I need the ultimate feedline disconnect

Discussion in 'Antennas, Feedlines, Towers & Rotors' started by KI5OMM, Jul 2, 2021.

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  1. KI5OMM

    KI5OMM Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'm wishing for a way to physically disconnect all of my feedlines at the antenna outside and ground them at the same time. We have a lot of lightning around here. We also have a lot of snakes which makes me think twice about running outside after dark in my house shoes to disconnect everything. Unfortunately the way my qth is situated it's a fair walk out the door, and around the house out to the antennas.

    I know there are remote coax switches, but they are expensive and somewhat fussy. Is there the holy grail of feedline disconnect schemes that I am missing. How do you do yours?
     
    N4FZ likes this.
  2. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Put a remote station in a shed or small building and access it from the house via a wireless Internet connection.
     
    N5YPJ and W6KCS like this.
  3. PU2OZT

    PU2OZT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Then, you'll be missing all the magic of glowing tubes warmth during chilling blizzards. And what about the cats.

    Oliver
     
    WN1MB likes this.
  4. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    IMHO this is a silly method. I recommend standard, reliable methods:

    1. Install quality surge suppressors on each line at the shack entrance, e.g. Polyphaser.
    2. Use a grounding selector switch in the shack, e.g. Alpha Delta.

    Do it in your bathrobe and slippers without going out in the rain, snow and snakes. :)
     
    K0UO likes this.
  5. KI5OMM

    KI5OMM Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Actually that exactly describes my system now. I would just prefer to keep the lightning hit to the outside only if possible. The remote switches in my mind do nothing as the tiny gap between relay points and other switch contacts give me little comfort when I take a hit. I guess there is no really perfect way to disconnect your antennas except physically unscrewing the coax connectors and then grounding the antenna wire. But those darn snakes......
     
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Remember properly engineered stations never disconnect anything.

    Cellular system antennas, AM-FM-TV broadcast stations, commercial (police, public utility, emergency, fire/rescue et al.) systems never disconnect their antennas through lightning storms and everything else.

    If you do it "right," there's no reason to.:)

    But doing it "right" means grounding everything at a cable entrance panel and making sure that ground connection is bonded to your AC utility service ground.

    The worst thing I see hams do (and I've seen this more often than I ever wanted to) is bringing antenna cables in well above ground, like upstairs and routed through an attic.
     
    AJ4GQ, W4HWD, W4EAE and 1 other person like this.
  7. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Easy solution: train the wife to do the disconnects and grounding.
     
    N5YPJ, 2E0CIT, K0UO and 3 others like this.
  8. W4EAE

    W4EAE XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The best way to keep the voltages from lightening outside is to make them a path to ground that they just can't resist.:rolleyes::)

    More seriously, don't disconnect anything without first thinking about the total effects of doing so. A good grounding system keeps static charge on your antennas and feedline low during electrical storms by providing route to ground--making them less likely to attract lightening. If you disconnect the coax from a point before the ground connection, high voltages can build up on your antennas from the the wind and charged air; and you could be inviting lightening to strike and destroy them.
     
    KJ7VAB likes this.
  9. WA7ARK

    WA7ARK Ham Member QRZ Page

    True.

    False. Static charge on an isolated conductor does not attract a lightning strike.

    True.

    False!. An un-grounded antenna does not make a lightning strike more likely; it provides a fire hazard if the coax brings the lightning current pulse into the house/shack, and the only path for the lightning pulse to reach ground is by flowing through the house's inside AC wiring.

    A proper external lightning ground connection shunts most of the lightning energy directly into the earth outside the house, leaving only a small fraction to flow into the rig chassis and out its AC line cord into the wall outlet.
     
    AJ4GQ, SWL37632 and W6KCS like this.
  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've seen hams do their "grounding" inside the house.

    Not a good idea.

    Utility companies sometimes create grounds under houses, and that's up to them. I'd still "bond" to that to prevent surge differential, but the primary earth grounds for antennas should all be outside.

    I'm doing a little bit of "house hunting" in Florida right now and although we may buy a home I already know well and have inspected a whole lot, it's possible we'll buy something else. I provided a list to my daughter who already lives in the same town and knows it better than I do, and the list starts with "no HOA," but not far below that is "service panel on exterior wall with visible ground connection," "must have natural gas service (for a auto-start backup generator)," and a bit further down the list is "the room directly inside from the exterior service panel should not be the master bedroom, kitchen, living room, dining room or bathroom -- preferably a spare bedroom, office, library, garage or something I can use." That last statement would allow me to easily bring cables in from outside to inside, right near the service panel and its ground.:)

    Yeah, I'm getting lazy in my older years.:p
     
    2E0CIT likes this.

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