[RFI] grounding your ham equipment

Fred Stevens K2FRD k2frd at mac.com
Mon Aug 7 11:58:38 EDT 2006

At 8:47 AM -0600 7/8/06, Doug Renwick wrote:
>I had the same thought when I read Mike's story.  Where his
>Papa's lightning rods properly connected to earth?
>What's the advice?  Do properly, professionally installed
>lightning rods on a house (all services underground) fully
>or partially protect the building from a direct lightning

I lived in very rural upstate NY where lightning is a fact of life, especially in summer. Almost every barn (I could see nine barns in a two-mile radius from the roof of my house) is equipped with six to 12 grounded (2/0 and larger copper wire) lightning rods including the one 100 yards away at the top of the hill right across the road. I do not know how many barns in Chenango County (over 600 farms in the country) were actually struck by lightning each year, but I know of none which ever were damaged or destroyed by lightning over a 20-year period. All barns which "disappeared" either collapsed on their own from old age (assisted by snow load), were partially or wholly destroyed by tornadoes or hurricanes, were demolished since their usefulness ended, or burned due to spontaneous combustion of wet stored hay. Many/most of the associated farm houses were similarly equipped with lightning rods, but I know of none which were lost due to lightning; most that burned were due to heating problems (wood stove, furnace, kerosine or other space heaters). Since most farms and barns in the area are well over 100 years old with few (if any) with underground utilities, I must make the presumption that lightning rods work under most conditions.

The only homes I know in the county which were struck and damaged by lightning happened to be owned by hams with towers and who did not have lightning rods installed. This is not to state that if they had lightning rods, they would have escaped lightning damage especially to their towers nor is it to state that lightning would strike the lightning rods before it struck the towers, but the few hams I know who have both towers and lightning rods have not experienced lightning damage. One, across the valley where I live has had both a tower and lightning rods for over 45 years (he's 90) with no lightning damage. While this is not empirical evidence, my observations tend to make a True Believer of me regarding the effectiveness of lightning rods.

73 de Fred K2FRD

73 de Fred Stevens K2FRD, VO2FS

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