Grounding

 

If your hotspot ceases performing proof of coverage, this could be due to your antenna or coax being damaged by static discharge. No lightning is required for this type of damage, and it will be challenging to determine or rule out under visual inspection. 

 

Your antenna and coax will accumulate ions due to electricity passing through it (RX/TX) or when a storm passes through your area, or the wind passes over it. Over time, this accumulation will attenuate your signal by negatively impacting your SNR/RSSI. Installing a lightning arrester on the hotspot end of your cable configuration will allow the static to leave your assembly naturally. Many RF professionals install an arrester at both ends: You must run two individual wire conductors to ground if you do so. Connecting the two arresters will create feedback

 

The accumulation of static in your antenna/coax assembly can eventually beckon a lightning strike. Your hardware could be damaged without direct contact by a nearby lightning strike. Even over-accumulation of static can face you with the same substantial permanent damage, as will getting your antenna or mast too close to power lines. Tell someone you're working on your antenna before heading up a tower, roof, or under power lines, etc.

 

Ground your antenna with a lightning arrester in one of the following ways:

 

Arrester- Device used in RF systems to provide a path to earth for excess static.

 

  • Dedicated GROUND

Highly recommended - Hammer at least 7ft (2m) of a copper-coated grounding rod into the earth's soil as close to the hotspot as possible. Run a wire conductor from your arrester to your grounding rod. The priority is as short a wire run as possible.

 

  • Lightbox / House ground 

This method is not preferred and may result in some noise remaining in your configuration. Follow these instructions if you're unable to provide a dedicated ground. It's certainly better than nothing. 

 

In-home antenna grounding 

 

Wire length/diameter recommendations;

 

12AWG/equiv.  up to 10ft (3m)

10AWG/equiv. 10-26ft (3-10m)

8AWG/equiv.    26ft+ (10m+)

 

It's not advised to surpass 50ft (20m), lest your 'ground' become another accumulator. 

  • If you cannot ground your antenna to the earth, you can consider a ground plane, which can act as a ground by diverting excess static downward.
  • There is an added benefit to safety in properly grounding your antenna. Doing so will improve your SNR/RSSI, which can increase your activity and rewards.

 

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