Antenna Ground Wire on Vinyl Siding - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 10-06-2010, 05:29 AM - Thread Starter
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I need to run my antenna ground wire down the side of my house which has vinyl siding to a ground rod. I have two concerns:

1) How should I mount the wire to the siding? I would prefer not to damage the siding if possible (in case I sell the house), but if I have to, then I have no choice. By damage, I mean drilling holes or nailing holes in the siding.

2) I am using #10 copper wiring. Should lightening strike the antenna or mast, and discharge through the ground wire, isn't it possible the wire could get so hot as to start the vinyl siding on fire? In short should I use stand-off insulators for the ground wire to keep it off the vinyl? Or is this something everyone just deals with, and just mount the wire directly on the siding, and if something happens, let the insurance company worry about the rest?

Any help would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 13 Old 10-06-2010, 12:13 PM
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Grounding does not protect against a direct lightning hit. It makes your antenna a less attractive target for lightning by keeping static buildup on the antenna discharged to ground. Static charge can build up by wind blowing across the antenna.

Is the ground rod your home's main power ground? If not, you need to run a #6 wire between it and the main power ground source to bond the two grounds together and prevent ground loop currents.
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post #3 of 13 Old 10-07-2010, 12:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I use an eight foot grounding rod for the antenna that is about 25 feet away (as a bird flies) from the meter's grounding rod. If you measure by walking around the outside of the house (walk from meter, around the corner, then to the second rod), the distance is probably around 35 feet. The meter's ground rod is below the cement; the only thing you can see is a #12 or #10 ground wire going into the cement. There would be no way to attach #6 wire to the ground rod, and I know it has to be connected to the ground rod, not to the other ground wire by code.

If the wire is only used to discharge static electricity, then why do we need to use #6, #8, and #10 wire? #12 or #14 should be adequate for static electricity. Also I have read that I should not make sharp 90 degree turns with the wire... only gentle curves. Why should this matter for static electricity?

Sorry just really confused.

And I still don't know how I should mount the wire to the vinyl siding.
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post #4 of 13 Old 10-07-2010, 05:03 AM
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Local codes vary in different areas. I've never heard of having to run bonding jumper wires directly to the power ground rod, just bonding different ground sources together electrically to prevent ground loop voltages, which can damage equipment or worst case, cause a shock.

I would be more concerned about bonding than the siding.
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post #5 of 13 Old 10-07-2010, 05:25 AM
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They sell siding clips at Lowes, HD, and maybe Radio Shack for mounting cables , or in this case you could mount the ground wire to. It looks similiar to this:

http://www.telecrafter.com/Overview%...ng%20Clips.php

I don't think you have to keep it away from the siding, just make sure it's straight as possible to the ground. I guess in case if the antenna does take a hit, it would go straight to the ground, or maybe for less resistance.
As far as bonding to the existing ground rod, you could run another #10 under the siding so nobody can see it, around the house, then ground it to the existing ground wire since the rod is buried in the concrete.
The only other option (which I don't know if it's legal) is to run the antenna ground to a nearby metal electrical box ( like an outlet) and ground it there.
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post #6 of 13 Old 10-08-2010, 01:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll let you know what I find-out from HD/Lows too and post some pixs when it's completed.
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post #7 of 13 Old 10-08-2010, 06:30 PM
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antenna, mast/tower grounding protects against induced high voltage current that can occur with lightning strikes nearby. the amount of current is enough to cause damage to equipment and start fires, having an antenna grounding rod provides a sink for this before it enters your house. using 10AWG from the mast is good. the 6AWG bonding conductor is to help make the antenna ground and the house ground have the same potential.

if bonding to your house grounding electrode isn't possible then you could bond to your main breaker enclosure or meter enclosure.
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post #8 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 06:55 AM
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I wonder if it would be OK ("Electrical Code" OK) to run a ground wire inside of a metal conduit, with the conduit only grounded at the bottom, nearest to the ground.
You could check with the electrical inspector.

Ken English, Sr. Engineer, KSL-TV.
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post #9 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenglish View Post

I wonder if it would be OK ("Electrical Code" OK) to run a ground wire inside of a metal conduit, with the conduit only grounded at the bottom, nearest to the ground.
You could check with the electrical inspector.

I can't find my copy pf the 2008 edition of the code as I type this, but I'm quite sure that it explicitly said that the ground wire can be run in a conduit that contains other wiring as long as it is attached to the conduit at both ends
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post #10 of 13 Old 10-09-2010, 01:21 PM
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I was thinking of only connecting the conduit to ground at the bottom, so it was not carrying any current at all. That way, it couldn't be a "scorch" hazard, since any large current would only be within the grounding wire.

