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Lightning?

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Lightning?

Post by oceanliner » Saturday, 12 July 2008, 21:51 PM

Just curious as to what you long time operators do when mother nature decides to throw some lightning your way.

So far i been unplugging coax and throwing it out the window, However, i am worried about the ends soaking up water and teh other day i turned on radio and almost keyed up before i plugged coax back in YIKES!!!!!


Anyway what do you fellas do?


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Post by djrebel236 » Saturday, 12 July 2008, 23:24 PM

i just key up the mic and keep on talking, i dont unplug nothing nore do i shut things off...Dj
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Post by coondog » Sunday, 13 July 2008, 3:29 AM

i have two friends that experienced the havoc that Mother Nature dishes out.one was the lightning completely blew up his I-Max,luckily it didn"t travel down to his radio.the other wasn"t so fortunate.blew his ant.,went to his radio and destroyed the radio,amp,meter,and the computer that was on the desk.myself,i unplug the coax and stick it in a jar away from the equipment.no need to stick it outside to get rained on.

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Post by Hard Drive » Sunday, 13 July 2008, 5:53 AM

Coondog, I know that feeling!!! :oops: :oops: :oops:



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Post by firefighter » Sunday, 13 July 2008, 6:20 AM

how about a lightning arrester that goes inline w/ the coax...I dont know how good they work, but I'm putting up a antenna and probably going to get one...


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Post by Falcon99V » Sunday, 13 July 2008, 7:00 AM

I used to disconnect every time it got bad out but in NE Ohio the weather changes quickly and I got tired of running to my equipment so, I haven't disconnected for a few yrs plus and so far (knock on wood) I still have good equipment running! Hasn't blown it away. What I used to do if it was real bad was disconnect and put the end in a jar. I suppose if I thought of it now I would do the same but haven't done it for yrs.

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MOTHER NATURE

Post by BULLDAWG715 » Sunday, 13 July 2008, 8:04 AM

Good day to all, well i had an Antron 99 blown outta a pine a few years back, blew the knobs off the radio also. Got a Imax 2000 back in the same tree now... Also putting up a 46 ft Rohn tower with Maco 103 beams in a few days. For now i just unplug my coxial and put it in an ammo can now... been researching a bit of info
http://www.polyphaser.com/NR/rdonlyres/ ... TD1016.pdf
and
http://www.dxzone.com/catalog/Technical ... rotection/
I am down here in the sand pile and gonna have to something soon... i will also appreciate any advise from you guys.
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Natures Fury

Post by PONY EXPRESS » Sunday, 13 July 2008, 9:00 AM

Well with natures super charged fury I find it best to leave all the chances of natures fury disconnected outside .


With lightning arrestors still in line I unhook the other side of the coax that screws into it and run it as far away from the coax as possible.
I then have short wire jumpers that we screw into pl 259 type connectors hooked to ground and center conductor and take direct to a ground rod with center and shield shorted and hose clamped to ground rod .
Now to those who live in glass houses you tell me whats going to happen when that lightning comes through your coax into your house and shatters that glass jar into a million pieces . Metal ammo boxes ???? Come on guys where does that lightning jump from there?

Do you let bugs and ants come into your house 1st before you start spraying bug insecticides or do you take care of the problem on the outside 1st?

Lightning arrestors are used to discharge static electricity to help prevent a buildup that allows a buildup of static to create a path from ground to the storm .
You have to prevent it on the outside guys keep it outside don't give it a direct path into your homes.

Now power lines is a different issue we just unplug it all from our ac outlets when it comes to computers and radios. I feel then I have done my part to keep insurance cost down..

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Post by lonesome 500 » Sunday, 13 July 2008, 9:49 AM

be prepared to replace equipment if ever hit..wither ant or coax..........

the trick is to minimize damage to other equip in your household


unhook....deadshort.........masking ground

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Post by beebuzzbee » Sunday, 13 July 2008, 10:35 AM

Nice picture HD, I'm surprised the skin is still over the coax, what happen to the radio equipments?

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Post by Circuit Breaker » Sunday, 13 July 2008, 11:14 AM

djrebel236 wrote:i just key up the mic and keep on talking, i dont unplug nothing nore do i shut things off...Dj
And that's one of the dumbest things you can do. It's only a matter of time.

