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Category: WQ4RP Lightning Protection

Practical steps taken at WQ4RP to mitigate damage caused by lightning

WQ4RP Lightning Protection System Nearing Completion

WQ4RP Lightning Protection System Nearing Completion

This previous Summer, work was started on the Lightning Protection System at WQ4RP.  The basic plan was to bond all antenna feedlines, control lines, and power cables to a common single point ground reference.  That single point reference is a a KF7P entrance panel designed precisely for this purpose.

I contend that while it may not be possible to guarantee 100% immunity from a direct lightning strike to one’s tower, tower mounted antennas, typical backyard dipole, or associated feedline(s), it is entirely possible to substantially increase the odds that such a strike will have most of its energy dissipated in a protective grounding system well before it has a chance to get into your shack or radio equipment.

The copper strap exiting the lower left corner of the Single Point Entrance Panel (below) is clamped to a ground rod, which bonds the panel to the grounding system.  The copper ground rod clamps may be obtained from KF7P.  The large round access hole in the top left of the panel is for routing cables into the radio shack.

 

KF7P Single Point Ground Entry Panel

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WQ4RP Lightning Protection System

WQ4RP Lightning Protection System

Having witnessed firsthand what lightning can do to a completely unprotected station, I decided to do things differently when the time came to rebuild the Excalibur Site.

The following photo is from a lightning strike that entered the shack five years ago via a balanced feedline.  There was no grounding system in place, so the lightning energy flowed through a wall stud and an ARRL Antenna Handbook on the book shelf on its way to ground.  The wall stud burned almost completely through, and the thick handbook was turned to fine ash.  The building was subsequently dismantled.

lightning strike at AA4XX radio shack turns ARRL Antenna Handbook into powdery ash

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