EPIC lightning at WSIX

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Sam Buca
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EPIC lightning at WSIX

Post by Sam Buca » Thu Aug 20, 2009 6:38 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMpm7oHNivg#t=01m33s

Cool factor = win.

Engineering factor = fail.

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Re: EPIC lightning at WSIX

Post by NECRAT » Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:22 pm

According to a poster comment.

After the STL tower got hit at the Clear Channel complex.

Country WSIX: off-air for less than 1 hr.
Top 40 WRVW remained on-air
Urban WUBT remained on-air
Rock WNRQ remained on-air
Talk WLAC remained on-air
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Re: EPIC lightning at WSIX

Post by NECRAT » Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:58 pm

Found online...
Clear Channel/Nashville, which includes WSIX, was rocked by a lightning bolt that struck the cluster's ST/L today (8/20). The bolt knocked out power for a short time and fried equipment throughout the building.

"Two studios toast, one on life support; computers, sound cards, phone system and more up in smoke," WSIX Programming Director Keith Kaufman posted on his Facebook. "Just heard the wire-twistin' dude say, 'The plane has crashed.'" ...Not sure how Big D & Bubba are going to get their shows out tomorrow or where Gerry and the guys are going to do their show. Our engineering team is great. All five stations are on the air and nobody got hurt." WSIX was off-air for nearly an hour, however.
Props to proper engineering.
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Re: EPIC lightning at WSIX

Post by w9wi » Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:37 am

NECRAT wrote:Found online...
Clear Channel/Nashville, which includes WSIX, was rocked by a lightning bolt that struck the cluster's ST/L today (8/20). The bolt knocked out power for a short time and fried equipment throughout the building.

"Two studios toast, one on life support; computers, sound cards, phone system and more up in smoke," WSIX Programming Director Keith Kaufman posted on his Facebook. "Just heard the wire-twistin' dude say, 'The plane has crashed.'" ...Not sure how Big D & Bubba are going to get their shows out tomorrow or where Gerry and the guys are going to do their show. Our engineering team is great. All five stations are on the air and nobody got hurt." WSIX was off-air for nearly an hour, however.
Props to proper engineering.
Yep. That's a well-run cluster; the biggest tech complaint I have against the operation is that WNRQ's HD signal was pretty wimpy for awhile. (seemed like it was well under 1% injection) Best I can tell that's long since been fixed.

That site is in the heart of Music Row. Radio people weren't the only folks wearing headphones in that neighborhood at the time... (there is one other broadcasting station in the area too, WNAH-1360 is a few blocks up.)
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Pleasant View, TN EM66

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Deep Thought
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Re: EPIC lightning at WSIX

Post by Deep Thought » Fri Aug 21, 2009 2:08 pm

Too bad the guy didn't have the camera on a tripod. I wonder how full his undies were after that... :shock:

You can clearly see the leader right before he dove for cover but for the business end he's shooting the deck.

So who here (besides me) has been way too close to a lightning strike (a lot closer than this guy)?
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

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Re: NEAR STRIKES

Post by RGORJANCE » Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:42 pm

Well, you asked for it, you got it!

1) Cabin- Webster, WI 1951. I was standing very close to a pot belly stove when we took a hit on the power pole right
outside the cabin. I was completely covered, along with the stove and the light hanging from the ceiling, in a very
visible green halo. Folks were shouting all kinds of stuff as I froze and calmly watched the green glow fade. I don't
think I took any damage, but I definitely checked out the shorts!! :lol: :lol:

2) About two years ago helping out on a DA tuneup. Was in a doghouse and had just opened the Delta bridge on the
floor when that tower took a hit. Loud bang, very bright light, and two pairs of streaks in the field outside the
doghouse as two guys "boogied out" for the main building. :lol: :lol: Up to point of strike there had been no
activity for several hours. Lucked out again-two pair of clean shorts. :lol: :lol:

3) Driving down I-90 east of Madison, lightning struck ground right off the road about 100 feet into field, very close to
car. Saw lots of dirt flying, and had this ringing sound in my ears for awhile.

4) Moved from New York in 1950 to Tulsa, OK. Had never seen a "real" thunderstorm before. I was in bed leaning on
windowsill (steel casement windows) looking out at storm. Big telephone pole was right outside window, about 2
from window when it took a direct hit. Blinding light, very hot sensation on face, eardrums nearly destroyed, durn
near "had an accident". I remember seeing that the pole was completely surrounded in the arc from top to bottom.
That folks was truly a "religious experience"! I got out of bed, moved it into the middle of the room and got back
in bed.

Saw one more where the lightning produced little "bouncing balls" of plasma (for want of a better word) that persisted for maybe 8-10 seconds.

Fossil

PS-Neat subject-always like to hear/see stuff about lightning. Lets hear more!

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Re: EPIC lightning at WSIX

Post by Deep Thought » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:45 pm

I've seen those plasma balls twice...once in Mobile, AL when one of four towers was hit and launched a basketball-size apparition from the arc gap while we waited out a storm and another from the back of the phasor in Big Rapids, MI. That one was about softball size and very odd. Had the back door off the phasor and saw it through the OIB shelf. Needless to say we knocked off for the day.

I was surprised by a middle-of-the-night monsoon storm in Phoenix of all places about 12 years ago. Was working on a four tower diplex that used Harris "gull wing door" ATUs. As I was intently tuning traps (with the feeds disconnected on all four towers) something very nearby took a hit. All of the arc gaps fired as well as most of the guy wire insulators. Prior to that there had been some minor sprinkles but (a) I was working under an open ATU door and protected and (b) I had seen no lightning in the distance since I couldn't see past the ATU and (c) I'm from Chicago...what do I know about monsoons? Once I figured out where I was again I beat a path to the nearby transmitter building. I don't think I got to sleep for hours after I finally got done that night. The rest of that trip included regular sky scans for flashes...