That being said, there is no device that will keep lightning from striking your antenna and possibly taking out your radio(s). There are plenty of things you can do to help give lightning a better path to ground, but the best way of making sure lightning does not take out your equipment is to disconnect it.

I have a SteppIR vertical. This antenna covers every frequency from 7 to 54 MHz. The antenna is a 32 ft tall fiberglass mast with a reel of copper tape at the base with a stepper motor. A micro-processor controller that sits in the shack controls the stepper motor and reels out or reels in the right amount of copper tape to form a 1/4 vertical on 40, 30, 20 and 17 meters. On 15, 12, 11, 10 and 6 meters it can be a 3/4 wavelength antenna. It also has the ability to completely retract the copper tape to reduce damage either from lightning or wind. I have this antenna mounted at ground level in the backyard with 60 radials buried in the ground. I also have the antenna tied connected to two 8 ft copper ground rods. The antenna works very well. Anyway, in September 2006, a thunderstorm approached the area. I retracted the copper tape and disconnected the coax from the radio. However, I did NOT disconnect the 7 wire control cable from the controller that was sitting right next to the radio. Lightning hit the PL-259 connector at the base of the antenna...burned out the stepper motor, came up the control cable, took out the controller, arched over from the metal case of the controller over to the metal chassis of my Icom 746, went down the DC ground that I made from copper braid going to the ground of the AC outlet, jumped over to the router for our Verizon Fios Internet service and fried it. From there, the lightning went two directions...it went into my PC frying the Ethernet card. The other half of it went up the cat 5 cable to the junction box on the other side of the house and fried it...taking out the TV and telephone service with it.

Verizon had everything back up and running within 30 minutes the next day. But I had to take my antenna down, dis-assemble it and send the controller and base section containing the stepper motor up to Washingston state where Fluid Motion is located. It wasn't a cheap repair bill. Now, I retract the antenna, disconnect the coax AND the control cable. I just leave the ends sitting on my wooden desk. A glass jar will do little to stop lightning. After all, air is an insulator and lightning makes it through that.
Last edited by Circuit Breaker on Sunday, 13 July 2008, 11:35 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by linx » Sunday, 13 July 2008, 11:27 AM

There's pretty much 2 types of arrestors, you've got the glass fuse looking one, and the more high dollar ones like Poly Phaser makes. I use a Poly Phaser, and while it's not cheap, it's supposed to take multiple hits, were as the glass fuse looking arrestor will take 1 hit and need to be replaced. I still unplug my equipment during a storm, but with the right installation, Poly Phaser believes in their product so much, that they'll replace your equipment if damaged!

I've got a new Cushcraft ready to go on the tower, but I'm just trying to decide if I want to install it, or just be mobile for a while. I'm sick of scares of lightning and tornado's.
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Post by PONY EXPRESS » Sunday, 13 July 2008, 12:16 PM

linx wrote:There's pretty much 2 types of arrestors, you've got the glass fuse looking one, and the more high dollar ones like Poly Phaser makes. I use a Poly Phaser, and while it's not cheap, it's supposed to take multiple hits, were as the glass fuse looking arrestor will take 1 hit and need to be replaced. I still unplug my equipment during a storm, but with the right installation, Poly Phaser believes in their product so much, that they'll replace your equipment if damaged!

I've got a new Cushcraft ready to go on the tower, but I'm just trying to decide if I want to install it, or just be mobile for a while. I'm sick and scared of lightning and tornado's.
Well you might as well go up with it as your tower is already there... Everyday I go out and deliver mail in a T Storm if it gets to where its instantaneous flash and boom I need to stand on a porch until that part of the storm passes. We just have to be smart and pay attention .I still have to plug along in the rain and deliver that wet mail..... So when T Storms are called for just go outside and unhook its the same as CLICK IT or TICKET while driving .While I am at work I don't have any worries when I see those clouds starting to roll in and T Storms developing .
Someone else mentioned the control cable on stepr antenna we also unhook out rotor cable outside with quick disconnects

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Post by djrebel236 » Sunday, 13 July 2008, 13:53 PM

im not trying to be a "Bad Influcence" but i have been hit twice, both times i would unplug everything and stuff, but any more since im ground out my stuff, i dont worry to much, buy a 4 or 8 foot rod and some copper wire and ground your stuff, i have had no problems yet this time since i dont run around unpluging eveything, if ya gonna get zapped, it will happen no matter what ya do, its the nature of the beast...Dj
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Post by Visegrip » Sunday, 13 July 2008, 15:54 PM

I got a buddy who got hit by lightning it blew every receptacle in his house and blasted the radio and box.

