Antenna / Dish grounding

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Howard Williams, Jun 5, 2001.

  1. Howard Williams

    Howard Williams Supporting Actor

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    Is there a better way to ground an OTA antenna and/or satellite dish than pounding an 8' copper stake into the ground and connecting a cable to it? How the hell does anyone pound those thingys into the ground?!!!!
    As always, thanxxx in advance.
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    "Hand over the remote and nobody gets hurt !!"
     
  2. David Baird

    David Baird Extra

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    Howard:
    The easiest way to get an 8-foot copper rod into the ground is to first saturate the ground with water. I do this with a garden hose and then using a "ramrod" type action on the rod, it goes down. You likely will need to put more water down a few times as you continue this process. Pounding on the rod will only fray the end or bend the rod. I have several ground rods for my ham radio station as well as DBS and OTA antenna all of which I installed using the above method. Good luck.
    David
     
  3. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    ...unless you live in a rocky area. There are very few places on my property where you could be lucky enough to sink an 8' rod.
    You must have an existing grounding rod. Can you use that?
    Most likely, if you have a basement/foundation, very near your house was backfilled after construction and should have few large rocks. You should be able to sink a rod there.
    Alternatively, you CAN sink your rod at an angle to avoid bedrock, or you can use a 4' rod. Either of these would be a last resort.
    -Scott
     
  4. Howard Williams

    Howard Williams Supporting Actor

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    I hate to sound dense but could you please elaborate on the difference between ramroding vs. pounding. When you say ramrod I think of the hammer movement being completly vertical as opposed to pound, taking an arcing swing like you're chopping firewood. Is that what you mean? Are both using a sledge hammer? For ramroding, are you saying there is additonal equipment/machinery I need? (to rent?)
    How would I know if I already have a grounding rod on my property? Are they common? Where might it be located?
    So are you guys saying that everyone with a DBS has such a grounding rod? I would have thought there was an easier way that's just as safe and effective.
    Is the ground rod installation part of a standard DBS installation? I would think that if it's so necessary, it would be.
    ------------------
    "Hand over the remote and nobody gets hurt !!"
     
  5. Craig Woodhall

    Craig Woodhall Supporting Actor

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    I think your hydro meter has a grounding rod. Another option from the 8' grounding rod is a grounding plate. It is a steel plate used for DSS that is about 12"x10" and has a clamp built-in for the grounding wire. I got mine at Home Depot for $30 CDN. The beauty of this is it only has to be burried 2-3ft down instead of trying to punch something 8ft down into the ground, much less chance of hitting rocks at that depth.
    Craig
     
  6. Randy Boecker

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    I was extremely anxious about driving an 8' ground rod for my roof-top antenna, however I personally feel it's the best way to go. Here in the states, it's pretty much mandatory if you can't get to the main house ground.
    I found that by putting the rod in right next the foundation of the house, it went down pretty easy by hand about half way. I drove the rest of it with a 3 lb. mallet. I've still got about a foot and a half sticking up out of the ground, but as long as it's at least 5' down, it's good to go.
    I found that the grounding requirements were the biggest headache in my installing my dishes and rooftop antenna.
    Also make sure you ground the leads with a grounding block before they go into the house.
     
  7. David Baird

    David Baird Extra

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    Howard:
    By ramrodding, I mean grasping the rod with both hands and working it up and down in a vertical motion into the saturated soil repeatedly. NO pounding with a hammer or any such blunt tool....Just jamming it into the earth by holding onto it with your hands. Good luck.
     
  8. Tom Herman

    Tom Herman Auditioning

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    easiest way to pound in a rod -
    Go to an construction equipment rental yard and rent a large size (>1" hole rating) rotary hammer (eg Milwaukee, Bosch, etc) with an SDS-plus or splined chuck.
    A 1/2" diameter rod should loosely fit into the chuck, a 5/8" rod may or may not.
    Set the rotary hammer to "hammer only" mode, it will pound the rod thru anything except a large buried boulder or thick concrete. You will, of course, need a stool or ladder to be able to start it off. There are specialized "ground rod driving bits" made, but are hard to find rentals on these bits.
    If you're driving the rod adjacent to house foundation, you will likely encounter impenetrable concrete that oozed out sideways from under the form boards, at the time of construction. No problem-- have a 7/8" drilling bit on hand, use the rotary hammer to drill a hole thru the concrete, then pound the rod.
    For those of you who have not used a rotary hammer, the bigger ones are maybe 12-15 lbs weight, rent for maybe $40 per day, and will drill or hammer like the proverbial hot knife in butter.
     
