[LarrysList] Lightning safety

Larry Staples larrystaples at mac.com
Fri Jan 8 19:54:41 CST 2016


Having sailed on the Great Lakes for many years with an antenna at the top of a 60 ft mast, we were taught that grounding is important before the strike. It dissipates the ions in the air so that a strike is not likely.

We were never struck even sailing through lightning storms with lightning hitting the water on all sides of us, which at the time seemed unreal. And no it was not on purpose!

There are 2 issues.

1. Dissipating the ions in the air to prevent the strike. Which is helped by sharp points with a lot of surface area.

2. Protecting your equipment in case of a strike.

Number 1 is the most important because complete protection using number 2 is costly.

For grounding we used 2 inch copper braid going to the keel. It is my understanding that a 8, 10 or 12 ga copper wire is sub optimal for lightening.

Disconnecting the antenna grounds will not help if the lightning has no place else to go.

I did not understand the fuses part, but lightning will easily jump a fuse.

If lightning is going to jump 100s of feet through the air to hit your antenna, then a few inches of separation is not going to matter much.

Neil Tiffin KB9RRZ                neilt at neiltiffin.com


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