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Lightning?

A place to ask questions about base setups.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by Rabbit Ears » Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 18:56 PM

OWWWWW!!!!!
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Re: Lightning?

Post by MDYoungblood » Wednesday, 01 April 2015, 14:00 PM

Look at some of the "YouTube's" on lightning, some are really awesome.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by 443 Arizona » Wednesday, 01 April 2015, 16:32 PM

grounding the tower is a no brainer. grounding the coax just gives the juice a path to destruction.
the antenna(radiator) is isolated,[you want it isolated during a strike] the juice will pass over it and find the first grounding.
the tower takes all the jolt.
during good weather you can hook all the grounds together. there's only one trueground anyway.
i dont like connecting the house a/c ground to my radio stuff. tower should have a dedicated 8'er.
laugh at my plastic coffee can if you want , but i like to keep the circuit open so it doesn't conduct more power than some residual.
when you guys ground it to prevent lightning damage, you've made it part of the million volt circuit and its going to fry. and everything around it until it finds a ground. :lol:

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Re: Lightning?

Post by De_Wildfire » Sunday, 26 April 2015, 21:16 PM

When you hear any kind of static crash on 10/11 meters, you better run like hell and unplug it. Static crashes on this band means trouble is coming. I was on the low bands and used to static crashes which are normal so I decided to go up to 11/10 meters to get away from it. There wasn't any thunder around but very dark. When I heard S-15 static crash, I hurried to unplug the coax. With the coax in my hand out of the radio, the thunder shook the house. The coax felt very warm due to static build up but I was very lucky. I don't know how close the hit was but where ever it was, it was the first in the area. Never assume that you have to hear thunder before thinking about unplugging the coax. After that, I always watch the radar on my phone.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by applejack » Monday, 27 April 2015, 4:03 AM

jessejamesdallas wrote:
pa8486 wrote:I know this is an older thread, but lots of good information. So we ground the antenna outside, what to know can the station inside be grounded to copper pipes (your house ground) or is that a bad idea? As someone said several million volts, my first thought was to ground equipment to water pipes then thought, no, if hits antenna may travel through the house... Liked the idea of Loop, for my SAT 'TV does have the loop. Makes sense.
For as that "Loop" go's...I'm not 100% sure it works...That was what a Dish Network guy told me tho once when he was installing my dish...Made since at the time, so when I put up my tower, I also made sure there was a loop in the coax right below the antenna.

My first post in a long time bear with me. Water pipe ground is not a good idea anymore and experts discourages water pipe grounds because plastic lines are going to the street. So your copper pipe ends at the foundation in most new homes. A loop in the coax add inductance which is an impediment to ac and rf current pulses. It can't hurt and keeps rf off a cable but isn't going to save you from a direct strike! A lot of lightning damage is not from a direct strike but a side stroke. Ie: it hit a tree nearby, and you are hit by the left over energy as it dissipates.
Loops and good grounding is best for that. I have an 8 foot ground rod at the antennas, tower or pole. I have another at the coax entrance to the house. I have multiple cables and tv antenna and satellite all entering in one place. I have three 8 foot ground rods spread over 25 feet tied with #4 copper, I have a gas tube arrestor on each coax entering the house. Each tied to the ground outside. I also have a 1/2 inch roll of soft copper tied to the ground running to my radio table and on over to the electrical panel and tied into the electric ground. The idea is lightning is looking for ground. It will find it. If your body, a radio, or antenna is in the way it does not care. The best you can do is get it where it wants to go with the least damage. If you give lightning a direct route around your radio and not through you may have saved it from damage.
If you ground your tower and radios and don't tie your electric and tower grounds together. Your radio just became a fuse!


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Re: Lightning?

Post by MDYoungblood » Monday, 27 April 2015, 9:12 AM

applejack wrote: My first post in a long time bear with me. Water pipe ground is not a good idea anymore and experts discourages water pipe grounds because plastic lines are going to the street. So your copper pipe ends at the foundation in most new homes.
That is a good point and it is wise to check to see, in my area plastic (CPVC) is not allowed for drinking (Potable) water, it has to be a copper service. Same with inside plumbing.
It sounds like you have a very good grounding system, always better to be safe than sorry.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by ogdoa » Monday, 04 May 2015, 4:19 AM

When lightning is close I disconnect, wrap the coax in a plastic baggie, and throw it out the window. I used to put it in my grill until I thought about what lightning would do to the propane bottles. :cheers:
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Re: Lightning?

Post by 443 Arizona » Tuesday, 05 May 2015, 12:45 PM

just took 2 more jolts a few nights ago , coax was hooked up and the radio is fine. (i was in front of it.) swear by the rule,electricity goes to the quickest ground and my tower has an 8' groundrod under it. :cheers:

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Re: Lightning?

Post by 543FtWorth » Tuesday, 05 May 2015, 17:20 PM

443 Arizona wrote:grounding the tower is a no brainer. grounding the coax just gives the juice a path to destruction.
the antenna(radiator) is isolated,[you want it isolated during a strike] the juice will pass over it and find the first grounding.
the tower takes all the jolt.
during good weather you can hook all the grounds together. there's only one trueground anyway.
i dont like connecting the house a/c ground to my radio stuff. tower should have a dedicated 8'er.
laugh at my plastic coffee can if you want , but i like to keep the circuit open so it doesn't conduct more power than some residual.
when you guys ground it to prevent lightning damage, you've made it part of the million volt circuit and its going to fry. and everything around it until it finds a ground. :lol:
Isolated? :confused: Unless you are running a 1/4 wave antenna the driven element is most likely DC grounded by the matching network. Pull out your ohm meter and test an a99, imax or most common CB base antennas. It will show a direct short between shield and center conductor.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by 443 Arizona » Saturday, 09 May 2015, 21:12 PM

