May 23, 2014

Take it to Ground! Protecting your gear

Tom Wilbeck speaks on grounds
(VIDEO) Tom Wilbeck, N5KGN, from Longview, spoke about the importance of having a good grounding system during the Rusk County Amateur Radio Club's monthly meeting Thursday evening.

Tom, who spent his career working with in the electronics and telephone industry, said his motivation for building a safe system came quite suddenly, in less than 4 milliseconds to be exact.

"The entire room lit up with a green glow. And although I had my eyes closed, it was so bright, I could see it through my eyelids." It happened just over 20 years ago, Tom explain. He was in bed when his amateur radio tower took a direct hit from lightening. The strike took out his computer and several items in his radio shack, and while he says he didn't loose his main HF rig, he did gain a healthy respect for proper grounding techniques.

Tom suggested placing multiple grounding rods around your tower and tying all of them together. He also strongly urged hams not to use copper braid since it can oxidize and also creates inductance. Tom noted that his improvements have helped to prevent any damage to his system for nearly 25 years.