[CQ-Contest] Re: spider balls

Grillo's ah3c at frii.com
Wed Jul 28 22:37:36 EDT 2004

Charlie -

I have decided to pursue the installation as mentioned in my first e-mail,
making sure all three anchors are connected with a copper grid, surrounding
the tower.

The comments pouring in are fascinating.  I was intrigued by the spider ball
design after seing several installed on commercial transmitting towers 1/4
mile from my QTH.  The site is a converted cross-country microwave site.
These towers never get direct hits.  They are in service 24/7.  2 years ago
my power pole was hit and it wiped out my phone system in the house about
100 ft away.  This power pole is located a good 150 ft down the hill from
where my new tower will go.  Thus, I believe I can conclude that the
commercial site will not help my cause.

Installed on top of this 8300' ridge, the new tower will be like a beacon
calling out "hit me, hit me" unless I can somehow direct mother nature to
more naturally stream those electrons from the ground through a more
attractive path to the clouds passing by.

If, after some time of use, my tower gets a direct hit, I will inform
everyone and re-locate these spider balls to the top of the tower, and go
with the SPG as you suggest.  However, if they do work mounted half way up
the upper set of guys, I will have the confidence to put sensitive,
expensive equipment at or near near the top.

Thanks for the responses from all who have submitted.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Charles Morrison" <cfmorris at bellsouth.net>
To: <cq-contest at contesting.com>
Cc: <ah3c at frii.com>
Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 4:41 PM
Subject: RE: [CQ-Contest] spider balls

> Pete,
> Here in Louisiana, N5AN, N5MEG, and NG5X all have them on their towers and
> swear by them, 100%.  Roy says that he was hit over 10 times prior to
> installing them (highest structure, manmade or natural) for some distance
> and hasn't taken a strike since.  Scott N5MEG worked for a tower company
> swears by them.  He's installed his at the top most part of the tower,
> letting the mast pipe stick up way above the yagi.  He then runs heavy
> "welding wire" all the way to ground from them.  Says he hasn't taken a
> strike since.   He also noted SEVERE damage to them after a good period of
> time being up.  Not from a direct hit, but from the constant dissipation
> the charges.  Each finger in the ball was rounded at the end with a metal
> glob of itself.  Sounds to me like there's a good bit of static coming
> it.
> Charlie
> ------------------------------
> Message: 6
> Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2004 18:46:50 -0600
> From: "Grillo's" <ah3c at frii.com>
> Subject: [CQ-Contest] spider balls
> To: "Towertalk Reflector" <towertalk at contesting.com>
> Cc: CQ Contest <cq-contest at contesting.com>
> Message-ID: <007401c4743c$5e863510$0a01a8c0 at OFFICEPC>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> Since we are on the subject of lightning, has anyone ever used "spider
> balls" to dissipate energy thereby eliminating strikes on the structure?
> These are a steel rod with over 200 fine spiked elements about 2 ft. long
> each that create a cluster of very sharp spikes.
> Can you visualize this?  I have three spider balls and am considering
> installing one each about 40 feet up from the guy anchors on the steel
> that would be connected to the anchor rods.  The balance of the guy lines
> to the top of the 120' tower are polyphaser cable, so are insulated.  I
> would install three copper ground grids at each guy point and link them
> together with underground copper cable.
> The other thought is to mount them on top of the 120' tower and put one
> ground grid under the tower.
> I'm looking for alternatives before the concrete gets poured in 2
> Pete
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