Do You Unplug For Lightning Storms ?

Discussion in 'Survey Center' started by NN4RH, Nov 13, 2019.


What (if anything) do you unplug for Lightning Storms ?

  1. Disconnect feed lines outside - Explain details in Reply

  2. Disconnect feed lines indoors - Explain details in Reply

  3. Unplug radio/power supply power cords

  4. Disconnect shack ground

  5. I don't disconnect anything - I trust my lightning protection system

  6. I don't disconnect anything - If lightning is going to get me it doesn't matter what I do

  7. I don't get lightning here

  8. Unplug computer and disconnect from radio gear

  9. Other - Explain in Reply

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  1. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Do you unplug anything when lightning is in the area? What do you normally to do prepare for lightning storms?

    The first two choices involve a lot of variations.

    For example, if you disconnect the feedlines outside, do you disconnect them before or after any "lightning arrestors" you have? If you disconnect on the antenna side, do you ground the connectors, hang them somewhere, or just toss them into the yard away from the house? If you disconnect on the house side of the "lightning arrestor" what do you do with the ends - ground them? Hang them somewhere? Leave them dangling? Pull them back through the wall into the house?

    If you disconnect feedlines inside the shack, do you ground the ends? Just leave them dangling? Stick them in a mayonnaise jar on the floor? Pull them back outside through the wall and leave them in the yard?
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2019
  2. N8AFT

    N8AFT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have knife switches on my twinlead coming through the window sash I can open if need be.
    I have spark plug style arrestors outside on ground rods the twinlead goes across.
    I used to be concerned but not so much anymore.
    My AC service in the shack I flip a switch to open circuit.
    PU2OZT and K0UO like this.
  3. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Until I figure out a method for grounding here, the coax is removed from the radio and laid on the ceramic tile floor.
    The 65' Tower is 95' at the back of the yard and the coax is buried.
    To do single point grounding is going to be costly. Plus all the service grounds in this subdivision are on the 3/4" copper water service, don't know what that connects to after the cities shut-off 40' out in my front yard. This subdivision is 60yrs old and there have been several main pipe breaks that I suspect have been fixed with a very insulating green pvc pipe splice, so that might not provide a good service ground here.
    Trying to sort out the grounding advice, arguments, testimonials, etc.

    My first house with 40' tower was hit, I had just disconnected my TS520 and the dangling coax connector arc'd like someone was welding in the shack. Lucky that time, it most certainly would have left a mark!
    It still toasted the input FET in the rig.
    PU2OZT likes this.
  4. N0WBA

    N0WBA Ham Member QRZ Page

    we had continuous lighting one evening maybe a month or so ago and I have a efhw antenna wire up in a large tree about 40 ft which is grounded outside the house, luckily I checked lighting strikes on radar prior to the storm hitting and unplugged it and the power to the radio . Lots of strikes close to the house, I also have huge trees in the yard ...i work long hours so Im always keeping an eye on the weather and will unplug if I suspect a storm will hit while Im at work
    AD4AA, VE3CGA and K3XR like this.
  5. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The internet is a great thing, I use
    Most of our strikes close to town follow along the hi-voltage hydro towers 1km north from here
    Still get some in town but like KE0EJE using radar or lightning maps or wx forecast helps narrow down the disconnect decision
    N0WBA likes this.
  6. N5CM

    N5CM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have an app for my phone, My Lightning Tracker. It's a free app, and it works well.

    It has an alarm that is set based on the distance of a lightning strike from the current position of the phone. I got this app when I was heavily into road cycling (the kind with pedals). It's no fun to be caught in a storm 30 or 40 miles out from home or your vehicle while on your bike.

    When I returned to amateur radio after many years QRT, I found this app to be very useful.

    My alarm is set for 20 miles. That gives me ample warning to watch the progress of a storm on radar and disconnect if it's headed my way.
    VE3CGA likes this.
  7. N0NC

    N0NC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Everything is disconnected, the operating postition is totally isolated including the ground and computer network connection. During tunderstorm season, if i'm not using it, everything is duscconnected and isolated, so it's safe even if i'm out of town or just down the street in town. Last time I got hit, it came in on the phone line for the DSL. Modem, router and network switch weren't damaged,but it went through them and damaged the network port and HDMI port on a media player (stiil worked with composit video), and toasted the TV at the end of the linethrough the HDMI port (killed it dead). Also from the same network switch, it took out the network connection on the shack computer. Nothing else in the house was damaged. Lightning is wierd, goes where it wants.
    Chuck, N0NC
    WM1N and WQ4G like this.
  8. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do you disconnect your phone line? Cable TV? AC power? Unless you disconnect everything, I don't see how disconnecting your ham radio antennas is going to help. Follow the NEC and properly protect the stuff coming into your home.
    WL7PM, W4EAE, K8BZ and 3 others like this.
  9. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    Goes where it’s ‘allowed’ to go.

    The big problem is learning to recognize those sneak paths.
  10. W7EDC

    W7EDC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I lost my beloved 897D to a hit that came in through the power supply circuit (glad home owners insurance stepped up!). My power supply was not on any sort of surge protector at the time and I am not sure if it would have helped. I now disconnect my feedlines outside and the power supply to my radios power supply and rotator control.

    The only other damaged items in the house was a laptop charger, wifi router and strangely the garbage disposal.

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