From the Ground, Up

Posted by in Antennae

I failed to mention in the Backstory that I only recently relocated. I’ve only been at my present address for, at most, two months. With that being disclosed, you’ll understand more of this journey – i.e. besides my normal 9 to 5 job, much of my available time is spent getting the house organized and set up. I currently have a minimal amount time for Amateur Radio exploits due to the aforementioned scenario, but I am, nonetheless, determined to make Amateur Radio progress!

First things first. I need me one of them thar ‘grounds’! None of my shack equipment is ‘properly’ grounded yet. There is no way I am even going to attempt to transmit unless my equipment is ‘properly’ grounded and I can operate it in a safe manner!!

My ham gear is sitting on a 24 X 48 inch desk, sitting in a niche, as much as ‘out of the way’ I can get. About 15 feet(?) away is a window that I could use to route my antenna and ground wires to my gear. That is plan B. My plan A is to feed the wires up from the crawl-space beneath the house and have the wires exit a soon-to-be repurposed electrical outlet directly underneath the desk holding my ham gear.

The imagined plan A is to remove the socket from the wall socket cavity, safely cap (terminate) the electrical conductors that the socket uses and feed the antenna cable and ground wire up alongside the now terminated electrical conductors. I don’t know if this idea is just going to create all sorts of RFI or not but I guess I’ll find out! Other than this RFI issue, the only other drawback to the plan is that I am assuming that the electrical buss is being fed from the crawlspace and not from the faux attic. The house has high, angled ceilings and even though there is an ‘attic’ access portal in the kitchen, I imagine that any attic space that is up there is probably only about a foot tall (or whatever the building code minimum spec is). I can’t imagine electrical installers working in that tight of a crawl space, hence I vote that the electricians fed the house from below.

So… the plan is for me to explore the crawl-space beneath the house and see what’s what. Once I do that, I’ll know whether I have to shift to Plan B or whether I can delight and rejoice in being able to continue with Plan A. Once I know which plan I will be employing, I’ll be able to answer the next question…

Where can/should I drive my ground bar into the ground? I know to keep my ground path as short as possible, but is that going to be directly opposite where my ham desk sits (win-win for me) or do I have to move it towards the ‘end’ of the house where the Plan B window is? The crawl space is not tall enough for me to be able to drive a ground rod in the crawl-space itself so the ground rod has to be located alongside the house somewhere.

Part two of the dilemma is that I think my antenna will be at the back of the house alongside a wonderful patio that attracted me to this house in the first place, but I am not positive that is where the antenna will actually be. More about that part of the equation in another post.

So, tomorrow morning, I start the journey. I’ll find some ‘work clothes’ to put on and have myself a dirty snoop around the crawl-space, flashlight in hand and fingers crossed for Plan A!