Ken English, Sr. Engineer, KSL-TV.
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post #11 of 13 Old 01-04-2011, 09:22 PM
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Here is one very good reason why you must bond your antenna ground to the service panel ground. If your antenna has any electrical source (i.e. switchbox, rotator) or if the placement of the antenna could possibly involve a nearby electrical source, then proper grounding might save your life. I had a roof-mounted tripod which supported an amateur radio vertical antenna. The tripod was grounded via a cheap Radio Shack aluminum ground wire to a ground rod, but NOT connected to the service panel ground. I had my roof replaced and the roofers removed the lag bolts from my tripod and then NAILED it back to the roof rafters. The nail came into contact with an electrical wire near the rafters, but I didn't know this right away. The result was that my entire antenna and tripod became electrified. Early one Saturday morning after the roofing job was finished, I ventured to the roof to inspect things and secure my tripod. The antenna was somewhat off vertical, so I grabbed the vertical antenna tubing with both hands and received an electrical shock, becoming "stuck" to the antenna. I could not let go and envisioned my death. After what seemed like an eternity, I managed to break loose and roll away, but fortunately did not fall from the roof. My injuries were minimal, other than some shoulder damage from the current. Later, my son and I went up on the roof with a voltmeter and confirmed full 120V house current flowing through the antenna. Had that tripod been correctly grounded back to the service panel, the circuit breaker would have tripped. I plan to make the proper connections back to my service panel ground from my radio antenna ground rods in order to avoid such problems in the future. Proper grounding requires heavy cable between ground rods and either clamps or exothermic welds to the ground rods. There are papers on how to do this on the web, such as at the Polyphaser web site. See "Ham Radio Station Protection" in their white papers and technical notes links.
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post #12 of 13 Old 01-05-2011, 02:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SonOfFrankenstei View Post

Here is one very good reason why you must bond your antenna ground to the service panel ground. If your antenna has any electrical source (i.e. switchbox, rotator) or if the placement of the antenna could possibly involve a nearby electrical source, then proper grounding might save your life. I had a roof-mounted tripod which supported an amateur radio vertical antenna. The tripod was grounded via a cheap Radio Shack aluminum ground wire to a ground rod, but NOT connected to the service panel ground. I had my roof replaced and the roofers removed the lag bolts from my tripod and then NAILED it back to the roof rafters. The nail came into contact with an electrical wire near the rafters, but I didn't know this right away. The result was that my entire antenna and tripod became electrified.

...I grabbed the vertical antenna tubing with both hands and received an electrical shock, becoming "stuck" to the antenna.

...my son and I went up on the roof with a voltmeter and confirmed full 120V house current flowing through the antenna. Had that tripod been correctly grounded back to the service panel, the circuit breaker would have tripped. ...

I had a similar experience back in 1994. The mast of a roof mounted, C-Band satellite dish had become electrically hot, and it gave me a solid jolt, and when I attempted to install a groundwire to it, the current flow through ground wire immediately tripped the 20 amp circuit breaker that the satellite receiver was plugged into.

What we eventually found was that, 1) the outlet the receiver was plugged into was miswired, with the hot leg being neutral and vice versa, and 2) somehow, the electrical isolation that the receiver's isolation transformer was supposed to provide had somehow been compromised or broached.

The circuit breaker tripped while I was fishing the bare wire through the crawlspace and I did not learn it had tripped until after I had connected it to a cold water pipe, in conformity with the code as it existed back then, which means that at one point, I had a bare, clean copper wire in one hand and a clean copper water pipe in the other. If the circuit breaker had not fortuitously tripped moments earlier, there is a good chance that I would not be presently available to compose this post.
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post #13 of 13 Old 01-05-2011, 03:04 AM
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Bigdog660 needs to connect his auxiliary ground rod to his home's ground electrode system, which includes its power ground rod, the box the meter is in, and something called "the service panel", as well as the first five feet of the copper water pipe where it enters the house. I'm not sure that the term, "service panel" is even explicitly defined. I think that, back in the old days, when home systems used fuses, the box with the gigantic 50-100 amp cartridges was called the service panel, and from there the elecrticity went to the fuse box. Now, the functions of the old service panel and the old fuse box have been combined in modern (how can somethng 50+ years old be modern?) breaker boxes. I have had some electrical inspectors tell me they would allow the circuit breaker box to be considered the service panel but others say that it does not qualify.

FWIW, if the breaker box is recessed into a wall, it would be more difficult to connect a wire to it than you might think. There is a requirement that a ground attachment screw cannot be used for any other purpose other than attachment of the groundwire, so you can;t simply wrap the groundwire around a screw that holds the panel cover on.

As far as the rules concerning mast ground wire minimum size, I think it is to better assure survivability in a harsh environment.
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