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Re: [TowerTalk] SteppIR after lightning strike

To: <>, <>
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] SteppIR after lightning strike
From: "Dick Green WC1M" <>
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 2008 13:18:49 -0400
List-post: <">>

I had a nearby strike last year that fatally damaged the driver and CAT
boards in all three of my SteppIR controllers (I have a 2-stack of 4-el
SteppIRs.) The surge propagated through the SteppIR COM port to the PC,
where it destroyed the RS232 multiport board, most of the other I/O boards,
and the motherboard. It propagated from there to every other device attached
to the PC, damaging most of them. That included rigs, amps, various
controllers, stereo equipment, etc. There was over $10,000 in damage. I had
surge suppressors on both ends of the SteppIR control cables, but given the
nature of the SteppIR driver chips I don't think it's possible to protect
them that way. I now disconnnect all cables in the summer when not in use.

It's possible, but unlikely, that the CAT board would be damaged without any
damage to the sensitive driver chips on the SteppIR driver board. For one
thing, the CAT chips aren't directly connected to the control cable. The
driver chips are, and are usually the point of failure in a lightning strike
because they can't tolerate a short or voltage above their normal operating
level. Can you manually tune the SteppIR to resonance on all bands using the
controller buttons?

Also, if a surge damaged the CAT board, it's fairly likely the PC COM port
would be damaged, too. You say you tested with another PC and that the COM
port is OK, but that only indicates something is wrong with the SteppIR CAT
port. You should test the PC COM port with another device to make sure it's
not damaged.

Hope this helps.

73, Dick WC1M

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Frank Lammel []
> Sent: Friday, August 08, 2008 5:22 AM
> To:
> Subject: [TowerTalk] SteppIR after lightning strike
> Hi all,
> last week my neighbour was hit by a lightning strike. About 15m away
> from my 3 element steppir. However the controller of the steppir seems
> to work. BUT: I can't connect anymore my steppir VCP software by Larry
> N8LP to the controller. I tested already with different PCs. So the
> Port is OK. My question: Is anyone out there with an idea if it is
> 'just' the CAT board of the controller which is damaged or do I have
> to
> exchange the whole controller??
> tnx for any suggestions!
> 73
> Frank, DD7ZT


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