yaseu FT-891, TYT MD-UV380, TYT MD-380, Kenwood TH-D7A, BTECH UV-5X3, µBITX V5, µBITX V4, QRPGuys 40/30/20m DSB Digital Transceiver


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Jonathan Barrott
(@jonbarrott)
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@3d0g 

Thank you sir for the reply, that helps.


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