Ground Rod For Ham Radio Field Day Operations

With ARRL Field Day 2016 around the corner and we needed a decent ground for our balloon lifted long wire, also to provide a decent RF ground for our setup. I have seen the local electric company use temporary T-handle safety ground rods for line work. I modeled this project after one of the utility safety ground rods. It’s fairly easy to build and cost about $12


  • 5 foot 1/2″ copper pipe
  • 1/2″ copper pipe tee
  • Ground rod clamp that fits pipe
  • Soldier
  • Flux
  • Sand paper or emery cloth


  • Tubing cutter
  • Propane torch
  • Hacksaw
  • Screw Driver
  • Pliers
  • Hammer


  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Well ventilated work area
  • Becarful of buried electrical lines and other utilities. You are shoving a large conductive rod into the ground an encounter with high voltage would be VERY BAD!


  1. Cut two 6 inch pieces from the end of the 5 foot pipe with the tubing cutter
  2. sand one end of each remaining pipe about 3/4 inches from the end to prepare for soldering
  3. Apply flux and slide the 6 inch pieces into the flat top of the tee
  4. Apply flux to one end of the remaining long piece of pipe and slide into the bottom of the tee
  5. Use the propane torch to heat the connections and apply solder. If you have never sweat fit copper pipe check out this link
  6. Make two cuts in the pipe 90 degrees apart like a plus sign
  7. Using pliers and a hammer bend the pipe into a point
  8. Apply flux and solder to keep the point strong
  9. Connect ground clamp about 6 – 8 inched from tee