Then I returned home and used the mysterious copper rod that goes into the ground just outside my shack as the local ground and still keeping the ground rod 12m away as the "far" electrode. I think this may have at one time been an oil pipe from a central heating oil tank. I have no idea where it goes. This earth-electrode pair has launched my 472kHz WSPR signal which has been copied in Belgium and Holland, but results have been disappointing, so I was not expecting much on 8.976kHz.
Rather than travel 2km, I parked outside my old QTH about 0.35km away in the village. My 8.976kHz signals were copied, but not very strongly. I suspect that this was true earth-mode without any real assistance from utilities as I do not believe either ground rod at the TX end is coupled to utilities grounds or copper pipes going into the road.
|Weak signals over a 0.35km path|
|Path tested this evening plotted with Google Earth|