But the best part is his homeowners covered everything

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Post by Hard Drive » Tuesday, 15 July 2008, 12:39 PM

beebuzzbee, I had just unplug my equipment 5 min before lightning took out my antenna.

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Post by pipsqueek » Friday, 18 July 2008, 17:57 PM

Lightning, eh? One of my pet gripes since in the past, I've been hit twice.

Big hit... it doesn't matter what protection you have, you'll sustain damage.

Better yet, don't get hit.....there are ways to avoid the dreaded strike. I've written about it extensively on this site....google it.

Then again, this is mother nature and nothing is written in stone, but so far so good for me.

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Post by 721HACKSAW » Friday, 18 July 2008, 19:17 PM

There is no such thing as an insulator when it comes to the power of lightning, every thing in this world will conduct electricity it is just a matter of how much. I try to keep an eye out for possible problems and unhook the coax when ever storms approach. Have enough insurance also, take pictures and make lists for a possible claim if needed.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by Poser » Friday, 13 May 2011, 13:29 PM

I just set up a mobile in my home with a power supply, its nothing special it was a gift from my brother. I bought a starduster antenna and put it on a 10' mast with 50' of coax. My brother who is also has a general class amateur license told me not to ground the antenna because it would make it more likely to be hit by lightening I'm just trying to figure out whats best. And whats the deal about disconnecting your coax and putting the end in a jar? any thoughts would be appreciated.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by Ohio_359 » Friday, 13 May 2011, 13:52 PM

Poser wrote:My brother who is also has a general class amateur license told me not to ground the antenna because it would make it more likely to be hit by lightening I'm just trying to figure out whats best.
That's not true. The best thing to do it to place 2 preferably 3 ground rods (no need to go 8' deep) at the tower base. From those rods run 3-4 radials buried the depth of a shovel 10' or more in length. Use copper strap instead of wire for best results. You really can't do anything to avoid a strike, but you want to dissipate as much of it as possible, as quickly as possible to ground.

Google it up!

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Re: Lightning?

Post by paBullwinkle » Tuesday, 17 May 2011, 12:47 PM

I personally have a 8' ground rod pounded into the ground and 6 gauge wire running to the antenna from the rod. I unhook the coax and plug it into a custom built so-239 connector thats jumped to ground AND dead shorted. Knock on wood some bad storms have come through no lightning has hit here.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by 443 Arizona » Sunday, 22 May 2011, 9:42 AM

hi Ron, the coax grounded creates a path for major juice and you'll end up replacing it :aaargh:
.. i rely on the good grounded tower.
i have had 2 strong jolts and a few trickles over the years, the coax was not connected, hanging in a plastic coffee can.
luckily i'm usually around to tend to it... BUT, have been connected during what i considered non-threating storms only to get a static dissipative-type trickle hit,,, no damage.
lightning=weird stuff=be safe
it didt-didnt-didn't affect mme, :lol: :lol: :lol:

p.s. alot of us probably have plenty of electronics on the same bench, so i always move coax completely off the bench area and leave it ungrounded.
Last edited by 443 Arizona on Monday, 30 May 2011, 9:27 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by paBullwinkle » Sunday, 22 May 2011, 17:37 PM

if i have to replace my coax cable to save my life and my family's life by golly im going to do it.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by 420Snowman » Sunday, 22 May 2011, 19:23 PM

Poly phaser is the best route to go, like linx said, they take multiple hits and guarantee it won't damage your station or they will replace it up to a certain dollar amount. The glass jar method is a wives tale, all that will do is blow that jar into a million little pieces, you may as well let the coax sit on the floor! At least no glass to pick up! I have a Poly phaser and I don't un hook anything during storms and am very comfortable doing so.

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Re: Re: Lightning?

Post by 420Snowman » Sunday, 22 May 2011, 19:26 PM

paBullwinkle wrote:I personally have a 8' ground rod pounded into the ground and 6 gauge wire running to the antenna from the rod. I unhook the coax and plug it into a custom built so-239 connector thats jumped to ground AND dead shorted. Knock on wood some bad storms have come through no lightning has hit here.

