As May opened with a crack and a bang, we were reminded to unplug and disconnect this morning. Around 3:00am was round one and shortly before 6:00am round two. Do you disconnect, or rely on lighting arresters?
Your first clue that you should consider taking precautions is that tell-tail rumble from above. Count the seconds between the flash and rumble to get a rough idea how far away the lightning strike occurred. Better yet, use technology and visit a web site that we discussed last year:
- Hot New Site – Lightning by WA0ZQG introduced www.lightningmaps.org – referred to us by ham operator George KD0NME
Last night after the SWIARC Prepper’s and Survivalism Information Net, Rich (WA0ZQG) announced that he is going to disconnect his ham gear before he goes to bed. He was Prepping for the storm.
You will not eliminate the possibility of lightning destroying your amateur radio gear, but you can do a lot to prevent it from dealing that devastating blow to your radio budget.
1. Grounding – have good low impedance heavy grounding as direct as possible
2. Bonding – Loose ground wires sink amateur radios
3. Eliminate Entry Points – have a single point of entry to equipment, and disconnect when possible
Remember lightning currents from a big direct strike can be in excess of 100,000 amps. If lightning can enter from a single point, and exit directly to another, bringing everything up and down evenly you are less likely to suffer equipment damage. Allow the current to find the most direct path to ground via as heavy gauge wire as possible.
Unplug your household electronics, disconnect your antennas, and short those connections directly to ground. Implement good quality lighting arresters, as you cannot always be home to disconnect.
Submit your lightning protection tips and we will share them here!
written and published by: Derek Winterstien W0DBW