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Outdoor antennas during storm

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Chevyman22360

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I am wondering if it is good idea to disconnect my coax from outside antennas during a lightning storm. I know it is a good idea to disconnect all radios, tv's. What it I am wondering is the coax before I split it off to other rooms, if I should just disconnect it and let it just hang rather than being plugged into a splitter? I know I kinda messed this question up, but hopfully someone can make sense of it. Just wondering what other people do.
 

Chevyman22360

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hoser147 said:
Unhook the Main from the spliter and place it in a glass jar, Thats they way I was taught to do it, some others here do the same thing.. Hoser
Thanks, I have heard or read that some where.
Thanks hoser!!!
 

LordJ

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Here is an excellent site to look at. http://members.cox.net/pc-usa/station/ground0.htm
I would NOT be putting my coax end in a glass jar. Makes no sense to me at all. The destructive power from a lightning strike would simply shatter the glass jar. If you have an improperly protected system that lets the lightning travel into the house, your broken radio would be the least of your problems. Ultimately I think if you were not confident that your system was safe, disconnect the feedline BEFORE it enters your house. HTH
 

Chevyman22360

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LordJ said:
Here is an excellent site to look at. http://members.cox.net/pc-usa/station/ground0.htm
I would NOT be putting my coax end in a glass jar. Makes no sense to me at all. The destructive power from a lightning strike would simply shatter the glass jar. If you have an improperly protected system that lets the lightning travel into the house, your broken radio would be the least of your problems. Ultimately I think if you were not confident that your system was safe, disconnect the feedline BEFORE it enters your house. HTH
I do have lightning supressors that my coax goes through before it enters the house, I just thought as a second precaution.
 

hoser147

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Like LordJ stated if you take a direct hit your scanners will be the least of your problems, Ive seen lightning do alot of damage as a result of a direct hit. Outlets blown out of walls, fire, even where it blew the drywall off all the corners in the house, due to the metal corner strips. It doesn't necessarily take a direct hit to get to your radio equipment or any other electrical devices. Besides unhooking everything and unplugging it all if its going to happen it will. Hoser
 

n5usr

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I agree, putting the coax in a glass jar just means you may have glass shrapnel flying around in a direct hit. Best to have a HEAVY gauge grounding system (if you really want to handle lightning surges) and connect the coax directly to that - ideally outside the house. Also, you are probably going to have surges in the power lines, so unless you actually disconnect the radios completely - no power at all (other than batteries) - they could very well be damaged anyway.

Simply disconnecting would be helpful in preventing damage from a nearby strike, or static buildup on an ungrounded antenna. Some antennas (such as a discone) aren't DC-grounded, so even if you ground the mast static can build up during high winds to a high enough charge to damage a radio. This is another thing the surge arrestors can help protect against.

I don't disconnect a thing during storms - when they are rolling in is just when I want to be on the air! So far so good... :p
 

N1BHH

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Just disconnect your antenna connection and if possible, route it out the window. If you get a near hit or direct hit you'll have a fire in your radio room, not good. Connecting to a ground rod or ground wire will just give it a route back into your house wiring, through it's ground connection.
 

hoser147

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n9mxq said:
http://n9mxq.ham-radio-op.net/oldpage/strike/ is all I have to say... Pictures are worth a thousand replies.. And for those who actually go look at the page.. I'm still using the same glass jar that took the hit...
Great pictures, I will continue to use my glass jar also, Id rather see that energy contained somewhere than going for something in or on the exterior of my home.........Hoser
 

n9mxq

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hoser147 said:
Great pictures, I will continue to use my glass jar also, Id rather see that energy contained somewhere than going for something in or on the exterior of my home.........Hoser
I was woke up by the storm, quickly unplugged all the coaxes to my 2ways... Then went up and started eating breakfast.. Was just sitting down and WHAMMO! Didn't stay in the chair long.. Ran out, checked the eaves for smoke, quick visual on the tower.. Hmmm everything is cool..

