AA8IA Amateur Radio

Less than stellar weekend for radio

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Here in the Ohio Valley we’ve been plagued by a lot of storms since April. Many of them brought mostly rain, but some have been quite severe with lightning acccompanying them.

This weekend is no exception. There has been near constant rain with periods of really nasty thunderstorms. Not only is it very difficult to work a contest with ever-present lightning crashes, but it’s always a risk to do so.

In addition, there has been no decent Sporadic-E on 6m for days — so much for the VHF Sprint tonight. Today there has been pisspoor propogation on the HF bands (at least 10-20), which didn’t bode well for CQ-M, the FOC QSO Party or the Volta RTTY contest.

To add insult to injury, the damned grass is growing ever taller while the forecast indicates no hope for abatement of the rain for a few more days.

This is definitely a weekend I could do without.

On another note, I’m hoping [and planning] to get a decent ground system in, the generator tied into the AC mains, and some lightning protection for my antennas so that I don’t have to take every damned antenna down when there is a threat of a storm. Of course, nothing can guarantee protection from direct lightning strikes, but as it stands right now I have no protection and have to take all sorts of precautionary measures in the event of storms. That’s really a buzzkill for ham radio. A lot of ham radio ops couldn’t care less about lightning strikes, but I’m not one of them. It makes no difference if I have $1000 or $100,000 worth of equipment, and it makes no difference if insurance would cover a strike or not. The bottom line is that lightning is an extreme nuisance, at minimum, and a killer if you’re unlucky. I prefer not to take any chances.

Written by Mike

May 14th, 2011 at 9:52 pm

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