VHF/UHF Setup and grounding

The discone is up and running, and safety first

Pro tip: don’t bother with the MFJ fiber pole. I got the discone up on it, but it is a bit wobbly and trying to guy a wobbly pole will only make it flex. Anyway, I’ll see what happens with serious weather, I got it setup now and there’s not a lot of money at stake :-).

The MFJ Discone is cheap and not very well made. Some of the grounding radials fell out after I bumped the antenna into something (it’s a large antenna and my back deck is small). However, the fix looks simple - from the factory, the radials are only partly sunk into the mounting screws. I found that by drilling the hole out with a 4mm drill you can hammer the radial way deep into the mounting screw and it seems to be safely attached. I’m not waiting for other radials to drop off…

Safety first when you put antennas up in the sky. I bought two lightning protectors - one for the coming HF antenna and one for the discone. Home Depot had a bit of discounted very thick braided copper wire, and getting 8 ft of copper into the ground is simple: solder a T piece on one end, cap one leg, put a garden hose on the other leg, turn on the tap and the water will make pushing the pipe into the ground very easy. Took me literally a couple of seconds.

The 10m of cheap copper wire I attached with the hose clamp I used for the garden hose. I wound the braids around it a copule of times and then really tightened the clamp. My assumption is that this will deliver enough pressure to make a very decent electrical contact. I would have soldered it, but I only have a pencil torch and I doubt it delivers enough heat for such a large job. I’ll pick up a torch next time at Canadian Tire or Home Depot and fix it properly.

The copper runs up the back of the house and currently is provisionally attached to the VHF protector. Next project - a decent ground plate where I can mount the protectors and attach grounding wire. The plan is to decouple the equipment in my shack from the house ground and attach it to the radio ground - simple, efficient, and should prevent a whole slew of problems.

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© 2014 Cees de Groot. Licensed under the MIT License.