Vertical antenna base design and installation details

The Base of a Professionally Installed Vertical Tower Radiator

Several design and installation details associated with the base of a vertical tower radiator are critical to lightning safety, mechanical safety, and proper antenna operation.

KLO 1430 kHz Tower Base

This photo shows a professionally installed vertical antenna base insulator, high current-capacity lightning spark gap, copper ground straps providing four parallel low-impedance lightning discharge current paths to ground, and a heavy cement pier to distribute the combined tower weight, guy cable weight, and down-thrust due to guy cable tension over a large area of soil.

Note that the cement pier height helps keep the base insulator dry by raising it above surface water from melting snow or rain. It's height above ground also reduces the chance that vegetation growing around the base of the tower will bridge and short-circuit the base insulator. Note also that the bottom of the base insulator rests on a ball joint so the tower can sway from side-to-side without creating mechanical stresses in the insulator that will break it.

This tower is one of four that form the KLO 1430 kHz transmitting antenna array located southwest of Layton, Utah. (KLO identifies itself as being in Ogden, but its transmitter is actually located southwest of Layton.)

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