Antenna Lightning Protection

Many hams have a VHF/UHF radio and antenna for local communication, especially if they are involved in EmComm.  Ideally you have an exterior antenna up high for best performance with your radio. The downside to that is that vertically-oriented VHF/UHF  monopole antennas are a juicy target for lightning strikes.  Basically, they look like a lightning rod.

Lightning Antenna

Lightning wants to go to ground and if the best path is through your antenna and feedline, your radio is likely to be destroyed.  And if you’re right near the radio when it happens, you might be injured, or a fire might be started by the lightning strike.  Bottom line, bad things can happen with an outdoor antenna during a thunderstorm.

Don’t be fooled by simple lightning arrestors on your antenna. Those are good to have but they help only with minor stray lightning bolts.  A direct strike on your antenna cannot be stopped by a simple arrestor; there is too much energy involved to dissipate.  The radio will be destroyed in such a case, along with possible damage and injury.

Examples of lightning arrestors.

So what can you do to protect yourself and your radio from lightning? The best way is to Continue reading