Lightning Protection for the Ham Radio Station

LightningHere in the Northern Hemisphere, spring is in the air — and already we’ve had violent thunder storms with lots of lightning. Protecting our equipment from lightning is one of the most important non-operating tasks that we do. Have a lot of expensive equipment inside the house with a nice tall metal structure outside in a cleared area is simply asking for lightning to strike.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about lightning protection. Those misconceptions can cost you dearly.

When I went searching for good lightning protection information, there were lots of articles that also had a lot of misconceptions as well. After a lot of research, I settled on three QST articles that thoroughly, but clearly, described what needed to be done.

The articles describe three phases to lightning protection:

  1. Identify your inside protection needs. This is a block diagram of all (all…) your equipment in the shack. This includes radios, amplifiers, tuners, telephones, computers, rotor boxes — all of it along with the type of connection it makes to the outside world.
  2. Create your “Single Ground Point Ground Panel,” the place where all of your inside equipment is grounded.
  3. Implement your antenna ground system outside the house.

Creating a lightning protection system is painstaking in that unless every piece of the puzzle is in place, your protection will fail. Any failure could result in serious harm to your equipment. By following this protection process, you’ll be minimizing your risk from a lightening strike.


Lightning Protection for the Amateur Station — Part 1

Lightning Protection for the Amateur Station — Part 2

Lighening Protection for the Amateur Station — Part 3

Scot, K9JY

[…] Every radio amateur knows its a risk, so it’s good to check how your protection against lightning strikes! K9JY did a lot of research and came up with this 3 important points. Read his article here. […]


Nothing beats DISCONNECTING EVERYTHING. No path, no strike. Too lazy to do that? Too bad. 73

Gavin Groce

DISCONNECTING EVERYTHING? Some of us do emergency communications in storms and are required to be on the air. Nothing beats doing it the right way…”Too lazy to do that? Too bad,” is correct. DISCONNECTING EVERYTHING is probably better for the majority …

Scot, K9JY

Or a lot of both.

I’m personally aware of not having EVERYTHING disconnected with a lightening strike. A direct hit on the tower took out the rotor control box — the only thing that was not disconnected.

Having said that, there wasn’t the Single Point Ground Panel on the inside either. In hindsight, very lucky more wasn’t damaged.

Very true DISCONNECTING EVERYTHING is a wise decision.

Comments are closed