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Author Topic: Well as Ground  (Read 1192 times)

Offline bandarr3000

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Well as Ground
« on: October 20, 2017, 1829 UTC »
I've been living in my house for about 15 years and just realized that I might have the perfect radio room literally below my feet.  My house was built in 1952 in what was once the outskirts of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Just off the basement is a room that my neighbor and I think was a bomb shelter at one point.  It has reinforced concrete walls, ceiling and floor, and it's just below my current radio room/office.  Also, there is a defunct  well in a cubby inside that same room.  At least, the pedestal and well pipe are still there, the pump itself is long gone.  Also, just above the pedestal there is a short pipe that leads to the outside right next to my electric meter and a clear path over the roof and to an antenna out back.  Am I crazy, or could this be a great radio room, with a nice ground to the well? Appreciate your thoughts.

Thanks,

Dan
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Offline pinto vortando

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Re: Well as Ground
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2017, 1942 UTC »
Hard to say without actually seeing the room but it sounds like it could be an ideal ham shack /radio room.  Maybe a relic from the fallout shelter era.  A 1952 vintage well pipe or casing will probably be steel (not PVC).  Just be sure that if you do find it suitable and use it for a ground that it is bonded to the rest of the building grounding system per NEC Articles 250 and 810.   

It should be a nice cool environment in the summer but what about heat in the winter ?  Could get pretty cold in there during a typical Michigan winter.   You will need to bring in adequate electric  for the lighting, rigs, and perhaps heat. 

It may take some effort to get everything done right and properly installed but the end result could be the ultimate radio bunker.  :)
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 1602 UTC by pinto vortando »
Das Radiobunker somewhere in Michigan

Offline redhat

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Re: Well as Ground
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2017, 1401 UTC »
..I'm Jealous.. :)

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Offline Pigmeat

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Re: Well as Ground
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2017, 1432 UTC »
I used to be in the real estate business, you'd be surprised at the number of houses built from the mid-50's through about 1970 that had bomb shelters. People convert them into guest rooms, wine cellars, small recording studios, you name it. Give it a try, it will be dead quiet from external noise.

The best story I know about a bomb shelter happened about 1969. There was a wealthy couple who lived near me as a kid. They had dedicated bomb shelter on the property, and even better, a large swimming pool. When they left for their month long summer vacations, everyone and their brother was in that pool until they came back. We'd all been curious about what was inside that bomb shelter since it had been installed in the early 60's. One day, curiosity got the best of couple of the older guys and they came prepared with a tire iron and a crowbar determined to get in. They did, and they were stunned by what they saw, the couple had converted it to an S&M dungeon.

Literally everyone in the neighborhood was over there inside of a half hour to check it out. It was a scandal and a half, not just because of the contents, everyone knew they were odd, but because the were both educators, he was the principal at nearby HS, she was a teacher at the local grade school. The cops came up looking for someone to arrest for breaking and entering when they got the call, but they were as stunned as everyone else by the sight, and forgot about it. Besides, the two guys who had done the deed had ditched their tools and were milling around the crowd playing innocent, while all the guys who'd witnessed the opening weren't saying crap, it was against our code to tell on anyone who wasn't danger to the public.

The couple was back the next day, the thing boarded up, and the house was on the market inside of a week. They moved away never to be seen again. The guy who bought the place razed the bomb shelter as he didn't want people coming around gawking. He was a good guy, and had a cool son about our age who fit in. Due to him we had the run of the place for swimming and ball games for years.

Offline bandarr3000

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Re: Well as Ground
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2017, 1444 UTC »
Thanks for the input.  Now I can start planning, and might even have an alternative use for the place.  ;)

As there is only one pipe to the outside, what kind of problems will I get myself into if I run the ground from the house's electrical service and my feedline through the same 2.5 inch pipe?
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Offline ThaDood

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Re: Well as Ground. Wish now that I did that!
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2017, 1044 UTC »
Back at P.O. Box 452-land, there was a +200ft deep well pipe that was put in back in 1969. In January 1986, an Earthquake in Quebec was felt even as far south as that, and the ground underneath shifted and sheared away the well. However, the pipe still existed there unused, and I've wondered just how well of an RF GND that would have been for LF, MW, and HF. Thus far, the best GND that I've had was 20 years ago, when I pounded a 3 rod array right into a river. The biggest expense was the large AWG cable leading to that, but worth it. That was the best MW / HF GND I ever had and work fantastic as the independent AM Carrier-Current broadcast station GND. However, if I ever come across another deep well metal pipe, I'd most certainly would try is as a radio GND for sure.
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Offline pinto vortando

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Re: Well as Ground
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2017, 1705 UTC »


As there is only one pipe to the outside, what kind of problems will I get myself into if I run the ground from the house's electrical service and my feedline through the same 2.5 inch pipe?

Sounds like the ground wire you are referring to is what is known as the "grounding electrode conductor".  Under normal conditions, there should be no significant current flow on this wire.  Therefore, it should not be a source of interference if that is your concern.  However, be aware that if the pipe this wire passes through is steel, you must bond the wire to the pipe at both ends.  Otherwise, you have created a choke and if the wire is called upon to momentarily carry a large current (ie--lightning strike) it will see a high impedance where it passes through the pipe.
Das Radiobunker somewhere in Michigan