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6400M/6600M Front End Protection

Thomas NE7XThomas NE7X Member ✭✭
Being new to SDR technology, I have been reading comments on the internet that SDR receivers are more sensitive to over-power damage, electrostatic charge on the antenna and nearby lightning surges. There are after-market devices sold by DXengineering and Cross Country Wireless which use a gas discharge tube in line with the antenna to take nearby lightning surges. Is this something I need to be concerned about with my new 6400M ?

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Answers

  • Mark WS7MMark WS7M Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Hi Thomas,

    I cannot comment on "more sensitive" but I live in Colorado where lightning is a daily thing during the summer.

    I have nothing more than a surge protector on the front end. 

    My take on lightning is this:   

    It manages to travel thousands of feet through air.  So having a small gap like in a relay or other device is certainly going to do almost nothing for a direct strike. 

    the ultimate protection in a big storm is to completely disconnect ALL WIRES from your radio.  Everything, power, network, mics, etc.

    Now on the flip side I have to send my 6500 in some day soon as I managed to **** the protection diode on my ANT 1 input.  Surprisingly it was not lightning or anything really bad.  It was a simple static build up due to a really dry day and I was swapping antennas a around.

    So perhaps they are more sensitive.  It cannot hurt to protect.  That is for sure!
  • Bill -VA3WTBBill -VA3WTB Member ✭✭✭
    edited February 2018
    A few weeks ago there was a good discussion about this. It was generally accepted that protection is a good investment. Many are using devices that bleed off static to ground as well as protection from near field lightning strikes.
  • VaristorVaristor Member
    edited February 2018
    You should be concerned with overall lightning protection for your tower, feed lines, and station equipment. Bond all coax at the top and bottom of the tower and have ground rods at the tower and the entry point into your house. Here’s your bible: http://audiosystemsgroup.com/GroundingAndAudio.pdf
  • Rich McCabeRich McCabe Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    I agree,  I think most hams have a decent electrical grounds but most are not well RF grounded and even less properly bonded to other grounds.

    I admit until recent years I was lacking when it comes to bonding.


  • David SalomonDavid Salomon Member ✭✭
    edited April 3
    Varistor -

    Thanks for that link.  It's good information.
  • David SalomonDavid Salomon Member ✭✭
    edited April 3
    I live in the Atlanta area.  We get LOTS of lightning.  I had equipment blown up by a direct lightning strike once in the past (not to mention most electrical equipment throughout the house and a nice hole in the side of the house).  I had power and antennas disconnected, but missed disconnecting a single ethernet to radio connection.  Since all the shack equipment is interconnected, it all let out the magic smoke (thank you ARRL insurance).  I now use an MFJ windows passthrough connected to a ground rod bonded to the house ground.  I also use ICE lightning arrestors and, like Tim, have lost a few to nearby lightning.  It's far cheaper and much less aggravating to replace one of those than your station equipment.  Finally, when weather is expected, I now disconnect EVERYTHING: power, antennas and network connections.  The moral of the story: you can never be too safe when it comes to lightning protection.
  • Tim - W4TMETim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited February 2018
     It's far cheaper and much less aggravating to replace one of those than your station equipment. 

    Absolutely!
  • KG9DWKG9DW Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    Sounds like a great arrangement! Do you have remote control over the coax switches so that you can bring the system on line remotely?
  • Tim - W4TMETim - W4TME Administrator, FlexRadio Employee admin
    edited February 2018
    No.  I open the switches to operate and close them when I am done.  I don't do much remote operation, so I have not installed remotely actuated coax switches.
  • RiaRia Member ✭✭
    edited November 2019
    I never disconnect anything. We had nearby strikes and a direct strike. Not really a problem except a blown out Icom CI-V port, ONCE. EVERYTHING is bonded and towers have fields of ground rods bonded and cadwelded. I am not always at home and disconnecting 10-15 coaxes is not my idea of fun...
  • Rich McCabeRich McCabe Member ✭✭
    edited February 2018
    I am with you Ria.  I do the best I can with grounding and bonding and then roll the dice :)

    Oddly enough the only time I have had issues was with Ethernet where it  took out 75% of everything in my house connected with Cat5.  Cameras, TVs, computer, printers, switches, etc.

    Fortunately this was before I had a flex.

    Being an IT guy, I see NIC failures on equipment all the time.
  • Don StefanikDon Stefanik Member
    edited February 2018
    I dont know if this will actually help, but I have a copper stranded wire going up threw my tower to the top of the mast.

    VA3KBC
    image

    SEE THE LITTLE STUB STICKING OUT THE TOP

    image

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