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Author Topic: Disconnecting stations when not in use?  (Read 17203 times)
KB4MB
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« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2011, 06:36:57 AM »

It would be rather inconvienent to disconnect 4 coax cables, a multiconductor rotor cable, a multiconductor remote switch control cable, plus a tuner control cable and pull them back through the conduit to leave them outside. Then unplug numerous pieces of gear. I could plan on spending an hour setup and teardown time each time I wanted to operate for a few minutes.


It's true, so I disconnect the jumpers at my wall and pull them away.  I have them grounded outside the wall, and then a short trip inside to plates where connectors are.  I have four antennas, but one I use most of the time I installed a quick connector which is basically a push-on connector.  The rotator has a six way cable connector from RS and just pushes on.  The twinlead I use banana plugs (it is a molded connector with two prongs), so it will literally take five seconds to either connect or disconnect my station for two antennas, power, and rotator.  Nobody is on 2m anyway, so I don't always connect that one, and I if I did more often, I would just get another quick connector Smiley  The 80/160m inverted-l is useless in summer anyway...


However, a club member has used 20amp 3way light switches at his setup - a storm comes, he flips the switch which sends everything straight to ground. 
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W8JI
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« Reply #31 on: July 14, 2011, 11:10:14 AM »

The 80/160m inverted-l is useless in summer anyway...


However, a club member has used 20amp 3way light switches at his setup - a storm comes, he flips the switch which sends everything straight to ground. 

Wow. I'd never depend on that at all. It might be OK for a distant hit.

If you want to disconnect multiple feedlines, just come into a DX Engineering RR8 box or an Ameritron RCS8V. Either one is worlds above what you friend is doing. I would never trust the line switch.

http://www.w8ji.com/ground_systems.htm

I don't disconnect any cables but I do have an RR8 DXE box at my entrance. My towers take direct hits all the time.

My control cables are shielded and buried, as are the coaxial lines, and I have proper internal and entrance wiring.

73 Tom
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KB4MB
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« Reply #32 on: July 14, 2011, 11:15:01 AM »

Tom,

He does have everything else bonded correctly.. it just shunts the inner conductor to ground with the light switch.  Basically the same "protection" a gas plug probably affords, don't you think?
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N0FPE
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« Reply #33 on: July 18, 2011, 06:38:37 PM »

I followed the information on grounding from PolyPhaser and ICE as close as i could. I do not disconnect anything as this would be a real pain to unhook 7 coax lines every time it clouded up. And what good are you if you run and hide every time it rains 2 drops? I have played in Skywarn and ARES AND RACES for years and unhooking antennas kinda puts a crimp in this. You cant do much hiding in the basement with a HT!!! LOL!!! I have had 2 major lightning strikes in the last 25 years. One was an upstroke from my top mounted antenna <a DC grounded type> destroyed the antenna but the radio hooked to it was fine. And the second was a near strike, it took just abt every electronic item in the house but not one of my radios suffered any ill effects. A properly installed grounding system does work, you just cant scrimp, do it right the first time!!!

Dan
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N0FPE
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« Reply #34 on: July 18, 2011, 06:43:43 PM »

what is the break down voltage and flash over amps of Levitron 20amp 3 way light switch??? Some how I doubt it is anywhere near the voltage/amps of a lightning stroke..but i could be wrong..

Dan
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KB4MB
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« Reply #35 on: July 19, 2011, 04:31:54 AM »

what is the break down voltage and flash over amps of Levitron 20amp 3 way light switch??? Some how I doubt it is anywhere near the voltage/amps of a lightning stroke..but i could be wrong..

Dan


But that is the thing Dan - it shouldn't matter since everything is bonded correctly to begin with.  Sending the centers to ground shouldn't hurt anything, and since it is all bonded at the shack wall properly, it really doesn't matter much, and could potentially help.  Since the switch, body, box are all grounded at the tower as well, any flash over should occur safely there opposed to any closer.  I don't see how it is a real issue.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #36 on: July 19, 2011, 04:41:02 AM »

what is the break down voltage and flash over amps of Levitron 20amp 3 way light switch??? Some how I doubt it is anywhere near the voltage/amps of a lightning stroke..but i could be wrong..

