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W3ESX last won the day on August 9

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  1. Tom, We actually know each other! I was a member of MARC (you knew me then as KC3HKF) before I moved out to Baltimore and then to Detroit. We are back on the east coast now, and own a house up in Essex. I'm slightly out of the range of KV3B repeater, but that's one of the problems I'm hoping to correct by setting up this antenna. Sadly, the electrical meter and service equipment is on the exact OPPOSITE side of the house as my shack. That is why I intended to drive another grounding bar. I hadn't originally thought that I would need to bond the two grounding bars together, but as I'm reading more of Grounding and Bonding for the Radio Amateur, it does appear that I should do that for safety's sake and to ensure common voltage. As for the steel enclosure, no I had no particular reason for picking that other than that I saw a YouTube video with someone building a fully self-contained box with the lightning arresters and an internal ground bar and I quite liked the convenience and compactness of that design. This is the video. Are there any reasons NOT to use the steel enclosure that I am not considering? I will be the first to admit my electrical knowledge is lacking, but I am working to improve it. As of this moment, the only wire that will be entering my home through the grounding system will be the coax. The coax will come down from the antenna, into the lightning arresters inside the box, and then coax coming out the other end of the arresters will go back up into my shack through a passthru panel. There is an additional "dedicated ground lug" on the passthru panel that I want to use that I will likely drop down from the panel and bond directly to the ground rod, but I'm taking it one step at a time. Hopefully this clarifies some things. Thanks, Jamison W3ESX
  2. Excellent. I will get those orders placed for the passthru panel, the lightning arresters, some LMR-400, and some adapters and we will see where we stand. Thanks for all the advice! W3ESX OUT!
  3. Ah, I see! That could simplify the system a great deal, which would also save me some money. So, based on this, I would put the lightning arresters directly on the passthru panel, i.e. with one side being fed by the coax from the antenna and the other side screwed directly into the coax ports on the passthru panel. I assume those ports are grounded to the GND terminal on the panel. (Is that a safe assumption?) All I would have to do then is bond the ground connections of the two lightning arresters to the ground strap coming out of the ground port, and then bond all of that down to the ground rod. See below for reference of the passthru panel I am using: And here is the lightning arresters I intend to use: Would all of this make for a better system? If I am understanding you correctly, this would save me a ton of coax, which can do nothing but good things for signal quality.
  4. No worries at all. Truthfully, I needed to write all that out in order to picture it in my head properly so as to create the diagram. So you are in the clear hi hi! There will be two antennas run into this system: one dual-band UHF/VHF via a 10' Diamond vertical, the other a multi-band HF via a Chameleon EMCOMM III wire sloper. The coax lines for these two will run in parallel (the red and the blue in the diagram) first down to the grounding system, then back up to the passthru panel. As for type of coax, I was originally going to try to use the RG-8X I had on hand, but I will likely need custom lengths anyways now that I have this diagram so I will most likely go ahead and make the jump to LMR-400 (as you recommended) for the better resiliency/signal quality. The way I see it, I have two grounding solutions I need to figure out here: The coax lines from the antennas need to be run through lightning arresters contained in the box at ground level I need to run a grounding wire from the passthru panel down to the grounding box at ground level as well I'm pretty confident on my solution for the former, but not as much so for the latter. Any advice welcome.
