View Full Version : Infrastructure and rough in for base station questions.

02-12-2008, 11:57 AM
I pm'd Groucho, but looking for general advice and ideas from the collective.

I'm new to HAM, just started the "wives class" last night, but I've been interested in amateur radio since I was 12 and in Boy Scouts. I started in a HAM class, but the math/basic electric theory was too far ahead since I had NO algebra experience.

Anyhow, my wife and I are currently remodeling our new to us home in Wheat Ridge, and have completely gutted a previously finished basement. Since we are replacing the entire electrical system from the meter base in, I'm looking for rough-in advice and pre-planning ideas for my "future" base station.

I'm already pulling a new 20 amp circuit dedicated just to my office, but wonder if I should pull a second circuit just for base station electrics?

What about routing conduit(s) for transmission lines to feed antenna(s)?

I'm certain there are lots of other things I haven't considered, and look for advice so that I can prepare for a kick-a$$ base station, while the ceiling and walls are all opened up.


02-13-2008, 12:09 AM
Install an exterior copper grounding rod as close as possible to the Ham.

Run a continuous 8 gauge copper wire from the new grounding rod to the Ham equipment only.

Don't run the antenna cable and the 8 gauge wire close to each other.

Install a copper grounding rod for an exterior antenna mast.

Install one 110v 20a circut just for the Ham related power load.

Uncle Ben
02-13-2008, 10:46 AM
I would run a 2" plastic conduit with smooth radius corners up the wall to the outside. I really wish when I built my house I would have done the same thing in a few places in the walls so wires/cables etc. could easily be pulled whenever needed! Imagine how cool it would be to finish your basement then still have an easy access to pull wires from the attic or main floor or even outside! Next house..... :rolleyes:

02-13-2008, 11:10 AM
Agreed. I would also run coax and CAT5 everywhere, just because you can. And speaker wire, lots of speaker wire..

02-13-2008, 04:06 PM
Grounding question:

So I need at least 2 big 'ol ground posts? 1 for the radio stuff and 1 for the lightning protection on the antenna mount on the roof of the house? I also see that I need to bond my lightning ground post to the power box ground to meet code.

02-13-2008, 04:07 PM
I my learnings with 'woulda, coulda, shoulda', I would agree with UB and make it possible to run cables inside and out from top floor to basement. I would also run CAT5 and such like Nakman said.

The grounding suggestion is also great and necessary. I would recommend flat copper sheet 1" wide in leiu of the 8 ga wire because it will allow better results due to electricity flowing on the surface of copper rather that the entire body. More surface area, more efficiency and better grounding characteristics. I would also recommend 220 30A service along with the 110 20A service devoted to the HAM shack. The reason for the 220 is for the amplifiers.

02-13-2008, 04:09 PM
Lots and lots of copper! I get it!

I'll have the extra dedicated circuit added in to our contract with our electrician, and I'll add grounding rods as I go.

I like the 2" conduit (non-metallic I presume) to the attic and I'll also route a spare out to the yard.

I'm also planning to put in a future PV array and plan to net-meter with Xcel Energy once we have the bucks for the initial installation.

Any and all ideas are appreciated. I've got the ceilings and walls open now, so I hope to get this all planned out soon.


02-13-2008, 04:14 PM
Ummm, I'll bite.

I woulda never guessed that any HAM equipment would like/need 220v.

I'm having 220v run over to my "shop" area, but already know that motor loads won't work well with electronic loads.


I'll have to see what it will add cost wise. What is the relative need/diversity factor for this for a HAM nOOb? Realizing that I will either get WAY into HAM (which I expect) or worse, get into it, and realize it's not for me?


02-13-2008, 04:23 PM
Most big fat 2KW amplifiers(legal limit for most transmission types) use 220. Big caps, big tubes big power supplies and big danger if not done correctly.

02-13-2008, 10:47 PM
Grounding question:

So I need at least 2 big 'ol ground posts? 1 for the radio stuff and 1 for the lightning protection on the antenna mount on the roof of the house? I also see that I need to bond my lightning ground post to the power box ground to meet code.


For sure one ground post for all the radio stuff only. Ground the ham equipment together to that rod. Also electricity to the room must meet electrical code (including a ground circuit). If you need or want to do more than this for RF grounding issues check out page 5-23 of the General Class License Manual and/or


Attach the antenna ground wire to the main panel ground if the antenna is attached to the house. That might eliminate a separate grounding rod for the antenna. If the distance is great between the antenna and main panel ground (when in doubt) put in a grounding rod as well and tie that grounding rod to the main panel ground. If the antenna is free standing, follow the manufacturers directions (which will include installation of at least one grounding rod).

An unspliced ground wire will be less likely to give of RF interference than one thats spliced. It will also conduct lightening better than one thats spliced.