Lightning at the Gap

by W5JGV

July 27, 2002

Thunderstorms pose a particular hazard for LF operators, because the antennas used on LF in most cases are somewhat larger and higher than typical Amateur antennas. Here's a look at what happend here at WC2XSR / 13 when a local thunderstorm passed close by.

Lightning Triggered Arc


The static "snap" from the cloud-to-ground discharge from the thunderstorm induced enough voltage on the WC2XSR/13 antenna to cause the static gap to flash over.

The high inductance of the tuning coils prevent much of the surge from getting back into the transmitter. Needless to say, a direct strike would make it through the antenna tuner!

Much Larger arc!


Another lightning discharge triggers the static gap once again. The arc continues because the RF from the transmitter feeds the arc until it rises in Jacobs Ladder fashion to the top of the arc horn and dies out.

A Major Lightning Triggered Arc!


With the wind kicking up, the arcs start to blow sideways and stretch out. The storm is getting closer, and I'm gettin' outa' here!!

73, Ralph W5JGV


The entire contents of this web site are Copyright © 2002 by Ralph M. Hartwell II, all rights reserved.