  5. Here is my initial diagram of the grounding system, mounted low to the ground as @K3MRI recommended. The diagram leaves a little to be desired, but it's a rough sketch so I'm OK with that. The primary problem I'm struggling with at the moment is how to get a grounding strap from the passthru panel in the window down to the GND unit in the least-obvious way possible. I a) don't want it to drape over the window (the shutters are screwed to the house, so can't go behind them, sadly) and b) am worried about all the 90º turns that would have to be made to route it around all the windows and other items. Any advice is welcome. I have started purchasing some of the parts for this that I know I will need, including a 40" mast that I am very excited to put up. 73 de W3ESX
  6. K3MRI, thank you for the detailed response! Regarding the coax, I agree I could be doing better than 8X, but it's triple the price and I already have a ton of other stuff to buy...considering an incremental upgrade here, e.g. use the 8X I have now, and swap out for LMR-400 if I find a bunch on sale at a hamfest or some such. The advice of using higher-quality cable for the effort is heard and appreciated, though. Sounds like you are recommending what I am calling Option B for the enclosure mounting, which is close to the ground. That's good, because that's the one I think I like better, too. Means longer coax runs and shorter ground strap runs. I'm OK with that, especially if it maximizes safety by shortening the path to ground. I will have to do some thinking on the best way to route the cables down the siding and to the enclosure, especially because I also want to run a grounding wire from the passthru panel into the enclosure and, as you recommended, it should be orthogonal to the coax runs. PVC sounds like a great idea, I can get grey plastic conduit from Home Depot for nothing at all. Thanks again for the idea vetting and advice. I will probably be doing up some diagrams shortly to aid in visualization, which I will post on this thread. 73 de W3ESX
  7. Hello, After having spoke with several seasoned hams about my setup, I've come to the conclusion that I need a grounding system for my rigs and antennas for safety purposes. For the past few days I've been doing some research and I've come up with a system that I think will work and will last, but I have some questions and I would like some feedback. Thanks in advance! Summary Basically, I want to: drive a new 8' long (5/8" diameter) ground rod on the side of my house, fasten a 1" width copper strap onto the rod (using a clamp) and run it up the siding of my house and into an enclosure (details to follow), fasten the copper strap to a grounding bar within the enclosure, which also has lightning arresters mounted to it mount the enclosure to the side of the house and run the coax into the enclosure, through the arresters, and then back out into my shack via a passthru panel Enclosure From my research, I think a simple AC disconnect box will serve as a great enclosure. I will of course rip out all of the guts that I don't need. I will use the existing punch-outs to create ingress/egress for the coax, with clamp-downs (my electrician terminology is weak, I know 😆) to hold the cables in place internally. I have some moldable non-adhesive sealant that will go around the ingress and egress points to waterproof them. The grounding bar in the enclosure as-is is pretty small and the arresters are pretty bulky, so I think I will need to buy a new one. However, none that I've found on DX Engineering or HRO have been the right size (they are usually 10+" long and the box is 7" long). Any tips on a good one to purchase? I don't need a big one because at this QTH I will likely not be able to have more than the 2 antennas I already have (well, one operational, one planned). Materials This is pretty much everything I think I will need for the project: 1x AC disconnect box 2x Diamond Antenna SP-Series Lightning Arresters (one per antenna) 1x ERICO grounding rod 1x DXE Copper Strap Bonding Clamps 1x Set of Copper Ground Strap Jumpers (for jumping from passthru panel to enclosure) 1x 25' Run of Copper Ground Strap (for grounding from enclosure to ground rod) 1x DXE Copper Cleaning Kit (for making sure my connections stay happy and healthy) 1x MFJ Universal Window Feedthrough Panel Questions I have the following questions: Which do you think would be a better setup: having the enclosure mounted high up near the antenna (shorter coax runs, longer ground strap runs) or low down near the grounding rod (longer coax runs, super short ground strap runs)? I'm leaning towards the latter because RG-8X is pretty cheap, and copper is expensive. What product(s) are recommended to serve as the "raceway" for the copper strap and/or coax from the enclosure to the grounding rod? Needs to be mountable to standard vinyl siding with minimal damage, and of course weather-resistant. Thinking D-channel, but haven't found any that is specifically listed as being outdoor-safe. Also has to be pretty wide diameter, as depending on the setup I may want to also run the coax through it along with the grounding strap. (Is it safe to run the grounding strap parallel to the coax? Is it safe to run the pre-arrester and post-arrester coax lines parallel to one another?) Any other red flags from reading my plan, either safety-wise or code-wise? I do not live in an HOA (thank goodness) but want to maintain code adherence wherever possible to avoid damaging value of home (and pissing off XYL). 😍👽😺 === Thanks!!! === 😍👽😺 I am open to any and all (constructive) feedback and am happy to engage in discussion or answer any clarifying questions. 73 DE W3ESX
  8. It's official, everybody blame K3MRI for all rig failures, lossy coax, and antennas being out of tune! Hihihi 😆
  9. Went down to the Berryville hamfest and picked up a few neat items, wanted to share. 200' of paracord - for an antenna run I am planning Wattmeter + dummy load - for testing what I suspect is some bad coax Coax jumpers of various sizes - because who doesn't need more coax! Astron power supply - for the FT-991A when I get it TYT 9800 quad-bander rig - for getting on 6m/10m until I get the HF rig (I know it's cheap, that was the point) A miter saw - because you never know what kinds of deals you might find at a hamfest! I got this one for $80, and I've been salivating over the Ryobi one at Home Depot for $200+ so it really was a steal! If you went to Berryville, or even another local hamfest, and want to brag on what you scored, post below!