Then I went into the radio room and saw the blue fog.. I knew I was hit hard.. I missed 1 coax.. Everything else, including the computer on the second floor with nothing but a wall between it and the tower, was fine. Degaussed the monitor on the computer and it was back in stride. Surge protectors everywhere, redundant even (Thanks Panamax!)

Ah well, live and learn, and file the report with homeowners insurance....
 

hoser147

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My biggest deal is when that unknown storm rolls up and your not close to home. If its going to happen it will not much you can do but try and minimize the damage.........Hoser
 

jb872033

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Ditto on the Glass Jar trick...one of the cheapest/oldest Safety trick I have ever seen...been usin it for a while...Thats why they used glass and ceramic insulators on power lines...I know there is a huge diffrence in ampacity and all but i have an old glass insulator that i use for this puropse as well...although its up to the person how to protect their equipment but i think the glass jar does the trick...also lightning arrestors in line with the coax is good too

JB
 

N8RUS

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You guys using the glass jar have just been plain lucky.....period. If you think a bolt of lightning that possibly just traveled up to 10 miles is going to stop at that jar you're nuts. It is still looking for ground and may arch into the nearest wall receptecle (for example) and keep going. If your shack is in the basement your body is a good conductor while that bolt of lightning is seeking out the re-rod in your concrete floor. You will be lucky to live long enough to watch the next episode of Mythbusters. I strongly suggest you do some serious reserch.
 

k8mcn

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You Just Never Use Your House Ground

N1BHH said:
Just disconnect your antenna connection and if possible, route it out the window. If you get a near hit or direct hit you'll have a fire in your radio room, not good. Connecting to a ground rod or ground wire will just give it a route back into your house wiring, through it's ground connection.

All the grounding/ lightening protection methods i have read, DO suggest running your coax to a good ground when you unplug them before a storm...YOU JUST NEVER USE YOUR HOUSE GROUND SYSTEM AS YOUR GROUND for your antenna!!! You use a specific ground for your antennas/shack.....the lightening WANTS ground, have never heard of it going into ground.running in the ground, and then finding your electric meter ground and coming back up---it wants ground and it is going to stay there........when i turn off the scanners/radios for the night, I have a master power switch that cuts off all the electricity to all the shack, then i unplug and ground all antennas-------------as far as the Glass jar goes, i would think any strike that enters your shack would more often than not make the jar into one big frag bomb.........

If you don't believe me take a look at buildings with lightening rods---they run each rod down to ground, and this in no way effects the other ground for the electricity meter that enters your home.
 

hoser147

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k8mcn said:
...the lightening WANTS ground, have never heard of it going into ground.running in the ground,.
Lots of variables there, Ive seen it first hand where an 18 y/o was killed walking across a barn yard while a tree trimmer was in a bucket truck, dropped a part of the tree, it connected with a wire and the ground. The young man was 20 to 25 yards from the branch, tree and the bucket truck. He ran another 20 yards before falling over in cardiac arrest. The guy in the bucket truck was fine other than seeing the flash, the branch caught the wire without pulling it down and the other end was on the ground. That was from a feed line going into the house, which is small time compared to a lightning strike. Regardless that power has to dissipate either on a horizontal or vertical plane or both. Ive seen that aftermath and no ACLS was bringing that young man back.............Hoser
 

k8mcn

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hoser147 said:
Lots of variables there, Ive seen it first hand where an 18 y/o was killed walking across a barn yard while a tree trimmer was in a bucket truck, dropped a part of the tree, it connected with a wire and the ground. The young man was 20 to 25 yards from the branch, tree and the bucket truck. He ran another 20 yards before falling over in cardiac arrest. The guy in the bucket truck was fine other than seeing the flash, the branch caught the wire without pulling it down and the other end was on the ground. That was from a feed line going into the house, which is small time compared to a lightning strike. Regardless that power has to dissipate either on a horizontal or vertical plane or both. Ive seen that aftermath and no ACLS was bringing that young man back.............Hoser

I agree whole heartedly, it does run across the ground, but i was trying to make the point, that once in the ground i dont think it will come back up an travel through your house electric service, trying to find ground again... thanks Hoser, ya always have good posts!
 
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