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Re: [TowerTalk] Lightning Strike - Post-strike analysis

To: Bill Parry <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Lightning Strike - Post-strike analysis
From: WD0M <>
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2007 07:28:17 -0600
List-post: <>
Hi Bill,

I'll have to agree - the damage incurred compared to the loss of a home 
is absolutely minimal.  The hard (read "frustrating") part is getting 
things back in running condition, straightening out the computer 
software/hardware, and those other time consuming things.  I consider 
myself lucky!

Joe Hannigan - WDØM
Pagosa Springs, CO

Bill Parry wrote:
> I too had a lightning strike and unlike you I had not done nearly as much
> prevention as you had. As a result, I got to replace the following:
> 1 FT1000MP
> 3 computers
> 1 new HP printer
> 1 Alpha-Delta coax switch w/ arc plug
> 1 MFJ Keyer
> 1 telephone
> 2 150 foot runs of Belden RG213
> I had a couple of fried Ethernet connectors - must have gotten into my local
> network somehow.
> Even if you have insurance pay for everything, it is a major pain to get
> everything replaced and working again. It could have been worse and burned
> my house down. I guess I need to think about the safety stuff a little
> harder!
> Bill W5VX
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> [] On Behalf Of WD0M
> Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2007 4:37 PM
> To:;
> Subject: [TowerTalk] Lightning Strike - Post-strike analysis
> It was a heck of a way to get your heart going from about 60 beats per 
> minute to full throttle in about 1 microsecond.  About 2:00 AM a couple 
> of days ago, we were treated to an incredibly loud blast, just outside 
> our home.  I'm not certain if the lightning bolt hit the tower, or hit  
> just really close by.....there was no delay between the flash and the 
> blast.  Here are the results of what seemed to have happened.
> Early the next morning, I fired up the ham gear (Icom 756 Pro, Alpha 
> 87a, SteppIR 4L with the 40/30M add-on), and everything worked!  That's 
> great news!  I was concerned about all the gear, naturally, and 
> especially curious about the SteppIR - but it came through without 
> incident, stepper motors and the controller as well.
> I had to restart my computer, since it had gone off line and powered 
> down.  Turns out that it wouldn't work...sorta.  After playing around 
> with it for some time, I realized the 7 internal USB ports on the Dell 
> 9100 had all been fried.  I have an old V1.0 USB 3-port PCI card that I 
> installed, and I was able to connect the keyboard to it and check it 
> out.  Every time I now start the computer, it proudly tells me it can't 
> find the keyboard....then it goes right ahead and starts up and all is 
> well....except the 7 fried USB ports.  I also have a data backup 
> external USB hard drive that runs every night, and all the data was 
> there.  Good - no data loss.
> The next thing I noticed is that my less than 10 month old multifunction 
> printer/scanner/FAX was dead.  That led me to check the telephone on my 
> desk - it too was dead.....and that gave me the idea that the lightning 
> had found it's way into the shack through the phone line.  Our telephone 
> service company says there is a surge arrestor in the junction box 
> outside the home, which is right outside my shack, just a foot or two 
> away from the gear.
> The phone company is coming over to check their surge arrestor, and 
> replace it at my request.  I'm also purchasing an uninterruptible power 
> supply (UPS) with network, phone and DSL surge suppression 
> features....and hope that will take care of the ancillary equipment, 
> should old Thor decide to take another event we oh so 
> devoutly hope doesn't recur.
> I spent lots of time, effort and money to install a lightning protection 
> system, and it had worked - for the ham gear.  What I forgot was the 
> telephone/DSL line that needed protection.  I removed the DSL filter 
> from the phone line and found that on the filter, the line leading to 
> the telephone had been turned into toast.  That explained why the phone 
> and the multifunction printer/scanner/FAX were no longer working - the 
> path from the telephone line went right to the printer.
> Why the fried USB ports?  I can only assume that the telephone line's 
> passing within inches of the USB cables induced a voltage in them that 
> caused the sensitive parts of the USB chips in the Dell terminally to 
> release their smoke in a fit of protest toward my failure to protect them.
> The bottom line is that if there's a way inside, lightning will find 
> it.  Don't forget the phone/DSL line, or for those with cable TV, that 
> line as well.  My web site <> 
> has a description of my attempts to prevent any "extra" electricity from 
> finding its way into the shack, for those interested (or, see the link 
> below the signature below). 
> Due adulation and high praise is to be given to the ARRL, ICE, and 
> Polyphaser, whose advice I followed, and ICE, whose protectors I 
> use.....but don't forget the phone line, as I did....and have the phone 
> company verify that their suppressor is in place and functional.
> Some reference material:
> Thor's Hammer <>
> Polyphaser - Protecting an Amateur Radio Station 
> <
> /182/TD1016.pdf>
> ARRL Lightning Protection - Part 1 
> <>
> ARRL Lightning Protection - Part 2 
> <>
> ARRL Lightning Protection - Part 3 
> <>
> ARRL Lab Notes - Lightning - Part 1 
> <>
> ARRL Lab Notes - Lightning - Part 2 
> <>
> Stay safe out there....
> 73,
> Joe

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