Elmer Request from Huey Treadwell AB3GS


After the club meeting last night, I talked to Brian, K3HMX, about a request for elmer support. He recommended I post this request on the web site.

I have a kenwood 440S and MFJ 969 tuner. No antenna up or connections inside the house.

I currently have few questions involving moving the grounding rod and getting another antenna up. Here are some that I think will let you know what kind of help I would appreciate.

1. Need to move the grounding rod and establish a good ground connection between antennas and coax to the house. Also wanted to know if there is a protection box for easy connection - disconnection so the wire isn't connected all the way into the house. Was hoping to disconnect at the grounding rod to keep any lightening away from house.

2.Read earlier glowing accounts on a Buckmaster Off Center multiband antenna on the club web site. Have gone online to their site. They recommend connecting directly to the receiver and not a tuner. Need to know feasibility. ( I was told the cub uses one every field day and they work fine with a tuner)

3. I am unsure where to buy coax for house from and which type to get. Do I just order the one with less loss?
( Years ago I used RF Connections. Was told they are still in business and a reliable source)

4. Would like someone with experience to let me know the best position for antennas in my yard and how to get them up there. Willing to buy the sling shot or pneumatic ones.

I live in Annapolis in the Hillsmere area right next to Quiet Waters park. My goal is to get something up before winter and use the winter months to listen and learn. Any help would be very much appreciated.


I am no expert and have only been in the hobby for a few years but I can atleast help in some of your questions:

There are many different coaxes that you can use, it really depends on your use and length. For me I usually try to get something in the LMR-400 quality or better. LMR-400 does very well with UHF and VHF without breaking the bank, sure you can spring for heliax, which the club uses on our repeater system but unless you are into distant VHF contacts with massive power LMR-400 is probably the way to go. Other options include RG-8U which is thick cable similar in performance to the Belden 9913, or RG-8X which is more like cable tv size wire. I do use RG-8X for my 20m dipole but it is only 35 feet from my radio so the losses are not that bad. Everything else I use LMR-400 or LMR-400 like RG8-U.

To summarize the LMR-400, or RG-8U LMR-400 style is probably a very good choice for coax cable, but if diameter is limited then I would go with RG-8X. A note, RG-8U and the DX engineering DX-400 Max is direct bury rated so if that is part of your ham shack setup then I would consider the "U" (as in underground) versions of those cables.

Here are a few links:
Flexable RG-8U LMR-400 style:

Less Flexible DX-400 LMR-400 Style: (Similar to RG-8U)
DX Engineering DX-400 MAX

Flexable RG-8X (higher loss but looks like TV co-ax

Question 1:

Not entirely sure of your setup, however I'll take a stab at this. You can use a ground rod clamp similar to:

Ground Rod clamp
Ground Bar

to be your connect/disconnect point. While this would require you to go outside ahead of the storm, what I personally do is I have a MFJ window feed-trough panel that I use and just unscrew my co-ax to the outside antenna(s). The outside antenna systems have their own grounding system that keeps lightning away from the house. You just need to make sure that there is no grounding loops created otherwise you will notice a large amount of static on your radio.

Other people use a weather tight box outside, similar to:
Amazon weather proof box

along with a ground plate:
it really is dealers choice as long as you stay safe and ground the outside shield of your coax.

As far as moving a ground rod you will find that once they are in, they are relatively difficult to move. It would probably be better to sink a new one 8ft away. the local home improvement stores sell ground rods for relatively cheap. If you really must get it out, they use lots of water to wet the ground and slowly pull the rod out. I do warn you that this will take lots of time and water to complete.

--Jon KB3ZVO

4. Would like someone with experience to let me know the best position for antennas in my yard and how to get them up there. Willing to buy the sling shot or pneumatic ones.

I also live in the Annapolis area and can tell you that I have used a 20m attic dipole radiating North-South for about a year. While this was an excellent antenna to get familiar with Ham radio it was not anywhere near a good receiver, due to shielding from my attic and the aluminum siding that I have.
Most Ham radio operators try to have their antennas radiating East-West to get Out to California and into Europe. My N-S antenna gets Russia, China, South America, Georgia, Florida quite well. I am now playing with a vertical antenna which as proven to be a better radiator. I would encourage you to come to the clubhouse next meeting 10/15 when I'll be giving the talk and sharing my antenna setup.

Looking at your home and property on Google Maps you appear to have options and trees going both E-W and N-S. Having both antenna solutions would be ideal but for starting out go E-W to capture the Americas and Europe.

Hope this helps.

After reading Jon's replies and talking with Brian, I decided on the Carolina Windom 80 for my antenna. Ordered the ground rod clamp, DX-400MAX coax and EZ Hang from DX Engineering. I want to thank Brian, K3HMX, for using his Sunday to help choose the right trees, advise on weather proofing, setting up the process for raising the antenna, helping clear branches, checking the swr and providing a great operating overview. I appreciate his time and help and am very grateful.