Are you a fan of storms? Do thunder boomers get your adrenaline pumping, and does LIGHTNING make your heart beat faster, and your eyes glow with excitement?
Oh, yeah. Me, too.
Alas, unless your name is Frankenstein, we can't tame it, but we must always respect it. The most important thing to understand about lightning is it goes where it wants to go. Which means, by the way, in spite of the thought for the day, lightning can and does strike in the same place twice, and has, in fact, caused damage at our address several times. Contrary to what you may think, lightning won't necessarily strike the tallest target, and may very well ignore a perfectly good lightning rod in favor of zapping another spot altogether. It strikes where it wants to strike.
The typical amateur radio operator has multiple antennas in the air, and often has tall towers holding some of those antennas. Talk about tempting targets in a lightning storm. And as if those targets weren't enticing enough, most of us also have a good bit of amateur radio gear inside our homes. So it's imperative that we do all we can to provide our equipment with a semblance of LIGHTNING PROTECTION.
Whole books have been written on this subject, but I'm gonna boil it down to a few simple points. First, ground, ground, ground. Ground antennas, ground towers, and ground equipment. And in the event of a thunderstorm,
- Disconnect antennas and
- Pull plugs. (Be advised that surge protectors aren't designed to handle a lightning strike.)
Oh yeah, and one other highly important point:
|Be very, very careful which hat you wear in a thunderstorm.|
Thunder is good, thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the work. [Mark Twain]