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Thunder dance?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N1VAU, Jun 14, 2021.

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  1. N1VAU

    N1VAU XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have pounded in 11 eight foot ground rods. (Not an easy feat in "The Granite State")

    2' burried 200' of the finest tinned #2 Georgia Copper around the house.

    Connected everything to a single point ground inspired by the Motorola R56 handbook.

    Run all cabling through lightning surge protection before it enters the building.

    Connected utilities properly to said single point ground.

    ....and at the slightest sound of thunder or at the advice of the National Weather Guesser forcast, I completely disconnect every wire from my equipment and roll the radio desk 2' away from the bitter ends.

    There are various remnant reminders of the effects of lightning over the years on the 90' pine vegetation within sight of my porch.

    Do you do the "Thunder Dance" around your shack too?
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
    N5AF, K0UO and KI5WW like this.
  2. WA9SVD

    WA9SVD Ham Member QRZ Page

    The ONE thing I really miss about living in the Midwest (I'm originally from the Chicago area) is the real "dunderboomers" that were a frequent spring/summer occurrence. (Of course, I DON'T miss the :eek:tornadoes!:rolleyes:) That happens here (in So. Cal.) about once every decade, if we're "lucky" :)confused:) Of course, about three years ago, we DID have the real thing here:cool:; for over an hour, a cell came through with another flash before the thunder of the previous lightning bolt had died out. That was good for about ten years.:)
    N1VAU likes this.
  3. KJ4RT

    KJ4RT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I always disconnect my antenna lead from the tuner but, leave the ground wires intact.
    KF5ONT likes this.
  4. KO4HFX

    KO4HFX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yep. Did same thing with grounding/bonding and let the first cloud show up and I'm yanking plugs and turning coax connectors. Would have been a lot cheaper and easier to just punch a hole in the window pane and pulled the coax through. Then, when a storm showed up, to just throw the cable outside.

    Lightning is no joke though. I'm fascinated by it and read a lot of articles when I researched setting up my shack. We can only do so much. Commercial interest have the resources to protect their equipment from direct strikes. Most hams don't. The best we can hope for is to mitigate the effects of near-by strikes. Suffer a direct strike and all bets are off. Do it right and maybe the damage is less severe.
    N5AF likes this.
  5. N5AF

    N5AF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have my shack set up so all rigs can be physically disconnected from the antenna system(s) in a matter of seconds. Even with that, I have an entrance panel with Array Solutions AS-303 series protectors grounded to the mains ground. I like the 303's because they are DC blocked, GDT & static bleed design. I prefer this design which is excellent, unless you need to send DC down the line for a remote tuner or switch.

    I also have the future tower grounding tied to the mains ground, which is also tied to the lightning rod system on the house. I have strikes all around us during the nasty storms, but never anything within 500-feet of the house. Knock on wood! :D I also have my barn equipped with a lightning rod system.

    We get some wicked electrical events in this part of Texas, on par with what I experienced when living in South Florida.
    N1VAU likes this.
  6. N3HGB

    N3HGB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not a bit. I am not even home half the time a storm comes around and my boat radios stay connected 24-7-365.
  7. KI5WW

    KI5WW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually sort of kinda, but I love your post.
  8. N1VAU

    N1VAU XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    When I lived near the coast 15+ years ago I had a "temporary" low slung 40 meter dipole 20' off the ground and 50 above sea level, well below the treeline and shadowed by a 300' tall hill a couple of hundred yards behind me. Unprotected coax ran straight into the shack, radio bonded to the electrical mains ground. I used to disconnect the antenna, push "most" of the coax out and slide the HF radio, with ground lead attached 18" across the shelf where I would operate.

    One summer afternoon lightning struck nearby and melted a single the insulated #12 copper about halfway up one of the legs of the dipole. There was an arc across the station shelf to the radio with the earth ground still attached, leaving a telltale "arc flash" divot in the radio's coax connector. Left an ozone smell in the house too. The radio still worked BTW (Yay Yaesu)

    After that experience, anytime I do the "Thunder Dance" I disconnect all wires, feed lines, AC power cords AND ground leads. I roll the bench 2' away from the formally connected wires and let the rest of my grounding system fend off the fireball.
  9. W3SY

    W3SY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Is that anything like a Thunder Squat?
    N1VAU likes this.
  10. KG5UN

    KG5UN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not me. Spent 30 years in Texas and now live on the Mississippi coast.
    No lightning arrestors, no grounding, never disconnect anything.

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