  10. I have never in my entire ham career encountered anyone being anything other than perfectly pleasant on the air...until I got into digital modes, specifically C4FM. The other day I was on Americalink late at night and I heard two hams using very nasty language (not profanity, but slurs) to describe the current POTUS and the Coronavirus situation. I was very disappointed, because even though it was late, there could be kids listening. I didn't want to hear that crap, so I switched my HT off. I'm guessing the ease by which folks can make long-distance QSOs on the digital modes encourages this kind of behavior. Which is sad. I'm not a confrontational person, so I didn't call them on it. But if it happens again, I just might. There is just no room for that kind of behavior in this hobby, IMO.
  11. Had a short chat with one of the sales reps at Ham Radio Outlet VA today about the Yaesu FT-991A. He said they are currently backordered ***60 UNITS***!! Also said they are receiving a shipment soon but it will just barely be able to cover demand, I imagine they will sell out nearly instantly once the backorders are filled. Apparently the bottleneck is the containers they ship them in, however that got me thinking and I asked him about the "chip shortage" that has been in the news lately and asked him if he thought that would continue to affect availability going forward. He said it might, but that he had heard that Yaesu and other mfr's were yanking (working) chips from older/defective units and putting them in new ones (again, only the working ones, I'm sure they're not recycling bad parts into new rigs). Still, it makes one wonder if it will be hard to source transceivers for a while until the supply chain balances out. I was hoping to buy an HF rig new, however it looks like I may have to wait or hope to get lucky at a Hamfest. I don't wanna pay much over sticker for a 991-A because they're already not cheap. Thoughts?
  12. That's funny, I didn't know it would post automatically for me! 😄 I'm glad to be here. My pal, AC3EO from the local radio club, told me about this website and I rushed to join because it looks very cool. I currently operate with a Yaesu FT-7900 on 2m/70cm and a Yaesu FT-70D on C4FM. I also have a Yaesu FT-60 for mobility on VHF/UHF. I have an Arrow Antennas 140/440 Open-Stub J-Pole (OSJ) antenna mounted in my attic, that I've been having some performance problems with. I will probably post about that in another thread. I am looking into obtaining a Chameleon EMCOMM III end-fed wire antenna so that I can get on the HF bands, and I'm saving up for a Yaesu FT-991A as my "dream rig" all-mode all-bands transceiver. I enjoy participating in emcomm, event support, and contesting, as well as ragchewing on the local repeaters and on Americalink and other System Fusion rooms. 73s for now, W3ESX
  13. Hey Ham Community, this is an automated post on behalf of our new member: W3ESX, On behalf of Ham Community, let's give W3ESX a warm welcome. W3ESX, we encourage you to browse around and get to know the Community's many sections. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask, as with all things HAM, we all love to give advice 😎 For everyone's information, W3ESX joined on the 07/26/2021; this is their profile: View Member.
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