  9. StephenL

    StephenL Second Unit

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    If the antenna or dish is bonded to a seperate ground rod, that ground rod must be bonded to the building power grounding electrode system with a bonding jumper not smaller than No. 6 copper. If these separate grounds are not bonded together, a very large difference in ground potential can develop across, and equalize through, your TV tuner, satellite receiver, etc. Check your local codes. More information about grounding:
    http://forums.nfpa.org:8081/necfaq/necsrch.htm (search for "dish")
    http://www.cinergy.com/surge/ttip08.htm
    http://www.psihq.com/iread/strpgrnd.htm
    http://www.powerclinic.com/tex01.htm
    http://www.powerclinic.com/images/te1fig1.gif
    http://www.polyphaser.com/ppc_technical.asp
    http://www.qsl.net/n1lo/tower.htm
     
  10. Claude M

    Claude M Stunt Coordinator

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    StephenL, since the LNBs are in a plastic assembly the new ground will not loop back to equiptment from the RG6.
     
  11. StephenL

    StephenL Second Unit

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    My RCA dual LNB has a plastic shell around a metal casting that attaches to the metal support arm. In any case, all metal components, including the mast and coax shield, should be grounded at the same potential as the building electrical power ground to reduce the risk of damage from static discharge. Grounding should comply with the National Electrical Code (NEC) and local codes: http://forums.nfpa.org:8081/necfaq/necsrch.htm (search for "dish") http://www.mikeholt.com/Newsletters/satellite.htm
     
  12. Claude M

    Claude M Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes, I agree with you 100%. I was thinking of a grn loop type deal (grn loop hum). But if you are hit with lightning, the picture gets very ugly! Follow he codes! [​IMG] Claude
     
  13. Howard Williams

    Howard Williams Supporting Actor

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    Ok...I've been reading some of these articles and here's one thing I don't get. They seem to say that even if you have a ground rod, you need to jumper it the main house ground in the main electrical panel (I forget exactly how they refer to it). If your gonna run a jumper to it you might as well use that as your ground and forget the grounding rod all together, right? Once again, I'm sure I'm missing something.
    ------------------
    "Hand over the remote and nobody gets hurt !!"
     
  14. Howard Williams

    Howard Williams Supporting Actor

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    You know what? I think I'll just pay someone to come out do what ever it takes. That's the onlyway I'll be sure. I am so confused it's scary.
    If I didn't know better, it seems that everything that needs to be grounded (the dish, the dish mast, the OTA mast, the grounding blocks at each penetration, etc. etc.)all need to be connected to the "Building or structure grounding electrode system" and I have no idea where that is, how to connect to it or how safe it is to touch.
    Even though I've done 90% of the installation myself, I'll probably have to pay someone 85% of the full installation cost to get the final 10% of the work done. This should not be so complicated.
    ARGHHHH !!!!!!!!!!
    ------------------
    "Hand over the remote and nobody gets hurt !!"
     
  15. StephenL

    StephenL Second Unit

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    In my house the power service (main panel) is grounded to the copper water pipe where it emerges from the basement floor. (The NEC now requires that a metal underground water pipe must be supplemented by at least one additional electrode.) My VHF/UHF antenna and dish are mounted on the same mast. The NEC requires the grounding conductor to be connected to the nearest accessible location described in the code. In my case that location is the copper water pipe. I have an 8 AWG solid copper conductor connecting a ground clamp on the mast with a ground clamp on the copper water pipe. I have another 8 AWG solid copper conductor connecting the ground block for both coax cables with a ground clamp on the copper water pipe. Most manuals for consumer electronic receivers, TVs and VCRs have a diagram that illustrates outdoor antenna grounding.
     
