Topband: Thunderstorm

Lee K7TJR k7tjr at
Wed Mar 29 01:48:58 EST 2006

Well I think I had the experience of a lifetime today.. I was working out by the 90 ft 160 Vertical and I started hearing some clicking. I walked closer to it and could tell the guy wires were arcing across the insulators ( I used 25KV electric fence insulators).  I looked south and there it was a full blown storm front moving right over my place. I moved over under the patio about a hundred feet from the vertical.  I heard a sound  like the crackle of turning on a giant CRT monitor a hundred times over. It was a very loud  crackle just as a strike went across the sky. Static is bled off  the active element with an inductor to ground but the guy wires float. The voltage must have been huge on the guy wires as each strike in the sky produced a rather large crackling sound from all 12 of the guy wires just as an overhead strike would occur. I certainly was glad this storm front moved on after 5 or 6 cloud to cloud strikes. It did not have to get very far away before all signs of static build-up disappeared. I am thinking of adding inductors to bleed off the static on the guy lines as well. I had heard some static discharge before when a dust storm blew through but not anything like this. I designed high voltage CRT power supplies for Tektronix years ago but never encountered voltage like this before. That has to be a lot of voltage to make corona in the air.  My ten year old boy says he saw arcing or corona travel up the guy wires. I did not see it but did see a brite flash out of the corner of my eye. Sure glad it was not a strike to ground through my antennas here. No damage anywhere .  Lee K7TJR Oregon 

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