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. W9FL

    W9FL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I always disconnect my feedlines in the shack. I have short coax jumpers going to the equipment with inline coax connectors. I unscrew the feed lines at the inline coax connectors, and then lay the feedlines on the cement basement floor. I always disconnect when done playing radio, during the spring, summer, and fall. I usually leave them connected in the winter, unless there is a possibility of a snow storm, which sometimes can produce lightning. I have PowerPole connectors I installed, inside the house, on my rotor control line, and I disconnect that also, and lay it on the floor.

    If there is a strong storm coming, I will also unplug everything.

    I have Polyphaser lightning protectors where the coax enters the house.

    I am on a hill, with the second highest elevation in the county.

    About three years ago, I actually saw lightning strike my 160 meter dipole, when I was looking out the window during a storm. What are the chances of that? I saw the strike hit right where the coax attaches to the dipole. The coax burned off at that point.

    All the incoming utilities run underground, parallel to my dipole.

    No damage to my radio equipment, but it took out the lighting arrestor in my cable TV line. It also took out a GFCI receptacle in my aluminum framed sun room attached to the rear of my house. The coax from the dipole is attached to the opposite outside corner from that GFCI outlet.

    That was all the damage I could find.

    I was lucky. Last year my immediate neighbor who is not an Amateur Radio operator, took a direct strike to his house, and received $25,000 worth of damage to various electric and electronic equipment in his house. Damage to his security cameras, burglar alarm, furnace, computer equipment, router, and I don't know what else.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2021
  2. W9FL

    W9FL Ham Member QRZ Page

  3. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have one of those and it works very well. Very good investment.

    It will even detect bad electrical devices.

    Just for play, Hold it near your switching power supplies, To see if they generate trash.

    W9FL likes this.
  4. AA3GL

    AA3GL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have Poly Phazer surge/arrestors outside in a weatherproof electrical box connected to the coaxes before entering the house, hopefully this will keep most of the strike energy outside to my ground rod grid system which consists of 6 8ft rods connected together via cad welded w500 wire. Inside I have my radios going to a switching system that grounds all unused coaxes. The radio's side of the system goes to a Cantenna dummy load and antenna's side goes through shorted coax to the waterline entering the house (this is 100ft of 3/4" copper service line).
    Like others have said, there is little you can do for a direct strike, but I have had some close calls, the closest was a street light less than 200ft from my closest antenna with no ill effects to my radios.
  5. KM4HGU

    KM4HGU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I disconnect the feedline from antenna switch, and let it ride. I'd thought about switching to ground, but I don't want a ground path.
    'Lectricity follows path of least resistance, and I try to put as much resistance as I can in my antenna system so that lightening will go somewhere else.
  6. KG5UN

    KG5UN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nothing. No arrestors. No grounding. No disconnecting. I have been that way for nearly 40 years.
    N8AFT likes this.
  7. WD0BCT

    WD0BCT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Since abandoning my shack for 100% portable....i disconnect everything regardless of lightning! :D

    One of the positive things about portable is that I have no permanent antenna to worry about.:cool:
  8. KC7JNJ

    KC7JNJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Please tell us more? I would like to understand the logic behind this thought. I am not being snarky or flippant.
  9. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have a short run of superflex 1/4 in coax from the 6 position antenna coax switch to the SWR/Watttmeter on top of my rig.
    That gets pulled out at the antena switch !

    My house is surrounded by trees 50 to 75 ft tall and they got hit by lightning 2 0r 3 times in the 30+ years we have lived here !
    No electronic devices have ever been knocked out by lightning
    Before I retired, I was immersed in lightning protection practices, because at the sites I visited to work, there were huge lightning rods right ouside the door, some as tall as 500 feet !
    I saw lightning come in thru power lines and phone lines but rarely thru the antenna coax !!:eek:
    I recall one dispatch console blew out for a suburb's PD/FD radios, Because of a lightning hit taken by the gas pump behind the PD garage !! :mad:
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2021
  10. W0JKT

    W0JKT Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I had a similar experience a few years ago. No power line issue but went through the modem and router without damage but fried my network card in computer and fried a TIVO TV unit in a different room. Weird.

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