I am struggling to understand how to introduce an MFJ-931 artificial RF ground into my current system and am hoping for some help to sort out best practices. Although my use-case seems pretty common, I have not been able to find any helpful information on the Internet. So, I am hoping for your comments and suggestions.
Here is my configuration before introducing the artificial ground...
Where is the shack...
- I live on the 3rd floor of an apartment building about 35ft above the ground.
- I don't have access to an Earth via copper water pipes or grounding stakes.
- I use the ground in my A/C connection on the wall as the electric ground on the transceiver.
Antenna System... I have a 1/4 wave vertical antenna based on a 40m hamstick. My antenna system is not permanent and needs to be stealthily deployed when I use the radio at night. It is clipped onto a wooden rail on my balcony. Since there is no counterpoise, it is unbalanced. I don't have counterpoise because it would be too long for where I live and on the 40m band. Usually, I use a 40m balance diplole with two hamsticks, but I've found it to have very limited bandwidth within the usable SWR range. So, I wanted to see if things would improve by using a single vertical. The single, vertical hamstick is attached to 50 ohm coax going to Palamar 1:1 balun (CUBE Feed Line Choke Unun) to get rid of common mode noise. Coax runs from the balun to a Palamar Coax Common Mode Noise Filter. Coax runs from that filter to an Elecraft K3S transceiver. The only automatic tuner is the one that is built into the transceiver at this time.
For RF Grounding... I have a wooden desk and have placed a 1/16th inch aluminum sheet metal plate on top of it. I've drilled a hole in the aluminum ground plane for each device: my Elecraft K3S transceiver, power supply, and Elecraft P3 panadapter, and each device is connected its hole in the ground plane by a 10 AWG wire. The aluminum ground plane has a wire that attaches to the A/C ground.
For Electrical Grounding... The transceiver is attached to the A/C ground.
So, now I am stuck... I have an unbalanced antenna that needs counterpoise. I purchased the MFJ-931 to provide that counterpoise. My understanding is that I would insert the artificial ground as follows, but after doing so, no matter what I do with the controls on the MFJ-931 while transmitting a CW, the analog meter never moves.
- I connected the ground from the transceiver to the MFJ-931 "TO XMIT" connection on the artificial ground.
- I connected the end of a 100m, 10 AWG spool of copper wire to the Counterpoise connection on the artificial ground.
- I crimped an insulated end-cap on the end of the counterpoise wire. I set the sensitivity on the artificial ground to maximum. - - While transmitting a c2w at 1 Watt (to minimize interfering with others while testing), I rotated the inductance and capacitance dials, but the meter did not move. I noticed that my SWR was very high.
- I changed the frequency to one that would be around 2 when using two hamsticks as a dipole, but it didn't make any difference.
I apologize for such a long posting, but I wanted to describe what I have, what I've tried, and where I am stuck. Hopefully, these details and any guidance from our Elmers will be helpful to others, too.
Thanks for your time and interest, Mike