It is much higher than the rating of ANY light switch.  Have you ever seem the flashover from an automatic line disconnect switch at an electrical substation?  No?  Watch this You Tube clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlocO4PuRyw

As seen, the arcs can be feet long!  Lightning has WAY MORE potential power than that--although the duration is usually somewhat shorter.
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W8JI
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« Reply #37 on: July 20, 2011, 01:52:21 PM »

Tom,

He does have everything else bonded correctly.. it just shunts the inner conductor to ground with the light switch.  Basically the same "protection" a gas plug probably affords, don't you think?


Well, this is Ham radio so things don't have to be perfect. We can be creative.

I've used some creative systems in the past, since it is Ham radio. For example my very first coaxial multi-position antenna switch and disconnect was a plywood board with antenna cables coming down from above. All the shields were bonded together with braiding. The center conductors were bent in hooks. The radio connection cable had a hook on the center and I simply hooked it to the desired antenna cable.

I think a light switch is a whole lot more convienient than my early wood plank, but not much better for RF connections or lightning. :-)

73 Tom
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KB4MB
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« Reply #38 on: July 20, 2011, 02:29:26 PM »

But that is what I mean... sending the center to ground can't be a bad thing, and since the rest of it is all bonded - have at it.  I don't think he is making things WORSE by doing it, but most likely not much better.
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KJ4RWH
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« Reply #39 on: July 23, 2011, 06:17:01 AM »

I was given some sage advice from an Ol' Timer many years ago. He said to close all doors in your home because lightning will hide behind an open door and jump out when you least expect it! Sadly he dies two weeks after a storm in which he'd left a door open and the lightning "got him". Wink
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N8DV
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« Reply #40 on: July 23, 2011, 09:16:45 AM »

When a storm is approaching, I disconnect my antennas and ground them with alligator clipped leads to my earth ground. The earth ground I have are four eight foot copper coated rods placed one foot apart in a square configuration inter-connected with number 0 copper wire. This ground serves not only an rf ground but electrical safety ground. If the storms are predicted to be severe, I will unplug everything from the mains. So far this has worked for me here in southeastern Michigan, north of Detroit. As they say, your mileage may vary in your location. I found it to be an inexpensive quick solution. Now if money is no object, go with the PolyPhaser grounding system. This is a professional setup with an accompanying price.
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KB4MB
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« Reply #41 on: July 23, 2011, 12:51:43 PM »

I don't understand why your antennas aren't grounded all the time.  It cost me a barrel connector, a ground clamp, and 2 pl-259's.  I tie the ground clamp directly to the barrel and ground wire outside as it attaches to the house ground.  This is my entrance ground, which is 1 ft away into the house.

Others would do the same, but with a copper plate at the entrance... again, the cost is minimal and would be much safer.  And, nothing to remember, your safety is always there.

An alligator clip is probably not going to be enough when the s**t hits the fan.  Also, since you do this inside, haven't you invited the beast in?

Also, the ground rods connected together that close isn't very effective either, they should have been 16 ft apart, to dissipate the energy.  I would think you effectively have one big ground rod at that spacing.

However, it is your station - so you can do as you wish.  People will probably criticize my setup.
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VE3FMC
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« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2011, 06:48:07 PM »

I disconnect my incoming coax runs from the feed through barrel connectors.

I have been doing this since 1992 and have never lost a piece of equipment. Then again I have never had a lightning hit, direct or otherwise. Which is amazing because my house is surrounded by trees.

I also make sure I pay my insurance payments once a month  Grin
« Last Edit: July 23, 2011, 06:49:44 PM by VE3FMC » Logged
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