bentonite for grounds

Andre' Kesteloot
Sun, 03 Sep 2000 09:30:53 -0400

> Subject: [HCDX] Re: Hard-Core-DX digest, Vol 1 #52 - 18 msgs
> Date: Tue, 8 Aug 2000 08:14:45 -0700
> From: "Guy Atkins" <>
> Reply-To:
> To: <>
> References: <>
> Patrick,
> If you can locate a supply of the mineral called Bentonite, it makes an
> excellent ion-rich (and non-corrosive) backfill for ground rods and
> grounding systems. Professional antenna installations and electrical
> substations use Bentonite for lowering the resistance to earth.
> I have read that Bentonite is sold at animal feed stores; it is used as an
> additive to cattle & pig feed. Also, ceramic supply stores sometimes carry
> Bentonite, as it is a special clay used by potters.
> During a vacation one year, I got my initial supply of Bentonite directly
> from a refinery in Wyoming where they mine the stuff... they gave me some
> bags of Bentonite free because the bags were slightly ripped and they
> couldn't sell them.
> To use the Bentonite, you dig a hole eight inches or more in diameter,
> perhaps three feet deep (post-hole digger helps), and suspend the ground rod
> in the middle. Put in a few inches of the powdered or crushed Bentonite,
> water it thoroughly (it swells up tremendously with water), and then add
> another layer. Water that layer, and continue with water-soaked layers of
> Bentonite until the hole is filled up.
> The Bentonite absorbs the water, expands, and holds the ground rod very
> tightly in the center. Because of the expansion and Bentonite's conductive
> qualities, a lower resistance path to ground is achieved. It's sort of like
> using an eight-inch diameter ground rod at your site. The Bentonite never
> drys out, as it is "hydrophilic" and absorbs moisture from the soil to
> remain hydrated.
> If you do a web search on the term "bentonite" you'll come up with a lot
> more information about this mineral. Besides improving ground systems, it is
> used as a colloidal (suspension) product for everything from vinyl plastics
> to chocolate(!) to cosmetics. Also, Bentonite, in a highly refined form, is
> the key active ingredient in disposable baby diapers (I'm not kidding!). I
> know this trivia because Bentonite mining is one of the industries in the
> region of Wyoming my wife grew up in.
> Here in Bonney Lake, WA, our soil is very rocky, ancient glacial  debris
> from Mt. Rainier. Even though we live on a small island and are surrounded
> by water, the soil is still very dry and rocky. Bentonite surrounding my
> ground rods has improved the directionality of my impedance-matched,
> terminated 175 ft. longwire. There was a noticeable improvement in
> directivity to Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya after improving the ground
> with Bentonite.
> I also use the same ground for K9AY electronics (the head unit), although I
> don't know if this is really helping.
> BTW, there was a IEEE paper written some years ago about Bentonite grounds.
> The careful measurements and comparisons they did showed clearly that
> resistance-to-ground was lowered when Bentonite was used. This method is
> clearly preferred over adding various salts to the soil... Bentonite won't
> corrode the ground rod nor harm the soil or surrounding vegetation.
> Guy Atkins
> Bonney Lake, WA
> ----- Original Message ----- Message: 17
> From: (Patrick Martin)
> Date: Tue, 8 Aug 2000 00:23:06 -0700 (PDT)
> To:,
> Subject: [HCDX] Grounding
> Reply-To:
> Hi:
> As many of you know, I have several beverages and antennas I use. Here
> on the Northern Oregon coast we generally get a lot of rain 60-100
> inches a year. This Summer has been a "dray" one to say the least. Does
> anyone know what the best type of grounding I could use? Right now I am
> using a series of several rods (copper pipes) with #14 bare copper wire
> connecting them. It isn't all that easy to put 8-10 foot rods in the
> ground, so I use 4 foot ones. Most of the year the pipes are under
> water. Oh course in the dry part of the Summer the grounding is in very
> sandy soil. I notice this Summer when we get a bit of drizzle or light
> rain, the noise level goes down and the antennas work better, as they
> should.  What would be a resonable ground system that would work pretty
> well even when the soil is dry?  Also should I increase the number of
> rods at all grounding points, including the matching transformer
> grounding points and the termination points?  I am just trying to make
> the system work better, as we are trying to do. Getting that 1/2 DB
> signal can make the difference of logging the rare catch.  Thanks.
> 73s,
> Patrick