[TowerTalk] DO *NOT* WORK ON ANTENNAS During Rain Storm/Lightning Storm
k6xn at comcast.net
Mon Jun 26 12:15:18 EDT 2006
I agree with Rod.
On February 19, 2005 I was working on an 80 meter antenna when lightning
either struck the antenna or struck nearby and I was knocked unconscious and
I stopped breathing. Luckily my wife heard an explosion in the back yard and
found me lying on the patio unconscious and not breathing...and smoking. She
called 911 and the paramedics arrived luckily in just a few minutes. I was
able to start breathing on my own with difficulty just before they arrived.
There were burn mark impressions of the soles of my shoes in the grass where
I had been standing when I took the hit and nothing grew back in my
footprints for several months. I smelled like burnt flesh and parts of my
clothing had been burnt and I had trouble talking and breathing...and the
left side of my body didn't function the same as the right side of my body
and my feet felt "funny".
The paramedics immediately determined that parts of my feet had been burned
away with deep third degree burns to the bones of my feet and that I had
five serious third degree burns on other parts of my body and that my heart
had gone into atrial and ventral fibrillation. To make a long story short
after 17 days in intensive care in a burn unit, two major surgeries and five
skin grafts I was able to leave the hospital in a wheel chair. Six more
months in the wheel chair and multiple daily injections and multiple daily
wound dressing changes I was able to get out of the wheel chair and stagger
around with a granny walker. Over a year after the hit I am now able to walk
normally but I have lost a lot of strength and my feet are still healing.
Luckily the scars from the skin grafts don't show with normal business
attire. I am slowly getting stronger every week and I am very thankful that
I am still alive and that I am finally free of pain. This is not an
experience that I would want anyone else to go through. I am leaving out
some painful gory details including how painful it is to recover from
multiple deep third degree burns and multiple daily wound dressing changes
for each burn area....or the indignities of not being able to make it to the
bath room on your own etc. or the inconvenience of not being able to sit and
use a computer for more than five minutes before you have to elevate your
legs because the pain is too severe. The medical costs were shocking...over
$300,000. Luckily the company I worked for (Hewlett-Packard Company) and my
medical insurance picked up the costs. I do not intend this to be
whining....as I am thankful to be alive and free of pain and functioning
now...but as a heads up.....trust me......you do *not* want to experience
Bottom line...I agree with Rod...and I recommend that anyone even thinking
about working on an antenna or an antenna feed line during a rain storm
seriously consider *not* doing it. Lightning was *not* predicted the morning
I took the hit and it is not common that we have lightning in our area.
I stay away from antennas and antenna feed lines now during
rainstorms.....and I get nervous when I even see a rain cloud if I am near
an antenna. My XYL, Laine, K6XXN, saved my life and she was not pleased that
I was stupidly working on an antenna in a rainstorm. She watches me closely
now during rain storms. :-)
Best regards, Ted, K6XN
PS I can only assume that neither Heaven nor Hell wanted another ham radio
operator on February 19, 2005, as I was toast.
From: towertalk-bounces at contesting.com
[mailto:towertalk-bounces at contesting.com] On Behalf Of Rod Elliott
Sent: Friday, June 23, 2006 4:55 PM
To: towertalk at contesting.com
Subject: Re: [TowerTalk] Arc During Lightning Storm
Last year I experienced a lightning-induced pulse in a very close-up
and personal way. Was tinkering with an antenna fed with ladder line.
In the shack I was holding the (stripped) ends of the line in my left
hand, along with a piece of bare #3 AWG connected to my safety ground.
Suddenly felt a strong electrical jolt in that hand. About three
seconds later I heard the thunder...
Guess the Guardian Angel of Lids was in the shack with me that day... hi!
73 + don't do as I did!
Rod Elliott VE3UW
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