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[TowerTalk] Fw: lightning vs insurance

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Subject: [TowerTalk] Fw: lightning vs insurance
From: "K8RI on TowerTalk" <>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 18:26:37 -0500
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>> If I get whacked..I am paying in advance for that
>>possibility.  Since, to paraphrase the Polyphaser guy...regardless of all 
>>our time, money and efforts we are still subject to and cannot defeat the
>>upper hand of mother nature.  Just another way of looking at it. Tommy 

You may not be able to defeat mother nature in a worst case scenerio, but 
you can mitigate or eliminate damages in lesser cases and *most* cases fall 
into the lesser case category.  The ground system here *seems* to have made 
a substantial difference. I don't know what it cost as it's been done in 
several steps, but with 32 or 33 8' ground rods cad welded to over 600 feet 
of bare #2, it's probably well over a thousand dollars (maybe $2000) plus 
many hours of labor.

So when I look at the possible damage in the whole house and the ability to 
eliminate damage from the lesser strikes and nearby strikes and at least 
reduce damage from larger strikes I'm willing to spend quite a bit
> That's the difference between a typical ham, who can be out of
> service for a while, and something like a FAA tower, where they have

Up here in the frozen north being without power for much more than a few 
hours can get very expensive and it's no fun tying to replace a breaker 
panel or do some rewiring in an unheated house

People generally associate thunderstorms with warm weather but we get them 
occasionally with snow storms and they are quite common with ice storms. Ice 
storms are most common in the late fall or early spring, but can happen most 
any time. From what I've read the super strikes are more likely to ocurr 
with the snow and ice storms than with summer thunder storms.  This winter 
has been very unusual so we really don't know what to expect.  We had 
thunderstorms in late December and today, January 5th is 50 degrees. It's 
supposed to cool down tomorrow with some cold Canadian air coming in but 
even then the forecast is for unseasonably warm. I should add that highs of 
32 to 38 are unseasonably warm even if they do feel cold.

So my elaborate ground system may not protect me from a super strike and it 
may be coincidence that I've had no damage since completing it even with all 
the direct hits the tower has taken, but I'm inclined to think it has saved 
me and the insurance company a lot of money.

I have a generator large enough to run the whole house and so far the run 
time since 2000 is now over 110 hours.  That is a lot of time to be without 
power and probably over half of it was when the temperature was well below 
freezing. OTOH if the house electrical system were shot the generator might 
not do much good. Still if the furnace is OK I could run a line directly to 
it and still have heat. Otherwise I do have a couple of small electric 
heaters that *might* be able to keep the pipes from freezing.

Roger Halstead (K8RI and ARRL 40 year Life Member)
N833R - World's oldest Debonair CD-2
> to have more reliability.  For the FAA tower, you need the $20K
> setup.  I would venture to say that most hams don't.  And that's sort
> of the failing of a lot of the lightning protection literature.  It
> doesn't give you much insight into "cost effective half measures",
> but tends to be "do A, B, C, D, E, F, G, through Q, and maybe R,S,
> and T, and it might be ok"
> Jim, W6RMK


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