2014 Tech study guide: antenna safety

There were no changes to this section that I could find…Dan

Antenna safety is also of primary concern. There are two aspects of antenna safety—being safe when installing an antenna and safely operating an antenna.

When putting up an antenna tower, an important safety precaution is to look for and stay clear of any overhead electrical wires. (T0B04) When installing an antenna, make sure that it is far enough from power lines, so that if the antenna falls unexpectedly, no part of it can come closer than 10 feet to the power wires. (T0B06) This is the reason you should avoid attaching an antenna to a utility pole. The antenna could contact high-voltage power wires. (T0B09)

You also should position the antenna so that no one can touch it while you are transmitting. If a person accidentally touched your antenna while you were transmitting, they might receive a painful RF burn. (T0C07)

Another safety tip is to use a gin pole designed for use with the tower that you’re installing. The purpose of a gin pole is to lift tower sections or antennas. (T0B05)

At all times when any work is being done on the tower, members of a tower work team should wear a hard hat and safety glasses. (T0B01) Before climbing an antenna tower, it is a good precaution to put on a climbing harness and safety glasses. (T0B02) It is never safe to climb a tower without a helper or observer. (T0B03) When using a crank-up tower, an important safety rule to remember is that this type of tower must never be climbed unless it is in the fully retracted position. (T0B07)

Grounding is very important when installing a tower because the tower is basically a big lightning rod. Local electrical codes establish grounding requirements for an amateur radio tower or antenna. (T0B11)

Separate eight-foot long ground rods for each tower leg, bonded to the tower and each other is considered to be a proper grounding method for a tower. (T0B08) When installing ground wires on a tower for lightning protection, it is good practice to ensure that connections are short and direct. (T0B12) Sharp bends must be avoided when installing grounding conductors used for lightning protection. (T0B10)

Lightning can also be conducted down a feedline and into your shack. To prevent this, several manufacturers make devices designed to shunt this current to ground before it gets into the shack. When installing devices for lightning protection in a coaxial cable feedline, ground all of the protectors to a common plate which is in turn connected to an external ground. (T0A07)

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