Lightning Protection for Remote Operation

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  • Updated 5 years ago
Many of usare all anticipating remote internet operation and I wonder how comfortable I am going to be doing that during summer storms when I'm three hundred miles away from my station.

It scares me to think of my five thousand dollar radio at the mercy of a gas discharge tube.  Even a large knife switch, ala Frankenstein, seems inadequate to me.

So my question is what if anything is available to provide a reasonable abatement of the risk? 
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  • Optomistic

Posted 5 years ago

  • 2
Photo of Jim Gilliam

Jim Gilliam

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I live in Southern California and was wondering about the effects of a large earthquake to my remote station.
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Burt Fisher

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I live on Cape Cod, we have hurricanes.
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Robert -- N5IKD, Elmer

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The ultimate lightening protection might be a system that can disconnect the coax and then insert a heavy duty insulator. You might start with connectors like the Spinner EasyDock.
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W5XZ - dan

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there's quite a bit of stuff on  w8ji's website; you might find it useful
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Thanks for that!  There is a goldmine of information on his site.
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It appears from the W8JI's website that a switch configuration like this is what is needed when breaking the connection from the antenna.  This looks like what would be seen in a magnetic starter.
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Doug K0DV

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I built a coax relay box that grounds the antenna when I remove the 13.5 VDC supply used to power the radio. I operate my 6700 remotely from a number of places including Florida and use an internet switch to turn off the power supply after each use.  I suppose this does not protect my station from a direct hit, but I'm not sure if there is any truly fail safe way of doing this. I also use the internet site to be sure I do not turn on the radio remotely where there is a thunder storm overhead.
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KY6LA - Howard, Elmer

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I have been remoting for years but I live on the coast in Southern California where we rarely if ever get lightning.

But it would be easy to shut down your station via a remote switch (Such as a WEMO which I use) and even activate a relay to ground your antenna system which i do not do as I think lightning is not an issue here.

Like Jim, I am much more concerned about earthquakes as they are much more likely than a lightning strike,

My other major concern is wind.  When I first built my tower, I installed a Anemometer Wind Alarm on the top of the tower.  It is set to activate the pull down motor when the wind speed exceeds 25MPH.   I have remote cameras on the tower and watching the pull down operation and, of course, backup power just in case the tower needs to retract during a power outage.
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You must be a belt and suspenders kind of guy :)
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Al / NN4ZZ

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Hi Charles,
Another consideration for lightning protection is the ethernet port on the radio.  This can be an issue whether you are local or remote.  A close by strike can induce a high voltage into the cat5 ethernet cable and destroy the interface.    When it happens to the NIC on your PC motherboard you can add always an ethernet card.  If it happens on your radio, it would require a return for repair.

I converted a section of my shack ethernet to fiber for this reason.   More info and pictures on my Flex web page:

Scroll down to the section on "Ethernet Lightning Protection"

Regards, Al / NN4ZZ  
al (at) nn4zz (dot) com
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K1UO - Larry

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  • 135 Reply Likes  Something like this arrangement could be placed at any convenient spot in your antenna/coax chain I suppose.   Ill be considering something like this when building gets going on my new Remote site this Summer.