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[TowerTalk] Lightning detectors

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Lightning detectors
From: Larry Alkoff" < (Larry Alkoff)
Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2001 18:57:44 -0500
I have just heard about and signed up for a lightning detection service that 
may be of interest
to those of us who are concerned about lightning protection.

This service continuously takes lightning strike from the NWS and notifies you 
if lightning has been reported by NWS in your selected area.

There are three levels of service:

Watch -    Notification in an 8 mile radius                             $192. 
yearly or monthly
Warning - Notification in 8 or 15 mile radius                   $239. yearly or 
Alarm -      Notification 8, 15 or 30 mi radius                 $335. yearly or 
$35. monthly

I signed up for one month of the Alarm service to try it out.  
I _think_ you get 3 separate warnings with the Alarm level, 2 in Warning and 1 
in Watch.

The notification comes via email, short email suitable for a cell phone or 
various pager services.
I chose short email but I think it would be possible to forward the messages to 
my cell phone
or (if I get a) pager.

I setup the Alarm area by street address (they use MapQuest) but you can use 
lat/lon or zip code.

You get a username and password and it looks like you can play with the 
settings to your heart's content.

This company provides a free web page with a nationwide US map showing recent 
lightning strikes,
color coded for age.  The url is:
or just go to and drill.

If you sign up for the paid services above they told me you can select your 
area in the
nationwide map and see any activity but I have not found that yet.

This sounds like a pretty good service to give warning of approaching lightning 
so antennas
can be disconnected etc.  I'll know if it's useful in a month.  
In any case, the free nationwide map should be useful to all.
I have no connection with lightningstorm except as a customer.

I have been very concerned about lightning and my method has been to keep an 
eye out
or listen for thunder.  Frequently, I hear thunder (or see lightning!) and then 
the question is
to go to the shack and disconnect antennas and equipment knowing I could be 
killed at any moment
or just hope it doesn't hit.  Obviously, the more I disconnect in the middle of 
a storm the greater my
chances get - I don't like that at all.

This system might help by giving me warning when the lightning is far enough 
away to disconnect safely
and of course, it makes it much harder to totally miss an event.

All comments welcome.

73 to all, Larry Alkoff N2LA

Larry Alkoff N2LA - Austin TX

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