This is also a very good method, this has proven to work by a friend of mine, although it will still ruin the coax obviously but saves everything else!

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Re: Lightning?

Post by nutcracker » Monday, 30 May 2011, 9:12 AM

antennas grounded, if it gets real bad plug the pl259 into the ground rod with s0239.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by str8stroke » Thursday, 02 June 2011, 8:30 AM

I find it hard to believe that folks still go for the ole "glass jar plan" for containing the power of lighting. If that worked, then all houses would have a pickle jar with the ground wires stuck in it, in lieu of a 8ft ground rod! lol

Me personally: 3/4" eight foot rod at the base of the pole, 4 gauge solid core 6 inch wire from pole to rod (short as possible). NO guy-wires connect to my abode, and I follow the unplug it all guide lines. If I know a real bad system is coming, I will wet the ground around the base of the pole in order to help dissipate any charges.

So far, its worked.
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Re: Lightning?

Post by 420Snowman » Saturday, 11 June 2011, 1:17 AM

Dear lightning,

Please stay away from my house, I know you've been watching me, I see you out my window and I don't appreciate it! Unless you want to be "arrested" you best stay away!

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Re:

Post by DuckSoupe » Monday, 19 November 2012, 16:55 PM

coondog wrote:i have two friends that experienced the havoc that Mother Nature dishes out.one was the lightning completely blew up his I-Max,luckily it didn"t travel down to his radio.the other wasn"t so fortunate.blew his ant.,went to his radio and destroyed the radio,amp,meter,and the computer that was on the desk.myself,i unplug the coax and stick it in a jar away from the equipment.no need to stick it outside to get rained on.
I had the same thing happened when I was trying to unhook the coax when my wife yelled there was a storm outside . Now I just use a dipole inside. Don;t believe that it can't happen. When it does it is scary . It was 15 years ago and i loss everything electronic in the room . One thing was not bothered . My Pyramid power supply which I still use . That critter shut off instantly . I too heard you stick it in a jar; but I wouldn't trust that unless it was one of those thick huge jars

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Re: Lightning?

Post by KP68 » Monday, 19 November 2012, 18:38 PM

I find the glass jar technique quite laughable. I think it would be impossible to contain the massive and incomprehensible amounts of voltage and current it takes to span a distance in excess of 20 miles by the use of anything let alone a glass jar. If I don't have enough time to take my antenna down before a storm, I chuck the coax out the window and in the words of Snowman, pray pray. As a word to the wise, if you hear a storm coming, don't risk dying because you want to get your antenna down. It's been said that if you can hear thunder in the distance, you are within striking distance. Peace.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by zygoma » Monday, 19 November 2012, 20:24 PM

My approach to grounding is even more [strike]paranoid[/strike] cautious. My antenna feedlines all pass through a ground tie point on top of the nearest of three Cadweld bonded 8-ft copper ground rods a few feet outside my ground floor shack window. Unless I'm actually operating, the jumpers from my windowsill feedthrough panel, and the panel itself, sit indoors, and the grounded outlet bench outlet strip into which they're all plugged is unplugged from wall power. So presumably whatever potential gradient between the earth and Thor's fury is constantly being bled off, at least near my modest antenna farm.
Next time I order stuff from The Wireman I've got to remember to order a couple of static dissipator balls for my Plumber's Nightmare J-pole and the steel 10 meter whip, even though they're not the highest things in the yard.
I've already had to replace two of my incredibly cheap, homebrew RG-58 "lightning fuses" on the J-pole from before I had the nice ground array. I haven't lost any more of them since, but I'm glad I learned that old trick. Hardly any loss, and nearly foolproof.
An interior wall has a separate "station" with my backup VHF & UHF station with a fairly long-duration 13 volt jump pack that stays on trickle. There are indoor/built-in antennas for those radios. One of the ancient Hammarlund receivers lives there, too, with an indoor dipole, kinda for fun -- also makes a pretty good antenna detector up to about 30 MHz.
On the other side of the house live the Midland NOAA S.A.M.E. receiver, and they're usually earlier than any lightning than I hear, plus I don't have the boatanchor running 24/7 of course.
Overkill? Nah. I'm a retired paramedic, and I'm still alive.
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Re: Lightning?

