Grounding

Newcomers to amateur radio often find grounding a very confusing subject. Even the “experts” can disagree.

A discussion about grounding a high-frequency contest station has taken place on the Contest Club of Ontario’s email reflector and it got me thinking about how I ground my own station here at VE3HG.

To complicate matters, there are two reasons to ground your station and high frequency (H.F.) antenna systems. First is for safety. All antennas erected outside are capable of being struct by lightening. That lightening needs somewhere to go. It’s best if the termination point isn’t your expensive radio. The second type of grounding is an radio frequency (R.F.) and here’s where there can be some confusion. Antennas cut for the precise frequency and feed with perfect feedline terminated with perfect mechanical connections at the optimum height do not require an R.F. ground as 100 per cent (okay there are some losses due to heat) of the signal gets radiated. In fact, at some frequencies such as VHF (6 meters and up) an R.F. ground can be more a problem than a solution. So why do so many hams think they need an R.F. ground? It’s because most of our stations are not equipped with perfect antennas at optimum height radiating 100 per cent of the R.F. being created by the transmitter. R.F grounding can help tame stray R.F. in the shack when used in conjunction with ferrite chokes.

Here’s a link to W8JI’s webpage that includes information on ground systems.

K0BG’s site has some useful information about R.F. and D.C. grounds.

Finally here’s another link from Hamuniverse.com on grounds by N8SA.

1 Response to “Grounding”


  • Something to keep in mind…….antennas don’t need grounding to work. Otherwise aircraft, spacecraft and satellites would not have working antennas. What is required is RF current flowing through a contuctor forming a magnetic field, which induces a return current in another conductor.

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