Radio Communications of Charleston, Inc.

Radio Communications of Charleston, Inc.
Your Professional Wireless Solutions Provider

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lightning Strike ! (Fact or Fiction ?)

Ok....here we go. 
 
We have had the warmest winter in years.   And, that signals we will most likely experience more summer weather events such as lightning storms, high temperatures and strange weather.  

The radio business must have their tower sites and antenna systems ready to tolerate a lightning strike experience.   These lightning strikes can be devasting.   And, sometimes we can tolerate those events and sometimes we cannot.   Just why is it that we can sometimes tolerate the lightning strikes?

For those in the know, Motorola's R56 grounding standard brings several, if not most, electrical standards under one compiled document.   This doucment provides guidance for grounding tower sites and their associated equipment to allow for lightning strike tolerance.   Wow, what a document!

I have read that the average lightning strike is 26k amps.   So, using basic electrical math, if one has 5 ohms of resistance in their tower ground system, you could experience 130k volts of electrical potential across equpment in your shelter.    That can and probably will be devasting to most solid state equipment.   Conversely, if you have 1 ohm of resistance it would be possible to develop 26k volts across your ground system.   Even though 26k volts is high, it's a lot smaller than 130k volts.   Either can be harmful to your electronic equipment.

Needless to say, grounding and protecting equipment at a tower site is important.   But, the further point I wish to make is, it's more than important.   You need a great ground and great ground system conductivity....and should have much less than 5 ohms of resistance in your ground system.   Your equipment survival depends upon it.

And, as a last safety comment, don't be at a tower site during an electrical storm.   It could cost your life.

Till next time....keep yourself grounded !




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