. . . . . . . . Be Careful ! . . . . . . . . . . . Take Steps to Protect Your Radio Shack from Being Struck by Lightning

A Story from the Words of Don Rawlinson WA7VNQ:

“At around midnight on Sunday, August 24, 2014, a lightning bolt struck a maple tree about 25 feet from the front door of the house.  There was essentially no thunder but rather the sound of a loud explosion and bright flash.  Included is a picture of the strike.  As luck would have it, my neighbor to the back was doing a video from his deck of the lightning as it came from the direction of the Point of the Mountain. To somewhat orient you, we live near the base of the “G” mountain in Pleasant Grove.  So the picture is a frame from his video.  And is looking toward the NW.”

Lightning Strike

PLEASE CLICK ON EACH OF THE PHOTO’S TO ENLARGE THEM FOR A BETTER VIEW.

“Of course, since it was dark, the lens wide open (iPhone I think) and when the flash occurred this close to him, it lit up the whole neighborhood and blew out the highlights in the lightning bolt itself.  But the “fireball” is very evident in the tree.  I felt real lucky to get this picture as you can probably understand.”

List of Damage:

“After assuring ourselves that the house was not on fire, we could however smell hot wires somewhere and we discovered it coming from the upstairs furnace room.  It had apparently severely damaged a plug strip.  Plugged into this strip were the water softener (still OK, we think) and an old piece of telephone equipment which also reeked of hot wires.  Additionally the SWiM device for DirecTV was also plugged in there. We just unplugged them and eventually the smell subsided.  Still without lights we checked and the main breaker outside (125 amp) was tripped as were 7 different breakers in the house.  That probably saved a lot of appliances!

We carefully turned them on without incident and had lights back.  We both noticed that the DVRs from DirecTV, we have two since two families live here, we noticed that the DVRs looked like they were reloading the directory like when the power goes out to them and we thought that may have been what they were doing. They never stopped and there was no signal to the TVs.  We share this account with our son who owns the house.  Our power comes in underground as do all the other electrical utilities.”

Lightning Strike Don WA7VNQ (1)

Covers from his phone junction box blew off and into his neighbor's yard.

Covers from his phone junction box blew off and into his neighbor’s yard.

One of the junction boxes which had the cover blown off

One of the junction boxes which had the cover blown off

A closer look at the phone junction box - look at the left side where arching took place

A closer look at the phone junction box – look at the left side where arching took place

 

Don asked his Comcast Serviceman how many homes have been hit by lightning.  The man said, 15 homes - just this summer!  Remember this is just ONE Vender!  Don't let anyone buffalo you into believing that having your home struck by lightning doesn't happen. Obviously, they don't know what their talking about.

THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF A VERY POOR GROUND. Don asked his Comcast Serviceman how many homes have been hit by lightning. The man said, 15 homes – just this summer! Remember this is just ONE Vender! Don’t let anyone buffalo you into believing that having your home struck by lightning doesn’t happen. Obviously, they don’t know what they’re talking about . . .

“Finally, in the end, here is a list of the damage discovered so far.

1.  DirecTV had to replace the LNB on their antenna, the SWiM adapter on their signal line, and both of the DVRs.  The other non-DVR receivers (2) are both operational although my son’s bedroom plug strip was blown and won’t even work anymore.  I guess it saved the system there and the same with the TV and receiver in my den – no damage.

2. My sons Denon 7.1 receiver and surround sound is toast.  (I imagine that the speakers may still be fine.)  The system will not turn on and we don’t see any fuse or reset so it must have been damaged by the line voltage.

3.  My Sony 5.1 System and Blue Ray DVD and FM receiver will go on but, in a somewhat taunting way, only says “Please Wait!”  No other functions work and even the “eject” button does nothing.

4.  I also can’t get my Apple TV system to turn on at all so I am pretty sure it is toast.

5.  The current flowing from the DVR to the HDMI input on my 55″ Samsung TV, took out that input (HDMI2), but everything else seems to be working fine on the TV including all of the other inputs  There are 3 other HDMI inputs and they all seem to work.

6. Comcast had to replace the line going from our house input to their box on the street.  I saw that and it was really “fried”.  Comcast provides our Internet and VoIP phone system and all the components inside the house are still working.

Oh, and while I am at it, I heard from another neighbor yesterday, that our neighbor to the north (where the box covers are lying on his grass) lost a TV as well.

BUT, as is my habit, I had disconnected the coax coming from my J-Pole and see no damage to anything on the radio and computer desk.  I did have one USB port, on an adapter that is powered, that will no longer work, but that may be just coincidental.  We are holding our breath on the rest of the computers in the room.  Right now they are fine.”

Be Careful!  Lighting can, at the very least, destroy electronics and electrical equipment and at most, can and will kill you, family members and or your pets.

Don WA7VNQ

Editor’s Note: We’d like to thank Don ~ WA7VNQ for taking and sending his pictures to us.  And for making a detailed report about lightning hitting his home.  It not only happens, but apparently a lot more than we thought.  It’s folks like Don, when they hear the Thunder they automatically disconnect their coax from their radios.  Certainly a great practice!  Otherwise, he likely would have been replacing his radio’s too.

UPDATE: On September 2nd, 2014 Don reported the following: “We learned that additional damage was discovered.  They also found that the person to our north in addition to his TV also lost a freezer and the control for his electronic sprinkler controller and his modem from Quest for his internet.  The neighbor to the south also lost his router on his internet system.  It appears that the damage is broader than initially thought.”

 

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