I've got some really dumb questions about station grounding. For starters, I live in an apartment; how can I ground a transceiver station using that screw on that back? I've got nowhere to sink a grounding rod, and I don't trust the screw in the middle of the wall outlets.

I've been told that modern transceivers running off DC power don't even need to be grounded, as the power supply does that for them, but does that seem right?


1 Answer 1


You have three different type of grounding used in HAM radio. First is electrical grounding. This will usually be down through the power supply as you mentioned.

Next is RF grounding. This would normally be done to a ground rod, which being in an apartment you do not have access to. In the past we often would use metal water pipes which eventually ran to a pipe in the ground. However in many building today PVC is used instead of copper pipes. While not ideal, I would probably also connect this to a electrical ground. Not necessarily through the power supply however. I would make up a plug with only the ground pin connected to my wire and plug it into an outlet. I might also get a simple plug tester to make sure the outlet is wired correctly. You can find inexpensive outlet tester in most hardware stores. As many of us have several radios, I like to make a bus bar by using a length of copper pipe. I attach each device to copper pipe and connect the copper pipe to my ground. You can also use a copper plate, but a copper pipe is less expensive.

Last is lightening protection. If you are using inside antennas, I would not worry about it. Most HAMs I know disconnect their antennas during storms or just disconnect them when the radios are not being used. Don't just unscrew the connector and leave it an inch from the radio. Move it a good distance. I am not sure you can actually move it far enough away to prevent damage from a direct strike, the more distance the better in case of a near miss. I've heard of HAMS that put the coax connector from the antenna in a glass jar to server as an insulator. I don't do that I am not sure it would work. You can also purchase lighting arrestors. They do require a connection to an earth ground such as a lighting rod.

  • $\begingroup$ Great, that's exactly what I was looking for. I am using indoor antennas; the only time I would be outdoors is either POTA or just sticking it out the window while operating, then bringing it back inside. For RF grounding, would I run a wire from the transceiver ground screw to the wall ground plug? $\endgroup$
    – plamobot
    Jun 12, 2023 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ That's what I would do in this case. $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Jun 12, 2023 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ RF ground is actually part of the antenna. If you actually connect RF ground to a ground rod, half your power warms the dirt. You could instead use an antenna that is a full dipole and doesn't need a RF ground. $\endgroup$
    – user10489
    Jun 12, 2023 at 22:25

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