Station automation and protection

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  • Updated 1 year ago
I am looking for advice and inputs on my ongoing project of station modification.
A week ago I "managed" to smoke my trusted Microham Station Master and all my automation is gone.
I live on the very small city lot and still maintaining few antennas. I was in the middle of FT8 TX on 160m when all went silent and initially i thought that my 6600 is dead as I could not hear anything, later found that smoke came from Microham SM.
Long story short - I ordered a Antenna Genius Plus, later found that I need OM Module that managing up to 16 additional relays (on order as well) and currently working on diagram how to protect my station from RF or Lightning in the future.
Please see below and let me know how to not over spend on the parts and still maintain a safe configuration.
Few notes:
 - Surge Suppressor probably could be used with 16 inputs AS16-SP, instead of 3 by 8 inputs. In this case it should be located at one position and get wiries to 3 devices. 
- I do not PGXL yet, probably will come in the Spring 2019. Acom 2000A currently in use.
Thanks in advance.
Sergey, KN7K

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Sergey Abrikosov

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Posted 1 year ago

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HCampbell WB4IVF

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From the lightning protection viewpoint, your diagram does not show your grounding layout (ideally a single-point ground, or as close to one as you can make), which is more basic and important than selection of lightning arresters, etc.  That said, I use the Array Solutions devices in your diagram.  But living in a lightning-prone area, I still disconnect my antennas outside the house during “lightning season” when not in use. 

Here is some good information on protective grounding and devices:


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I have an arrangement similar to yours and have had 4 close strikes over my ham experience.  What I now do is disconnect all outside antennas, control lines, indoor connections - AC, computer as well as my ground connection.. My station is completely isolated.  I have a single point grounding plate mounted adjacent to the coax entry.  I put quick disconnect connectors on all control lines - Steppir, remote coax switch rotators, ground strap.  It takes 2 - 3 minutes to connect or disconnect everything.  Actually takes longer for the computer and Flex / Maestro to boot up.  My last strike was close - had a house fire, lost all consumer electronics, garage door opener, burned outlets, etc.  There was no damage to my station.  Obviously I don't operate during lightning events.  Equally obvious - none of this makes a difference with a direct strike.

Keith - AC9S
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Sergey Abrikosov

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Thank you guys.
Well, I never had a Lightning strike so far, it is not too often in Oregon.
RF signal got to the wires of control relays that switching my antennas and burned a PCB lines inside of Station Master.
I am thinking to install antenna switch in the shack, but line insulators and lightning Arrestors close to antennas. I read that line insulators could be installed both in the shack or outside, when last is a more preferable.
Sergey, KN7K