Post by zygoma » Monday, 19 November 2012, 20:31 PM

[quote="zygoma" -- also makes a pretty good antenna detector up to about 30 MHz.
[/quote]

Shucks -- supposed to be "lightning* detector".
Guess that's what happens when I wax philosophic, and my "Edit" button is still gone.
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Re: Lightning?

Post by DuckSoupe » Tuesday, 20 November 2012, 5:15 AM

KP68 wrote:I find the glass jar technique quite laughable. I think it would be impossible to contain the massive and incomprehensible amounts of voltage and current it takes to span a distance in excess of 20 miles by the use of anything let alone a glass jar. If I don't have enough time to take my antenna down before a storm, I chuck the coax out the window and in the words of Snowman, pray pray. As a word to the wise, if you hear a storm coming, don't risk dying because you want to get your antenna down. It's been said that if you can hear thunder in the distance, you are within striking distance. Peace.
That is true Bozo, The event made me afraid of outside antenna,s . Once you are hit you think twice about lightning :bom:

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Re: Lightning?

Post by KP68 » Tuesday, 20 November 2012, 7:55 AM

Since zygoma mentioned it.
Lightning detectors actually make cool projects. Some people choose to have quite elaborate designs like having strike counters for example. Just do a google search on lightning detector projects. Hopefully this link will work. http://www.techlib.com/electronics/lightning.html

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Re: Lightning?

Post by 721HACKSAW » Tuesday, 20 November 2012, 8:25 AM

I've made it a habit to disconnect all my antenna coax connections whenever I'm done using the radio. Also my insurance policy has been updated to cover my equipment.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by tenderfoot » Tuesday, 04 December 2012, 20:56 PM

I know it is not smart but I don't do anything. Just leave everything like it is and hope for the best.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by 443 Arizona » Sunday, 17 March 2013, 2:15 AM

i still like the plastic coffee can, not to "catch" any lightning but to stop any dissipative "sawblades" from taking off across my floor and setting fire to the dustbunnies.
"sawblades"= refering to the visual aspect of dissipation.
to me them sawblades look like a glowing,sparking pinwheel firecracker. the kind that are suppose to be nailed to a post.

i suppose i could connect the center of coax to a big capacitor to then bleed off, or maybe a buzzer or bell so i can hear the hits.
i still have the tower grounded with an 8' groundrod.
summer of 2012 i got 2 hits. OMG the one sounded like an m-80 under my bed, hahaah

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Re: Lightning?

Post by 721HACKSAW » Sunday, 17 March 2013, 5:36 AM

Lightning can take down an oak tree, concrete wall, etc... Lightning just laughs at a plastic coffee can... :)

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Re: Lightning?

Post by MDYoungblood » Sunday, 17 March 2013, 5:41 AM

It is best to have something (a quality arrestor) inline to take the charge to ground outside and ground out the coax inside the house, they do make switches for that.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by zygoma » Monday, 18 March 2013, 10:54 AM

Only because the topic is still alive (and because I have this kind of time whilst I recover from my little airplane mishap, *and* a generous spouse who'll take dictation :) I thought I'd mention something I saw 30 or more years ago in either "73", "Popular Electronics", or "QST" magazine (hey, I'm old...) there was an article about this very subject. Many myths and "popular-but-incorrect physics" were discussed by an EE who'd spent a career installing commercial broadcast radio stations.
A couple of the salient topics that stuck with me all this time (even though now I sometimes forget how to tie my shoes, or to don my trousers before leaving the house) were the following two items:
1) Lightning will *always* make it to ground somewhere (unless it's cloud-to-cloud, and that's just a warning of things to come), and
B) (to quote Click & Clack), while discussing popular low cost gap-style "arrestors", like the Blitz Bug: "Keep in mind that a lightning strike of a few million volts at several hundred thousands amps has just traveled through 5 miles of dry air to use your antenna as its path to ground. Do you *really* think that a quarter-inch spark gap in your coax is going to fool it?"