  16. JerryLA

    JerryLA Stunt Coordinator

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    Howard,
    I'll share a grounding rod horror story with you. When we first moved to Colorado I did the install of my Dish receiver and thought nothing about pounding the copper rod into the ground at the corner of our house. NO BIG DEAL. I had a little problem with rocks, (I know now why its called the Rocky Mountains) but the install went fairly uneventful. This was in June. No Problem! The winter snows came and the next spring I came home one day to find I had no power to my garage or half of my house. After having the local electric company come out, they discovered when pounding in the copper rod I apparently nicked a power line going to the garage and feeding some of my house. To make a long story short, when the snow started melting and the ground became saturated it shorted out my dish system and ruined my receiver. Everything was covered by insurance but it was a major pain to get it all taken care of.
    Moral of the story: Check where you are about to pound that copper rod into. It could possibly save you time and money in the future.
    Jerry
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  17. carl-s

    carl-s Extra

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    If you soil isn't too bad then you can get a post pounder for driving that rod in . A post pounder is what is used to drive 6 or 8ft fence post and is nothing more than a hollow steel pipe ,about 28 inches tall,with a handle on each side and a welded plate on top. I prefer one of these instead of a sledge hammer. You will only be able to go so low then you hammer it the rest of the way to the ground.
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  18. Tom Herman

    Tom Herman Auditioning

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    To avoid the problem JerryLA had (driving a ground rod damages a hidden underground pipe or electrical cable)-- in many regions, there are underground utility detection services that will come out to your house ("free - no charge") and locate these underground utilities. Sometimes it is done by the local power utility, othertimes it is an independent service that all the local utilities subscribe to.
    The services do a remarkably accurate job of localizing the underground pipes. I was scared I'd drive a rod into the my underground 220V electrical service and electrocute myself, but was able to stay well away from the power feed.
     
  19. Randy Boecker

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    Howard:
    I wanted to avoid the installation costs and decided to put up my own antenna. The grounding requirements drove me nuts!! I thought about hiring someone to do it for me, but you need to be real careful who you get. I know for a fact that the people that installed my first satellite dish did not ground it to code. Paying someone to do it for you only means you'll get picture when you're done. I wouldn't count on strict adherence to the NEC.
    I figured there are two main issues: lighting protection and running off static buildup in the coaxial lead itself. I drove a ground rod next to the foundation of my house after 3 days of rain. It went in surprisingly easily. I used a #10 copper wire to ground the antenna mast to the rod. I then used a dual ground block for my tv antenna lead and my satellite dish lead. For that one, I ran another #10 copper wire around to the electrical box (about 50 ft around the house!) and grounded where the telephone and cable systems are grounded. The satellite dishes themselves are then grounded to the ground block as well. Everything goes to the house ground except the antenna mast.
    So far, I've had no problems. I figured I could either go crazy trying to adhere to codes that were written for newer constructions and commercial buildings, or I could just be as safe as I possibly could. I had my old satellite system improperly grounded for 5 years and never had a problem. It's best to adhere to code if you can. But for my money, I'm as safe as I can be, and I'd rather do the installation myself.
     
  20. Mike Bushroe

    Mike Bushroe Auditioning

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    Howard,
    I have in the past replaced my main electrical box with a whole new service, including addin two new grounding rods. I used the fence post setter described above, then pounded below ground level with a hammer. If your main electrical box on the outside of the house has circuit breakers, than things should be easy. Remove the cover plate that surrounds the circuit breakers (you may want to shut off main power first, usually 2 large breakers at the top) and expose the wiring. There should be a metal strip with many holes with screws, and all the white wires goinf to it. This is the grounding block inside the panel. There should also be a bare copper wire, probably 6 gauage, in the block as well. That copper wire probably goes out of the power panel and into the ground, leading the the original building grounding device (ground rod(s), water pipe, ground plate, etc). You can connect and additional ground wire to that and run it to your mast, dish, and coax grounding blocks. Or, you can run the ground wire into the power panel and connect it to the grounding block there. That way, you do not need to pound in another grounding rod next to you dish. However, incase of lightning, you may get somewhat better protection from having a grounding rode very close by, using 6 gauge or larger grounding wire, and running the gounding jumper back to the power pannel/main ground. Although both grounding rods will normally be at the same potential, if a high voltage line fell on the ground, or lighting strikes nearby, the ground itself will temporarily generate several hundred volts per foot. The grounding jumper is to prevent the second grounding rod from destroying your equipment during this rare, and usually brief occurance. Hope this helps. The task is doable.
    Mike
     

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