Of Pounding Ground Rods and Labeling a Field Box

My arm is tired! I pounded in a ground rod tonight, a stout 8-footer from Fleet Farm. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it had gone in on the first try, but it took me three tries before I found a spot that didn’t have some obstruction about four feet under ground! (Remember I live in Granite Falls. There’s lots of rock around here.) I’m not sure which was harder — swinging the sledge hammer until the rod got stuck, or trying to pull the crazy thing out of the ground when it did. Soaking the ground with water helped to get it out in one instance.

It’s tempting to soak the ground with water before pounding your ground rod in, to make it sink in easier, but I’ve read that you shouldn’t do that as you wind up with a poor connection after the soil dries. As with many other things, the easy way isn’t always the best way.

Anyhow, I finally got it in far enough. There’s about ten inches sticking up out of the ground still, but all I’m doing by swinging at it now is flattening out the top. Once my wife hides it with a hosta plant it will look just fine! I tried pounding in a second one, but when it got stuck and I had to work it out (by clamping vicegrips on it and prying it out with a crowbar, a few inches at a time), I called it a day.

Much easier and more satisfying was labeling the toolbox I’ve converted into a field-kit:I’m asking an awful lot of this decal, sticking it on a pebbled surface. But so far it’s sticking just fine. Randy George, N3ZK, does a great job on these, ships them fast, and the price is right! For only $4.00 (shipping included) you get three of these labels.

In the field box right now is my Heathkit HW-8 and all the accessories necessary to zip out to my picnic table and get on the air with my low-hanging, temporary OCF dipole. Pretty soon it will be too cold to do that comfortably! That’s why I’m pounding ground rods, trying to get my long-awaited New Carolina Windom up and going before the ice and snow comes.

Todd Mitchell, NØIP, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Minnesota, USA. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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