FWIW, when I've put up commercial land mobile sites, PolyPhaser inline arrestors, properly mounted to solid copper ground plates (that are then bonded to the site building's ground bus) have typically been our default go-to protection devices, unless the site owner specified another grounding device. Even then, we'd typically install them at our own expense just to limit the number of times we'd have to drive some of the world's worst roads (or fly in a helo) in the midst of horrible weather (mostly in Alaska, but also WA & ID) to replace feedlines and anything else that wasn't able to be protected by providing a constant "bleed path" for potential gradients between the ground (always on a mountaintop, go figure ;) and Thor's fury. Very much like broadcast stations, commercial repeater sites usually don't the luxury of being able to be disconnected during inclement weather. Who wants to be the fire chief telling his constituency that his agency couldn't respond because they'd disconnected their pager system, etc.

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I disconnect everything quickly from my window panel feedthrough and all the antennas' feedlines get grounded to my ground rod array. In case I forget, or I get surprised, I've got very cheap homemade "lightning fuses" made of a few wide (like a foot) turns of RG58 that have their connectors coming off the loop 90 degrees apart, with the shield bonded at the "upper" connector the the tower/pole leg, and a stripped & insulated strap doing the same thing at the point where the side that goes to the shack makes its turn away from the pole. The large loop works as a very high impedance to the lightning, and since the strike would "rather" continue downward in a straight path than making the 90 degree turn into my shack, the entire "fuse" assembly can make for a pretty dramatic debris field when it does take a strike (twice so far at this location.) I've still gotta buy a couple of those sea urchin-looking static dissipation balls for the tips of the vertical antennas.

Sorry, I talked too long again (as confirmed by My Sweetie, who typed this all out for me).

Hope it helps some. The main point of the post was those two old chestnuts from the publications of yesteryear.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by Vince-19Div » Monday, 18 March 2013, 17:24 PM

I have a bit of a problem and have been thinking about a solution for my remote station.
Because my remote station is located in france and there is about 1100km roughly between my home station in the Netherlands I am can not disconnect it every time there is lightning.
And there is allot in france.

I have been thinking about a mechanism that can be controlled by some solenoid relays etc but all the solutions I could come up with have the same problem.
When the lightning hits I do not think it will divert somewhere else but laughs at me and simply jumps over right into the house and destroys everything.
Until now. For about 4 years I think I am really lucky with a tower almost on top of a mountain at 250m above sea level 10m above ground with a 6 element beast in it.


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Re:

Post by peterwo2e » Sunday, 08 September 2013, 5:26 AM

firefighter wrote:how about a lightning arrester that goes inline w/ the coax...I dont know how good they work, but I'm putting up a antenna and probably going to get one...
arrester is just for those static hits. it won't do nothing for a direct hit. best is to disconnect the coax.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by jessejamesdallas » Tuesday, 10 December 2013, 20:04 PM

Lightning takes the shortest and quickest route...If you make a loop in the coax as close to the feed point of the antenna where the coax is connected, if your antenna is hit, it will blow out the coax at the loop. You will loose your coax, but the charge won't be able to travel down the coax into your equipment...

If you look at all small dish TV antenna's, like DISH and Direct TV, the installers always make a loop in the coax where it's connected to the satellite dish. This is so if the dish gets a strike, the coax blows out and your TV and the satellite receiver is less likely to get fried.

Nothing is totally safe from a direct hit but a simple loop of the coax may save you hundreds of bucks in repairs and replacement of equipment and doesn't cost anything.
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Re: Lightning?

Post by str8stroke » Wednesday, 11 December 2013, 3:57 AM

jessejamesdallas wrote:Lightning takes the shortest and quickest route...If you make a loop in the coax as close to the feed point of the antenna where the coax is connected, if your antenna is hit, it will blow out the coax at the loop. You will loose your coax, but the charge won't be able to travel down the coax into your equipment...

If you look at all small dish TV antenna's, like DISH and Direct TV, the installers always make a loop in the coax where it's connected to the satellite dish. This is so if the dish gets a strike, the coax blows out and your TV and the satellite receiver is less likely to get fried.

Nothing is totally safe from a direct hit but a simple loop of the coax may save you hundreds of bucks in repairs and replacement of equipment and doesn't cost anything.
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Re: Lightning?

Post by pa8486 » Monday, 16 March 2015, 19:28 PM

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.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by Bluerunner » Monday, 16 March 2015, 22:12 PM

I had lightning damage 3 times. Twice from the power lines and once from the telephone lines.

