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[TowerTalk] Length of Mast

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Length of Mast
From: (Mark Pride)
Date: Sun Jun 1 22:34:12 2003

In all this discussion regarding grounded towers and multiple grounded
yagis that appear to dissipate lightening strikes or protects better than a
single tower with few yagis.  I recently heard that the new Steppir Antenna
with its insulated (shielded) elements tend to reject the electrostatic
build up during rain/snow storms (rain static or snow static) during
intense downpours (S meters go to 20 to 40 dB over S9) wiping out the band.
Having a stack of these I would persume would not be very effective when it
comes to this lightening dissipation action found with grounded elements.
Any comments group?  At first I thought the new Steppir might be the answer
to a problem that affects us all during these storms (that tend to show up
during contests) - rain static rendering the band useless, unless you
listen on the lower antenna of a stacked array.


Mark, K1RX on 06/01/2003 09:45:16 PM

Sent by:

Subject:    Re: [TowerTalk] Length of Mast

In a message dated 6/1/03 6:16:41 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
W0UN writes:

>   From MY personal experience and comments made by others with similar
>  experiences I firmly believe that a naked tower, with or without a
>  rod tends to attract lightning.   But that a well grounded tower with
>  of grounded Yagi elements tends to reduce or virtually eliminate strikes
>  in the immediate vicinity.   YMMV!

Back in Toronto it really striked me when I upgarded from 65 ft tower with
TH6 to 110' Bertha with 3 el. full size stretched Telrex 40m beam or pair
of 62
ft Razors. With old tower I was hit directly and had appliances selectively
burned around the house twice within couple of years. After I put up Bertha
big antennas, I was NEVER hit over 10 years. I had 2m Ringo Ranger on the
top, so if I was hit with "overlooked" strike, that thing and connected 2m
would have been fried.

Bertha sits in 11' foundation tube with good contact via bearing ring and
(bearing) ball at the base. Before I pored the concrete, I hammered bunch
water pipes (one came to the surface and I used it to water the grounds
before the
contests :-) into the bottom of the foundation hole and welded them to the
foundation tube. It may be purely luck (statistically should not be) but I
also "forced" to believe that big antennas "scare" the lightning away and I
join other big antenna nuts in singing the praise for big antennas.

I think what is happening, that tower with large grounded elements beam
serves as a "drainage" capacitor for the immediate semi spherical area,
drains the
charge in vicinity and prevents the formation of the leader and the
big vaporizing strike. Sort of like an umbrella for lightning effect.
the pointy bare tower has hardly any capacitance (looking from the top) and
looks "attractive" to lightning for starting the leader and strike. This
might be
the next best thing to do (if can't go high and big), use classic lightning
arrestors and grounding trying to start and create the path for lightning,
rather than letting it hit structures like houses and barns.

Another proof of "umbrella effect" is that when you have static from the
rain, the top antenna is useless, 20 over 9 QRN. Bottom antenna in the
stack is
DEAD quiet.

BTW our nasty next door neighbor was once hit twice within 3 minutes and we
got some appliances fried via underground electrical wiring surge (no tower
here). So what we need now is to pass the law requiring hams to have big
and antennas and to provide the protection to the neighboring citizens. All
those no antenna communities are horibly exposed to lightning damage.

Yuri, K3BU, VE3BMV
 I don't have a degree in lightning sciences and I don't sell antennas (yet

See:  for "Self Supporting Towers", "Wireless
Weather Stations", and lot's more.  Call Toll Free, 1-800-333-9041 with any
questions and ask for Sherman, W2FLA.

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