The how big, how long and how many of ground radials.
While grounding for low power AM is an oft-debated issue, one thing we all agree on is that burying copper is a pretty expensive activity.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered a limitless supply of free copper, just waiting to be dutifully buried!
My new treasure trove might just be available in your town, too.
What is the secret to unlimited free copper for ground radials? It's our local cable TV franchise, or more correctly, the dumpster behind our local cable TV franchise office.
My current QTH is a small town of about 30,000 and we have a local cable brand here with a retail office and an installer shop.
It turns out that when you buy cable in the quantities that a cable TV company buys cable, the cost of the labor to troubleshoot cable is far, far higher than the cost of replacing cable.
Consequently, the current practice is to rip out and replace any run that might be even slightly questionable.
What do they do with the old cable? Labor costs, again - the least expensive solution is to pitch it in the dumpster.
Because our cable TV provider also offers VOIP, here's lots of old multi-conductor telephone cable in the dumpster, too!
All this to say that the discarded old coax is a bonanza for those of us who wish to bury it. Using the shield as the primary conductor and laying out as many feet as you want to carry home is sure to help your signal, so give it a try.
The usual provisos apply here - no B&E, trespassing or other skulduggery, I just walked up to the dumpster in the alley and grabbed all I wanted.
Wait until after hours (to wait until after the installers have cleaned out their trucks) and then check your local cable installer or franchise dumpster - the cash you save might be your own!
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