A Scout Camp or your own ham shack could experience lightning and the subsequent challenges of finding, repairing, and/or replacing equipment damage. Daniel McGlothin, KB3MUN, has pulled together a lightning safety policy for his council. It’s a great example for you to consider for your own operations.
Mason-Dixon Council Ham Radio Lightning Safety Policy
This policy is to be used at any scouting event that includes ham radio operations.
- Participants should be moved away from the radio/antenna to a position of safety whenever lightning or thunder threatens. Wait at least 30 minutes after the last lightning flash or thunder before returning to radio/antenna.
- It is suggested, but not required, that a portable lightning detector or a smartphone/computer lightning detector app be used. If such a lightning hazard indicator is used, lightning detected within an estimated 10 miles of the station location should be considered the same as observed lightning flash or thunder.
- Station equipment, including computers, shall be disconnected from utility/building power (AC outlets) when not in use or when lightning threatens. Antenna systems shall be disconnected from the radio and grounded when not in use or when lightning threatens.
Supplemental information: The following tools are mentioned only as examples of lightning detectors, they are neither mandated for use, nor are they the only detectors available. One example of portable lightning detector is AcuRite 02020 ( https://www.acurite.com/lightning-detector-02020.html) One example of a smartphone/computer lightning detector app is Weatherbug’s Spark ( https://www.weatherbug.com/alerts/spark ).
For further information on lightning protection consult the PolyPhaser white paper titled Ham Radio Station Protection.