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. K8ERV

    K8ERV QRZ Member QRZ Page

    I wait till I think lightening is about to strike then I disconnect.

    I like that tingly feeling.

    TOM K8ERV Montrose Colo
    N0TZU likes this.
  2. N9LCD

    N9LCD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    No outside antennas. I run VHF/UHF with a handheld.

    Radios & computer are turned-off at night.
  3. WQ4G

    WQ4G Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not a good idea... IMO you are asking for it. I used to do that until I received a direct strike. With no direct path to ground the lightning destroyed almost every electric and electronic device in the house. Rigs, phone, stereos, TV, Refrigerator, etc., etc. all wasted. The coax line had splits in the jacket about every 12" or so where the lightning came out.

    Needless to say I do NOT lay the coax on the floor of the shack any longer. I keep all antennas grounded out when I am not operating.

    Either give lightning a path to ground or else it will find it's own...

    Dan WQ4G
  4. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    sorry you were hit. Currently its winter here, 6" of snow on the ground, -4 deg C
    so I wont be doing anything until late March
    The main issue I have is picking a grounding route to the stack by the front corner of the house:
    1/ running a ground wire from the service stack around the house (paver stoners all the way), around the deck (where theres a mature maple tree), through the patio (paver stones and tree roots), around the other corner over to where the coax enters and burying it along the way - looking at 70' of ground wire
    2/ use the copper cold water pipe inside the basement then run a ground wireout the back foundation over to the coax entrance. This is certainly the easiest to do about 20' or ground wire. My fear with this is that if I'm hit with a "big one" I'll be running that energy inside, through my basement. I've seen a lightning strike years ago when I was a cable tv tech, it blew a hole in a house foundation where a basement window was, vapourized the 1/2 the cable drop and part of the bell drop from the eves fastener down plus all our ground wires. Cable & bell ground wires must have worked 'cuz they were vapourized too.

    I would rather have that charge shunted outside the house.
    heres the layout with both gnd choices. coax & antenna switch wires are buryied and the tower is 90' fom the shack upload_2020-1-21_8-55-26.png
  5. WQ4G

    WQ4G Ham Member QRZ Page

    It was a long time ago and I do things different now. But, thanks.

    Nope, don't want a gazillion volts running through the house or shack unless necessary... I am wondering, however, why your tower location is 90' from your shack?

    Just throwing this out there, but why couldn't you have your electrician install a sub-panel, for your shack, with an additional service ground just outside of your shack location? It appears, from the photo, that he might be able to pull a cable through the attic to feed the sub-panel. The sub-panel's neutral and ground would be bonded to the main service panel and ground through the cable. Perhaps someone can tell us why this would/wouldn't work...

    70' of bare ground wire buried in the soil would probably be a good ground just by it self...

    Dan WQ4G
  6. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good thought but in that case why not just run a single #6 wire through the attic to bond the two rods and dispense with the sub panel? There’s no NEC prohibition on putting the ground bond wire through the house as far as I know, though Canada’s code could be different.

    But let’s take a step back. By code the copper water pipes must be bonded to the service entrance ground anyway. So why not just use them and bond the shack ground rod to the outside faucet, after verifying that they are indeed ALL copper and bonded to the service entrance ground with at least #6 wire?

    It’s possible that in the future, some plumbing repair might substitute a non metallic pipe someplace and remove the bonding link, but presumably the ham owner would prevent this by insisting on copper repairs.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
    WQ4G likes this.
  7. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The 60' tower is out there for several reasons. I didnt want it near the house in case it came down in our extreme storm winds, houses are close together here. If it fell right at the base it would only take out a fence or pool or old shed, if it fell north it would miss the CN main-line tracks by about 10'. Its only used for 80M- 6M with no beams. Not needed for VHF/UHF, I use the satellites. Another reason is to keep all the house noise outta HF. Last qth had the tower up at the house and had tons of house noise even back then, cant imagine now with switching supplies and tv's. I was hoping it being 90' away, if it got whacked, most of the charge would disapate with all the cables buried but never want to test that.
    To pull another service cable to the shack would be impossible since the shack is really a sun room with cathedral ceiling no attic, plus I'd still be feeding some charge thru the house.

    I'm thinking the route from the cold water pipe is probably the best/easiest, ground rod outside the shack with coax bonded then bond the tower to that with ground rods there for each leg. Possibly (or hopefully) with 90' of buried ground wire a good amount of charge will be disapated but at least the service will be bonded to coax, tower etc. I'd still disconnect the radio
    WQ4G and N0TZU like this.
  8. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Before proceeding you should probably check the Canadian electric code or ask a local licensed electrician to make sure that bonding a supplemental ground rod through the plumbing isn’t a violation.
    WQ4G likes this.
  9. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

  10. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'll do that, the trick will be to find one that knows that portion of the code and is willing to share it.
    Hoping if its ok in the US and California theres a good chance it will be ok here as well but I'll have to check it out

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