My Most Recent QSO's

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Lightning Bolt from Nowhere

I've never worried much about lightning because I use indoor antennas. My Isotrons and the random wire are NOT in the attic of our home. I have those antennas in the same room as my Icom 703. 

The following pictures are NOT of our home. The following pictures are of the house which is three doors down the street from us. The house is now missing about a hundred of its heavy roofing tiles. 

The pictures shown here were taken several days later. The lightening strike happened around 11 PM at night. 

To make a long story short; my neighbors cars are a real mess; they look like they've been through a "hail storm". Some of the roofing tiles were blown clear across the street. The big difference between hail and hard rocks is that they make holes and scratches on everything they touch. I can't imagine the repair bill to remove heavy dents and re-paint at least two vehicles.

I'm very surprised the neighbors home that took a direct hit wasn't set on fire or had major structural damage.

The lightning bolt came straight out of nowhere. It was NOT even raining at the time. We soon discovered the upstairs bathroom lights were not working. A quick trip to the basement breaker box revealed "one" switch needed re-set.

My radio room is in the adjoining room. All my gear appeared to be working normally. The bathroom is directly between my radio room and our small office. All the computers functioned normally, All the lights in both rooms were normal.

Much to my dismay, a few days afterwards when I turned on the Icom 703 to make a quick contact, it wouldn't transmit at all.

I'm fortunate to have only minor damage. 

I'm thinking the coils in the Isotrons had something to do with voltage and amperage getting into the radio. There wasn't damage to anything else in the house.

The Icom service center in Michigan did a wonderful repair job on the rig. Replacement parts were only about six bucks.

I'll be more careful now and always disconnect the antennas as soon as I year the first thunderbolt.


VE9KK said...

Good morning John, first off very nice to hear from you again. That is very strange regarding the lightening coming out of what seemed to be a normal day. One would for sure would expect it to be happening on a stormy day. Nice to hear that rig was repaired and yes for a great price on parts.

PE4BAS, Bas said...

Indeed the best way to avoid damage is disconnect everything leaving your shack. Lightning strikes without rain are the worst. I´m happy you didn´t have more damage. 73, Bas

Jspiker said...

Hello Mike,

We had a strong thunderstorm come through Charleston around 9:30 PM. I was running the WV QRS Net and one of our members had to shut down because of lightening. The original storm had passed out of the valley quickly.

The puzzling thing about this event was that it happened about an hour and a half later in the night. (11 PM) At that time, the skies were still cloudy but it was NOT raining. I didn't hear any previous thunder claps. It seemed to come out of nowhere.

Jspiker said...

Hello Bas,

The lightening bolt was frightening. I passed this story along to the NAQCC Club newsletter. You will be able to read about it in more detail there.... (should be on the web in a day or so from now.

The pictures I took were several days later after the roof was covered with plastic. This event actually took place around 11 pm at night.

Paul Stam PAØK said...

Hi John, you were lucky not to have the lightning bolt in your house. When I expect thunder storms I disconnect the antennas always. When I am going with holidays I do the same. 73 Paul PC4T

Jspiker said...

Very True.....I was extremely lucky.

Dick said...

My antenna is always disconnected when not in use. All four seasons. Should also unplug gear from outlet, but don't. Glad the 703 wasn't permanently damaged. Interesting that parts are still available. 73 Dick

Jspiker said...

Hello Dick...good to hear from you again. I learned a valuable lesson. I'll be in NY next week. Are you still rotating from France to the US again? I'm assuming you're in France now ?

Bert, PA1B said...

Hello John, it's amazing what lightning can do. Good to hear about the repair of the Rig. Good luck. 73, Bert

Jspiker said...

Hello Bert,

Yes it is.... I've learned a valuable lesson. At the first rumble of thunder, shut down and run for the hills. Hi Hi

Dick said...

Hello again, John. Will be back in NYS for first two weeks in Sept. YL not with me. Visit to see brother and sister. All of us getting older and....? 73 Dick

Jspiker said...

Hope you have a good visit.

Keith said...

Lightning can travel up to 40 miles from the storm, so you can indeed be in blue skies and still suffer from a lightning strike. Hence the saying "A bolt from the blue"!