I was in Orlando summer of 1984 working on a four tower that was fed by the noisiest AM transmitter I have ever seen...a 5 KW CSI. Besides the blower the thing sang with modulation. Loud. Drunken karaoke loud. I didn't hear the approaching storm and while I had my hands in the half-as-large-as-it-should-have-been CSP phasor something takes a hit. The conduit running along it starts arcing to the metal roof, the power cuts out and there I am with my hands in the middle of everything. Luckily I had lineman gloves on. I don't know which was louder...the thunder from the strike or that damn transmitter.

Then there was the lightning strike 100 feet or so from the highway just east of Jacksonville, IL which lit up a wall of corn kernels headed right at me as I drove to the station...but that's technically not a radio story. 8)
Mark Mueller • Mueller Broadcast Design • La Grange, IL • http://www.muellerbroadcastdesign.com

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Re: EPIC lightning at WSIX

Post by countrykev » Fri Aug 21, 2009 4:50 pm

What can be just as bad as, if not worse, than a direct hit is an EMP blast from a nearby strike. Had that happen a couple of years ago at a group I was working at. Walked in the door and saw a CRT monitor tinted purple and green with the smell of burned silicon in the air. Not a way I like to be greeted. Turns out a light pole across the street got it and the EMP did all the damage.

A couple of weeks ago 1550 didn't sign on, and a drive to the transmitter revealed a dead rack UPS and a toasted relay inside the transmitter...kinda seemed like we took a hit. Later that day one of the jocks stopped down to the office and asked if everything was okay. Said he was driving by the site the night before (after signoff) and saw the utility pole in front of the site get hit, and the entire area was glowing green.
What the heck am I supposed to write here?

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Chris from Milwaukee
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Re: EPIC lightning at WSIX

Post by Chris from Milwaukee » Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:46 pm

I think these qualify.

First two times it was the TV antenna my Dad put on the roof. Made the Belgium Shepard's hair stand on end, lost two TVs and it made anything in the house that was grounded glow this incredible blue/green color. The noise was deafening. The second time my sister and I were standing on the front porch during a thunderstorm. My sister loves thunderstorms so she says: "I hope we get a big one!" No sooner did she shut her mouth is when the next door neighbor's rooftop antenna took a hit. The only thing left was the tripod. Very bright and very loud. The neighbor also lost his TV as well.

In my CB days, I lost one 1/4 wave and one 5/8 wave antennas to ma nature's light show. I was operating at about 90' HAAT. After the second hit my folks insisted that the roof top antennas be a thing of the past. Melted the coax (which had a modified connector that was hooked up to the heating radiators in the house thus producing that lovely glow throughout the house both times). No fires as a result. Thank God for good grounding! I always disconnected the rig if the weather even so much as rumbled outside. Once again, eardrum popping loud.

The last time I was close to a strike I was riding my bike home from a Saturday lawn job when I was 15. A high voltage tower took a hit about 150 feet away from me. I could feel the electricity in the handlebars... that one was a shorts-filler.

I have been very fortunate that I haven't been that close to a strike since then. And I certainly don't ever want to be ever again if I can help it. You ALWAYS must maintain a very healthy respect for electricity in all its forms.
Chris from Milwaukee
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(And transmitter salesmen too!)

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Re: EPIC lightning at WSIX

Post by Sam Buca » Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:56 pm

First engineering job where I worked alone...bad thunderstorm, xmtr dumped, I went to the site during the storm. Either the tower got hit or the FM antenna on the tower got hit. It must have jumped across the isocoupler because the lights in the building shut off as a huge blue/violet stream jumped from the flange connector on the coax to the rack (the coax wasn't connected to anything). About half a second later, it was really really really loud. The melted metal mark is still on the rack.

Needless to say, I'm glad I learned the lesson years ago. I don't visit xmtr sites until the storm has passed.

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Re: EPIC lightning at WSIX

Post by antennaclimber » Sat Aug 22, 2009 7:43 pm

I was 260 feet up on a tower when a thunder storm developed right over top of me.
Lots of funny crackling noises and thunder all around me. Thank goodness the tower did not get struck while I rapidly attached the feed line to
the tower on the way down.
K3ARL

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Re: EPIC lightning at WSIX

Post by KI4JQM » Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:31 pm

I was passing by the 920 am self-supporting tower once in Burlington, NC. It got hit. Turned a nice fluorescent blue for a second. Sadly, that tower got knocked down by a downburst in1998. Now it is a boring folded unipole.

boiseengineer(old)

Re: EPIC lightning at WSIX

Post by boiseengineer(old) » Sat Aug 22, 2009 10:45 pm

If the voltage spike doesn't get you the EMP will. There was a recent story of a group of stations housed in a steel beam frame building that had been grounded and re-grounded. The EMP magnetized the building screwing up all the monitors and taking out a lot of equipment anyway.

I’ve put a video camera on many a lightning display but I used a tripod and got the hell inside away from it. One strike behind my house was 2 frames from the flash to the BOOM. Many leaders all over the place before the main strike.

I’ve seen 4 AM towers light up all the insulators from cloud-to-cloud lightning 20 miles away.

And keep away from those guy wires durring a wind & dust storm.

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Re: EPIC lightning at WSIX

Post by RGORJANCE » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:23 am

Being old and feeble minded, suffering from sometimers, I don't recall If I ever posted this picture. This cap was in a cell tower detuning unit. I always wondered what was inside that black epoxy. :lol: :lol:

Fossil
BLOWN CAP.JPG

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