24″ x 24″ x 0.125 aluminum base plate with radial tie points, 1/4×20 hardware
This describes the original ground system at my old QTH…”The Get On The Air ASAP” solution. It must be noted that mixing metals should be done with caution. I used aluminum lugs to terminate the fence wire and everything was sprayed with KRYLON several times. When disassembled after about a year, no corrosion was observed. See “Current 630M Vertical” for details on the current setup. The point here is a fore-bore killer system is not required to get started!
The radials are a mixed bag of available wire, everything from #14 solid copper to runs of CAT5 cable in nearby drainage ditches. Most of the radials are #17 solid aluminum electric fence wire, from Tractor Supply at about $18 for a quarter-mile spool. Due to severe real-estate constraints, most of my radials are electrically very short for 630M, several, however, are 500′ to 800′ long. The most important area immediately surrounds the base plate, as this is where the verticals ground current is most intense. The base plate above sits on a 20′ x 10′ piece of fine mesh “chicken wire” which was available. A sheet of copper mesh is most desirable if you can obtain it. All radials and the mesh are carefully bonded to the base plate, and the fasteners were sprayed with KRYLON ™ for protection. The baseplate itself was obtained from the local metal recycle plant in Rutland, VT for $20. I drilled the perimeter holes.
This would be considered a minimal ground system at these frequencies. It works.
Info and PIX of current system coming soon….