I have a 80' Phillystran guyed 55G tower with 16' of mast above it, lots of wires, coaxes, and the works. I live in NC.
Lots of lightning.
I have *never* disconnected anything since the tower went up to full height around 1998. My gear is always hooked up.
In all that time, I have had only two minor connector failures due to my own ineptitude, not due to lightning.
Because I correctly grounded the tower.
I got lucky, because in my youth I worked for a firm that did AM broadcast station engineering work. So, I learned not only what to do but how to do it, from some wizened old guys who sadly are now SK.
That was over 30 years ago that I had that job. Time sure goes fast!
Yes, I did add suppressors, like several sets of Polyphasers as you are describing, but these are NOT the way to stop damage; they are an adjunct. I have seen Polyphasers blown apart! The ones I have are the original ones from when I installed them.
One thing I have noticed over the years are comments from visitors to my station who say things such as "gee that looks like overkill" "you spent way more on that that I would" "why did you use such a heavy wire?" "you put in HOW many ground rods?" "I've never seen anyone else do that" and of course, I smile and acknowledge these in a friendly and discreet manner. "Sure, you know, you're probably right, many people don't do all that."
More than one of these guests are known to have sustained lightning damage. I shake my head and am grateful nobody was hurt.
And then I come on line and read about all the lightning damage other
people get, or that they run to unhook wires and throw the out the window every time it looks like rain, etc.. so, you're correct in being concerned. It isn't impossible to stop the problem, the commercial guys do it all the time. Look at any cell tower for example. There are several guaranteed to be nearby.
So ... where does a ham go for information?
This web site is a good start http://www.w8ji.com/station_ground.htm
but I would argue that Tom went 'light' on things.
Here's a terrific article on the topic:http://www.copper.org/applications/electrical/pq/casestudy/nebraska.html
Other good links:members.rennlist.org/warren/ground.pdfwww.crawfordbroadcasting.com/Eng_Files/Lightning%20Protection.pdf