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Author Topic: LIGHTNING PROTECTION  (Read 3507 times)
N9LCD
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Posts: 170




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« on: November 21, 2012, 06:46:29 PM »

Took my 22-foot extension ladder to an antenna party last Sunday -- helped take down the old analog outdoors TV antenna for a retired couple that finally went cable.

While bundling-up the old RG-6 type coax, I noticed something -- NO LIGHTNING PROTECTION.  I asked around.  None of my fellow "party goers" could recall anybody in the 'hood having lightning damage.  Wind damage, yes.  Lightning damage, NO.

I'm trying to plan lightning protection for my upcoming installation project knowing that my neighbor doesn't have any lightning protection on his outdoor TV antenna and. over the last 15  years, hasn't had any lightning damage to his TV's.

QUESTIONS:

Are ham-band antennas more prone to attract lightning than a TV antenna at the same height?

Is ham gear. both hollow- and solid-state more prone to lightning and other collateral damage than consumer electronics?

N9LCD

 Huh     
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W9GB
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Posts: 2622




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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2012, 07:20:04 PM »

Unless you believe the Willis (Sears) Tower is the local lightning rod for Chicago.
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K3VAT
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Posts: 709




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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2012, 07:31:18 PM »

See this website http://www.protectiongroup.com/Utility/Knowledge-Base for lots (45 articles) of info to help in the understanding of lightning, its characteristics, and protection.  (Also surf around on some of the other menu tabs).

GL, 73, Rich, K3VAT
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LA9XSA
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Posts: 376




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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2012, 02:15:17 AM »

When you say "lightning protection", what exactly do you mean? Are you thinking about just grounding the antenna coax before entering the house and maybe putting a transient arrestor on it, and bonding the coax ground to the electrical service ground? Yeah, you should do that. Or are you thinking about a lightning protection system with air terminals, heavy lightning conductors and ground rods for protecting the house against a direct strike? You probably don't need to go that far.

The amount of effort put into lightning protection and grounding should be at least up to the standard of the local electrical code (NEC in the US, NEK 400 in Norway, BS 7430 in the UK, etc.), but a wish to go beyond those standards should be tempered by the risk of lightning damage. Here's a Weather Channel map of lightning risk in the US for example: http://www.weather.com/encyclopedia/charts/lightning_risk.html

In low lightning areas, it's not common for residential buildings to need a lightning protection system, except for highrises, hospitals, etc.
Are ham-band antennas more prone to attract lightning than a TV antenna at the same height?
No. The lightning doesn't care what service the antenna is used on, it only cares about its physical shape and impedance to ground. There is an element of chance of course - your neighbor might not have incurred damage, but you might get just the "right" conditions next summer.

Is ham gear. both hollow- and solid-state more prone to lightning and other collateral damage than consumer electronics?
I don't think so; it would be more expensive to replace though.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 02:17:21 AM by LA9XSA » Logged
K1CJS
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Posts: 6034




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« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2012, 07:19:48 AM »

...Are ham-band antennas more prone to attract lightning than a TV antenna at the same height?

No, not really.

Quote
Is ham gear. both hollow- and solid-state more prone to lightning and other collateral damage than consumer electronics?

Certain parts of a transmitter may well be more prone to damage.  Since receivers (consumer electronics) don't contain those parts, the answer could well be yes.

There is another reason that you should put some method of surge/spike protection on your antennas.  The simple movement of air past the antenna may generate a static charge, and that charge will seek an earth ground.  If that charge gets strong enough, it could damage your rigs.

Some people here will come back and say 'could, may,' and other things I'm referring to are only chance happenings, but the chances of them are greater than the chance of a lightning strike--and most people want to protect against THAT chance happening.  73!
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