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. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    I did reply in answer to the survey (I don't disconnect anything - I trust my lightning protection system), and posted my question back to the OP in Post #8.
  2. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    just found out 4 days ago that our water lines will be replaced next year. There goes my house ground. I doubt the 30' of burried 3/4" copper out to my shutoff valve will suffice. Whatever cast main pipe is left under the road will most certainly be replaced with a big green "non-conductive" pvc type of main.
    I'll be putting in a ground rod or whatever is recommended at the meter base and leave the gnd on the 3/4" copper pipe out to the shutoff as well.
    Not sure what to do from there - do I trust the inside copper cold water pipe as a station ground and run a gnd wire (~ 15') from that to the coax entrance. Worried that a large strike would blow the solder joints.
    or bury 60 or 70' of #6 with gnd rods around the foundation to the coax entrance. Gnd rod there as well.

    Extending #6 to the tower approx. 95' away will be expensive, but if the tower does get a huge hit and isnt bonded then everything on the tower plus coax through the wall laying on the floor will have charge as well.

    When I was working as a cable tv tech, had a call to replace a drop at a house. This was where a lightning strike vapourized the cable to where the drop drooped closest to ground, cracked a cement pad and blew out a basement casement window. The other 1/2 of the drop to the trunk in the back yard was still there. I think the hydro stack was there as well so that may be why it didnt wipe the entire drop out, might have found it easier going to the hydro lines. Nothing special for that house, just easier path I suppose
  3. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I only disconnect when I have been bad and think lightning may strike me. :rolleyes:

    That is not very often.
    KD2ACO and VE3CGA like this.
  4. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    this reminds me when I was in my 20's, had an argurment at home, took off in my 1969 Z28 rather loudly. As I was waiting to turn at stop sign...
    lightning whacked most of the steeple off our church that was at that very corner.
    Had to run in and let the day care know, then went home to apologize
    Makes ya re-think things a little :D:D
  5. N6OPS

    N6OPS Ham Member QRZ Page

    well, it came from Santa Barbara Fire Department on Twitter feed. It looks real and is consistant with a storm last year at the same time. If its photo shopped, they took credit for it.

    The important issue is your safety, no one wants a ham to get killed because they did not have a ground with lightning protection.
    WR2E likes this.
  6. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    There are several issues in your question. Dunno about Canada but here the NEC says that 10 feet of metal water pipe in contact with the ground is sufficient for a grounding electrode. However there must also be another grounding electrode rod installed and of course bonded to the piping.

    Is there a ground rod at the electric service entrance? If so it already should be bonded to the metal water pipes somewhere. Is there a ground rod for your station antenna cable entrance to which the cables are grounded? If not there needs to be. I wouldn’t use the water pipes in the house for that because of RF wavelength to get to real ground.

    All metal water piping in the house must be bonded to the electric ground regardless of whether the piping is also buried in the ground somewhere. This is to prevent the pipes from getting energized somehow by an appliance or by a short to wiring inside the house and then presenting a shock hazard.

    Water meters often have insulated bushings to protect water workers from shocks, so that can defeat the use of a water pipe as a ground. Basically one should not rely on water piping as a grounding electrode.

    Do a search for water pipe by KF5LJW and you should get to some good posts here regarding this in more detail by an expert on grounding and electric codes (at least in the US, though the CEC is probably similar).
    WA7PRC likes this.
  7. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The K0UO Rhombic Antenna Farm is located at the Kansas QTH in the heart of Tornado Alley with over Two miles of Wire in the Air & On the Air, “The lightning Gotta-Go-Somewhere"!

    Everything is shunted to ground, almost a hundred lightning arresters & ground straps of various types.

    But I still put the master switch to ground for everything, fed lines & AC power every time I leave the shack.

    And it doesn't have to be a thunderstorm,
    With strong wind in dry conditions the potential is unbelievably high with this much wire in the air.
    I also have a strike finder counter device on my 195 foot Tower showing me whether it's been hit or not.
    If it has, then I need to check out my grounds to make sure they have not crystallized or been damaged.
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2019
  8. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    thanks for the reply Bob N0TZU.

    First, -no gnd rod at the service entrance. I bet there isnt one anywhere in this neighbourhood either.
    These houses were the next thing after knob & tube, 2 wire plastic insulation with the paper wrap in a tar coated paper jacket. My panel was upgraded and everything is 3 wire now. So thats where I'll start, it'll be bonded on the cold water pipe where the panel does as well.
    The water meter has #6 gnd wire connected on the inlet and outlet side, same heavy brass clamps on both

    I should note that bell and cabletv both bond to the cold water pipe 16' (and 7 soldered joints) down from where the water pipe is bonded to the panel, etc

    Second, -no gnd rod at the coax entrance either but it will be easy to bond the coax to that.
    A little confused about what to tie the coax gnd rod to. The water pipe runs through the basement about 12' from the coax entrance, an easy hookup to that, but to route #6 back to the gnd rod at the service entrance, I would be need about 60' to wind around the house foundation, sun room off the back corner and deck. Probably preferrable to running a lightning gnd wire through the house

    Doing lots of reading on the forums, going to go to the library and see if they have a book on CEC
  9. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yeah, many years ago water pipes were often used as the only grounding electrode, and such things vary by local practices, age of the area, etc, so getting internet advice isn’t necessarily accurate!

    If I understood correctly, the new service panel uses the cold water pipe as the grounding electrode, and no ground rod was driven there? It was done by a licensed electrician, correct?

    If so, then the water pipe IS the primary grounding electrode, and bonding your antenna coax ground rod to it sounds like the best bet in your situation. The one thing you never want is to create two or more ground reference points with no bonding between.

    In addition to KF5LJW as a resource, there are several licensed electricians here on QRZ who often post about such things (can’t think of their calls right now).
    K0UO likes this.
  10. K1LKP

    K1LKP Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    LIGHTNING PROTECTION FOR YOUR HOME.jpg Month in QST/June2017/Chusid-Morgan.pdf

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