Thunderstorm Safety

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KA4DPO, Jul 1, 2021.

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  1. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Lots of storms in the area today so everything in the shack is disconnected. We took a strike a few days ago that knocked out our power for 10 hours, that has not happened in a very long time. It was so intense that it fried one of my neighbors garage door openers.

    So what steps do you take to protect your equipment from lightning surges?
  2. WO1X

    WO1X Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    You mean besides praying to the Lithuanian pagan god of thunder Percunas ?
    N8WCL, WS4JM, KD2TUD and 6 others like this.
  3. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Usually I ground my coax by sticking the end into a large can of dirt.:)
    KE0GXN, W9JEF, WE4E and 1 other person like this.
  4. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The only effective one...same as you...disconnect the antennas. Power should be on decent surge suppressors....though it's better to unplug everything (I admit I don't do that and have been lucky so far). Make sure any other paths are protected as well, like Internet connections. These days it's not uncommon to have things like...a computer connected to a cable internet connection, and a transceiver connected to that. ;)
    N4FZ, N3AWS, PU2OZT and 1 other person like this.
  5. K1SZO

    K1SZO XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    1. A proper grounding system.
    2. Disconnect my antennas from my radios
    3. My antenna switch disconnects my antenna's anyhow when powered off, but I don't trust that disconnect as much as my physical disconnect.
    4. All antennas entering the building have lightning protection on them that are attached to a grounding plate.
    5. All power supplies are connected to UPS systems to help isolate the device from the home wiring. (doesn't guarantee it won't, but it definitely can help)
    6. The incoming cable (for Internet) passes through my UPS' coaxial protection.
    7. A small switch is connected to the modem before it reaches the router. (I have a higher-end router) This creates another layer of protection on the network side.
    If lightning strikes the cable TV lines, it will enter your house through that coaxial cable and can knock out your hardware that way. A UPS can help protect devices but doesn't guarantee they won't be damaged. I had it pass through and kill my modem and the switch behind it but did not kill the PCs that were connected to the switch.

    Like all security, the best way to protect yourself is by using layers of protection. There normally isn't one protective item that protects all.
    N4FZ, WA8FOZ and K0UO like this.
  6. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's exactly what I do, except I use a bucket:

    NL7W, KI5WW, KA4DPO and 2 others like this.
  7. WZ7U

    WZ7U Ham Member QRZ Page

    No no no no, I unplug the coax from the rig and put the 110v wall current to it. I figure the fight must be between the clouds and the utility, so let them sort it out amongst themselves.

    /s :D
    KG4RRH, N5AL, KA4DPO and 2 others like this.
  8. N4CKC

    N4CKC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I use a ziploc bag, more portable and less spillable.
    KA4DPO, K8XG and N0TZU like this.
  9. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I disconnect the ham antennas, open the main house breaker, unplug all cords to lamps, appliances, and computers, disconnect the internet, disconnect the antenna coax from every TV, turn off and put all the cell phones and portable devices into a tight metal can, draw the shades, and take shelter in a small first floor room with my feet close together and not touching anything else.

    NL7W, KC1DQH, N0VFJ and 9 others like this.
  10. N3HGB

    N3HGB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Actually not too much. At home the antenna leads go through Diamond lightning arrestors, I have a decent ground system, and I usually switch the antenna switch to dummy load when I am not there. We have too many storms and I am gone too much to go through any complex rearranging anytime it storms.
    My boat has a lighting ground from mast to keel hopefully will prevent catastrophic damage, but a direct hit will very likely wreck most of the electronics*. No one unwires their boat for a storm, I need all the stuff working in a storm more than any other time.

    * one hit blew the VHF antenna off the mast, but somehow the radio survived. I wasn't there to know if it was direct, induced current from a nearby strike, or ????
    KA4DPO, KJ4KPW and K8XG like this.

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