One sultry afternoon in August of 2011, a series of severe thunderstorms passed over my property, and upon arriving home after work, I decided to walk the 1/4 mile or so from my house to make sure everything was OK at the radio site.
The only immediate sign of damage was a melted piece of ladder line near where it entered the shack
I was relieved to see that there were no signs of physical damage to the exterior of the building; However, upon opening the door to the shack, I was met with a rather horrific sight. The chair below was one of the main operator’s chairs.
The main operating tables were also ruined
The plastic netting that was used to support the ceiling insulation ignited and rained molten plastic all over the tables, shelving, chairs, and floor.
The ARRL Antenna Handbook that used to reside on the left end of the bookshelf was turned to powdery ash. A 2×4″ stud immediately behind the bookcase sustained significant burns as it shunted lightning energy to ground.
I shudder to think what it would have been like to have been inside the building during the actual strike.
Five separate transmission lines were routed into the radio shack, and there were signs of burned insulation at each entry site.
None of the antenna feedlines had any type of surge protectors installed on them. I had been a ham for 40+ years, and I figured the odds were that I’d get by without having to worry about a direct hit.
I now disconnect all feed lines that enter my radio shack except when I am actually using the antennas. Some of us have to learn the hard way.
Please learn from my costly mistake, a mistake that could have been fatal; Don’t invite lightning into your radio shack.