FlightAware Discussions

Lightning Strike on Antenna

Like to know if anyone has experienced lightning on the antenna. My mount point is on a garage protected with lightning rods with a heavy aluminum ground conductor that is earthed on diagonal sides of the building. My main concern is ball lightning (St. Elmo’s fire). Needless to say the whole receiver package is linked to the internet via wifi with no direct connection.

I would not be concerned about rare events like St. Elmo’s fire. You’re much likely to catch a damage due to potential shift caused by lightning. The easiest solution might be to get insurance since routers and raspberrypis are rather cheap compared to a building.

If you want to get your electronic equipment lignting proof this will be a challenge. Hire a company that is really into this. Otherwise, read Dehn’s “Blitzplaner” from the beginning to the end. You may end up positioning your antenna in LPZ 0B where it cannot be hit by direct strikes. Then you need SPDs (“arrestors”) both for the antenna cable and for mains. Note that common antenna cables like RG58 will just evaporate when hit by a direct strike so even the best arrestor/SPD does not help. That’s why they must be placed in the “shade” of an air termination rod.
I hope that’s not too confusing but you have “engineer” in your username :slight_smile:

A couple of small points. First I am an Engineer and have been licensed to practice for multiple decades in my location. Second, ball lightning might be rare but it is not rare in my location especially in the spring of the year otherwise I would not have posed the question. Third, there are lots of people that write books on lightning protection, but my question was one of members experience.

I did not intend to offend you. I have heavy SPDs on my antenna cable and nothing ever broke. But since I do not have a strike counter I cannot tell if they ever had something to do.

please have also a look here
==> Lightining protection
and here
==> Anyone’s gear actually been hit by lightning?

Might I suggest reviewing some of the many online resources from the USA national amateur radio organization ARRL: http://www.arrl.org/lightning-protection

Many aspects of lightning protection in use by the “ham” community (myself included in that hobby) are equally applicable to the ADS-B receivers.

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I have installed a grounding rod and run a ground wire from antenna base to the ground, as straight as possible, without bends.
Also, at the cable side I have installed a coax lightning protector.