my "radiator" is open , have a hygain CLR2, its ground plane is first ground available which leads to ground thru mast-tower-groundrod.
the radio was connected but off. i might suppose that if radio was on there might have been enough residual voltage in the radiator and center lead to make a path right back into the radio, and then find ground.
but the radio was fine, making me think the lightning went to ground at the groundplane element. that is probably where the strike originates and not at the tip (top)of the radiating element. the static buildup accumulated by the radiating element may lead the lightning down to the groundplane. some of my radios have a small cap (just inside the radio,its the first grounded circuit vulnerable)to dissipate that. i'll have to open it up and see if its ok.(i assumed it was all fine since i was operating it later) i just figured the jolt went to dedicated ground.
i dont claim to be an expert but this base that i first built 25 yrs ago has handled a few strikes every summer.
i am still scared of (big?)lightning as i have seen it absolutely disintegrate things.
but i love the big thunder.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by The DB » Sunday, 10 May 2015, 5:37 AM

443 Arizona wrote:my "radiator" is open , have a hygain CLR2, its ground plane is first ground available which leads to ground thru mast-tower-groundrod.
the radio was connected but off. i might suppose that if radio was on there might have been enough residual voltage in the radiator and center lead to make a path right back into the radio, and then find ground.
but the radio was fine, making me think the lightning went to ground at the groundplane element. that is probably where the strike originates and not at the tip (top)of the radiating element. the static buildup accumulated by the radiating element may lead the lightning down to the groundplane. some of my radios have a small cap (just inside the radio,its the first grounded circuit vulnerable)to dissipate that. i'll have to open it up and see if its ok.(i assumed it was all fine since i was operating it later) i just figured the jolt went to dedicated ground.
i dont claim to be an expert but this base that i first built 25 yrs ago has handled a few strikes every summer.
i am still scared of (big?)lightning as i have seen it absolutely disintegrate things.
but i love the big thunder.
A few things here,

The CLR2's that I had my hands on over the years had a direct DC short built between the vertical and the radials built into their design. They essentially had a tapped coil matching system. Because of this the vertical element was DC grounded to the radial system, which in your case was grounded to the tower/mast. With that setup, very little static would build up in the vertical element to begin with. The antenna would essentially act like a lightning rod as depicted in some videos posted above, which is not necessarily a bad thing. You inadvertently set up the grounding portion of the antenna correctly. Good job.

Weather your radio was on or not would have nothing to do with weather the antenna would get struck. Also, the capacitor you mentioned in the radio will not ground the positive lead to negative. That isn't how capacitors work, and if it did your radio would cause some serious problems. Unlike the coil mentioned on the antenna, they are actually open circuits. Because of how they are built, if lightning voltage made it to the capacitor in the radio it would be the first thing to go. If it is in tact, then the lightning, or any serious, voltage never made it that far, which means the system was properly grounded to begin with, which as pointed out above, it was.

If your antenna survived, it wasn't directly hit by lightning. Aluminum isn't very strong, and a lightening strike has far more than it needs to vaporize an aluminum antenna. I've seen a lightening strike vaporize an antenna that was 100 feet away from the strike... There may have been strikes in the area, but your antenna wasn't one of them. This was likely due to the proper grounding you didn't know you had at the time...


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Re: Lightning?

Post by Rabbit Ears » Sunday, 10 May 2015, 8:02 AM

Well, our ole' pal had some experience with lightning too! :blackeye: :blackeye:
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Re: Lightning?

Post by 443 Arizona » Tuesday, 12 May 2015, 14:48 PM

my mistake. the center pin does have continuity to the shield.
years ago my first CLR2 took a strike that broke/popped the matchcoil apart. at that time the tower was a wooden pole with a groundwire running down it. not a good enough ground was my conclusion.
i have seen lightning hit my latest antenna(its on a steel crank-up)several times.
i was driving home and about 1/3 mile away, i witnessed the tip struck and then the bolt hopped twice, maybe more, down to the point of attachment at the mast , clearly touching off on the vertical element clamps on its way. the same bolt (secondly in sequence)also sprung from the outer portion of one of the radials and into the main bolt.

another time i was standing near the same ant. and wham it was hit. was able to look up and see the contact.
yet another time i saw it struck by what i'll call a small hit. residual or "heat" lightning,, basically a "tickler" . almost invisible. and was at midway on the vertical element. allbeit that was its point of visibility,
some bolts are just tick's and some are pounding jolts.

my tower is just outside my workshop door and i am often outside anyway.
when i am sitting inside during storms,, i can watch the sweep on a big microvolt meter and predict the hits.
maybe i'll hook up a doorbell to the antenna.
then i can inadvertently ringup a bolt too :shock: :lol:
Nikola had the right ideas...
with that same meter i can tell if a bird is on.(size,type,)
and what it had for lunch,,, althou that is found at the ground,,, :icon_e_wink:

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Re: Lightning?

Post by Rabbit Ears » Wednesday, 13 May 2015, 7:08 AM

I bet!!

Never had it happen so darned close to me. Woah.. :icon_e_surprised: :icon_e_surprised: .. you had what you call a once in a lifetime experience!! :icon_e_smile:
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Re: Lightning?

Post by MDYoungblood » Saturday, 16 May 2015, 15:53 PM

Searching the web today, found a neat lightning tracking website, http://www.lightningmaps.org" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; . Think it might be interesting to some of us.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by Lost Ram » Saturday, 16 May 2015, 18:37 PM

Bookmarked it, Kewl, thanks!!!
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