My 3 separate antennas are over 60' high. One on a tower and one in a pine tree and a dipole between pine trees, never been hit, go figure.

In SE Louisiana it goes from sunshine to a thunderstorm twice a day. I'd have worn out my coax connectors if I disconnected for the rain.

I do use shorted tuned stubs, 1/4 wave coax sections T'ed into the feed lines, with the center & shield shorted & grounded. I believe it grounds charges and also eliminates a lot of TX & RX harmonics.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by wulff » Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 7:50 AM

For awhile, we moved from AZ to Southern Michigan and my dad built a house on the side of a hill that was the highest ground in the area, when the transformer was put on power lines that ran over the hill, it would get knocked out from nearly EVERY storm that came along. When my brother and I got into CB we had a 30 foot tower with a 3-element beam and we just (if we thought about it unhooked the connector from the radio) I put up a 50 foot tower for the TV antenna that was about 100 feet from it. we put arresters on but those are really to reduce static.
What was preventing the TV or radio hits was the power lines about 200 feet behind the house and on the hill. It continued to get his and they must have replaced the transformer 100 times!
Since the hill was visible for several miles around I built a flagpole it started out 6 inches at the base and step-tapered to 1 inch at the top, it was over 100 feet tall and I built a swing up base with channel beams in the ground and a lot of concrete. After I put that flagpole up the transformer was never hit again! I was talking to a guy that used to put lightning rods on barns and I told him I couldn't figure it out as I only seen a lightning hit on the pole one time. He said, apparently I didn't understand how lightning rods work, he went on to explain lighting rods (and my flagpole was actually a large lightning rod) are not made to take lightning hits, it is to discharge the static charge above it! He said the pull the positive electrons to ground preventing the building up charge that has to finally discharge, the lightning rods prevent that and continually discharge the static electricity.
After I saw what my 'giant' lightning rod did, it all made sense, what is funny is the power company was getting tired of replacing those transformers with nice shiny new ones several times a summer so the put up a rusty old scroungy looking used transformer as they figured it would only last a few years, 30 years later it was still up there and was never hit!
Just thought you might enjoy this amusing tail of my battle with lightning and the amazing thing I learned.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by The DB » Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 8:37 AM

wulff wrote:After I put that flagpole up the transformer was never hit again!
This is why all antennas should be properly grounded. Proper grounding will not only help prevent strikes on the antenna, but in the general area as well. Just unplugging the coax from the radio is not a substitute here. It may help protect the radio, but it doesn't prevent the strike from happening...
wulff wrote:I was talking to a guy that used to put lightning rods on barns and I told him I couldn't figure it out as I only seen a lightning hit on the pole one time. He said, apparently I didn't understand how lightning rods work, he went on to explain lighting rods (and my flagpole was actually a large lightning rod) are not made to take lightning hits, it is to discharge the static charge above it! He said the pull the positive electrons to ground preventing the building up charge that has to finally discharge, the lightning rods prevent that and continually discharge the static electricity.
They are designed to take a hit, but they are intended to repel, not attract, lightning. They can only do so much though, which is why sometimes they get hit as well.

Lightening really does act differently than most people realize... And as you found out, there is far more to lightning rods than the mistaken notion of them attracting lightning...

I think I have posted this before but here is a good description in a two part video...




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Re: Lightning?

Post by Radar-DLDN » Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 8:38 AM

I like that story Wulff. A good example of the principle if I ever saw one.
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.
PA, sorry nobody answered your question earlier. There is some disagreement on this, so I will only say your mileage may vary. I have been taught never to connect your devices to different grounds. The reason for this is that these two grounds may have a different electrical potential. Since the easiest way to reach equilibrium is through your radio bad things can result. Good operating practice is to make sure all grounds are connected together, or use a single grounding point.

Now the more controversial part, I only ground my base equipment through the coax, never the ground lug. I do this to keep only a single path to ground and prevent ground loops. A lot of people disagree with this method, but I take a live and let live approach to this one.

I could probably type a novel on this, but since I am on my phone I will wrap it up and hope this gives you some ideas to work with.

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Re: Lightning?

Post by jessejamesdallas » Tuesday, 31 March 2015, 15:25 PM

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.

So far, I haven't had a lightning hit to find out how well it works tho..."Which is a good-deal!" Not really anxious to find out one way or another if it works or not! :mrgreen:
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