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[TowerTalk] Lightning Protection Components

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Lightning Protection Components
From: (Steve Vinson)
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 02:01:38 -0700
Dale Martin wrote:
> On Wednesday, April 09, 1997 19:32 PM, Charles H. 
> Harpole[] wrote:
> >When you can hear thunder, unplug all radios and all accessories from AC 
> >(best on one central big plug), and unplug all coax and all other wires that 
> >come from ants and rotors and all else--including ground wires!
> I agree, Charles.
> Now when I am not on the radio, the antennas are disconnected
> out in the garage, and the Isobar circuit breaker/distribution box
> is unplugged from the ac line (I will let someone else test the
> $$$ guarantee theory that Isobar advertises).  I have been known
> to get off the freeway on the way to work, circle under the next
> overpass, and head home just to disconnect antenna feedlines
> and rotor and remote coax switch control lins.
> Dale Martin, KG5U
> --
Dale is right the only safe way is to unplug when not in use ... but I
have watched several posts and have to agree (is what I have done/am
doing presently) that you still need lightning arresters.  It's ok to
unplug your power cord and disconnect your antennas but remember the
bolt of lightning followed no coax or power lines to your antennas. 
Even unplugged and grounded a direct strike will enter your shack unless
you make every effort to ground each and every path (I see more signs of
lightning on phone lines than power lines here).  

Following recommendations from poly phaser or other companies may not
save equipment left connected from all damage ... but probably will
protect your residence or lives from full strike forces arcing from
phone or power jacks to water pipes or persons near by.  If you haven't
heard of someone being struck by lightning while talking on the phone
think again.  It happens!!!  I myself want to protect my residence more
than my radios.  How many repeaters go down every year from lightning
strikes vs number of houses burned to the ground from strikes?   I have
seen good points from every post on this subject.

The best method to be protected is to install towers and antennas with
plenty of grounding (I plan 50 10' rods in a field at the base of the
tower and looping around the house.  Install lightning arresters (good
quatity - how much is you house and belongings worth?) as suggested by
the manufactor.  Groung power line (at the main breaker box), phone
lines (as they enter the house), and don't for get that microwave TV
dish in the front yard!!!  Finally remember to unhook your antennas when
not in use (some do - some don't) and ground them.  If they are just
unhooked and sitting on the floor they just become - "ray guns".  And
finally remember you can be struck by lightning or static discharges
(even in winter and during snow storms) without ever hearing thunder. 
And as told to me by a good friend who suffered a direct hit to his
house ... if lightning is popping all around you .... "It's TOO LATE to
try to unplug antennas!!!"  Think about holding that coax just as the
tower is struck. 
                     (+  +)

73 and Good Luck!!!


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