With copper prices in the stratosphere, those thousands of feet of copper wire buried near your AM tower are really attractive to miscreants! A wrecked ground system can put you off the air, to say nothing of the financial loss at $5.00 or so a pound for thousands of pounds of copper. Here are a couple of solutions when renovating your old system or building a new ground system.

At LBA, we design most of our new ground systems in 40% Copperweld (TM) #10 wire. This stuff has virtually no scrap value, but there is insignificant AM loss due to the copper cladding being several skin depth’s thick at AM frequencies. It is stiff enough that anyone trying to pull it up should think twice about it being copper. It is also more resistant to breaking for earth movement and vehicular traffic, as well. Copperweld is available from LBA Technology at prices below soft-drawn copper.

Another solution is a utility grade aluminum four-wire elevated ground system. This is more complex than a buried copper wire system, but performs as well when designed with NEC modeling by LBA’s experienced engineers! These systems have the benefit of allowing the former ground system area to be used for almost anything – farming, buildings, storage, etc. LBA can design and fabricate elevated ground systems to suit your conditions, often at a price competitive with an installed copper wire system.

Copper Wire Reel

About The Author

LBA Group, Inc. has 60 years of experience in providing RF asset solutions and risk management for industrial and telecommunications infrastructure assets. The group is comprised of LBA Technology, a leading manufacturer and integrator of radio frequency systems, lightning protection and EMC equipment for broadcast, industrial and government users worldwide; the professional consultancy Lawrence Behr Associates and LBA University, providing on-site and online professional training. The companies are based in Greenville, N.C., USA.

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